Why do I write these posts? (Other than to meet some of my ego’s needs).
My intention is the possibility that you, dear reader, may come across it at just the time you need to hear it. The proverb “When the student is ready the teacher will appear” has been true at important times in my own life. I remain grateful to many for putting stuff out there so that when I was ready it was right there for me.
Of course that also means that not everything is for everybody (and that’s where the delete button comes in real handy).
What follows is by no means an explanation of suicide or even of depression. It is rather an attempt to make sense of things out of my own experiences. So it may not ring true for you and is not meant as an explanation of anyone else’s behaviour.
Growing up with a depressed and suicide-attempting dad (he is still alive) has made me ask myself “how can I learn not to end up depressed and a victim of my own thoughts?” (and keep in mind that I chose to work in pediatric palliative care!)
Does any of this sound familiar?
· You get married and think “I will never be lonely again!”
· You get a job promotion and a raise and think “now everything is going to be perfect!”
· After years of trying you finally have a child and now “life is finally complete!”
You know how foolish it is to think that any one thing is ever going to make “everything just perfect”.
Without the mythic and impossible promise of “everything will be perfect when…” the advertising industry would grind to a halt in a heartbeat!
Does any of this sound familiar?
· You lose your job, and now your life is ruined!
· You get a frightening diagnosis and now your life is over!
· Someone you love dies, and now your life will never have a good moment again.
Are any of these thoughts true?
Even if they feel really true at the time just how long do they last? Forever?
Things happen, we can’t control most of it, and we decide, on the spot, that they are great or terrible. But when you look back at what you thought was bad it rather turned out to be good, and what was supposed to great and long-lasting was not so.
· “I would not wish this diagnosis of cancer on anyone but it has changed my life and I have grown”.
· “Losing everything I had thought I needed to be happy has turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me”
What to make of all this?
Not only do we not know what is going to happen next, but our initial judgements about what is good or bad are often wrong, or at least it is often more complicated (the good/bad judgement) than we initially thought.
All these things that happen are descriptions of our life situation, but not of our LIFE.
Things happen to us and we get buffeted around by them like a balloon in the wind – Sometimes we are up and sometimes down – and all that is still not our LIFE but is rather our life-situation.
So what is our LIFE if it is not all these things that happen?
Is it possible that LIFE is what is experiencing all these things?
This LIFE (versus life-situation) is what we sense when an island of calm opens up in those spontaneous moments where thinking abates and we just are – We all get these moments from time to time –
· Watching your 8 year old eat an apple;
· Diving into a calm lake;
· Sitting quietly and watching the snow falling just outside the window.
So what's the big deal about the difference between LIFE and life-situation?
If you believe that your life situation is the same as your LIFE, if you believe that your self-worth is hinged on this or that, then you are vulnerable to losing your “reason for living”.
Do you really need any justification for being alive?
Does any form of life need to “do something” to justify its existence? Does a flower or a bird need to justify its own existence to itself or to others?
There is no judgment of good or bad in “LIFE” but lots of judgements of good and bad in “life-situations”.
As far as your LIFE is concerned there is nothing to do, nowhere to go and nothing to achieve.
By all means go ahead and do, go, and achieve, just see them as choices to make and not as necessary justifications for your LIFE.
If you believe that what happens to you is the same thing as your LIFE, as who you really are, then the thought “I do not deserve to live” can become a wrong thought believed.
And that can be a fatal mistake.