There are three words that I spent the majority of my life wanting to hear. Three words that during my dark time of suicidal depression were desperately needed but sadly unspoken toward me. Why were these so difficult for those closest to me to express?
When I was a child, I remember constantly questioning my mother “Mommy, why don’t you love me?” Her reaction was never to reassure me — rather she’d get quite angry at the question. My intention was never to make her angry. All I wanted was to know that, in some small way, I was special to the woman who was the centre of my universe.
As I got a little older, and started grade school, my mother’s reassurance seemed a little less important. It’s not that I didn’t want it anymore… It’s just that I started to realize that she wasn’t the only person who was able to give me what I so desperately needed. Just three words.
I don’t know if it was my desperation, or if there was something else about me that made me something less than special in the eyes of my classmates but they didn’t seem terribly inclined toward giving me what I was so desperate to receive. I wasn’t about to ask any of them why they didn’t love me so I decided to keep the need and the hurt to myself.
I’d spend most of my time going on adventures in the pages of a book. My favourites were those that had stories built around a boy and his dog. I didn’t really identify with much else because, emotionally, I was a boy with a dog. I wasn’t a boy with friends or a boy with self-esteem. I certainly wasn’t a boy who understood those three elusive words.
When I got married, and had kids, I expected that someone would finally give me what I’d been searching for, what I was desperate for. I thought that would be a guaranteed perk of putting myself in that situation. I guess sometimes disappointment is the one thing we can count on.
I don’t want to get into the details of my divorce. It happened. We can leave it at that — at least for now.
I eventually gave up on ever hearing those three words. This is when the darkness of suicidal depression closed in around me.
Those of you who have heard my broken plate story will remember me mentioning a friend who was with me while I unravelled over it. She understood that the plate was symbolic of my emotional state. I was the broken pieces that were all over my kitchen floor. She saw that, and in that offered a glimmer of light in the darkness that surrounded me.
When I told her a few days later that I was suicidal, she made me promise not to do anything without calling her. She told me that I wasn’t allowed. She gave me what I had been searching for my whole life: those three words…You’re not expendable.
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