devastation like this

(Please note, this is a creative work. If you need help, please call 1-800-273-8255. Or reach out to family or friends. It’s bleak, but it isn’t worth shutting the light out.)


I know how deep it gets. A switch clicks. And there is no coming back from it.

Whatever IT is.

Could be chemicals. Or the devil. Or any combination of fears, ignorance, and neglect. But it is real.

I know because it has pulled many people into it.

Including me.

The dark, sticky, sad, angry mess.

Where you can stay in bed for days and not give a shit.

When nobody understands how deep the rabbit hole gets.

And you find beauty and comfort in the darkest, most unfriendly places.


One night, I stopped a friend from pulling the trigger. It was accidental. I had just rented Conspiracy Theory and stopped by to return his Van Halen tape. When I walked into his house, he was sitting in the middle of the kitchen with his forehead resting on the barrel of a 12 gauge. He had his shoes off and his toe on the trigger.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

I didn’t know, so I said nothing. But I did walk over and smack him in the side of the head with an open hand, and then I took the gun.

He cried and hugged me and said he was sorry, but I knew he’d be back again.

And he did it. Finally. Eight years later. After his kids left to live with his ex-wife and her new husband.

I wonder if he waited, paused at the sound of a car coming down the road. If he hoped it was another accident in the making—a friend with a cassette tape and a Mel Gibson movie.


It comes suddenly. Ruthlessly.

One minute I’m wondering at the strength and balance of my twelve-year-old boy as he beats opponent after opponent on the soccer field. The next, I’m thinking about a friend I had in high school—an acquaintance really—that made an impact when nobody else could.

He had a full-time job. Drove a CJ-5. Was upbeat, friendly, and always out for fun. One time, he took me aside because he was concerned about how I was handling the break up with my long-time girlfriend. He asked if I was depressed. If I was going to make it. Offered to be there. Anytime. Anywhere. For me. He told me this under the bleachers at a high school football game. Both of us sipping Mohawk and Mountain Dew Big Gulps.

I would never have imagined that thirty years later he would give in. That his wife would find him hanging from the rafters of the garage. Twitching. Not strong enough to lift him up and save him.

Then again, there has always been devastation like this.

Three from elementary school, that I know of.

Two from high school.

One from college.

And two co-workers.

People so sad and disconnected that they took pills, fashioned nooses, and put guns to their heads. Not because life was bad, but because it was so good, and they never knew how to feel the way they were supposed to.  


It’s hard to get up and just BE every day. To maintain the happiness, patience, and normality everyone expects. But it is doable. And it is possible.

Pull yourself out of the depths into the light, so you can see and breathe again.

Know how deep it gets. That the switch clicks. And that there’s no coming back from it.

Whatever IT is.

It could be the chemicals. Or the devil. Or any combination of fears, ignorance, and neglect. But it is real.

I know because time and time again it tries with all its might to pull me in, and down and under, but it never wins.

 ~ K.J. 


One response to “devastation like this”

  1. You left me speechless, and that’s what depression does it takes away our thoughts of everything you love. It leaves you with feeling nothing. But remember anyone out there who has thoughts of giving up, think of your family your friends the person on the end of the line they care. Reach out life is so precious and it can be again. Don’t be afraid because your smile, your hugs, your crazy funny ways are needed in this world. No matter what you think now everyone in this world has a person who loves them and needs you as much as you need them.


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