I mark on a calendar every day that I cry. I write down my mood for the day: hopeful, nostalgic, angry. For the past seven days, I have written a single word: sad.
I have been diagnosed with a rare and mysterious condition known as vasovagal syncope. It is neither rare, nor mysterious. Vasovagal syncope is a fancy way of saying 'falls down goes boom' and it means that sometimes, often, occasionally, my blood leaves my brain and I fall. "There's no cure for it," the specialist said, snapping my chart shut with a crisp, decisive crack.
"If you feel yourself going down, you just have to get low."
That's it. I just have to get low.
When I was fourteen, a boy I knew shot himself in the head. I'm sure I was not the last thought on his mind. In fact, he probably didn't consider me at all. He didn't consider me when he opened the cabinet, when he reached for the gun, when he sat on the floor with his back against the cool, hard wall.
What amazed me, in the aftermath, is how many people he'd told. He'd told everyone. I'm sure people said 'don't do it' or 'things will get better' or 'call me if you need something'. Maybe no one said even that.
But I wonder sometimes, in this year that I am twenty-eight and he is not, I wonder what might be different if someone had knocked on his door. If someone had held him tight and said, 'I love you. I need you to be ok.' I wonder if that moment could have carried him.
Yesterday I saw a twitter account called 'preschool gems'. In it, a teacher shares pearls of wisdom from her four-year-old class. The quotes are funny and sweet and weird, and occasionally devastating.
My favorite is from July 20th:
"I would like for you to say wow when I say that you can never be in love with me again."
When I read it, I laughed. And then I cried.
I would like for you to say wow.
It's something that happens, depression. Like spring sneezes and summer rains and vasovagal syncope. Sometimes I go under. It may last a week or a month or through the rest of my life, but when it hits, it winds me.
There's no cure for it. I just have to get low.
I don't blame anyone for not calling him, for not knocking on his door, for not holding him tight. For not saying don't do it, please. We all have busy lives. And sometimes it takes a great loss to make us say wow.