Posts Tagged ‘drowning’

#firstworldproblems

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I tend not to complain out loud about my problems unless I am talking to my mother– since we all know it’s every mom’s duty to listen dutifully to just about everything you have to say regardless of whether you are 25 or 40. If I complain about my issues to anyone else it might sound overwhelmingly like #firstworldproblems, an impression that may only be partly wrong. I called my mom once… –just last week if I’m being honest–in the middle of the night after I hadn’t been able to sleep all night for 3 nights in a row, plagued by my own mental demons, and she picked up. She picked up– even though at that time she was with a patient who would be taken off life support soon.

 

She was just reading a few bible verses to him, and I am pretty sure he couldn’t hear her and was totally unaware of his surroundings or anything else for that matter, but I was shocked that she as a physician was taking time out of doing her rounds to read some verses for a patient that couldn’t hear her and to pray for him before he passed… and also that amidst all this that she picked my call because she was worried about me. I proceeded to tell her I was completely fine, she should get back to work and after I hung up I began to cry. The perspective that the call gave me forced me to tell myself that: hey you should be happy and grateful you’re not deathly ill or dying, and that your problems are so small, and in the grand scheme of things– probably even meaningless.

 

But the truth is minimizing our problems by comparing them to someone with bigger problems can be both helpful and at the same time hurtful. It can invalidate your hurt and your pain and trust me it is incredibly hard to heal from something you don’t fully let yourself feel. If you don’t come to terms with pain in your life because ‘hey there are people starving in Africa and you have it much better than them,’ which may very well be true, but that doesn’t mean that your suffering, albeit privileged suffering, is any less real or any less hurtful. Much of our own life is shaped by our mind–our thoughts, and thoughts can be powerful enough to cause a person to pull a trigger, jump of a bridge, or prevent them from trying to achieve something they have always wanted to achieve.

 

It is good to be grateful and to see life from a perspective other that your own. Be thankful for your privilege. But also be gentle with yourself. Know that it is okay to let the small things sometimes get to you. It’s okay to not be invincible all the time. To feel weak, overwhelmed. It’s okay to simply just let yourself feel. Now it’s another thing to dwell, to sink, to never move forward. But just for today I want you to be honest with yourself about the emotions you’ve been keeping bottled up, the frustrations laying there right under the surface of all the pretense and fake smiles and cheerful demeanor. If you can’t be real to people at least be real to yourself, because honesty takes you to a place where true healing can finally begin.

 

Light

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Being suicidal is not an event. It is a mindset. It’s a way of thinking, and it is a continual experience. But it is also preventable, or rather treatable. It takes having someone or something to hold on to. It takes knowing that there is an end point. An end to pain, suffering, and loss.

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Why do some people hold on, while others let go? Having known people who have decided to take their own life, there is one thing I know for sure. You can never tell. You can never tell who will always hold on, and who will eventually let go. Their smile is still bright, and their laughter still carries you away. Because pain can be hid. It can be smothered, and it can be contained, until one day, when it can’t.

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Under modern U.S. law suicide is legal. Living is a choice, and you have the right to no longer make that choice.

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Before I learned to swim I once drowned. I remember knowing I was going to die. I fought it. I screamed, but I was underwater so no one heard. I kicked, I struggled, but I kept drowning. Now, years later, I know how to swim, and the fact that I was drowning seems so foolish. If I had been calm, if I had opened my arms and trusted the process, I would have found myself floating to the top. But at that time I had no knowledge of a way out. I had no way of knowing that there was still hope. I knew I had lost. And I accepted it. But somebody saved me. Someone was looking out for me that day in the water and they dived in and saved me. It wasn’t my father, or my mother, or even a friend. Just a stranger who was looking out for me.

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At times when I want to let go I always call out one particular name. A name I know will never fail me. I call out to him, screaming, asking him to prove himself. That he is out there. That he cares. He feels like a stranger but I ask him to speak to me, to say something. To tell me everything is going to be okay. And every time, without fail. I don’t hear a thing. It is silent. Utterly and completely quiet. But before despair settles in I feel this calm. Like a wave rushing over me I feel his peace. More than words in my ear he reminds me of times past. Times when he brought me through my trouble, and the mess I’d created for myself. And though all my troubles don’t immediately become okay, he turns a mountain of sorrow into a molehill. Instead of utter darkness I see hope, I see light.