I wouldn’t normally reproduce a friend’s Facebook status on here, but this has been with me all day.
Thanks Nige, for letting me reproduce this post from yesterday:
We were just driving over the Tasman Bridge and I saw a young lady climbing over the rail. I said to Rachael look she is going to jump. Took eyes off her, back onto road as we passed. Then I looked in the mirror and I saw her fall. Please, if you are feeling this way, seek help.
There’s a picture of the Tasman Bridge at the top of this post. It’s a beautiful bridge and this wonderful shot was taken by my good mate, Stu the Lens Genius.
Sadly, it’s also a place of sorrow for some families. I’ve driven past a guy being talked down off the bridge. Thankfully, I’ve never been in Nige’s position and driven past as someone jumped.
There’s nothing you can do to stop someone if they’re determined to jump and you’re driving by. The bridge is five lanes of moving traffic and there’s nowhere to pull over. The footpath is elevated from the road, with a fence making the physical barrier even more pronounced. Getting to someone quickly would not be a simple thing.
Nige’s FB post stuck with me today for a couple of reasons.
First, I can visualise exactly where he was and what he saw. I drove over that bridge nearly every day when I was living in Hobart.
The other reason is because today was a particularly shitty day. I had 5 big things happen today. Two of them – the things I had control over – turned out well. The other three turned out not so well. They turned my head inside out, in fact. They were beyond my control, my influence. They were things that I wish I could make better, but I can’t.
I’ve never felt anywhere near the level of desperation that that young lady felt, but I have endured my own little battle with the black dog over the last few years. It’s not fun.
Sometimes you know what’s causing it. Sometimes you have no idea. Sometimes you want to punch the crap out of someone/something. Sometimes you just want to lock yourself away and not face anyone ever again.
Sometimes you’re fine. For me, that’s most of the time. I can do my job, make decisions and engage with the people around me. And sometimes the choice between milk or fruit juice is too much to bear.
That sounds irrational, I know. But that’s how it gets sometimes.
I’ve been fortunate, I guess, to have what I would call a pretty mild case of depression. It relates more to my circumstances than the chemical imbalance that afflicts so many people. I can easily find myself dwelling on the things I don’t have in my life rather than taking satisfaction from the things I do have. I get overwhelmed by perceived obstacles, expectations or tasks.
Sometimes, the stuff that other people blow off pretty easily, that’s stuff I take to heart. Politics is a big one. I don’t get depressed because the side that I support might lose. I get depressed because I see, quite vividly, the dangers ahead for those less fortunate who have to fend for themselves in a dog-eat-dog society (which, sadly, my home country seems to be heading towards).
In lighter moments, I like to blame J.D. Salinger for this, but I know I’m just wired that way anyhow.
Sometimes stuff builds up in your mind and you’re powerless to stop it. It just takes over, no matter what you do. You can spend time with friends or family, get some energy and positivity in your life. But the anxiety, the darkness – it’s all there waiting for you like a retarded friend.
Sometimes I’m convinced that it’s like an addiction, as if the only way I can feel contentment is if I’m fighting something. Fighting to be at peace – an oxymoron of ‘murican proportions if ever I’ve heard one.
See, there I go again.
The strange thing about all this is that if you ask me what’s missing in my life – what do I think I need to be happy? – I’m not sure I could tell you. I could tell you what’s in my life that brings me times of happiness – my work, my family, my friends, music. But I can’t identify the missing piece that might bring lasting happiness. It’s just…… missing. Is it emotional intimacy? Personal vulnerability? Feeling part of something bigger?
I don’t know. I really don’t.
A message to those who might read this and get concerned – I’m OK. I really am. 100%.
It’s just that Nige’s FB post resonated with me today. I feel so bad for that young woman and her family. I understand a little about feeling overwhelmed, about feeling dark, but I’ve never ever been even close to that place. Even with the challenges I have, there’s way too much to live for. I just feel so much for her, crossing that line.
This piece is simply because I wanted to work it through. Writing about it helps sometimes.
I have friends who have been through depression. I have friends who are still battling with it. I can offer no solutions, other than to say you’re in my thoughts and I wish I could be there more often for you.
I wish we could be there more often for each other.