The Bridge and the Chasm

Not an easy month: two weeks ago an overwhelming darkness threatened to consume me. Running through my mind over and over were thoughts of how to end my life. The thoughts were in an endless loop and they came suddenly, without a trigger. I was completely blindsided. They came during a sweet, peaceful time that I was spending with my son. I was disconcerted, angry, frightened.  I raged inside as I sunk ever deeper into this dark chasm.

Why does this happen?? It doesn’t matter, the ‘why’, but when I’m in the middle of it I’m aching with this question. I obsess with thoughts that if I knew why I could stop it from ever happening again.

Because this has happened more times than I care to admit I know the drill: email my therapist, make sure to keep my appointments with him and schedule extra if needed, email him, email him . . . try to stay afloat. Try not to isolate (which feels impossible), be alone as little as possible. I finally swallowed my pride and asked my husband to come home early two days that week. There is this quiet hour after the kids go to bed and before he comes home. This is one of the most dangerous hours: too much hinges on that dark, lonely hour.  Our marriage counselor put it best when he said “It’s the difference between both of you sitting here or one.”  What a chilling thought.

There is a chasm – an abysmal, endless chasm.  There are many days when I’m struggling to build a bridge over it one plank at a time. I get one plank down and there’s a frightening drop into the chasm ahead. I get another plank down.  They are steps in the day: get up, one plank. Get kids ready for the day, another plank. Take medication, feed them and attempt to feed myself. Get us in the car and to babysitter/appointments/school. Each of these things feels impossible.  I’m afraid that I’m going to fall, that I don’t have the strength and energy to keep moving forward and keep putting those planks down.  The very act of getting us dressed and out of the house seems like a monumental task.  Plank by plank, task to task – the bridge is laboriously and falteringly built across the chasm of the day.  And, invariably, I make it to the end.  Worn, tired, sad, relieved . . . and alive.

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