I saw a man kill himself last night.
No, this is not a joke, and no, I will not provide details other than that it was incredibly tragic. And it led me to a thought or two.
Many of you know that I suffer from major depressive disorder. There are days where I just want to end it all, where I wonder why God put me on this earth and what possible good I can do for anyone. It’s a terrible disease, and one that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
And yet, at the same time… I sometimes think it is a gift. Because I have learned to live without hope, and sometimes that is a great ability. Only people with suicidal tendencies can truly understand hope, I think, because it is the promise of hope – not hope itself, that’s much too much to ask for when you’re looking at a rafter and wondering if it will hold your weight – that gets you through the darkness. The IDEA that one day things may improve. The lie that you whisper that, “One day this will change. One day this will get better. One day I’ll be… happy.”
And of course, it isn’t a lie. Things do change. Things do get better. Happiness is found if you go through enough doors and walk enough miles. You just have to go through some dark patches along the way.
So people who believe that hopelessness is their reality… we can lie to ourselves. We have a disease that keeps us from believing anything good will ever happen, but more often than not we keep on going. Why? Because we hope for hope. We don’t set our sights high, we hope not for feasts but for the scraps that fall from the table.
And that is enough. It has to be. Because if you can sustain yourself long enough on those scraps… again… things change. Things get better. Things become GOOD.
That’s a large part of why I write horror: because it’s a genre that allows me to explore the utmost terror… in order to find the greatest grace. Stories that permit me to continue lying to myself. “It’ll be better. It’ll change. I’ll be happy.” Because even in the horror, even in the darkness… there is light. There is goodness.
There is hope.
I don’t know why the man did what he did last night. My prayers go out to him and to his family and loved ones.
If you hurt. If you are ill. If you look at the rafters and think which one will support your weight… Hold on. Keep lying to yourself. Keep telling yourself that if you just keep moving forward, things WILL change, things WILL get better, you WILL be happy.
Because, as this storyteller will tell you, sometimes the greatest truths can be found when we tell ourselves wonderful lies. Of hope.
God bless. Hug your families. Be good to each other. Never hurt yourselves.