I just got back from Witchlets - an amazing five days with families and little ones and not-so-little ones. I danced with tiny humans (a.k.a. Newts) and watched them turn finger paints and canvas into a fairy portal. I found out that Jiffy Pop isn't that keen on being heated over a campfire, and that even ten seconds at the bottom of a fire pit is too long for foil covered graham crackers with chocolate.
I laughed, I slept, I read, I giggled, I got lost in the woods as I stopped using words and started turning on my fae speak and eyes. I lost an earring, my arm warmers, my thinking mind, and my startled self. I found my joy and my happiness peeking out from behind the exhaustion of the outside world.
So much beauty. So much magick. So much nourishment.
And then I got into Mendocino and turned on my phone.
My heart becomes heavy when I hear stories of suicide. It's because I've had friends attempt to kill themselves. It's because I know people who have succeeded.
I hesitate to share the story of my own depression because it feels unremarkable. (And hesitated to share this post for the last day.) Because you don't see any scars on my arms or any pills in my cabinet, perhaps I'm not as qualified as someone else.
But...I've had numerous periods of severe depression. The kind when darkness seems to thicken with each step. And no matter what you do, you can't feel better. Nothing and no one can say anything to make it all right.
I remember that Centennial Road was the road I was going to drive off of. I knew the place, I knew I wanted to make the sharp right turn in the middle of the night so people wouldn't find me. For a while anyways.
I remember sitting in the parking lot before an early shift at work when I figured out what it might take to fill the car with carbon monoxide.
About four years ago, I remember planning how I might end my life - for real this time. I wasn't quite sure how. I didn't want to leave a mess, and I didn't want to fail. I cried and cried and cried and turned to my husband as I realized I might just go through with it this time.
"I don't feel safe with myself," I whispered.
Those words were the true truth.
I didn't feel safe. I wasn't safe. I was relieved to have said it. I was relieved to have admitted it.
I know there are many thoughts about suicide. What it is and what it says about a person.
Here's what I do know to be true.
Life can fucking hurt. It can feel lonely, it can be lonely. You can be surrounded by amazing people, and they can not know about your pain. You can feel so detached that you don't speak up. You don't make a sound.
I have been so lucky in my life to be surrounded by people who love me and support me. But in the midst of darkness, it doesn't always help.
For myself, I didn't want to worry anyone. I didn't want to bother anyone, so I didn't speak up.
It's so hard in that state to say anything to anyone. I was afraid I wouldn't be taken seriously. And it seemed I had some people in my life I couldn't trust enough to hold me.
But, really, when you don't trust yourself and you don't trust the world to help you make it through, it takes a lot to finally speak up.
Here's what I needed to hear. Here's what broke through.
I love you.
I'm here for you.
Do you need help?
YOU'RE NOT ALONE.
I can't begin to (and won't) speculate on Robin Williams' situation and his support system.
But every time big names come up in the media, we suddenly realize that we should speak up more about this (or that or the other thing). And then we forget. We find out the *easy* why and we explain it away.
And we push the discomfort away.
This time, I hope we can hear and remember the stories that ache to be told. Let's not forget that for every person's depression that's named or diagnosed, so many more are quiet.
All of our stories count. Famous, not famous. Diagnosed, not diagnosed.
You're not alone.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
"Surrounded by Deity" -- upcoming Witches & Pagans issue