8. Those little things
How many hits can the human body sustain?
Unlimited is not the answer, so why do so many think the mind is any different? I kept pushing forward on my own, thinking that if I just worked harder I’d be ok. If I just kept pushing myself and tried harder and harder, I’d eventually succeed and make it out of this darkness. But that’s not how it works. Trying hard does not always bear fruit, nor does it automatically make your life better. Sometimes it just drains you and drags you into the dark abyss that is your mind and then, it traps you and engulfs you in feelings of hopelessness. Gradually, you begin to decay from the inside out, merely waiting for bits and pieces of your soul to shatter into nothingness. You forget feelings, emotions, and even some memories. Eventually, you begin to submerge in that numbness and soon, that is the only thing you feel. Numb.
Trying hard does not always bear fruit, nor does it automatically make your life better. Sometimes it just drains you and drags you into the dark abyss that is your mind.
I often caught myself thinking whether this was all life had to offer, which evidently led to planning my own demise numerous times. You have no idea how long I waited for the day when I would finally have the strength to take that irreversible step. Waited for the day when I had absolutely no reason to continue on to the next one. No deadlines. No prior arrangements. No promises.
When that cool September afternoon arrived, I finally felt ready to leave this place for good. That day had been horrid from the get go. I had failed to succeed in accomplishing anything; I hadn’t even been capable enough to make my own bed in the morning. The house was a mess. Work had been miserable. My interactions with others were abysmal. My acquaintances had always attempted to include me in things; however, I wasn’t much of a conversationalist. I hadn’t been for years; I wished that that wasn’t the case.
I was walking home from work with a cool breeze tickling my cheeks, reminding me that autumn was here. I hunched deeper into my coat and placed my hands into my pockets, while I listened to the crunching of the gravel under my feet. Each step was taking me closer and closer to the escape from my hollow self.
A few steps later I faltered when I heard faster footsteps catching up to my own. In a jolt of fear I swiftly turned to the sound and saw you and your outstretched hand. I looked at the grin on your face and almost missed the words you spoke. I guess I was nervous or scared, maybe both. Looking down at your hand I understood that I had dropped my bus pass and you were merely returning it. I remember timidly stretching out my own hand towards it and nodding my head as thanks, even though I didn’t really need it anymore.
Then, to my horror, as I grabbed the pass I felt the warmth of my own tears streaming down my now cool cheeks. You had faltered and your brows had furrowed concerned. You had asked me whether I was alright and had placed a hand on my shoulder as if to comfort me. That’s when a wave of a forgotten feeling hit me. A feeling I thought I was incapable of experiencing anymore. Then words I had disregarded and stopped acknowledging ages ago arose in my mind. Warmth. Compassion. Kindness. Love. Was I capable of feeling again? Was it not too late?
You asked whether I’d like to talk about it and you offered your time, your assistance, and even your last tissue so that I could wipe my tears away. I rambled and told you about my plan to end my suffering, and then bits and pieces of my life story that probably didn’t make any sense to a complete stranger. But still, you listened. You listened without judging me, without interrupting, without prying. All you did was rub circles on my back with your hand, smile and tell me it was going to be ok. It was comforting.
Had you seen the emptiness in my eyes when our eyes locked? Had you seen the hopelessness my soul was drowning in?
You helped me call for help. You offered to stay by my side until they arrived and then you even offered to give me your contact details. Had you seen the emptiness in my eyes when our eyes locked? Had you seen the hopelessness my soul was drowning in? Perhaps you didn’t, and all of it was merely a coincidence. Maybe you were just a decent, kind, human being. Maybe doing unselfish things like that was trivial for you and you didn’t need nor want anything from me in return. But to me, your actions, your words, your existence, gave immeasurable strength and hope. You never knew how close I was to ending my life that day. You never knew how much your compassion and extended hand meant to me. But I do. They meant the world to me. Your kindness meant that I had a chance at a new life and could get the help I needed. Without your compassion or your help in guiding me towards the people who could help me conquer the darkness, that had long since engulfed me, I would not be here years later writing this. Without your help and the help of others, I would not be happy with myself. Happy with my life. Happy with my family.
That one simple interaction had an inevitable effect on me and I am now forever in their debt, and so I will pay it forward and keep helping others in return. No matter how small the action may be to you, it may just be the long awaited lifeline that someone else has been desperately waiting for. Always be kind to one another. Offer your help and accept help in return, because no one can get through this life on their own.
Trust me, I’ve tried.
8. “Those little things” by Katsura