What happens when happiness, and hope, elude you?
The suicide of Charlotte Dawson, a well known Australian television presenter, one month ago, affected me. One month ago exactly, Charlotte was only moments away from taking her own life.
I cannot imagine the desolation she must have been feeling. The complete absence of hope.
I never met Charlotte Dawson and knew nothing of her life apart from what any stranger could see. But from afar, and through the distorted lens of the media (both mainstream and social), she struck me as an accomplished, beautiful and intelligent woman.
Like Phillip Seymour Hoffman who also died last month at his own hand (deliberate or otherwise), this was a person who seemed to have it all. A person many of us ‘regular folk’ possibly envied.
And yet for both of these people, life, at some point, stopped being something worth living.
The dark night of the soul
I’ve been low as I thought I could go myself at times. And I know others who have, too. ‘Dark night of the soul’ really does capture what it’s like to be in that space. I feel nothing but empathy and compassion for those who have been there, and those who will find themselves there sometime in the future.
And in those moments, the ones I have had, what I cling to is a sense that things always change. Even if my circumstances don’t, or can’t, change as quickly as I’d like, my feelings will.
How do I know this?
Because they always do.
Living in faith
As impossible as it is in those dark moments of the soul to imagine life can be better, or you can see it through different eyes, as if by some form of alchemy, the clouds part and you see things in a more positive light. Your heart lifts – even if there’s no ‘good’ reason for it to.
That’s what I hang onto. Plus the thought of everything I would miss out on — the people and experiences I’d miss, the experience of loving others and being part of their lives, and the magic it is when you are loved – if I weren’t here.
It can take courage to live your life in faith, in a state of hope, if not happiness.
Faith is living in hope. Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.