*trigger warning – this chapter contains a sensitive account of one of the darkest times of my life, mentally and emotionally
When I set out to write these roads, I committed to being as honest, raw and vulnerable as possible. It’s not an easy thing to do, and some of these roads I have written, I wanted to delete as soon as I published them. This is one of those.
But I have to tell the truth about the roads that have led to now, and leaving this one out would not portray an accurate story. So I guess I will just cut to the chase and tell you that I started trying to disappear long before I actually disappeared from the world a few years ago on my quest to figure things out in my RV.
You see, secrets are poisonous and this is one of my secrets – I wish our whole human family could understand that we’ve all got to drain our secrets of their poison so that we can heal together. We’ve got to stop causing others to feel shame about the things that have poisoned them.
So many parts of modern life drive people into the ground, people who were once healthy and vital and enthusiastic and whole. So many people end up living a very inhumane existence, pushed to their limit. And then get labeled crazy. It’s messed up.
I share this road because I am certain that there are some of our human family out there right now who are hiding the same dangerous secret I was hiding. And I want to do my part to bring this out in the open. The stigma around this kind of unwellness is so pervasive and destructive that I want to do all that I can to eradicate the judgement and whatever compels a person to feel so much shame about it that they keep it a secret. The only way to ease its effects is to STOP KEEPING IT A SECRET. So here I am.
And before I begin, I want you to know that I love being alive now, and I want to be alive. And this was just a temporary struggle along the way, one that called me to make some major transformations in my life. And I want you also to know that working through this time was a huge turning point for lots of reasons. It actually gave me a whole new perspective on life, and a whole new way of being alive. My yearning to to be done with life is actually what ended up saving my life. If you struggle with this too, I want you to know that it can and will get better. Please tell a trusted someone how you’re feeling, don’t carry it alone.
And if someone finds the courage to tell YOU this secret, please take it seriously. You cannot imagine the courage they had to muster up to tell you.
I remember when one of my favorite humans of all time, our beloved Robin Williams, shocked the world when he just couldn’t take the pain anymore and ended his own life. I still think about it all the time. The way most of the people in his life had no idea what kinds of battles he dealt with internally. Yet there exists a long list of Robin Williams quotes that were clues to what he was thinking and feeling. He did such a great job of smiling, laughing and caring for others that hardly anyone knew just how hard he had to work to stay around. When he lost that battle, I was devastated. I think the whole human family was.
More than 2 years before we left our home state for roads unknown, I was having a constant internal battle over whether I could find the strength and the will to continue on with life. I will never forget the day that I called my friend Lisa in California and told her about the 2 different plans I had orchestrated to end my own life and make it look like an accident. And I told her that I wanted to tell her exactly how I was going to do it because then I knew I wouldn’t go through with it. Because if someone knew about my plans, it wouldn’t look like an accident. And that’s the only way I would ever be able to go through with it, so that it wouldn’t hurt my children and my husband and anyone else I love or who loves me.
But Lisa and I talked for a while, and she was just so calm. And she thanked me for telling her. And she made me promise that I’d call her first if I ever seriously considered that option. And she told me that it was time for me to do whatever it took to want to be alive. And that she would help me.
She did the most important thing, she believed me. She is still helping me to this day.
Around this time, one of my children caught on to some of my behaviors and asked me point blank one day . . . “Mom, are you going to die? Are you planning to die? I’m just going to tell you right now how devastated your grandchildren would be to not have you in their life. I hope that is enough motivation for you.”
This question seemed to come with both concern and anger. And it shocked me and jolted me awake. I knew something was very wrong inside, but I didn’t have any idea how to fix it, my life was just too complicated.
After that, I decided I would not even entertain the idea anymore. But then the despair and overwhelm and hopelessness came back. And the shame. I was drowning in all of it, treading those waters with all the energy I had left.
So then I started just asking God to take me away. I would ask in the car for another car to hit mine. I would ask if I could please just get a very aggressive and terminal cancer. I would ask for something to happen in some way that would take me off of the earth without hurting anyone else.
Please just take me away.
Please just take me away.
Please just take me away.
I have a lot of shame about this, so there’s no need to shame me or lecture me about it. And I want you to know that I KNOW that life is a gift, that I am blessed, that I have children and grandchildren and a husband who love me unquestionably. I was so exhausted and saw no relief in sight. There was so much going on in the background that no one else could see. Life was unbearably heavy with unrelenting responsibility and problems that seemed to have no solutions. I was drowning in all of it. I also felt the acute sting of an old belief installed in me like some kind of metal-spiked torture device, a belief that I was bad and rotten inside, a belief that had been with me since early childhood. And then around the same time, some information had come to light in my world that shattered my heart and made me question just about everything. And I was just worn to the bone and felt like my family would be better off with my life insurance money than with the remnants of the vibrant person I once was. I was in despair over my husband’s relapses. I felt deeply betrayed by some things that were happening and I was battling massively with what was TRUE and what was solid, and what I could count on and where I even belonged.
Yet if you were to take a quick glance from the outside, it just might look like I had a perfect life.
I wasn’t sleeping well, but I had been having this recurring dream where I was at a big beautiful gathering on a beach with the people in my life I loved most. We went out to the ocean to swim and somehow I got pulled out into a riptide. Everyone else went back to the beach to prepare food and continue on with the party. I was in the ocean alone.
I kept getting pulled out further and further into the sea. I was waving my arms frantically, and screaming and yelling for someone to help me.
I was drowning.
In the dream, I could see people in my life on the beach, and they thought I was out swimming and having fun. Some of them were even saying “I can’t believe she’s out there swimming and having fun and we are here preparing the food.” or “she is so rude to be late for the party while she’s just out there swimming.”
But I wasn’t swimming, I was drowning.
This recurring dream went on for months and into years. And one night when I had it, I was so far from any land that I could hardly see the shore. And then I could just see smoke, like my whole old life was burning down and even if I was able to swim back to shore, it would be gone.
The dream eventually resolved itself in a beautiful way that I will talk about on an upcoming road but I wanted to begin here because when I was having this dream . . . I so desperately wanted to be found. I wanted someone to see that I was drowning, I wanted someone to help me.
I wanted to be found.
But then after a while, I didn’t want to be found anymore. I wanted to disappear.
And so I would ask in prayer….
over and over…
PLEASE TAKE ME AWAY.
PLEASE TAKE ME AWAY PLEASE TAKE ME AWAY
PLEASE. JUST. TAKE. ME. AWAY.
In the summer of 2017, I was really battling these feelings and on a night that I couldn’t sleep, I wrote a song and started singing it as a prayer. I even recorded it in GarageBand on my computer. Just me and my guitar and my quiet voice that I wish I could get to be louder, but I can’t. I’m going to be vulnerable here and post the first verse, my prayer to God, asking to be taken away. I had started to lose the deep trust I had in God, but I still prayed, just in case. I tried so hard to stop believing in God, my friends. I tried so hard. But when I sang this song to God, God sang back an answer so profound that I have only started to understand it this year. It’s been 5 almost 5 years since I first sang this in prayer, and just these last few years did the answer I was given start to manifest into my life.
On the next road, I will show you and let you hear how God answered back….but for now, here’s my prayer to God, asking to be taken away…
I lift my head to the sky
I am not here to ask why
I think I know what I need
I’m all used up, set me free
Take me away
I don’t think I can go another day
I did my best, oh how I tried,
but here I am dried up inside
So take me – please take me away
I know I said I would stay
Got my white flag held high
Can’t find the strength to fly….
There are a zillion things that led up to these feelings and to this desperate plea. Some of them I can talk about and some of them I cannot. What is striking to me is how easily I was able to hide it, and it makes me wonder how many others hide it too.
Well, I asked God to take me away, a God that I wasn’t sure I believed in anymore. And then, God did it, God took me away . . .
. . . but not in the way I expected. He took me somewhere that I couldn’t be found for a while, but where I would finally find myself.
And then God taught me the importance of taking myself away from a life that is killing me when I want to be taken out of life. There is a better way to live than merely working to tolerate your existence. There is a beautiful way to live. I promise.
So, dear soul,
Has there ever been a time when you wanted to be taken away from life?
Have you ever wanted to be found, or lost or both?
Thank you for walking this vulnerable road with me. It is going somewhere good, I assure you. But first, I want to tell you about what happened when I experienced The Road Where God Sang Back.
I love you.
If you’re struggling, life will get better!