Just a quick memory to share with you:
The year was probably 1982...It was the Thanksgiving after I'd had to leave college due to the onset of my mental illness....I'd just gotten out of a psychiatric hospital where I'd spent six months following my first suicide attempt. Although I'd improved briefly following that time in the hospital; my mind and emotions were still locked in a death grip of despair and confusion.
I'd been living in a room in the home of my former youth minister and his wife along with my little black Lab puppy, Amanda... I was working as a legal secretary for a lawyor friend. It was right around Thanksgiving when my mind once more took a hike from the normal path and I'd had what is called a "fugue state"...I left my therapy session (during a lunch break from work) and then walked in an icy rain...for miles and miles...and ended up in the bar of a hotel in an adjacent state from the one where I lived. I still don't remember that walk...but I remember finding myself, drenched, freezing and confused in that lobby, having no idea how I got there.
Once I got back home, I went up to my room, and emptied out a bottle of sleeping pills, having removed the powder from the capsules and swallowed the whole bottle of medicine. I narrowly escaped Death that night...It was only God's hand of intervention; medical rescusitation and a respirator which made that possible. But it was back to the psych hospital for me; after being out only a few months.
All I remember of that Thanksgiving Day, is being in a very bleak County Mental Health facility...and for my Thanksgiving dinner, eating only a slice of white bread, not able to choke down anything more...Complete barrenness of heart, soul, and mind. Complete desperation and loss of all hope...Never mind having any gratitude. I spent my birthday, Christmas and New Year's there also Those were just the first of many years of being hospitalized for those holidays.
The contrast of that day and this one strikes me now as I sit in my own home, dressed and ready to go out to a restaurant with my husband of 20 years and my 17 year old daughter. My life has been hard: an uphill climb...but I thank GOD that it has been UPHILL, because that means that I am no longer in that pit! I'm now on a higher plane: a place where I can survey the valleys around me; those places where I once inhabited, knowing that I will still have to travel through more of them, but having the joy of knowing that the struggle will lead only to places closer to heaven.
I thank my God for the hardship and pain of my life; because without those black moments the diamonds of NOW could not sparkle quite so brightly.
I thank my God for teaching me all that He has; and I can only say that I am sorry to have resisted learning and understanding for so long.
I thank my God for all of you and for my church family...and for ....on and on...I'd better stop or I'll never stop....