Thursday, July 1, 2010

...I Keep Looking Sideways...

 run into some strange things in my line of work, but perhaps the thing that perplexes me the most are incidents of suicide in the elderly.


I wonder what makes a nearly 80-year-old person take their life. I especially wonder this in cases of lifelong depression. I think, ‘well you lasted this long, why would you give up now?’

Or maybe it’s just years of attempts and finally… well, finality.

Maybe it’s losing all of your friends, seeing the world change into something inexplicably sad, or not wanting to deal with chronic pain anymore. (and you know I can relate to the last one!)

Or years of some kind of something building up. I say “something” because I don’t know what to call it; it’s just something you feel that doesn’t feel very good, doesn’t feel right.

Sometimes you wear it like skin. Other times it lives inside of you and feeds off your heart, your mind, your spirit. And then it replaces all of your internal organs with little rocks of hatred.

Well maybe not rocks, because sometimes it feels alive, doesn’t it?
I think mine looks like this:


I keep saying I’m going to name it so I can talk it off the ledge but mostly, I end up ignoring it. Or I try to anyway. If I try to push it out of my mind, it just comes out through the body.


  • It comes out of my eyes some days when my vision is bad. I can clean my glasses and use my fingers to stretch the lids wide, but there are days when I really just cannot see clearly. It’s like looking through a perpetually dirty windshield on a very foggy day.
  • It comes out in my arms, legs, and hands. Not just the random spasms, but a constant tightness and discomfort that no amount of stretching or exercise alleviates.
  • It’s little outbursts I sporadically have for “no reason” when I’m home alone.
  • It’s the headaches, the stomachaches, clenched butt, cramped and curled fingers, tight jaw and the ringing in my ears.
And it’s the unending awareness of them and frustration and not being able to control or eliminate them.

Sometimes I’m really afraid that it’s going to kill me.

And other days I’m really afraid that it’s not.

And I’m terrified and overwhelmed at the possibility of spending the rest of my life this way. I want to live to be old enough to die of natural causes. The official cause of death should read “natural causes” not “suicide.”

So today, I let go of it all. Again.

I’ll probably be letting go it some more a few months from now. But here’s today’s effort to let go:

  • I won’t be angry about things I can’t change.
  • I won’t be hurt by things and people that never meant to hurt me.
  • I will look at myself without hating what I see and wishing I could kill it.
  • I will not be afraid. I won’t let my fear get the best of me.
I’ll hold on to this as long as I can. And when I feel like I can’t hold on any longer, I guess I’ll have to find something else to hold on to.

“Sometimes Courage is a roar. And sometimes Courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

If you are experiencing pain, feel the same, need something to hold on to, or would like to borrow some courage,  please read this.

Many blessings to Zachary Enos Sundberg whose amazing talent captured just what I needed. You can see more of his incredible artwork here.



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