Why is Everything so Heavy?

Chester Bennington died by suicide yesterday, July 20. It was the birthday of his friend Chris Cornell who died by suicide two months ago.

I knew nothing about either of these men but like them, I and many others struggle with mental illness. This news weighs heavy on my heart. It reminds me that my mental health is a precarious balance between health and madness.

While taking part in a mental health outpatient program at the Oakville-Trafalgar Hospital I was assigned a counsellor to whom I reported at least once a week. Early on my counsellor mentioned something that has stayed with me over the years.

Mental illness is the only disease where your mind will try to kill you.

Betrayal usually comes from outside ourselves not from the core of our being. Not from our brain that we trust and rely on to warn us of danger, make logical decisions, and to protect our interests.

When despair and hopelessness settle in it’s our minds that whisper,

“What’s the point?”

And in a moment of unbearable pain, our mind is easy to believe.

I’m holding on
Why is everything so heavy?
Holding on
So much more than I can carry
I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down
If I just let go, I’d be set free
Holding on

Heavy by Linkin Park

After someone dies by suicide, people observe how normal the victim appeared. They seemed okay, their life was moving in a positive direction. They had plans. They were optimistic about the future.

All it takes is one low moment of desperation. A weary moment when the victim becomes tired of the burden, tired of trying so hard to hold on with no end in sight. No one can save you. It’s nobody’s fault.

Dying by suicide is not a choice. It’s a side-effect of mental illness. No one wants to die, but our minds deceive us into believing it’s the only way out. There is comfort in thinking the torment will end. There will be rest. The fight is over.

In talking to my family doctor many years ago about suicide, she said,

“Suicide is a long-term solution for a short-term problem.”

That was 18 years ago, and while she is right, my mental illness is hardly a short-term problem. It will be with me for the rest of my life.

Heavy was the last song written by Linkin Park. It speaks to Chester’s state of mind and the heaviness weighing on him. He was swimming in despair. His illness pulling him under the water. And in the end, he lost the fight and was swept away.

 

 

 

My Desperate Search and God’s Answer to a Silly Prayer

Sears Vacuum CleanerThe long attachment to my vacuum cleaner is missing. I feel ridiculous mentioning this because it is here somewhere.

I distinctly remember placing it in a corner, out-of-the-way, in a place where I could easily find it again. But I can’t find it anywhere.

My house is just under 1200 square feet, with a finished basement that is empty. I only go down there to wash clothes and replace the furnace filter, so I know it’s not down there.

The spare room was emptied and completely cleaned before I moved my bedroom furniture into it. The bedroom I was using is now empty. If the attachment was in either of these rooms, it would be easy to spot.

My living room looks like the beginning of a hoarder’s obsession, with all the extra stuff from both bedrooms, piled up everywhere. The plan is to clean my old room and put back only the possessions I plan to keep. So, I check corners, under cabinets, between boxes and chairs, and it’s nowhere.

It’s really starting to make me crazy! I’ve been looking for the last week, and I’ve looked everywhere I can possibly think to look.

Today I’m feeling particularly discouraged. My water heater died, and my feeble attempts to light the pilot light were a failure.

In my desperation and frustration I said, “Lord, PLEASE show me where it is!”

“I’m losing mind, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE help me.”

I have learned a long time ago not to make deals with God. Instead, I rant, rave, beg and whine with all the fervor of a child about to throw a tantrum.

Then I took a deep breath and decided to retrace my cleaning steps, for possibly the twentieth time since I started looking. Okay, my bedroom is the first place I go. It’s not in the corners or the closet.

“Look under the bed,” is the thought that pops to mind.

Seriously? It’s not going be that easy. I don’t want to waste time looking, so I turn around to leave my room.

Check!

“Okay, I’ll check but I’m not going to find it,” I think to myself.

I get down on my hands and knees, lift the bed skirt, and there it is under my bed. I stay there for a minute in disbelief. This is not where I distinctly remember putting it because I distinctly remember propping it up in a corner.

I leave my bedroom puzzled about my memory but grateful to finally find it.

Wow! Did God just answer my prayer? Within two minutes of my near hysterical plea, it showed up. This isn’t a coincidence, is it?. The timing was simply too perfect.

I smile to myself and prop the attachment in a hallway corner.

Thank you Lord for answering my desperate, psychotic prayer.