Have you watched the new TV show “A Million Little Things,” yet? It’s a show about a group of friends, each going through their own midlife crises, and one of them commits suicide (it happens in the first episode – it’s ok, you can know!). As the show has progressed over the last 3 or 4 episodes it’s done such an interesting job of talking about depression, feeling lost and alone, and what the world looks like to different people as they navigate these feelings in different ways. It turns out, a second character was ready to commit suicide as well – but was stopped when they found out about the first. So, one of the plot lines of the show is how this person comes to grips with where they are in life… and how to keep going.
This plot line has been so eye-opening for me. There were two conversations that happened on the show that have stuck with me. One, in which the depressed character talks to a therapist about what he’s been going through, and this is her response:
Maggie: Maybe he just lost sight of the horizon. I was watching this documentary on JFK Jr. You remember when his plane went down? … Anyway, Kennedy was a novice pilot. He was flying at night, and the clouds came in, and his instruments were telling him which way was up, but he didn’t trust them. The truth was right in front of him, and he couldn’t see it. He lost sight of the horizon and nosedived, and by the time he realized what was happening, it was too late, and he couldn’t pull up.
Gary: What does this have to do–
Maggie: That’s depression. Now maybe he wasn’t depressed; maybe something else was going on. People keep secrets from loved ones, and sometimes, you don’t even know they have these secrets until an event like this happens.
He lost track of the horizon.
Another moment that has been rattling around in my head is from another conversation between these two. The therapist tells the friend she’s read studies about people who have tried to commit suicide and failed. And this is what she says:
One of the survivors that they interviewed said something that I have been thinking about, uh, a lot lately. She said, “It’s not that I don’t want to live, it’s that I don’t want to live like this.”
Now, I wouldn’t say that I’m depressed. I’ve been there – a long time ago. I know how that feels – and I’m not there now. But. These passages screamed out to me. And I believe when that happens, it’s time to pay attention.
I do feel like I’ve lost track of the horizon sometimes. To everyone else’s eyes, I have a perfect life. Stay-at-home-mom to two smart, funny kids. Loving husband. Beautiful home in a lovely neighborhood. Close family. Occasional travels and adventures. Friends that I adore. Faith. How could I lose the horizon, right?
But, sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe. It’s claustrophobic. Every minute of the day is spent doing things for other people (hence, why I now get up at 6am and pray to God that no one else does!). All my dreams and wants and hopes get put on the back-burner until they make sense. Until finances are figured out. Until there is more time in the day. Until… Until… Until…
Is this a midlife crisis? Probably.
I am beyond grateful for the life I have. I have no desire to exit this life. I’m blessed beyond measure. I know that. I appreciate that. I just wonder…. If there’s another way to do it… A way that feels like I don’t have to give up so much of me…? Is that selfish? Maybe… Moms, especially, are supposed to be selfless, right? Sacrifice all for the sake of our families?
“It’s not that I don’t want to live, it’s that I don’t want to live like this.” So, what now? Can you relate? Have you felt this before? What little things – a million little things – can we start to change, to be able to breathe again? To find the horizon? I’m going to start here:
Imagine you went to bed last night, and a miracle happened while you were sleeping… You woke up this morning and everything was different! Everything is perfect. So, what changed? What one thing would make things better? And how can you try working towards that change? That’s my question to ponder today….
Things I’m grateful for today:
- A perfect fall day yesterday.
- A trip to see the new pup today.
- Sticking to my cleaning routine around the house!
- TV shows that make you think.
- Looking forward to going to the pumpkin patch this weekend.
- Looking forward to a visit from friends this weekend.
- Pumpkin pancakes.
- A goodnight’s sleep.
- My little boy’s lanky body in his too-tight jammies.
- Pink night-lights in my little girl’s room.