Chapter One – The Climb
By Amy Sampson
I am lying at the bottom of a well, void of water but still damp. Although I can see light at the opening, none shines to where I lay. On a good day, I can pull myself to a sitting position and lean my back against the stone wall. A gentle trickle of dampness soaks my shirt, but I don’t care to move. Most days, I lie on the bottom, looking at the light but never seeing. No one comes for me. I can hear their voices, but I know that they don’t even know I am here.
I have heard people say that when they are sad or depressed, they feel nothing. That’s not the case in my well. In my well, I feel an oppressing sadness, a weight that pushes me down and holds me there. So even if there is a reason to hope for a way out, I’m being held down.
Sometime over the last couple of years, I have decided to fight my way out. I got tired of driving past a body of water only to imagine what it would be like to drive my car into the thin ice covering. To let the water flood in through the cracks and seal out the oxygen I needed to think. I was sick of looking for a way to dim the ache, of looking for a way out but not seeing the rope that could save me. I was not suicidal. I never thought “I should drive into the lake and let myself die.” The thought wasn’t there, just the imagery. I wasn’t suicidal, although I knew if I ever told anyone how I felt they would label me so. I would not have left my daughter and my family, and I have a strong belief that those who commit suicide are really committing themselves to the agony of witnessing what your destruction does once you are gone.
I was not suicidal, but I was killing my spirit. I let myself live for my daughter, and to make others happy. The fantasies I had of escaping my life were just that, but it was enough to keep me there, on the bottom, for so long. My internal fight or flight battle was deeply ingrained in my soul. Not changing your circumstance is a choice, and it is one that I subconsciously made because I was too afraid see any other option, and I was literally frozen.
One day, I opened my eyes, took a good look at my reality, grabbed onto one of the slick moss covered rocks that was my prison, and started the long climb out of the well. I pushed aside the heaviness that was in my heart and slowly, painfully climbed stone by stone, until I reached the top. There was no one to cheer me on when I finally pulled myself, wet and tired and gasping for air, out of the well because no one knew I was there to begin with.
And while I may sit on the stone that surrounds my well from time to time, I will not fall back in.
On my journey, which took years by the way, my outside world changed immensely. I left my husband. I let myself give and receive the gifts of Reiki and acupressure, each saving me in their own way and showing me that helping others is extremely healing. I fell in love, and remain in love, with my true soul mate. I still get sad, I still feel the heaviness creeping in. But with the love I allow myself to feel and my knowledge that the universe does not want to knock me back down, I remain on solid ground.
This is my story. I can’t tell you how I got myself into my well, how I allowed myself to get so lost that I ceased thinking I was important enough to be saved. I can’t tell you because it doesn’t matter; we have all been there. Whether you had a long and painful descent to the bottom or one day found that life pulled the rug from under you and you went down, we have all had a form of debilitating sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness. Many of us have found ourselves looking down the barrel of a gun or the bottom of a bottle, or perhaps gazed up into the sky wondering, “what’s this all for, anyway?” Or thought, as I have so many times, that we were stuck with no way out.
I can promise you this: You are not stuck. Every single one of us has the ability to change our lives, learn from whatever personal horrors we have lived with, and see the light. For every action, for every thought, there is an equal and opposite reaction. For every darkness, there is a light. For everything that you see as ugly, there is beauty. And for every lie, there is a truth. The shift has to come from within in order to see it.
You are not alone. I know how hard it is to believe that to be true. I have been in a room full of people, smiling, talking, kissing hello, and felt loneliness so deep my bones hurt. And I can promise you, the person that you are searching for to make that loneliness go away is waiting to be discovered within yourself. We all have an immense power. We are alive, we are breathing and our hearts are beating, we experience happiness and sadness, love and fear. That, my friend, is a miracle. Life is not science. Life is a gift. And if you take my hand and share in my journey, I will help you to discover the gift that is within you.
© 2015 Amy Sampson