This morning I visited a member of my community who has been in and out of the Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital. As I was sitting in the waiting room, which was next to the emergency waiting room, I overheard a couple of conversations that people around me were having on their cell phones. They were calls to family members or friends about the person who they were there at the hospital with. I tried to let them have their privacy but I couldn't help but over hear a few things here and there. Both seemed to have family members in the hospital for nervous breakdowns and suicide attempts. My heart ached for these people. The holidays are such a difficult time for some of us.
I know the darkness that they're in. I know it very well and was, at one point in my life, very intimate with it. I had let it consume me and it was sucking me down into it's depths deeper and deeper with each passing day. Sometimes, with each passing minute.
The year was 2008 and the holidays were in full swing. I was working both a full time job as an accountant during the day and a part time job as a team lead with FedEx Air/Ground Freight Services in the middle of the night. During that year I had experienced a lot of major life changes. The end of a relationship, my son's high school graduation, his starting college and moving to the dorms, plus another move for me. I thought I had handled everything quite well. As it turned out, I was just too busy trying to keep all of my plates spinning to actually deal with any of it at all.
My review from my day job that December was not a good one. My boss gave me an ultimatum. Quit the night job or she'd have to let me go. I felt like I had been backed into a corner. At the time, the decision was difficult to make in my heart but in my head I knew what I had to do. The day job paid more then the night job so I reluctantly gave my notice at FedEx. It was heartbreaking for me to leave FedEx as I had made so many plans to work my way up the ladder there. I loved the work and I was good at it.
A week or so into working just the day job I found all of this time on my hands suddenly. That's when all of the emotions from the past year came flooding in. It was like they laid in wait for me to be free to deal with them. To say it was overwhelming would be an understatement.
At night I would come home after work, walk my dog then fix something to eat and drink as many beers as I could in an attempt to numb the pain while watching mindless television. Thoughts swirled around in my head about everything that had happened that year. The darkness began to convince me that the world would be a better place without me in it and that all of the pain would just disappear if I ceased to exist. I remember hours spent curled up in the fetal position on my bathroom floor begging God or whomever to just take me. My face tear streaked and my eyes puffy. I thought of ways to make it look like an accident while out riding my motorcycle. I was about as deep in the pit of despair as one can get.
Texts or phone calls from friends would go unanswered, which is very much unlike me. Some began to worry. One of my very close friends told me later that she was planning an intervention if she couldn't convince me to see a therapist. She made me promise to go talk to someone. The darkness kept telling me that it wouldn't make any difference. Somehow I made myself go through the motions and found someone to talk to. By the time I made it in to her office I was ready to fight my way out of the hole I was in. I just couldn't bare it any longer.
It's been a long road back up through that black hole but I'm so glad to be here. To think of the pain I could have caused my friends and loved ones and all of the things I would have missed in this experience of life. I couldn't even imagine missing out on it or causing that kind of pain.
I saw my son graduate from college this year. I get to watch him create a life of his own. I am deeply in love with an amazingly wonderful woman. I am surrounded by so much beauty and love. To say that I am blessed would be an understatement.
I am grateful for those who helped pull me out of that darkness. Grateful for their help, their love, their understanding and for their presence in my life. Had it not been for them, I may not be here writing this for you.