Now that the worst appears to be over, I want to invite my readers into the room in which I’ve spent a good portion of the past couple of weeks. Don’t be afraid; just take my hand and come with me for a few moments. I promise to return you safely.
It is a cheerless, windowless room with no decoration save for a vase full of roses which are as black as the night…..as black as the thoughts of death that have both repulsed and attracted me so often in recent days. They are as beautifully constructed as any natural rose, and yet they give off an odor so noxious that you can hardly bear to be near them. You wrinkle your nose at the sickish-sweet smell and turn to leave, only to discover that the door is locked behind you, trapping you in the room with those ghastly black blossoms and a sense of apprehension.
At first, the feeling is one of mild-to-moderate anxiety. You cast about for something you can use to force that door open, and find nothing. Then you call out, hesitantly in the beginning for fear of rousing whatever ugly spirit may reside in a dark corner; but soon your cries grow louder and more insistent as the wave of panic builds. Finally you start to scream….until you realize that no one can hear you. Because there is no one to hear you. It’s only you, alone in a world which seems to be closing in on you…..and of course, there are the roses. Always the roses.
Strangely, their numbers begin to multiply as desperate thoughts of freedom torment you. There has to be a way out! In your mind’s eye you can see the bottle of pills in your medicine cabinet…..the knives in the kitchen…..the pistol in the drawer. Any one of these would set you free, but you choose the pills because you don’t want to leave a mess for your loved ones to find. Because you’re thoughtful like that. It never occurs to you that it won’t matter to them how you left them, only that you chose to leave them.
You find yourself longing for the feel of the bottle in your hand and imagining the sweet release that would follow the consumption of its contents. After all, you can’t stay locked in here forever, not with that death-smell and those freakish ebony rose petals blooming with every dark thought. You feel your sanity unraveling and wonder how bad this is going to get before it’s over. And as if that weren’t frightening enough…..what if it’s NEVER over? What hellish fate is waiting for you there in the gathering blackness?
And that, Constant Reader, is depression with suicidal ideation.
I’m not quite out of the woods yet, but I’m no longer imprisoned in that windowless room, entertaining fantasies of death. I refuse to take on tomorrow’s worries, because today is all that’s promised to me. And I give thanks that the darkness has gone, the sun is out, and the only roses in my vase are the fresh-cut Hot Chocolates from my front yard. Life is good. And I choose to live.