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I’m writing this blog post for a strange reason, though I’ve been thinking about blogging for months. I’ve got all kinds of ideas percolating away in my head, but have been forcing myself to stay with the school work because I don’t need another way to procrastinate. However, I’m bubbling over with farm happiness and big ideas and I just want to share, share, share! Just one more month, I keep telling myself. Wait until after you graduate in May.
Then tonight I read about my blog friend’s suicide and I just felt I had to write. Friend is actually a strange word here because I’ve never met her and have only commented on her blog once or twice. I tend to be a lurker as I’m strangely shy when it comes to cyberspace. I seem to like to put myself out there, but stop short at connecting. This is something I hope to remedy in the coming months. Elspeth Thompson didn’t know me, but I knew her through the medium of her writing and I truly valued those words. She apparently had been suffering through a deep depression the last few weeks and then took her own life. I am so deeply saddened by this and surprised to find myself so, because in the traditional sense we didn’t know each other. She meant so much to me though, because I went through a deep and harrowing depression last year and almost didn’t make it through, and she was a little bit of the parapet of loved ones and loving experiences that kept me from the ledge. Depression is unfathomable for those who haven’t experienced it. It’s a matte grey flatness that cuts you off from everyone around you and causes you to hate yourself for your inability to love life anymore. Last year when things were so up and down for me and I was thinking about the height and access of bridges and how sudden death by subway train would be, I would sometimes go to Elspeth’s blog and read up on her renovation project and her gardens. She reminded me of how much I love houses and homes and reno work and I might feel a little flick in my interest level again. I wish I had shared that with her now. But then, who wants some weirdo from another country telling you they’re glad you write because they’re suicidal but find that flowers and other pretty pictures keeps them going? I let my embarrassment keep me from finding a non-creepy way to say thanks.
So now I feel like I should share the joy I feel in life now—of how good it is to be back in the colours again and interested in everything and too many things, just like I used to be. I wish I could tell her that things do get better. There are places to go for help and you don’t need to be embarrassed or feel weak for this pain and flatness you can’t control. I wish I could have her up to my family’s farm to see how beautiful it is—green in the summertime against the red barns with so many barn cats that want to come out and love you; birds singing like their lives depend on it and the valley rolling away to the horizon full of trees and other little farms. I’m so grateful to my friends and family and counselors who helped me through that time and soothed my anxieties and told me, “Don’t you dare do anything to hurt yourself! I can’t handle it if you do! Get some help. How do I help you?” I’m so grateful to my sister and to two friends especially who listened for months to an unending litany of drab stories about how stunned and vulnerable I felt, how my marriage was suffering because of this and how school was rendered almost impossible. I truly wish I could tell Elspeth that life comes back to you, and there are things you can do to speed it along. I wish I could tell her how I know how impossible that is to believe while in the depths, but it’s true. The therapist I was seeing asked me, “what would you say to your sister, (one of the most beloved people in my life) if she was feeling what you are right now? Would you say it was alright for her to jump?” and I actually said, “If she was feeling pain like this, I would understand. She shouldn’t have to feel this.” Now, while still remembering that pain and shame, I can say thank god my sister never said anything like that to me. I was right—no one should have to go through that pain, but people do all the time. Depression seems to be on the rise in our country and around the world. No doubt someday we’ll find out that we’ve been poisoning ourselves with the number of chemicals we allow into the environment and into our bodies through the food we eat. But that rant can be saved for another time. Right now it’s enough to say that people do survive and it’s often a wonderful combination of loved ones, therapy and, fortunately/unfortunately, drugs that bring them through. Reach out to those people you love and let them know how good life is.
So for anyone out there in pain, or who just needs some words of encouragement, I’ll be the over-sharing blogger in the cyber-room this time and tell about the joy I have in life now. Please hang in there. There are so many people who care for you. You touch more lives than you even know about.