It's that time of year again.
Burnt orange leaves are my drive through Tennessee. Gray, windy days are the cold blanket around me as I walked the streets of Nashville in my own private bubble of pain.
The songs I played, the food I ate, the view from my downtown hotel: all vivid memories that start to replay when the weather turns like this.
And then there's last night, when I'm watching the new show Nashville on ABC, unprepared for each shot of the city's sights to be a trigger.
I was thinking drama...and romance...and country music...
Instead, the characters walk the Shelby Street Bridge, and I'm back on it.
I'm staring into the water wondering how many people have looked over this same ledge, wanting to end it.
So I go back, but I don't. At least, not all the way in. There's a dividing line you have to create, where you can open the door and look in the room, but not shut yourself in there. I don't want to remember what that feels like.
A few months have gone by now in which I don't think about killing myself every day. I wasn't sure life would ever surpass my secrets and my plans. Yet, here I am.
Every day I talk to people who are exactly where I was, sometimes to an eerie degree.
The other day I worked with a man who had gone from independence and a career ... to losing everything and living in chronic pain that hurts with each step he takes. He didn't see any hope for his situation to change, couldn't remember what it was like to be proud of his life.
It felt familiar.
Trapped without a way out, abandoned by your friends, betrayed by those you love...everyone thinks they're above suicide, until suddenly it becomes the most rational option you can think of.
The question is: how do we survive our own minds with the torture of constant pain?
How do we hold onto the 1/10th of 1 percent that wants to believe that the pain might someday end, when 99.99999% of our brain is trying to kill us?
Do we gamble on the unknown that is the future, or wear the certainty of death?
Thankfully, thankfully, the future is always a mystery. Thankfully, I found a way to hold on during the 1/10th.
"Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark."