A friend of mine has been depressed again recently. Very depressed. To the extent that she has had the old thoughts about suicide returning for the first time in a while. And when I talked to her about it the other day I found myself in the uncharacteristic position of being the one defending life. Arguing for its virtues. Protesting that some good will come if she can only wait. I felt like Michael Landon in "Highway to Heaven".
But I have come to believe it, after all my battles with depression, all my loneliness, all those things that went wrong, all the mistakes I have made. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say I believe it presently. Who knows where I am going to be or what condition I'll be in six months down the road?
The last year has been hard. I was living somewhere I didn't want to be, without even a tv or a telephone to connect me to the outside world, I was getting more ill by the month (or so it seemed), and depression had begun to consume me so thoroughly I was finding it harder and harder to talk even to strangers, much less develop tentative friendships into real ones.
But all that has turned around. Well, not all of it. I'm still dealing with these seizures. But a new home was offered to me for less money than I was paying on the flat, part furnished and in town, and many people surprised me by coming forward and helping me to move at negligible cost. The kindness that I was showered with humbled me completely.
New friendships flowered. Old friendships returned. And before long I found I was waking up in the morning in a pretty good mood for the first time in months. Not exactly looking forward to my day, because I am not good in the mornings and until I have woken up properly nothing looks right, even joy. But I believed that something positive might conceivably happen in amongst all the usual bullshit.
I know it could all disappear once again. That I could find myself, someday soon, back in a hell like the one I've just left. But my point is that I got out at all. I escaped it. And I'm not even sure I did anything to make that happen. And if I am back in that hell one day I will be able to look back on the moments I'm living through now and have something it is worth my remembering.
So give life a chance, that's my message to my friend, and anybody else reading this who might be doubting whether it's worth getting up in the morning. Yes it can royally suck sometimes. But just when you are convinced that it has nothing left to give you it might pull a new lover or a new home or a beautiful sunrise out of its sleeve. And when life does that, it does it with a style nobody else can muster.