When You Wish You Didn’t Exist

I read someone else’s deeply honest blog posting and I can only imagine the courage it took to let the world in on his struggles. He’s a popular Christian worship leader and speaker and I admire that he shared honestly about his ongoing struggle with depression and anxiety.

The author’s honesty took me to another place, another time — three years ago with my husband, Roger. As I sat reading this author’s words and struggling to contain the rising emotions and memories, I kept thinking, is this what it was like for Roger? Is this what he felt? Were his last days filled with this? Were they worse?

They must have been. No one takes his or her own life without a tremendous amount of depression, despair and anxiety.

I remember a few of the conversations Roger and I had at the time (when I could get him to talk about it at all) after he lost his job of 23 years. He would speak of constant feelings of inadequacy and failure and consuming fears for the future. I remember that his hyper anxiety seemed so out of proportion to the reality of the situation. I didn’t really understand. Not the depths of that kind of depression.

Now, not a day goes by (literally, not one day) that I don’t think of Roger and of that time in his life (our lives), and I am tormented by the questions. What if I’d understood more? What if I’d tried harder? What if I’d dug deeper? What if I’d asked more questions? What if I’d asked another person? What if I’d just known then what I know now? What it? What if? What if?

I don’t know the answer to those questions. I probably never will. But I do know this, and I need you to hear this. If you struggle with this kind of depression, anxiety and/or despair, you need to tell someone. You need to tell them and you need to let them help you. You need to let them help you when you can’t help yourself. There are doctors and counselors and medications and a whole host of people ready to help you. Willing to help you. Let them. Let us. Let God.

Because I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that on any given day, any one of us if just one devasting event or heartbreaking season away from wishing we didn’t exist.

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