I remember when they told me my uncle had hung himself.
I don’t remember the time, date or place. But I remember my reaction.
I was speechless.
A guy I knew, who I admired, who I envied. A brave man. An ex-fire fighter. A husband. A dad.
I summoned all my memories of him.
What could I have done? How could I have saved him…….? Did he know I wanted to leave too? Could we have perhaps become proper friends? Could he have shared his thoughts? Could I have shared in return. Could I have persuaded him to stay?
The truth hurts even today.
But the sad answer is no. There is nothing I could have done.
His mind was made up years before; he was just summoning the courage to do it. And it did indeed take years.
And he did it. And he died.
I look inside myself. Am I callous for choosing to keep moving and not following?
No. I am not. I feel sorrow for this his passing like I regret the sorrow I felt when I threw that handful of dirt away whilst I knelt before the gates of Hell.
“Too many good souls have been lost.”
Only the lucky remain. I am lucky. I mourn his passing, but I do not feel guilt. He checked out, and I send him a silent salute of respect for doing so. He answered a call he thought he heard. But I refuse check out. I tried to and I was denied the opportunity. I must keep going forward and leave the Fallen behind. And so be it.
Depression is a disease like no other. It is born from within and it consumes from the inside out. The most prominent feature is its silence. It kills softly and quietly – like a quilt made of thorns. It slowly descends upon us, wraps itself around us, and strangles us whilst we think we sleep in peace.
Its not like having dementia or a broken leg. It manifests few signs to the outward observer. Nobody knows anything is wrong – except the afflicted. And they become masters of disguise. They make and wear their own smiling and grinning masks day by day. Every day. They check it before they leave home. They check it before they return home. They check it at the breakfast table. And they even check it when sending a text.
But the struggle to maintain that visage……….the internal mental anguish is enormous.
I fought yesterday, I fight today, and I will fight tomorrow. Like I said, I am lucky. The demons’ blades never quite manage to clip me enough to prove fatal and never dig deep enough to poison my being. Someday I might get unlucky, but I always continue to accept the challenge.
For those of my internet friends who read this, I can say only one thing.
DO NOT give up just yet. Try to summon Hope and try believing in Her. She is managing to keep me going at least, and She is not doing too bad of a job of it, bless her.