This post today goes out to my wonderful friend Naomi Haskell and to others like her that are here on my page or anywhere in the world.
On Saturday I reached a very very dark place. With my depression gripping my soul, I forced myself to take a shower because I knew I had to force myself to get moving even though I felt horrible. I stood in that shower crying and holding my gut as I sank even deeper at a very rapid pace. By the time I turned the water off I could barely breathe and my thoughts were running my heart and soul. I stood and looked in the mirror and shook my head in disgust at myself as I looked as my despairing face and felt like I was more alone than ever. I won't lie to you, the thoughts of ending my life had finally taken root in my mind and I felt like I was fighting for my life standing there in that mirror trying to decide what to do. Something told me to reach out to someone and I fought that because I knew if I uttered the words that were swimming around in my head that I would scare someone. So, for a moment, I hesitated.
Then it came to me. My friend Naomi, who I had met through contacting her after reading an article about her and her son who is living with schizophrenia, is the strongest, most loving, no nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is person in my life. She's been through hell and back herself more than once and I knew, if I could just get myself to reach out to her, that she would be the one with the magic words to help me. With so many tears in my eyes that I couldn't see straight, I sat down at my computer and sent her a message. I wrote and wrote and unleashed a message that was scattered but I hoped she would understand it. Within moments she responded to me and told me to give her a minute to process what I had said and to write back to me.
What came back was BY FAR the MOST PERFECT thing she could have ever written and true to form she pulled no punches and she laid out the truth to me about what she felt I needed to do to save myself. I know she was worried that she had over-stepped but what she wrote was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. From there we chatted a while longer and I admitted to her how far I had sunk and this woman, seemingly unafraid of my darkness, lit a match and then a lantern in my darkness. My heart was still broken but I had decided that I needed to continue to live and it was Naomi who helped me find my way there.
One of the things that she reminded me of were all of the responsibilities that I had to Thomas. She pointed out that there were worse case scenarios far beyond what I was living in and she reminded me that I still have my boy and that he's doing well and he's still on this earth beside me. She told me about experiences from her own life with her son and in doing so reminded me of my entire life's mission and that is to save my boy wherever I could.
In the end, the gifts she gave me, the gift of her time, her love, her uncensored words, were exactly what I needed to hear. In the end, when I had just come from my deepest, darkest depths, it was Naomi who single-handedly and with grit, saved my life, and in doing so saved the life of my boy by reminding me that he was my reason to be. With me gone, Thomas would have had a life unimaginable and the deepest wound, far deeper than I felt in my own soul, would have been the legacy and the pain and the abandonment I would leave for Thomas.
I write this today as a thank you to Naomi for what she did for me and I write this today to thank those of you out there who have been there yourselves and saved someone else's life. Beyond that, I write this because I want to emphasize to those of you who, like me, feel alone beyond measure and feel like you are at the end, to REACH OUT. Do it even if you can't see straight through your tears, even if your gut is hurting and breathing is no longer reflex, it's a choice you have to make with every lung full of air and even if you have sunk so low that your depression has convinced you nobody cares. There are amazing people out there like my Naomi and they have hearts of gold and a gift of words that can change everything about that dark place you might find yourself in. REACH OUT, especially if you are a caregiver of someone with schizophrenia or any other mental health or physical health issue. Your life means something to those around you and your value to the world, no matter how small your footprint is, is immeasurable.