In Search of Self

Thich Nhat Hanh Slide

In Search of Self

Over the years I’ve learned that the most potent of personal feelings can be the most consoling and relatable to other people who are going through their own hardships.

So without even knowing it, you can touch the lives of complete strangers in such a way that few other people could do. And you can do it by just being open and honest about how you feel. Sometimes our pain can be someone else’s healing.

This is why I used to write a lot about the emotions and thoughts I had during my worst experiences with depression. Optimistic and positive people never understood why I would write and share such sad, depressing, dark material, but they were never meant to be the recipients. My words were meant for those who understood me.

When I was 19 years old, I admitted myself into a hospital to be put under suicide watch. And I ended up being locked away in that hospital’s psych ward for three days.

There were many different kinds of people there. I was the youngest in the whole ward. All these old and middle-aged adults, many with spouses and children. Some of them were so far gone they never got out of bed or showered, or wouldn’t wear more than a robe all day.

Some were chronically depressed, some had bi-polar disorder, others were just facing more life hardships than they could handle.

I looked at some of them and thought to myself, “I don’t ever want to be like that.”

I’ve read many self-help books over the last decade or better, trying to find the answers that I needed in order to live my life differently.

I’ve taken more kinds of pills than I can remember, sought therapists, counselors and social workers whose faces I can no longer remember.

I’ve gone from being a Catholic, to an ordained Inter Faith minister, to a Buddhist student, to an outspoken atheist, to what should probably be called an agnostic.

I have thought that I loved and thought that I was loved. I have used and I have been used.

Through all the things that I have read, studied or lived through in an attempt to find the answer or answers that I needed in order to let go of the past and get out of the darkness, I have merely found that no one has the answer and that the past is a part of you and the darkness is everywhere.

And yet I wander on, most of the time aimlessly, stumbling as I go, still in search, not of answers, or healing, or faith, or love, or light, but in search of myself.

This essay is available as an audio track on SoundCloud:

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