Saturday, August 22, 2009

Suicide, part 1

Suicide is when your soul lies at the bottom of a dark pit, feeling painful to the touch. I don't see it as an act so much as the state of mind that went on long before. It's looking around and seeing what everyone else seems to be blind to. The whole world appears to have gone insane. Everyone is busy, busy, so damned busy and enthusiastic about carrying on with their lives as if there were a point. They eat and drink and work and sleep as if life promised some hope or outcome worthy of all the effort. Their talk is even more disturbing. "Gotta see the new Harry Potter movie." "I'm looking to get a raise soon." "Let's try the new restaurant down the street." This is why people get out of bed every morning?

There was a time in my life when I drove my soaring hopes and expectations straight into the concrete wall of reality and spent quite a few years afterward cleaning up the crash site. Some people call it depression and will direct you to the appropriate medication. I think medication is a good idea but for some reason I didn't go that route. I took the gradual way out, rebuilding my faith and my psyche bit by bit, observing and examining the whole process until one day I was far enough out of the pit to see daylight. As a result I still feel an organic connection with the former days. I don't like to soar too high anymore, since I know how far it is to fall. A thin cloud of melancholy still hovers around me as a reminder.

What makes the difference between being in the pit and getting out? I realize this is a problem many people are anxious to solve, so bear with me when I say that I'm not so sure that my perspective on life from "within the pit" was altogether removed from the truth. There are many truths I saw most clearly when I was in my depressive state. The world is overrun with insanity. We chase after vain things. We hardly reflect on our lives. We do very little that truly touches the lives of others in a meaningful way. Happiness is much too fragile in this life, too dependent upon fickle people, upon changing circumstances.

The hardest part to deal with was not the facts of the situation, but the lack of honest acknowledgement from other people that the situation even existed. The isolation, in other words. No one I knew was willing to lay it out there, which is why I was amazed to find that Job, that ancient saint of the Bible, had traveled these paths long ago:

Why is light given to him who suffers,
And life to the bitter of soul;
Who long for death, but there is none,
And dig for it more than for hidden treasures;
Who rejoice greatly,
They exult when they find the grave?
(Job 3:20-22)

That's just a sample. You should read the whole chapter. I think it's great that the Holy Scriptures give air to a bitter speech that every pious Christian would instantly condemn out of Job's mouth. Sometimes life really is that painful, that Job longed to dig for his grave like hidden treasure. The Bible says so. God knows.