When I first realized that depression was effecting my daily life, it was while I was living abroad.
There was bridge that was particularly known as a popular suicide bridge in the winter when the water was shallow. A tour guide told me about it when I first arrived and every time I passed over it, I would look to see if anyone had washed up to the rocks or jumped that day. About 3 months of living in Stockholm, I realized I was becoming more depressed each day and started connecting with that bridge in a negative way.
On my walks home from work I would cry while staring at the rocks in the water. I couldn't understand why I was feeling the way I was or how it even got to this point. I contemplated what would happen if I jumped. Would it be a sudden death, would it be painful if I survived, how cold would the water be, would I leave my purse behind or jump with it on, would my body be shipped back to the States if it was discovered. I convinced myself that my fears of 'what ifs' were scarier than following through and decided to seek help. Eventually, I had the courage to get help and I even had a very tearful conversation with Neil about my thoughts.
My attitude towards the bridge changed over time and I am thankful for it. In a weird way, that bridge saved my life. Before I moved back to the US, I would stop and stare into the water hoping no one jumped. I would sit on the bench next to it, soak in the sun, find something positive about the day and practice being thankful. This bridge helped me identify my depression and the loss of connection I had with myself.
Earlier this week I visited Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona. It's a beautiful overlook of the Glen Canyon that was naturally carved in a horseshoe shape by the Colorado River. It is made of rocks and sand so it can be slippery. They recently put a railing up because of the accidental and purposeful deaths that have happened there. It is a 300 m / 1,000 ft drop from the lookout point to the river. When I arrived I took a moment to be thankful for the opportunity to live and see this breathtaking landmark. I'm mindful that people may still take their life there but I am hopeful that they will have a change of heart. Being in this place brought back many memories of my journey with depression and as tough as that journey has been, I'm all smiles for being here today.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, PLEASE seek help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Someone is available 24 hours everyday.