Sometimes, I have realized, finding happiness means letting the wounds out.
I am taking a risk here, putting this out to the world. It frightens me. It’s dark, when I want to spread light. It’s hard to talk about, only slightly easier to write about. It’s keeping me from writing about anything else, at the moment. So here it is, a bit of darkness to let it out, and maybe to help bring better understanding.
Be warned that the content below, a combination of prose and poetry, deals with some heavy issues – it deals with depression and suicide. Please don’t read if you are triggered or upset by those subjects. There aren’t any graphic details or anything like that – just emotions.
I read about a man watching his father dying on Humans of New York. It made me think about how losing a loved one to a “natural” cause was different from losing them to an “unnatural” one. Death is death, and it’s always horrible. It brought about these thoughts:
But you see
people understand when someone is physically sick and dying.
When someone you looked up to, who was always strong, who was a rock, is suddenly frail and pale, sickly, hooked up to machines, nothing but flesh and bones
Everyone knows it’s OK to feel overwhelmed. It’s OK for you to say “Alright I’m freaked out here, I need a minute.” You can leave the room, leave the hospital, take an hour or a day, you can admit “It looks fatal” and people nod sagely and comfort you.
It’s awful, it’s painful, they understand.
“We’ll get through it together.”
Oh, but when the mind and soul are sick
how the story changes
Physically, she was fine, but her eyes were vacant, her shoulders slumped, her mouth quivered. She was a husk of what she once was. She wasn’t much different from the person hooked up to the machines
except that nobody saw it. Nobody understood that her life was slowly draining from her. Nobody took her seriously when she said she couldn’t breathe
because they could see her lungs moving up and down.
If she’d wasted away at a machine
Maybe we’d be allowed to say “It was fatal.”
That, no one understands.
“How can depression kill you?” Someone says to me at the dinner table
and my head fills with fuzz and steam and blood and images of what she used to be, and how she ended up
no one knows,
no one understands
but there it is
Maybe someone would have saved her, if they could have seen it, physically manifested.
Maybe they would have hooked her up to a machine and pumped life into her.
Instead they turned her away
turned her away
and gave her words
said all she needed was “hope.” Hope was what she needed to live. Hope would help her recover.
She didn’t need hope.
She needed a goddam ventilator.