While visiting with friends yesterday we watched Nancy Reagan’s funeral, and then, by chance, Dr. Phil. There was a married couple on there, I guess, trying to salvage their marriage that began on false pretenses (a nice way of putting “lies”). Not only that, there was no trust between them, and while there appeared to be no infidelity, the accusations were immense, chaotic, but most importantly, damaging.
Having been in a bad relationship before, looking at this kind woman who was putting up with SO much, and why? Because she loved him? Is love based on lies? On accusations? On distrust? I suppose its possible for both to heal and come together in health, I mean, anythings possible, right? But what is the likelihood? And what will be the cost to each?
When I crawled into bed last night, perused my facebook feed, I noticed that someone who was once on my facebook died. He was young. I liked him, he was a funny man, and one night a couple, few years ago now, he and I spoke on depression, so I know he struggled for at least that period of time. I looked at his facebook, and the last post is “love and kisses” from his equally young wife. What went so wrong in that couple of days that someone decided to take his own life?
If I am to be totally honest with you, and I try to be, without making myself feel like I’ve shared too much of myself, I know what depression, helplessness and hopelessness feels like. It’s hell. I always remind myself “It’s darkest before the dawn”, but every minute feels like hours, and while you don’t want to die, you do in fact want your pain to stop. If you’ve never experienced depression, and I’m not talking the kind where you are depressed because things aren’t going your own way. I’m talking about that which attaches itself in you, and becomes so weighted that it’s hard to hold your head up, get out of bed, to MOVE. Where it seems every minute of every day is a battle, against your brain, to fight off the thoughts, the emotional tennis match that resides in your head, and eventually in your heart and becomes a war between your head and your heart.
Now let’s talk about what I call “volatile relationships”. Where one cannot function or live without the other. Where everything is extremely perfect, or extremely imperfect. Where one day you’re “in love” and the next, you are being left. I understand this type of relationship because I was in one a very very long time ago. It is a pathway, and for those who are looking in on it, “a freeway” to destruction.
Such sensitivity and fragility cannot withstand the test of time when it involves the roller coaster of hurt or broken souls. Some so damaged, only God himself can heal, that is, if the person can hold on, just for today. This is where I learned the value of twelve step groups. “Just for today”. Today can be hard enough, I don’t need to think or dwell about tomorrow, or yesterday. Living in the moment is a beautiful place to be most of the time if you can get there. But it’s hard to do that in the busy world we live in today, when most news cast the world we live in, and it’s hard to feel anything but sadness. That’s why I like silly news, good news, and I also like to surround myself with happy. I can’t watch depressing movies, because it sucks the life out of me. Sometimes for me, my sanity means shutting out the world, picking up my paintbrush, or pencil, distancing myself from that which brings me pain. But that isn’t always possible.
I don’t know why this young man ended his life. I am NOT in any way saying that what I wrote above is his scenario. I am merely sharing my thoughts, which stem from my own experience, and what I see, today, when I look into the unhealthiness of yesterdays.
I do know, when friendships or relationships are built on extreme highs and lows, that is something I will stay away from. That is not healthy for me, and instills fear within me when I see, or suspect this is happening with someone. It is like giving a newly licensed driver a sporty race car to drive. They have limited experience with driving to begin with. It’s dangerous.
Love isn’t about always easy happy times, for sure. Even healthy love can break a heart or spirit. But if you’re on a daily roller coaster from ecstatic to hopeless, perhaps stepping back, and distancing yourself from it may be helpful, insightful. And that isn’t to say that two people with problems are not capable of love, because they are. But I think when you are learning how to love yourself, and you love someone else more than yourself, it’s a recipe for disaster.
The old cliche “Two halves multiplied do not equal a whole”. No matter how hard you try, they just do not. And it isn’t easy getting to that whole. But my experience tells me, nothing worth having is easy to acquire. I think relationships, love, is one if not THE greatest gift we are given in this world. But my ideas of what “love is” has certainly changed over the years.
Relationships can be wonderful, but they are also mirrors. Everything you are, and aren’t, get reflected back to you in face of the other. It’s not for the weak hearted!
If you are struggling, if you are hurting, please, try to find a safe space, a safe person to which you can sit until it passes, because it will pass. RIP my friend. I know not what your problems were, but I know your pain must have been unbearable. I know you are now at peace, to which I offer prayers for assurance, but your family and friend’s, they’ve got mountains of icy terrain to climb.