I wanted to die.
Why was that? What could have been so terrible about the world around me that I no longer wanted to participate in it? That’s not even harsh enough. It wasn’t even a matter of participation. I no longer wanted to exist. I wanted to be erased like an error in the code; a typo on the timeline.
You might call that depression and at first, it seems like an apt characterization. I was certainly depressed. However, real depression is a chronic disease caused by chemical imbalance in the brain and it requires medication to control. Left unchecked, it will ravage you. Your life will spiral out of control and the people around you will feel the consequences as your moods shift with unpredictable and extreme variance. There is no cure.
And yet here I am — happy — leering around a corner into a future that is lit brilliantly by the gilded arches of opportunity that tower over the remainder of my life. I’m not on Zoloft or Prozac. I’m not seeing a therapist once a week. In fact, I’m unemployed and I don’t have a car or a cell phone. I don’t have any friends. I have every reason in the world to be depressed but I’m just not.
Some might call it a miracle or divine intervention but I’m agnostic. I’d be a full blown atheist but their certainty of nothingness is just as puzzling to me as a religious person’s certainty of everything. The idea of religion is appealing to me and I’ve wished that I could participate in it because I’m truly envious of the strength of their communities but my brain just isn’t wired right for it. There’s been many times I could have used the guidance but went to sleep with a mind unencumbered by the booming and authoritative voice of God. I’ve never heard any voice in my head but my own.
So why don’t I want to die anymore? I’m not medicated. I don’t have God’s hand on my shoulder guiding me through the marsh, nor do I have his voice soothing me. What changed? I guess I did. I lost some weight. I gained some self respect. Most importantly, I gained control. Faith played a role but probably not the kind of faith you’d like me to attribute to it. I had faith in myself for the first time in my life. I convinced myself that I could squeeze worth out of an existence I once thought to be a waste.
If there is a God, maybe his plan was to deafen me to his voice because he knew if I thought he was watching over me, I’d be waiting for him to take the reigns and I would have never done it for myself. Maybe he knew if I believed in him and there was an obstacle in front of me, instead of lowering my head and plowing through it, I would have instead waited for him to clear the path for me. Maybe my agnosticism is a part of God’s plan.
Or maybe I just decided to live to see what all the fuss was about.