The Hole so Deep

 

cave

Anyone who calls suicide a decision clearly doesn’t understand all that it entails. We are complex human beings. More goes on below the surface than we can even comprehend.

More and more, we hear about people taking their lives. And suicide/depression is not limited to a certain class of people. When we use terms like “those people,” we demonstrate our lack of knowledge on the subject.

But before I begin, let me say I’m no authority on the subject. I don’t have letters after my name. But I feel I have something to say.

I almost became a widow three times. And my husband, whom I love very much has shared with me how it felt when he was in the thick of it. With his permission I have written about our life in my book, BROKEN.

Depression is a hole

Mike shared, “It’s like a cave I couldn’t get out of. A hole so deep.”

Yesterday, like millions of others we watched a program about Robin Williams. I was curious to hear my husband’s response when they spoke about Robin’s family. Curious because it’s been this puzzling piece to me. How a person who is loved, and part of a family could go down that path.

My husband’s response was, “Wow, that is so heavy for his family to have to go through that.”

No. I didn’t blurt out, “What about you?” Maybe in the past I would have been tempted to. But living with someone with depression has slowed down my quick remarks. I listen more.

When my husband was nineteen years of age, a neighbor came up to him and said, “Hey, there is a black man in your car.”

So Mike went to the garage where the door was blowing open and shut and he saw something he would never forget. Leaning his head against the glass he saw a man. But not a black man, a man he called “Dad.” it was his father, asphyxiated. He had not driven away as they thought. He was there in that car for four days.

Depression is generational

Suicide had also taken two other relatives in his life. And when Mike suffered with depression his father’s option became a viable one for him as well. It was always in the back of his mind.

Depression in three generations. Would it continue? Please tell me no.

When our son was a teenager he silently fought that same monster of depression. He was cutting himself and we had no clue. Then one day we received a call from his youth leader, Kyle.

“Hi Anne, is Nathan there,” he said quickly.

No small talk, no chit-chat, just the question.

“What’s up Kyle?”

“Anne, I have reason to believe Nathan is going to hurt himself.”

And so began our nightmare. Friends offered to look for him. That hour and a half seemed like forever. They found him alone in the park. Nathan had planned to end his life, but instead he said God gave him music. And today his passion is to reach out to struggling students. Because he remembers how lost he felt in that hole.

You can hear Nathan’s story here.

Compassion is the answer

So why am I sharing all this? Because we need to have compassion for those who suffer. We need to let them know we’re here for them. As long as it takes.

Suicide is not a simple choice they make. And it doesn’t mean the person doesn’t love his/her family. In their minds, at that moment, they think they’re alleviating pain their families have suffered. They believe their families will be better off without them.

My heart goes out to the family of Robin Williams. It is a long, lonely road back to feeling normal.

So unless you have seen the ambulance pull away as attendants shoot questions at you in rapid fire. Before you judge the actions some make, forever affecting those left behind. Pray. Pray for the family. And pray for those who may be in your circle of influence.

Maybe we can figure out a way to help them. We have to try.

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27 thoughts on “The Hole so Deep

  1. Well put, Anne. Having struggled with depression for most of my life, I know that this topic is more complex than it seems at first blush. Ultimately, taking your own life is a choice. However, in the blackness of that hole, it can honestly seem as though there is no other loving option. To subject our loved ones to our mental darkness can at times feel more cruel than putting an end to it.

    I cannot convey how rational that option has seemed at certain times in my past. Now I can see that it is anything but rational, but it makes it no less real for so many who suffer. You are right on in calling us to pray, pray, pray. Judgement does not benefit anyone in this.

    Thank you for your loving perspective here. Grace and peace to you today.

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  2. Rebeca,
    Thank you for reading and for your comments which are full of understanding. When we are in our emotions we just can’t see things clearly, can we? The families who have to live with the depressed person need help and encouragement. Judgement helps no one. In fact, when people judge they are subconsciously giving themselves a reason to just not connect or make movement towards the person in pain, in my opinion.

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  3. I’m not sure what to say really on this. it’s good. and it’s nice to see somebody actually trying to explain it more so people can maybe learn to understand it. It’s also kinda hard to expect anybody else to understand it too because sometimes the person struggling doesn’t even understand themselves why they feel the way they do or why they cant seem to stop the feelings.

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    • It’s really good if the person who has depression trusts another person. Then that designated person can be a mirror to them. He/she can reflect back to the person how they are coming across. And you’re right, the person who is going through it does not understand it at the time, but if they get the help they need, eventually it will not be as dark and if the darkness is there, they will realize they are not alone. Getting help is crucial.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Its not so easy to get help when the person goin thru it has little to no trust tho sometimes its easier hiding than it is talkin bout it

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        • Katie,

          Yes, you’re right it is difficult when the person has little trust for others and they are going through this. In this situation the one trying to give help needs to be patient. And the one who is going through it needs to eventually trust someone.

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  4. This topic also hits close to home for me. I, too, was deeply saddened to learn of Mr. Williams’ demise, and the details that emerged afterward. So tragic..I never knew Mr. Williams, but I am familiar with the pain caused by depression. Suicide haunted my dad’s family. Several gave in. Prayer indeed helps. Judgment is not ours to give. There is One who judges us all. Thank God for that… He is merciful.

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  5. Anne-thanks for the courage soaked decision to write this poignant insight. I so wish that those who are quick to judge could see through your eyes for one minute. The world would be better.

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    • Dennis,

      Thanks for reading and for your encouraging comment. I so wish people would be more patient with others. Sometimes people can open up hearing about things. Others need it to hit closer to home.

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  6. Anne thank you for your honesty the more we talk about this subject the better. I know my brother acted like he could handle anything, when deep inside he was hurting so bad. I wish I knew what I know now, so I could have helped him. Thank you for sharing and I hope this post can help those in need, so they talk to somebody and share their pain.

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    • Kath,

      Thanks for reading. And I’m sure you’re right. I’m sure your brother was unable to share how he felt. I also hope that people can get a better understanding of this whole area of depression. This past winter I had a really rough time of it. And I saw it had nothing to do with how I wanted to feel. No one wants to feel down. I hope others can know they are not alone. And I also hope we can show more compassion to areas we don’t understand.

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  7. Amen, Anne! Very well said. It’s a tragedy and I pray that God holds the family close and protects them so they can grieve the loss of their loved one. Perhaps Robin Williams will not only have left us with the legacy of his comedic genius, but also with a greater awareness and sensitivity to others and their pain. We can pray and we can pay attention to others as we love the way Christ loved us – abundantly and without conditions or judgement. To me, it’s heart-wrenching that someone who made us all laugh was hidden under a cloak of dark depression and his death is another powerful indication that we need to look deeper behind a person’s smile.

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  8. Tracy,

    I’ve heard it said that many comedians have hard lives beneath their surfaces. I also hope the passing of Robin Williams will raise awareness of depression/suicide. God’s unconditional love. Now that’s something worth thinking about. Loving us just as we are, so he can transform us into just what his Son is. Thanks for reading Tracy and for your thoughtful comments.

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    • Alena,

      I am certain it is a struggle. A struggle I remember all too well. Just prayed for you Alena, and for your husband. Maybe some day others will understand, and even if they don’t we have to try.

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  9. Hi Anne. I know of so many children of friends and acquintances who committed suicide. For people on the outside of depression it looks like a cowards way out. Thank your highlighting the fact that these people live inside a deep dark hole. I confess I am ignorant of depression and the factors that contribute. Or maybe not…I ran away to sea.
    Much love,
    Pxx

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    • I saw the need to try and put the word out about depression. Not that I am an authority at all, but so many people in my family have suffered with it. I feel when we have little understanding, it somehow doesn’t stop our judgements. I also found your last statement interesting. Running away to sea…

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