If God pulled up in a uber and said “hey want out of here”, there were times I would have gladly jumped in

Heavy call. I know, and I do not say it lightly. Now I know for some folk, that concept seems hard to fathom, I have friends that seriously have no concept of mental illness, like “don’t get how people get depressed”, just something that is not and has never been in their world. Is kinda like trying to describe a colour to someone who has never had vision, impossible.

But for those of us that have experienced states of mind that seem to suck the life out of life, it is a horrible thing. And when it’s extreme, it is no way to live. I’ve been there several times on my journey, where you literally cannot imagine life any other way. Feels like you are stuck in a perpetual lifeless void. Like the dementors of Azkaban from Harry Potter have sucked all the joy and vibrancy out of you, leaving a sad, hollow shell of a human. We paint the brave face on and march forward, yet inside is screaming “I cannot keep this act up, somethings got to give”.

And for some, this give is an act of finality, which is just so sad. Yet thankfully, I never reached a point of actually taking steps to end the suffering, and I think at the point in time was for one reason.

Reincarnation. Yep, the old idea of reincarnation. Like in the movie Jumanji, you know where they get killed and end up right back where they were. I just kept thinking, “geez if I do end my suffering right now but had to come back and do it all over again because of suicide, that would suck big time”. I say that in a jestful way. But seriously. I couldn’t handle the thought of having to do it all over again, that seemed like a  concept worse than prematurely leaving this beautiful earth.

Now, I raise the question why do we want to end life?

Well, here’s my take. I don’t believe it is our life we want to end. Even in my darkest periods, I still loved aspects of life, family, the ocean, surfing, art, music, nature, and so on.

It’s not life itself, as life is a pretty spectacular journey.

I believe it is the constant narrative that is running in our heads. The continuous dull, heavy thought streams that bring with it a biochemical partner in the negative feelings we bake in. It is this that we want to stop.

The feelings. The incessant chatter. Both of which we become so identified with. Yet thankfully, we are not our thoughts nor our mind (that’s a whole other story), just, for now, have trust in the many great teachers that have told us, we are not our mind (and thank God or science for that…).

The challenge is, though, how do we move from this hollowness to a life well lived?

Well, we have to learn how to take the small steps to move towards a brighter light. I know that sounds a little corny, a little splash of new age romanticism. But let’s face it when we are in those times, it’s dark right? So let’s just run with it for a moment. So we need to bring a little light back in. And, I get it, it can be so, so hard, as it feels like there’s no way possible for any light to penetrate the darkness, no way out of the quicksand. But there is.

Step 1: Realise you are not your suffering

Step 2: Get sunlight

Step 3: Walk barefoot on the grass

Step 4: Eat a healthy meal

Step5: Seek help. For me, I’d see my naturopath, my chiropractor, get a massage and dive in the ocean. And then when I felt ready, I’d speak to someone, a therapist or a healer, whatever works for you.

Step 6: Meditate

Step 7: Exercise

Step 8: Hug someone

Step 9: Help someone

Step 10: Watch a comedy

Step 11: Rinse and repeat

Above list in no specific order…

Now for me, talking to people was just not in my game back then, I know everyone says just reach out. I just wanted to hang in my bat cave of darkness and not speak. And at those times I had no real male friends who I felt could handle the space I was in. Maybe I am selling the male species a little short. But my experience led me to feel that way.

Sorry guys, I know we’re moving in the right direction. But I teach a lot of men who when telling their mates they’re learning to meditate still take the piss out of them. And what’s worse is many of the older crew have indicated if they start to talk deep, they get shut down, with “lighten up, let’s get another drink”. I get it, yes, that is a generalisation, but I am just reporting back from my frontline experience with men.

Thankfully for the younger generation, this old school toxicity seems to have subsided. And also there is a load of older men that are shifting too. But for me at the time, I just felt there was no one I could talk to. Which sucks. But that’s just how it was for me.

For others, if you can, for sure, open up to someone.

Vulnerability is a beautiful thing (thanks Brene Brown)…

But get the tools.

Get the body moving, give the mind stillness, and feed your soul with nourishing foods and activities.

Nature’s the bomb. She’s got our back and has all we need to help move us towards bringing a little joy back into our life.

It’s not an instant, “Woohoo”, where have I been… Life’s AWESOME….

Maybe for some, it may be.

But I found, it’s doing the work — day in day out.

And then all of a sudden, we realise, holy shit, life’s great.

It is, isn’t — this journey.

And from there, we can start to understand and appreciate that I am just a human being with the capacity for a whole range of emotions from sadness to joy. Just like the keys on a piano, it’s just a matter of shifting vibrations to get to higher notes.

But also, we still may then experience the deeper tones too. And we need to appreciate that, as it is a part of this wonderfully crazy experience we call being human.