Courage

I remember back when my depression was pretty bad and I considered different ways to end my life. One particular day, as I turned left on a quiet intersection by my high school and considered slamming into another car or a stoplight, I was overcome with this feeling that my future children were with me, giving me strength to survive this intersection, this road, this drive home. Isn’t that the strangest thing? Well, I don’t have any children yet, but I’m still alive.

I used other tricks to keep myself alive. Often I told myself that I owed it to future Maney to survive this warped, confusing time we call the present, because maybe she would have something or someone to live for. If it weren’t for that thought– that wisdom that maybe it was suicide now, but really I was murdering the future self I would come to inhabit and didn’t yet know–I wouldn’t have built a snowman today with my neighbors. I knelt in the whiteness, rolled the three balls, defied gravity with the lopsided stack of too-big snowballs, and pressed in the nose and arms and eyes and buttons. And I am grateful that I was alive today to do that. Thank you, self.

Too many people deal with thoughts of suicide. Maybe it will help you to remember that your life is not really your own; it is possessed by all your past and future selves as well. And on top of that, think of all the people who love you, both on this side of the veil and the other. They share a piece of your life, too. Watch It’s a Wonderful Life if you don’t believe me. I remember that on really bad days I would tell myself Seneca’s words, “Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” Keep being courageous.

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