Friday, March 15, 2019

Never Die Alone #UseYourWords

Welcome to March's Use Your Words challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked four to six words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That is the challenge, here is a fun twist; no one who is participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

glory ~ days ~ shark ~ attack ~ surf and turf ~ gender fluid

It was submitted by: (Thank you for such AWESOME words!! We are a family who LOVES sharks, so these words made me smile!!)

When it comes to Use Your Words posts, I really let the words guide me. I just read my words, and then I somehow form a post. Some posts better than others. This month is different. This month, I knew what I was going to write about. I told myself that no matter what words I was given, I was going to write about the topic I selected. Now, I took one look at my words, and realized that I had made a HUGE mistake. However, I am still going to go with it. So, buckle up, because based on these words, this is going to be one helluva ride, trying to use all these words.

Many years ago, not quite my glory days, but not exactly my worst days, I was battling depression, and most days I was winning the war. I remember I was mad at myself, because I had gone through so much worse, and survived, and here I was barely surviving much less hard times. I guess that was probably when I realized depression makes no sense. At least, not to me. I am sure there are people with big degrees, that probably have a pretty good understanding of depression. I have no big degrees, and I really feel like my only understanding about it, is that I do not understand it.

When someone suffers a shark attack, you can see the injuries and the damage that is done. The wounds with depression are invisible, and they cannot be seen. You can easily be sitting right next to someone fighting depression with every cell of their being, and outwardly, they look amazing and wonderful. I was once told that depression was a silent killer, and it does make sense to me. I know personally, the majority of the times I have battled it, the people around me had no idea. I have a really good poker face, at least where depression is concerned. I think my actual poker face is pretty decent also, but I may be biased.

So, back to many years ago... I had an amazing friend that saved my life. If you ask him, and he knew I was okay with him talking about it, I think he would very humbly tell you that he saved my life once. The reality is that he has actually saved my life numerous times. I do not know if that was his original intention, or if it is just a lucky side effect of what he did for me. 

Somehow, I survived Kateri's death. Actually, I say somehow, as if I do not know how I did it, and that is not entirely true. I survived it, because once I reached absolute rock bottom, and I knew I was going to give up and just kill myself, because the pain of losing my child was just too overwhelming, I walked into the emergency room of the local hospital, and I told them I needed help because I was going to kill myself. My memories are fuzzy after that. I remember being brought into a room, laying down on a hospital gurney. I remember just crying. So. Many. Tears. I remember talking to a nurse. I remember a doctor coming in and being told they were getting me a bed in the psychiatric ward and they would help me. I remember them giving me a shot.

My next memory comes five days later, in the wee hours of the morning, waking up to a phlebotomist drawing my blood. She smiled at me, and said she was shocked to see me awake. I made small talk with her. I think I mostly commented on the fact that I was safe and still alive. She told me that she was glad to see me up, and she would send the nurse right in. The nurse came in, and he brought me up to speed. I had been in the hospital five days at that point. They had kept me pretty heavily medicated, because apparently, any time I was not sleeping, I would wake up and just cry hysterically. So, they decided I needed some rest. Considering I could not remember the last time I had really slept, I think they made a wise choice. 

The first thing I did was shower. As I was showering, I let my thoughts and feeling pour over me. I cried. I scrubbed. I just let it all out, and washed it all away. I spent a few weeks there, getting therapy and creating a plan for my life when I got out. Considering I walked in those emergency room doors unable to even imagine a future, I would say that was a good thing. I spent the next few years living, and creating memories. Some good, some bad. Years of memories I never would have had, had I not went into that emergency room.

Eventually, I met my nemesis Depression again, and that time I did not end up in an emergency room. I ended up in my bed, on the phone with my friend Jay. I told him I was so tired of fighting with depression, especially since it made no sense to me. If I could survive losing Kateri, I should really be able to survive anything. During our conversation, he never judged me. He never told me not to kill myself. He did say that he felt killing myself would be a mistake, but that it was my life, and he really had no right to tell me what to do.

The thing he said that saved my life, that time and various other times, was very simple. He made me promise him that anytime I ever decided I was going to kill myself, I would call him first. He was very adamant that I promise him. He knew that I never break a promise, and will go above and beyond to keep one. He explained to me that he would never judge me, so that I did not need to be worried about telling him. He just needed to know, because he did not want me to die alone. He also did not want my body waiting for days or weeks, to be cared for properly. He told me he also wanted a chance, to just ask me if I was certain that I was doing what I REALLY wanted to do. As long as it was what I REALLY wanted, he would accept my choice, and make sure that I died knowing I was not alone and that I was very much loved.

We talked for hours, until we were both exhausted, and then we went to bed, and picked up the conversation the next day. Some time during that next day, I changed my mind, and I told him that this was not the time. He again made me promise, that whenever the time came, I would absolutely call him. I promised. It is a promise I have kept. It is a promise that saved my life. 

It is a promise I recently made a dear friend of mine make to me. He was going through a rough patch, and he scared the crap out of me, and I remember the conversation I had all those years ago, and I said the same thing to him, that Jay had said to me, and I demanded the same promise. I can only hope, that the promise he made me, helps him as much as the promise I made to Jay helped me.

Jay was really on his A game that day. I think more than he even realized. He kept me talking, which I think really helped. He asked me a million questions, and we had a million mini debates. One that sticks out, what our debate about last meals. He wanted to know what I would want my last meal to be, if I could have ANYTHING. I chose wisely. I wanted a fully stocked salad bar, and I just wanted to eat like five huge salads. If you ask me, it is perfection. He however, chose surf and turf, french fries, and cheesecake. Admittedly, I did not like steaks as much then, as I do now, so I was incredibly unimpressed back then. Also, if you are going to have just one type of potato be part of your meal... How do you choose fries over mashed potatoes?!?! Also, cheesecake?! I can think of at least five desserts better than cheesecake. So, suffice it to say, we spent at least an hour debating last meals, and I spent a good portion of that time laughing.

Laughing is a definite good thing, when you are depressed, especially if it is genuine laughter. Yeah, Jay was so on his A Game that day, and I will forever be grateful.

I have battled depression several times over the years, and I can honestly say, I am grateful to report that the thought of suicide has not come up very often. I guess I am just getting better at battling it. However, anytime it has come to mind, I have immediately remembered my promise to Jay. I can honestly tell you, that promise has saved my life. Every. Single. Time. I know, that before I can end my life, I have to call and talk to Jay. Every time that it has come to that point, I have managed to make myself realize, that is not a call I need to make, nor is it one I want to make. Somehow, some way, I muster up the strength necessary to battle on. 

This past December, I found myself pondering a call to Jay. I ended up calling my doctor instead. I reached out and got the help I needed. I am still sad about my dad being gone, but every day I wake up, and every day I battle the sadness, and every day I get a little bit stronger, and feel a little bit better. I still have these moments, where I forget he is gone, and I think about something I need to call and tell him, and then the realization that I cannot call him crashes over me. Those moments are probably the hardest, but I get through them.

If you are reading this, and you are thinking about suicide, I would love to invite you to reach out to me. I promise you, I will not judge you. I will listen. I will offer any advice I am able to. I will help you get help, if you want it. Most importantly, I will make sure you are not alone. Nobody should be alone, when they are making some of the hardest choices a human being can make.

We are all human beings. I do not care if you are white, black,  Asian, deaf, male, tall, fat, short, skinny, gender fluid, French, female, straight, Catholic, trans, medium height, Baptist, queer, or ANY other type of human being.... You deserve to live. You deserve love. You deserve compassion and empathy. You deserve friendship. You deserve all life has to offer. We are ALL humans, and we are ALL worthy of the goodness life has to offer.

We also deserve to have moments of weakness and doubt. We deserve to be sad. We deserve to struggle to process events that happen to us. We deserve to be human. 

So, if you are struggling with depression, please let me be your Jay. Let me help you to make sure that you are not making the wrong choice. Let me support you. Let me be there for you. Let me listen. 

If you are not comfortable with reaching out to me.... Reach out to the person you are comfortable reaching out to. Reach out to your Jay. 

In the end, I hope you choose to stay. If you don't... I promise I won't judge you. I promise I won't hate you. I promise I will love you fiercely and I promise I will talk to you. I choose to believe the ones we love, who are gone from this Earth, can hear us. So, yes, I will talk to you. Yes, I will love you. Yes, I will let you know that it is okay.

Just, please, do not hesitate to reach out to me. I am here for you, even if I do not know you. Knowing you does not mean anything to me. I know you are a human. I know you are worthy. That is all that matters.

Please, do not forget to check out the rest of this month's Use Your Words posts. I will meet you there, right after I get more coffee. These days, I seem to need all the coffee and then some. 

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:


  1. Heartfelt post, Jules, and probably not easy to write but well worth it. My favorite line is "please let me be your Jay".

  2. As a person who deals with major depression, I felt your soul in this post. I'm so glad to read it and even more glad you were here to write it. <3

  3. What a wonderful post, Jules.
    I'm so glad you had the presence of mind (for a lack of better words) to check yourself into the ER that, and even gladder you had Jay in your life. I do love the last meal debate. Steak and cheesecake sounds good to me. If it's my last meal I certainly won't worry about it being healthy! PS: I heard they abolished the "last meal request" on death row. For your last dinner you have to eat whatever the other inmates eat, too. Boo!
    Depression sucks. Especially if you're battling with so many other health issues as well. I hope being Gigi's Mom gives you a sense of being loved and needed, and you may find a little joy in every day, one day at a time.

  4. I hope that promise will continue to save lives over and over again. What a lovely thing to do for someone. I've fought depression for many, many years. Some battles I've won and some I have not but I'm here and today I'm good and we're not promised tomorrow so I'll take it. Glad you're still here!

  5. Depression is so evil. I am so glad you're still here, writing these amazing posts.

  6. Depression is sneaky and horrifying and just quietly takes over and doesn't let go easily. I'm so grateful you admitted yourself. AND got the help you need. And the friend you need.



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