Lost in the Crowd

Have you ever been in a crowd of people and still felt lost?

I attend church regularly, every Sunday. I play songs for the congregation, listen to the week’s message, pray, socialise. It has become a highlight of my week.

But I always come away feeling sad, less downbeat then when I got there. This is not the fault of the service or the group; sometimes when you’re in a crowd of people you know, you can feel more isolated than ever, and the joy of the event can only serve to remind you of that.

A few years back, before I became Christian, I fell on very dark times and attempted to take my life. It’s not a story I’m proud of (although when I think about it, it is a somewhat black comedy of errors). Suicidal thoughts are something that many people with depression face every day.

Over the many years I’d been depressed, I’d contemplated suicide many times, but had never taken active steps to take my life. I think this is how it is with many people – it is certainly no small decision to make. Looking back, I’m so glad I failed, because it taught me how precious life was and how difficult it should be to try to throw it away.

Nowadays, when I am at my loneliest, I turn to God, to faith and hope and the love that exists in my life, even though I may sometimes be too deep in my dark thoughts to see.

I’m not going to preach to you about finding God. I believe that God finds us all, especially when we need Him most – that’s how He found me.

But if you’re alone, even if you’re in a crowd, and you feel there is no way out – talk to someone. Phone someone. Let them know how you feel. You’ll be surprised at just who will listen. And who will care. And just how many identify with how you feel.

Don’t get so lost in yourself, whether in a crowd or in your personal darkness, that you can’t find your way back to life.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44, with around 2,500 people dying by suicide every year. That’s an average of eight people every day. For every suicide, there are tragic ripple effects for friends, families, colleagues and the broader community. https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/suicide-prevention

Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Death by suicide is highest for men aged between 45 and 54, and those over 80, although attempted suicide is more common in women than men. https://www.sane.org/mental-health-and-illness/facts-and-guides/suicidal-behaviour

Feeling suicidal, or know someone who is thinking about ending their life? Sometimes it can feel like it’s too hard to go on, and you’re giving up hope. Remember that suicidal thoughts are just thoughts – you don’t need to act on them. You can get control back. There’s info here on how to do it, what to do when you feel this way, and how to help someone. http://au.reachout.com/tough-times/somethings-not-right/suicide

Advertisements

Dark Blue is not my Favourite Colour

Not every blog I post has to be funny, I reminded myself as I typed.

I went for a drive into town, then a seven kilometre walk, accompanied by my iPod. Through it all I was deeply melancholy – the wretchedness you feel when you fixate on your past and realise just how crappy you were. It was triggered by a conversation about my soon-to-be ex-wife, who I heard was very sad. “I never wanted her to be sad,” I said. “I just wanted her to move forward and find happiness with someone else.” The irony was not lost on me.

As I walked glumly from block to block, to a despondent soundtrack (why is it that when you’re down only unhappy songs play? My iPod appeared to be sensing my mood and saying “hey, this next one will make you feel even worse than the last”, like some sadistic, lonely hearts DJ). As I visited book shops and coffee houses on my own, I longed for company. One of my best mates lived nearby, but I didn’t want to lay my troubles at his door.

My despair was only reinforced by every couple I saw. I found myself missing my wife profoundly, knowing that I shouldn’t, that our break was irreconcilable. She hadn’t responded to my conciliatory email attempt. Some pain was too great to dismiss.

There was a time when I loved shopping (yes, you heard right – a guy who likes shopping) and I knew the only reason I enjoyed it so much was because of the people I shared the experience with. I liked to buy gifts for those I loved, not because I was trying to purchase their affection, but because making them happy made me happy.

When I got home I was relieved, because I knew I had people there, and if I stayed by myself much longer my thoughts would drift to “unpleasant personal endings” (been there, tried that, luckily didn’t succeed, let’s move on).

I’ve suffered from depression most of my life. I’ve done the anti-depressants thing, been to therapy (still in it, thanks), tried the self-help books. The Good Book always inspires. But the best solution for me was always having someone to care for, someone to share with, someone to love. I know God challenges us every day, and these trials are seasons we endure, seasons that eventually pass (even if they sometimes last years). Alas, that doesn’t make me feel better.

I know my wife will never read this, never know just how sorry I am, how sad I am that I hurt her. Maybe it’s better that way.

In many ways, this blog is my catharsis. It’s a place where I can live a somewhat humorous alternative life, an escape from my pervasive dark blues.

But not every blog I post has to be funny.

(Three million Australians live with depression or anxiety every day. beyondblue provides information and support to help Australians achieve their best possible mental health. https://www.beyondblue.org.au/)

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: