I was about 7 years old the first time I contemplated killing myself. Suicide wasn't in my vocabulary then and although my memory is vague, I do remember being in the basement of the house I grew up in, dressed in what I thought looked like a 'Little House on the Prairie' ensemble. I am sure to everyone else it was just an old dress.
I was alone. Seated at an old child's table from the late 40s early 50s. It wasn't a school desk, though we had one of those, it was a feeding table It was a perfect square, white laminate with chrome trim and what we would call an atomic design running through it. The coolest thing was that it had a pop up naugahyde chair dead in the middle. Closed it was a table, open it was like a oversized high chair without the height. I loved that table. On that day I had covered it with an equally old table cloth with green spirally starbursts and a fringe. Our basement was dark and not finished but we played in it just the same. I was playing. Although I can't recall the details, I know I slipped deep into thought.
Maybe I was tired. I also know that from the time I was very little to my adult life when I became sad or depressed, those around me would tell me to 'snap out of it'. Not in those words. But that was always the gist.
There would be no such thing as Major Depressive Disorder if you could just snap out of it yourself. It is a disorder because of the inability to will yourself out of it on your own. At 7 I may have already been exhausted working overtime to "snap out of it".
Whenever someone takes their own life we always hear about how hopeless they were or how they didn't feel they had anything to live for. To be honest, I think this a broad generalization of something much more complex. Sometimes people are just tired from fighting an uphill battle to normalcy and the dream of leaving behind the judgement and shame comes with a sigh of relief.
Today's Nablopomo prompt was about reflecting on support you may have missed growing up. I had a good life. A loving family and although I didn't have everything I wanted, there was nothing I lacked. No one ever tried to tell me who or what to be. I was just a shy kid who danced to the beat of a different drummer. What support is there to be given for something you don't know exists?
Looking back I wish there was someone who saw me. Someone who could see that my brain was betraying me and tell me it wasn't my fault. I was 44 years old before I got the revelation that to fight depression I had to stop fighting my self. No wonder I was exhausted - I had been beating my self up on a daily basis for over 30 years. Some of the bouts of depression I struggled with were inexplicable to me. The only thing I could point to that was wrong was me. So I spun my wheels trying to strengthen what was weak and fix what was broken in and about me. I was exhausted - did I say that already?
I never told anybody about that day in the basement where I sat in the dark at my favorite table and thought about killing myself. For me that memory, regardless of how flawed it may be, marks the beginning of my realization that there was something in me that was out of order. If there was someone there who 'saw' maybe I wouldn't have internalized the shame of it all. But it is what it is. I am here when many like me didn't make it. I am imperfectly going great. Listen, I kicked depression's ass before, if I need to I will do it again.