“Mrs. Johnson, we have to ask you to make a decision today,” the soft-spoken chaplain said as she offered me a box of tissues.
It was at that very defining moment that I wanted to quit. Up until that point, I wanted to fight. I wanted to fight for Luke’s life with everything that was possible. I hadn’t slept in days, but I was more than ready to fight. But when the team of palliative care doctors and staff surrounded me in a board room overflowing with tissues and despair, I didn’t want to fight anymore. It was then and there that my life turned into one I didn’t care about living. I had no desire to continue. No hope, no will, just darkness. Black.
I didn’t want to just quit, I prayed for the end.
I would’ve given anything not to wake up, and I do mean ANYTHING. Waking up meant reliving the horror that had become my life, and to tell you the truth, I was just done. My mantra became “just take it one hour at a time.” Sometimes minutes at a time was what it took just to survive. Sooner or later, those hours turned into days, which turned into weeks, then months… now well over a year. So many days, I wanted to quit. I could’ve quit.
Soon after he died, I made an appointment at my doctor’s office in hopes of a prescription for an anti-depressant. After diagnosing what was obviously serious depression, she asked me a question that I still ask myself today when measuring my progress. “If you are in the middle of the street, and a bus is speeding towards you, are you moving?”
I’ll let you assume what my answer was to her question that day.
After a few more months, she asked again, “are you moving?” I paused, looked around the room, and quietly answered, “no, I really don’t think so.”
Some more months went on, and I decided to check in with myself, “are you moving?” My inner monologue stumbled over thoughts and scenarios, and I finally said to myself, “I might, but I might not.”
A few weeks ago, I had my yearly check-up with my doctor. After going through the full run down of biometrics and screening questions, she rolled her chair closer to me, gently smiled, and asked the same way she did before, “are you moving?”
I looked down at my hands and took a deep breath, “you know, I might just step aside,” I answered with a half-smile.
I could’ve quit.
I won’t pretend that there aren’t still some days that I want to quit.
But I don’t.
I have been to rock bottom. I have seen that pit of hell, that dark hole of depression… I know it’s pain.
I know the only way to climb out of that hole is to promise yourself not to quit. The only way the darkness gets lighter is if you light your own torch and move away from the bus.
Are you moving?