Last month, in May, for about the entire month into June, I was struggling with a severe depressive episode, worse than I have felt in a while. I have recurrent episodes but they aren’t as frequent as they used to be and they often don’t last as long as they used to.
When I feel an impending episode about to hit, I can often prevent it now using self-help techniques I have learned through the years. But this episode that hit me recently hit so hard, I slipped into it without the ability to go back. So all I was able to do was cope with it as best as I could.
But it takes great strength and energy to cope with a severe episode of depression and suicidal thoughts and urges. Strength and energy I don’t always feel as if I have or even want to have. Depression saps it all. It weakens my will and desire to live. Weakens my motivation to get out of it. Some moments I let my self slip and choose not to battle it but let it have me, I struggled against violent suicidal urges, almost physical. I wanted to give up and give in, let it take me.
But unlike a few years ago when I would be hit with severe depressive episodes, I am now equipped with certain skills, attitudes, life philosophies, knowledge, and wisdom. All of these I lacked back then.
They are ingrained into me now because of all of my practice through the years to get myself better. While they cannot always help me prevent an episode or get out of one and they cannot cure me, they can help me cope and hold on.
Some moments I give into the weakness but then I soon find my way back. Sometimes I need reminders like quotes, songs, books, tips….to help bring me back.
For just over one month I struggled with inner darkness, a general sense of hopelessness, not about any specific situation, just in general, although it was triggered by something in my environment. I haven’t been struggling with any specific problem in life other than a sense of inherent worthlessness and darkness but an incident set off the episode. No matter where I go, there I’ll be. That’s how I felt. Like it doesn’t matter what I do, what I accomplish, how beautiful I am, how many people I know…It’s not environmental. My whole disorder, it’s like chemical and may or may not be triggered by environmental issues. Although environmental things can occasionally help somewhat or contribute more to the darkness, it’s not about my environment. I have been in different environments through the years, different stages of life….but the overall disorder remains. And I’m sure it always will. It will come and it will go. Come and go. And I have come to accept that for the most part.
My entire body felt heavy and fatigued. I wanted to crawl up in solitude. I wanted to die. My interest in things almost completely evaporated and the few things I still managed to have a shred of interest in weren’t bringing me anywhere near as much joy or pleasure as they usually do.
Food had no flavor, music had no rhythm, there was almost no feeling to anything. Occasionally I felt beauty in things, like a walk in the warm gentle air, birds flying and chirping, reading books, helping people at work, looking up at the sky, sweet, warm and cool breezes, and a few other things.
I also saw my good friend on different days, which was very helpful.
Reading is one of the few interests that managed to still get my attention, although it was difficult to concentrate completely on the content.
A while ago I began reading a novel called A Hope in Hell about a young woman who struggles with suicidal thoughts and contemplation and severe depression which she calls “Black Moods.” This reminds me of when I was a young girl and young woman, before I knew what I have, before I was diagnosed, I called it the “Black days” or “black things” and the “gray days.”
It’s not a long book. I stopped reading after a couple pages, not for any specific reason, I just read multiple books at once and sometimes stop reading one until a while later, even when I like the book a lot.
Recently I felt drawn to it again. I have it on BlackBerry Kindle. So I started reading it and completed it.
It’s not a realistic story as it is about demons. Not just the demons that come along with suffering with depression but actual demons in Hell. In the book they can interact with humans on Earth. The demons don’t know what happens to humans after they die; one demon, Lil, said no humans ever end up in Hell.
There will be some spoilers here in case you want to avoid them.
The young woman, Tasha, a very beautiful and extremely intelligent girl, suffered with depression since she was a teenager, over fifteen years. She tried some treatments but not many and none helped her so she stopped it. She has no friends and her family refused to help her financially and cut her off so they are estranged. She has had many lovers but it never worked out with any of them. She becomes homeless and decides to end her life at 3:00 in the morning by jumping off a bridge.
She jumps but there happened to be a man there who witnessed and he saves her life.
After she is released out of the hospital she was taken to, the man, John, who saved her life, let’s her live with him until she gets a job and a place of her own. He experienced his own tragedy and like Tasha, he knows true pain.
Tasha quickly falls in love with him but he rejects her sexual invitations over and over.
This book is very sexually explicit with vulgar language. I don’t mind but if that’s not your cup of tea you probably won’t like it much. It’s definitely an adult book. It does have a deeper message to it though.
Tasha constantly feels like a failure and feels rejected always just by life itself.
For much of her life she turned to sexual/romantic relationships and encounters to help her ease her lifelong despair but they only helped temporarily and eventually the men would leave her, usually because her illness always got the best of her.
One day she walks in and finds a stunningly gorgeous, female, demon participating in sexual activity with John, the love of Tasha’s life, her savior, the closest thing she has to a friend. Tasha felt broken and despair finding this. In the book it’s not shocking to find a demon walking the Earth so while Tasha was broken, she wasn’t freaked out.
The demons aren’t “its,” they are very human-like, they have real genders and sexual identities and this demon is a beautiful woman, thousands of years old but sill looks like a young woman.
Tasha is jealous of her because of her physical appearance and because of her ability to put John under a spell and make him lust after her. During the sexual encounter with the demon, John isn’t all there. He’s kind of unaware of what is happening but his body responds in ways that make Tasha envious and more depressed.
The demon was summoned to Earth for another reason and while she is there she senses John’s strong sexual desire for Tasha.
He has a certain reason why he won’t act on his sexual desire for Tasha and it frustrates him and the beautiful, sexy demon senses it and pays him a visit just for fun and decides to kill him while she’s there. The demon can sense that Tasha is suicidal and offers to kill her as well if she wants. Tasha desperately wants to die to end her depression but she doesn’t want John to die. So she tells the demon that she can kill her but to spare John’s life. The demon refuses. She will either kill just John or kill both John and Tasha. The demon, Lilith, explains that in Hell a person can’t give her life to save another. Tasha used to hang with Wiccans so she has some background knowledge of demons.
She knows they accept contests so Tasha initiates a contest with the demon. If Tasha loses, John and Tasha both die but if Tasha wins John lives and just Tasha dies. Tasha wants nothing more than to save John’s life and if she can die saving his, it’s even better! Lol it’s kind of amusing even though it has a depressing nature.
The demon explains that no human stands a chance with a demon. A human will always lose a contest with a demon.
Tasha already feels like a failure so she’s almost certain she’ll lose to Lilith.
Tasha has no energy or life in her because of her depression but she will do anything for the man she loves so she gives it her all. The demon explains that the contest has to be sexual in nature. Tasha is no stranger to sexual experience as she spent years being seductive and doing whatever men wanted her to do so she has some confidence that she’ll do ok but she’s fairly certain she’ll lose.
The demon has John under a spell where he is completely lusting after her. He can’t take his eyes off of Lil. Lil is arrogant and not sympathetic to Tasha. Lil explains that if Tasha somehow manages to get John to take his eyes of her and look into Tasha’s eyes, she’ll spare John’s life but it’s agreed to that Tasha will die no matter what.
Tasha at first takes this to mean that she has to engage in physical sexual acts with John. The demon leads her to believe this is true. So Tasha does just about every physical sexual thing she can think of to John. He’s somewhat conscious but doesn’t realize what’s happening. Tasha knows he doesn’t want to have any sexual encounter with her but she apologizes and does anyway to save his life.
Nothing works. He won’t take his eyes off Lil.
As I have mentioned, Tasha is extremely intelligent and has knowledge of how demons operate. She is able to realize that to get John to truly look into her eyes, sexual contact won’t work. So she takes him into her arms and touches him with her words, in a deep place, tugging at his heartstrings. She tells him he deserves true love and happiness and he deserves a beautiful relationship and that she would be happy to give him all that he wants, needs, and deserves. He’s under a spell so he can’t completely, consciously understand but some part of him does. So for once, he takes his eyes off of the beautiful demon and looks directly into Tasha’s eyes. He chooses true love over lust.
Tasha won. She outsmarted the demon, much to Lil’s dismay. But now Tasha has one little hangup, she now wants to live. But there’s no negotiating with the demon. She already “signed” a contract written in stone, written in blood, that the demon can take her life.
Tasha began to feel more alive, more confident, and her will to live strengthened.
I’m going to tell part of the end of the story now because of the lessons it teaches. If you would prefer to read the story and not read the end first, you can just click this off. I love the life lessons this story conveys.
“The Black Mood was still there, tugging at the new-found buoyancy of her soul, but she felt stronger now, made more powerful by defeating the certainty of her own failure. Her only disappointment was that she had gained the strength she had always lacked just when she had sold her soul.
Tasha wanted to live, she knew. She wanted to hold John’s hand in the doctor’s office while the doctor explained medical side effects that she already knew by heart. She wanted to hear pride in her father’s voice, and see respect in her mother’s eyes. She wanted to walk across the Michigan Avenue Bridge, spit in the ice water below, and smile at the people on the other side.
It was unfair. The only thing she had known for sure an hour ago was that she wanted to die, so she had promised the demon her life even if she won. Now it was forfeit. She could ask the demon for mercy, but one did not anger demons and expect to be given quarter, particularly if Tasha’s survival increased the risk that Hell would discover Lilith’s failure. Lilith would want her dead for her silence, if nothing else. It was impossible – just as defeating Lilith had been impossible.
Which meant Tasha could do it.
Tasha chose life. But it was too late. She realized life isn’t so hopeless. She came alive.
But she found a way to live and the demon spared her life at the end.
Ten beautiful lessons:
1.) love is not mere physical/sexual acts- the story shows that true love is more than just lust and sexual acts. Tasha’s loving words are what convinced John to look into her eyes, saving them both.
2.) accomplishments can help – once she accomplished something great she realized she can accomplish more and more. It showed her that her life is not just one big failure. One accomplishment, big or small, is evidence that we CAN accomplish more and more.
3.) deeply rooted beliefs can be wrong – Tasha was convinced that she was a complete failure and that her life could never serve a purpose but she discovered she was wrong. As deep and ingrained as these feelings were, she was able to eventually see past them. Deep convictions take a while and much work to vanquish but it can be done.
4.) hope in extreme darkness – in the midst of so much, overwhelming darkness and pain, there can still be one slither of hope and that one slither can be just enough.
5.) love can be strong and powerful enough to keep someone alive –
The night before I read the end of this book I was contemplating. Wondering if I should choose life or choose death. I felt two strong emotions. Pain. Deep emotional pain. And LOVE. Metta. Universal love. My love was not masked by the pain. I felt it through it all. Love for the world, for people I know, for strangers, for people I have yet to meet who may need me in some way, some day. I may never accomplish much. But one day someone may need a smile, a hug, a helping hand, encouragement, inspiration, comfort, and how can I provide that if I’m dead? I contemplated hard. Should I end it all? Or choose love? I chose love. I choose life.
Just like Tasha in the book. She chose to live for love. Her love for one man inspired her to live. That’s not to say we should only live for romantic love or someone else. But her love inspired life and made her realize how her life can impact another for the better. How someone can come out of nowhere and need her in some deep way. Just her presence helped heal John in his own pain. He shared some of his pain with her and how her life touched his. Even if she couldn’t have John as a lover right then, her experience showed her that her life does matter and can touch someone else’s. Even if John wouldn’t accept her as a lover or accept her sexual/romantic invitations, she chose to live, to love him in any way she can whether or not he will have her.
I chose love that night too. Not romantic love but universal love. Love for all sentient beings and all the beauty in the world.
Love of any kind can inspire life.
6.) the “mind” can be changed after it’s too late – it’s possible to change your mind in the middle of or after a suicide attempt and it may be too late. In this story, the suicide attempt – asking a demon to end her life – is not realistic but it mirrors real life suicide attempts. There are people who attempt suicide in various ways then change their mind, realizing that life really isn’t so bad, it’s not so hopeless, life deserves another chance, they deserve another chance, and are sorry. Some people are saved but for some it’s too late, there’s no going back. The damage is done. As long as we’re alive we can always choose to die but after we choose death and die or cause serious damage to the body to a certain extent, it’s done, there’s no going back. Sometimes this may be what we truly want because the pain is too much but pain can end without ending our lives and we can learn to cope while currently in pain. And often, it’s not an end to life we really want, just an end to the pain.
7.) think – there are other ways out
THINK. There are endless possibilities. Death is only one option. There are many more choices, things to try. We can use our creativity, our knowledge, tap into the love deep within and come up with better ways to end and cope with the pain.
8.) the depression part is realistic – the girl’s depression doesn’t magically lift but even amidst the darkness, she finds the strength to choose life. And has hope that she can get better. No matter how much it hurts you can find strength and hope. Tasha knows she still needs help and plans to ask for professional help and get herself better.
9.) Something may seem impossible but not be.
She thought it was impossible to win the contest with the demon. She also thought it was impossible to survive after she won the contest but she was wrong. She won and she lived. At the end of the book, Tasha’s life is spared. Her and John remain close. In real life outside of books, we may come across things that seem so impossible but we may just be wrong. There’s so much potential we all have that can be tapped into and realized.
10.) suicidal urges/desire for death is only temporary(even though it may always come and go) – it can end as fast as it can begin. Tasha made a choice to end her own life but just an hour later she wanted desperately to live. This is realistic. Someone can want so desperately, more than anything, to die. And that very same day, in a matter of minutes or hours, choose to live and want so desperately, more than anything else, to live. I know, I have felt this way myself. It always comes back but it always goes again and it’s worth it to hold on and live. It’s startling how fast a suicidal mind, once convinced it wants to die, can change dramatically and then choose to live. If you’re on the brink now, about to end it all, just think, in one hour you may want nothing more than life itself. This isn’t just reality for a fictional girl in a novel about demons, it’s my own reality in this real world.
This book is all about hope.
The most beautiful message: hold on, live, hope, keep pushing through it all, choose love.