As someone who has dealt with depression for all my life, I certainly understand the fear of the dark places our thoughts may take us to, especially after losing a loved one to suicide. I spent the first 40 years of my life wishing I could just die. I thought it so unfair that God would make me stay here and keep suffering. I felt that I deserved to die - not that I was worthless, but that I had suffered enough and any God with compassion would take me home.
Every bout of depression (and they would last 6 to 12 months each, and recur within 6 - 8 months of the last one) had me scrambling for approaches, medicines, therapies and anything I could add to the arsenal to fight it. (I believe that suicide occurs when the stresses outweigh the tools, and I was always adding tools.) Each bout had me running through my entire bag of tricks and having to learn a new one.
This devastating cycle finally broke its grip on me when I decided to throw the suicide option right out of the picture. I swore to myself that even if I felt like total crap every single day, I would NOT kill myself. I think the shrinks call it radical acceptance. I didn't know it at the time, but that's what I came to.
Within months of this decision, I had a re-awakening of gratitude. I realized how much worse my situation could be. No one with my history was as well off as I was. I got better. My brother's suicide awakened a depression that lasted 2 1/2 years, but I was never afraid that I was going to kill myself. If nothing else, the havoc my brother's death wrecked on people far and wide added to my resolve.
I am fortunate. I continue to add to my bag of tricks and will keep looking for ways to deal with my illness. I pray that none of us go to that utterly dark place. So far, I have been able to avoid it and I do not fear it anymore. We are truly not alone.
This post first appeared on the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors forum. Reprinted with the permission of the author. Visit our moderated community of support to those who have experienced the tragic loss of a loved one to suicide.