In the spirit of sharing: A story I've never told.
It seems the sudden and tragic death if famed comedia Robin Williams has shocked and saddened the entire world. He was pure genius, often our only way of escaping the sadness of our own lives.
I, too, suffer with depression. This is a story I've never shared in detail before. Some know a tidbit. Some know a detail. But until now I've never shared so much about one of my darkest hours on earth.
A little over three years ago, I walked out of the door to my temporary home in Scotland with nothing in my pockets but one cigarette and a lighter.
I walked a Mile to the graveyard, where I sat on the church steps for an hour or two, praying somebody would find me and take me inside, to tell me I would be ok and that life was worth living.
I sat there all alone on the front steps for hours. Finally I moved to the back of the church where I found a spot in the grass and talked. The only body around was one far beneath the earth I sat on. The headstone was dated back to the 1700's, but that didn't matter. I needed a friend, and he was the only one around at the time. Still, I was alone.
I had been ruthlessly tortured for months, used as nothing more than a pit bull for dog fights. I was nothing. I was garbage. I shouldn't have been alive. I should be in a box under the grass beside my friend in the abandoned, forgotten church yard. I was a coward. I didn't deserve to live if I couldn't stand up for myself and break away from my imprisonment.
Finally I realized - nobody was coming. There would be no miracle. There was no Suicide Hotline, and they wouldn't have been able to help me, anyway. Nobody would save me. It wasn't a movie. Nobody cared. Nobody reached out. Nobody told me it would be ok. Nobody stood beside me when I needed it. Nobody.
I trudged my way to the train tracks. It would be a fast ending to a miserable existence. I would die immediately upon impact, my body never having the time to send pain signals to my brain. Lights out, like a snap of the fingers. Or neck.
I sat beside the train tracks. I pulled out my cigarette and my lighter. I lit it. I inhaled. Slowly I let the smoke curl up from my lips and escape into the air, just as my spirit would in another five minutes. This would be my last cigarette.
A kindly soul with his young child approached and he asked me for a light. I offered him my lighter and even told him he could keep it. He insisted he give it back when he was finished, as he would have no further use for it. I wanted to tell him, neither would I. But I had to wait until the child was gone. I wouldn't dare end my life with a child watching. I would never scar an innocent mind like that.
As I sat waiting, I heard the train clack-clacking down the rails. The rhythmic beat marched up with words that seemed to float in from nowhere. In my mind, I wrote a sad and haunting poem that sticks with me even today.
I got up and practically ran the full distance back to my prison. I needed paper. I had to write it down lest I forget it!
The only thing that saved my life that day - the ONLY thing - was my writing. So the next time you hear me say I'm passionate about it, maybe you'll better understand why.
It wasn't a stranger. It wasn't even the kid. It wasn't some miracle. It was me. Simply put, it was my writing. And I knew I could never leave this planet without sharing at least some part of my writing with the world.
I wanted to die, but I NEEDED to live.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline