Behind the Veil
Content warning: This article contains descriptions of depression and suicide.
It was a day like any other. The birds were chirping; the air was crisp, the sun was shining brightly. I strained to keep up with my dogs as they ran, sniffed and chased each other on our morning trek. The only thing I noticed was the quiet unlike any I have felt on any of our walks. I wondered if it was an omen or was I being too superstitious? I finished the hike and went about my day then I received the text. My breath stopped, my eyes blurred and I was heaving sobs from deep within. A friend was gone.
Over the course of the day, I began to hear from others who were trying to make sense of what happened. Questions floated through texts, personal messages, and face to face conversations/consolations. What did we miss? Did you know she was depressed? Why? Why did she do this? Suicide does not make sense when life is cherished by so many. People gathered in groups at the Celebration of Life, whispering, wondering and trying to push away the tentacles of grief.
She was in pain. For several months she fought an undiagnosed pain. She was overwhelmed by the pain. She thought about her options and realized she could no longer fight because life wasn’t within her grasp. It was trickling through her fingers like water as she tried to stem the wave of hollowness. In death, unlike life, the last moments were hers to command. She left this world by her design.
Pain. It consumes, blackens everything and leaves nothing. The options to stop the pain may no longer be viable when death is brought into the equation. Death promises to wash away everything which hurts, comfort with numbness and erase the veil of happiness many hide behind. The need to be someone to everyone is exhausting. Trying to pretend, trying to go on when there’s nothing more to give. An anonymous person wrote: “Life asked Death, why do people love me, but hate you? Death responded because you are a beautiful lie and I’m a painful truth.” For those who suffer from pain, life is a beautiful lie. Pain, regardless of being physical or emotional, consumes happiness. Depression dominates and drains a person of all hope and optimism. There is no joy to be had, no reason to go on but death; death offers freedom from suffering. Depression spawns the lie that life isn’t beautiful. The painful truth is sometimes comfort is found in death leaving those still here reeling in pain. We want the illusion that life is beautiful so much, we forget to look beyond the veil.
There will always be questions left unanswered. People will always wonder why they didn’t see the signs. All of the “what ifs” in the world won’t change the crushing truth; a loved one lost a battle that was raging within.
University of Virginia HELP Line: http://www.helplineuva.com
911 is the national emergency number in the United States.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/) is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. A 24-hour an Online Chat in partnership with Contact USA is also available.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a non-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide."