|BWS Stories - "You Keep On Playing Those Mind Games"...From Depression to Hope|
"You Keep On Playing Those Mind Games"...From Depression to Hope - One Tiny Strand of Hope
By Dee Dyess
Dee Dyess - I'm living my dream...found my soul-mate, I'm retired and fill my days with simply living peacefully. My two sons complete my world...and my dog Molly keeps me laughing. I'm so blessed.
One Tiny Strand of Hope
By Dee Dyess
This isn’t how life’s supposed to end. Not this way. I’m supposed to be surrounded by my loved ones, my kids and grandchildren and my husband holding my hand pleading with his eyes for me not to leave him. I’m supposed to depart this world knowing I am loved and will be missed more than words and the tears of my family can say. As I blink back my own tears I realize the room I envisioned myself in exists only in my imagination.
The place my life was about to end was cold, dark and silent. It was my attic and I was sitting on the top step looking down at the remaining stairs leading down to the bedroom floor below me. Around my neck I had tied a tie. That tie was tied to another tie and the end of that tie was bound around a support beam above me. I looked up into the darkness of the attic and the truth of where I sat and why overwhelmed me. I broke into shoulder wrenching sobs. There were no hands to comfort me, no grandchildren wanting me to bounce them on my knee and no husband to beg me not to leave him. My sobs became more desperate. I screamed into the dark attic for someone to hear me, to help me...to need me.
I waited, eyes closed, hoping that out of the darkness one voice, one person, someone...anyone would shout out, “Yes, I need you. Please stay!” The silence that echoed back was deafening and crushing to my already broken soul. I begged God to help me step off and end the pain that would not go away no matter how much I tried to drink it away or pretend it wasn’t there. I no longer wanted to live with the mistakes I had made in my life; four failed marriages, my angry children, sexual abuse and assault at the hands of my father, my step-grandfather, husbands and two bosses. I felt I had lived ten lifetimes in the skin of someone I never wanted to be. The harder I had tired to make things right, the more of a mess they became. The more I had tried to stand up against injustice, the more I seemed to lose. Could no one hear me? Could no one feel the pain that I felt? Could no one see I was giving up hope?
Someone did see and welcomed me with open arms. Depression wrapped me in its death grip and led me to the attic and to a way out of the pain. “Just step off.” it whispered to me as I felt the knot of the tie press against my neck. How odd that the tie belonged to the ‘last straw’ of my depression. A man I loved desperately and had, I thought, loved me. All the while he was convincing me that I was ‘the one’, he was pining for and trying to win back his ex-wife. What a fool I had been, yet again, all in the name of love. The ‘last straw’ before him had been my supervisor who wanted me to return to work in a department where the man who had sexually harassed me still worked. Going back there was unthinkable and visions of all the men who had sexually assaulted me came flooding back. I can’t take anymore, I thought, as my old friend depressions patted me on the back. “You’ll be fine,” it said, “trust me. It will all be over soon and you will no longer hurt, no longer cry, no longer feel . . . anything.”
I took a deep breath and stood up. I wondered what it would feel like to step off into thin air. What would dying this way be like? How long would it take? How long would I suffer? Suddenly, I froze. Oh, my God! Suffer!?? The word struck me hard in the face and I felt myself pull back. Only, the word didn’t pertain to my suffering, but to those of my children. My two sons. Out of the darkness their faces flooded into my mind and I fell back onto the top step and broke into a cry that did not leave me until I was drained completely of all strength. Out of the darkness I felt them reaching out to me and I felt myself loosen the knot around my neck.
As the tie fell away an overwhelming sense of shame flowed over me. How could I do this to my sons? We had our problems but they did not deserve to lose their Mother this way. Suddenly, in that sea of darkness I felt something prying the ugly fingers of desperation away from my heart and I felt my soul begin to beat again. In my darkest hour I felt the tiniest strand of hope. It was no larger than a single thread of a spider’s web, but it was there just the same. Thin but strong, determined, holding on. I grasped that tiny strand of hope with all my might because I knew my life depended on it.
Trembling, I slowly drew myself down out of the dark attic. When my feet touched the floor, I fell to my knees and thanked God for sending my sons to me to remind me that He had given me a reason to live the day they were born. God showed me that my life could be in shambles, but I still had two sons who needed me, despite the fact that we were at odds and had been for over a year. And I needed them. Over the next few days I picked up the telephone and reached out to both of them. Surprisingly, they reached back to me and over the past two years we have grown closer than we have ever been. They are my angels who were there in my darkest hour and pulled me back to the living.
My life has completely turned around since that night in the attic. I have retired and no longer worry about the sexual harassment I endured for 5 years at work or at the hands of my father and step-grandfather. Concerning men, I have forgiven myself for making bad choices and learned to listen to and trust my inner voice. March, last year, my sons walked me down the aisle and gave me away to the most wonderful man in the world. God led me to my soul mate and we have a respectful and caring relationship. For the first time in my life I know what true love really is. My sons are close to my husband and me and although I’m not a grandmother yet, one day I know I will be.
Sometimes in our darkest hour all that we may have left to hang on to is one tiny strand of hope. It can be enough. If we just close our eyes and see . . . there is always a reason to live.