I took my wife to a doctor’s appointment this morning and then dropped her off at work afterwards. It’s a stressful appointment for her and I am more than happy to go and be present for her. On my way back home, I saw this pile of wood and debris from a house being demolished. I got to thinking about that house and what it might have seen in its lifetime. I’m sure at some point a family lived there. Maybe there was a baby born there or brought home from the hospital into that home. Kids went to school, brought friends over, played board games, build snowmen outside and scurried in when they got too cold to remain outside. All of those things brought a smile to my face just thinking about it. What a lovely visualization!
But maybe spouses fought there and children were whipped with a belt. Maybe the kids were told they were worthless pieces of shit by a parent. Maybe a dying grandparent lived with the family and they watched their loved one fade away. Maybe the family that last lived there was very poor and couldn’t afford the rent. Maybe the homeowner died or lost their job or didn’t pay taxes.
Whatever good or bad happened in that home, for some reason it fell into disrepair and it was demolished recently. So at some point someone no longer cared enough to keep the house in functional condition.
The metaphor I then realized struck me hard. Someone didn’t take care of the house. Or didn’t care enough to keep up with it. They maybe let other people borrow/rent it and those people didn’t care because it didn’t belong to them. It’s kind of like when you let someone take up space in your heart or brain. You let them into your life and trust that they will treat you well and take care of you when you need it. But what happens when your friends, family, or partner aren’t there for you? When you are all alone, upset for whatever reason? You start to fall into disrepair. Your functioning could be reduced and you don’t do the things you are supposed to do, like the house can’t keep you safe and warm if the windows are broken or the roof is leaking. Once the house is subpar, the owner can’t rent it out for as much as before, or can’t sell it at a higher price. But when a person starts to lose functioning, it can be very insidious. Like you start to feel tired and you don’t have energy for the things that you like to do, so you sleep more. You disengage from your friends and family. You become a shell of what you used to be.
It seems easy to just demolish a house, unemotional after awhile. Unless you had great memories in that house, it could even be a relief. The house my childhood babysitter watched us at and raised her own family in has been demolished. It was eerie to drive by it, like the witness to some of my earliest pain and trauma was now dead. But at the same time, it was a relief, like I can just breathe and release the things that happened that. It’s easier said than done, but I do find myself much more at peace now than I did before I saw the empty space myself.
But what happens when a person struggles to be functional? Some people can’t handle being there, because it hurts or because it’s too much, or quite frankly because they aren’t emotionally mature enough to handle being there for someone in pain. I have had so many friends struggle with depression and I have too, but idiots say things like “They’re just looking for attention,” or “They are always so sad.” So? Is it a bad thing to need attention when you aren’t feeling like yourself? I’ll never understand the mental gymnastics people do to relieve themselves of the guilt they should have when they refuse to be there for someone they supposedly care about. The reason that so many people ultimately make the decision to end things is that they are beyond lonely and unable to handle things alone. It really does feel like no one will care if you are gone. In reality that’s not true, but it feels true when you’re told that you are always sad or you are just looking for attention.
Suicide isn’t selfish and it isn’t always impulsive nor is it always well thought out. It can be either, but it is not selfish. That’s a major disagreement my father and I have. Telling a suicidal person that they’re being selfish is a surefire way to push them into it and he doesn’t realize that.
Unlike the broken piles of house that will never return to functioning pieces of a home again, people can recover from depression and trauma with a lot of support and people on their side. But it takes so much strength to admit that you feel so badly and that you want help to feel better. And it takes strong friends and family who will love you through it all and never give up on you. And you can’t give up on yourself. You are worth it. You aren’t a pile of broken junk that was once a house. You are an awesome person with hopes and dreams that can come true. You don’t have to live a life full of pain anymore.