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A Short Note On #WorldSuicidePreventionDay

I didn’t do it.

Sitting between the bookcases in the corner of my living room for hours, sometimes days on end, head on knees, a despair so heavy and black that my limbs felt like they were a thousand pounds each and moving was impossible.

Over and over, the relentless voice in my head berating me. Every failure, real or imagined. Every chance not taken, every failed relationship, every time I shied away from a bold step forward because fear becomes immobilizing. Every bit of the bitter disappointment I believed myself to be, to my family, to my friends, to myself.

For months, the noonday demon tightened its grip. I’d go to bed at night, tossing and turning and brain churning, sleep a mystery I could rarely solve but when it did come, my body succumbing to it out of sheer exhaustion, I’d drift off praying not to wake up again, because the thought of another day was unbearable.

Those days, stuck in the corner of my living room running through scenarios of how to do it. How this would be one final disappointment for my parents, how they’d never understand. How my friends would be sad for a day or two, tears at my funeral, wondering how it could come to this…and then resuming their lives, the memory fading. How it felt like I never mattered to anyone.

The worst part of severe depression is the awareness that this isn’t you, that your brain is betraying you and no matter how hard you fight it, you can’t stop it. It’s the cruelest paradox of them all.

Maxine would lay on the floor and stare back at me. At the most desperate moments, when death seemed like the only possible escape from the hell I’d trapped myself in, I’d look at her, those eyes filled with unconditional love, and wonder who would take care of her. “She needs me,” I’d think. “Nobody else needs me, but she needs me. I can’t leave her.”

Not long after, I sought help. Thanks to an excellent therapist and months of hard work, those days are behind me. The specter of that darkness always lurks in the background, and at those points I take a breath, look at the Project Semicolon tattoo on my right arm, and remember that my story isn’t over yet. Sadness is temporary. Life takes flight, again and again.

People don’t kill themselves because they’re selfish, or cowards. They do it because it’s the only way to silence that demon inner voice; they do it because they just want a few minutes of peace.

This road trip is another form of therapy. This journey is internal as much as it is a physical exploration of America. Traveling, waking up in a new city every day, requires a constant mindfulness, a constant presence. It’s a long way from the mornings when I’d wake up with my legs kicking, screaming involuntarily, terrified of getting out of bed.

If you’re struggling with depression, please ask for help. It does get better. If someone you know and love has taken their own life, or tried to, consider them with sympathy. Love and kindness does much more to help than criticism and contempt ever will.

Peace & love,


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