My friend’s daughter recently tried to commit suicide.  The written phrase sounds so clean and confined compared to what must have been a horrifying, unending  evening of pills, hospitals, IV’s and stomach pumps.  I really like the girl.  She is beautiful, smart, funny, and kind.  She helps with the house and her younger sister, earnestly tackles her homework, gathers great friends…. She is a dream compared to most 15 year olds.


Hearing her story made me so grateful that I was older before depression really hit me.  I already had a sense of myself when it came.   The first time it sank me I was 19.  I didn’t recognize it for what it was.  My mother did, though.  Had I been a little older maybe she wouldn’t have seen it.  Had I been a little younger maybe I would have been desperate.


The depression came back a couple of years ago.  It is hard to believe how recently I was standing in the bathroom at the office, miserable.  I hated my life, had no direction, and didn’t want to try anymore.  I did not want to kill myself, but I suddenly understood how people could feel that low.  I also knew that if I were going to kill myself, it would be with a knife (which is bizarre, because I have avoided any unnecessary knife-usage since I was very young). The moment was a wakeup call for me, and it will probably always be on my top ten list of life-changing moments.  Luckily, I already knew what I needed to do, and shortly after that I started taking anti-depressants again and seeing a counselor regularly.  When I thought about the long journey I would have to take to reclaim my mental health I broke it down into a million little steps instead of only seeing the miles.  And then I started taking those steps.  This blog is one of them.  Slowly, things got better.


But what I did when those thoughts first announced themselves in that ugly little bathroom was take myself home, drink a beer, avoid the knives, phone a friend, and take a nap.  The nap and the beer calmed me down.  The friend was my safety net.  I needed someone to know I was losing and needed backup.   Despite how desperately unhappy I was, I still knew I didn’t want to lose.


If I were fifteen I might have used the beer to chase some pills and called it a night.  I doubt any of my fifteen year old friends would have been able to do much to reassure me.  This girl I know, I doubt she knows her worth, but I also doubt she knows that she doesn’t want to lose.


When I was fifteen I didn’t think about losing my parents or my nieces and nephews.  I didn’t think about all of the things I wanted to accomplish in my life.  I didn’t know that I will be pissed if I die without ever learning how to play drums.  I didn’t know that I would want to help people who can’t help themselves.  I didn’t know that I like to travel and move to new places.  I didn’t know that it’s fun to learn just for the sake of learning.  I didn’t know that there is always something new to learn.   I didn’t know that life changes so much from year to year.  I didn’t know that there are people out there I don’t even know who are looking out for me.  I didn’t know about all of the friends I hadn’t yet met who were going to change my life.  And I didn’t know that over time I would become proud of me.


I am lucky that I didn’t understand wanting out so badly that I could understand pushing a knife into my skin until I was twenty-eight.  I am lucky that I still haven’t lost all of those things that make me want to be here – all of those things that give me hope and reasons.  I hope this girl has the time to find herself and all of those things, and I hope that she never loses them.