While I was on call the other day, I had a flashback to a few years ago. It was winter during med school, and I was trying to quit smoking, and I had some stuff happen in my life, and I was thrown into a tailspin. I couldn't sleep and found myself in my church parking lot at 5AM, waiting for morning mass, smoking half a pack of cigarettes.
And I went home and put on my game face, and no one was the wiser. I was bordering on suicidal ideation, and to the rest of the world, it was just another day. No one saw any reason for concern, as I was torn about whether I should go to the ER to get a psych eval.
And eventually, one of my friends noticed, and let me unload on him, and it felt wonderful to have someone there. And it's not often in life you have good friends like that in life.
And it's wonderful to remember that time of horrible depression in my life, and realize that I don't feel like that anymore. And it may not seem like much, but there is something wonderful about enjoying life, and when there is no joy, life can be so very painful.
I was talking to a psychiatrist a while back, and she noted that there are warning phrases people say when confronted with the issue of their suicidality, and the one that concerned her was when people would say something to the effect of: the only reason I haven't killed myself is because it's a sin.
That took me aback when I heard it, because that was how I operated for years. Every day was pretty much a wash, and I'd come home and think, "This sure would be easier if I could just kill myself, and get the next 50 years of pain out of the way."
And it's interesting to look back on all that emotional trauma, and see that everything's healed up, and the scars don't even show. And sometimes, I hear this specious garbage that life's struggles are like the story of Job, and that there are tough times, but it'll all turn out well in the end.
To them I say bullshit. The story of Job ends with him having a new family, new fortunes, but what about his wife and children, everyone he loved, all dead? The lesson is that we do not know what is in store for us in life, and that we must fight, constantly and continuously, and in the end hope that we find meaning in the struggle itself.
And maybe one day we can run our fingers over the scars, remember that time, and see that it was the struggle that made us strong.