Column by Maria Jayne

Maria Jayne

Maria Jayne

On my brother’s 25th birthday, a year ago on Sept. 19, I was in what some would call “a very dark place.” I woke up in a hospital at 6 a.m. with my mother crying at my bedside because I had overdosed on Vicodin and antidepressants. A few hours after I regained consciousness, I was transported to the psychiatric ward of Benedictine Hospital in Kingston.

Each patient I came in contact with was wearing his or her suicide attempts like military badges of honor while desperately searching for a way to connect. They spoke about the events leading up to their arrival and how sometimes loneliness or grief just leads you to bad decisions. There is only one way to combat this unhappiness and that is by first recognizing how much you matter.

The initial question everyone asks is, “Why did you do it?” Of course the doctors had a checklist of theories with drugs attached to each symptom. So, maybe they’re right and it is the borderline personality disorder, but what I really think happened is that sometimes we don’t see past what is right in front of us. I used to focus on the negative aspects of my life like how I’m not doing well enough or being nice enough compared to everyone else but I can’t worry about that anymore. It may have taken me months of intensive therapy to figure this out and I’m still working on it but I want everyone to think like this about themselves, I am good and good enough. Everyone is.

While I was in the psych ward, my ex-boyfriend lent me a book with a promising title and somber theme called “Everything Matters” by Ron Currie Jr. It is fiction and mildly depressing, not a self-help book by any means and maybe it wasn’t the best book to read at the time, but it helped me beyond belief. The title line, that happens to be at the end of the novel, always snaps me back to reality:

“Everything ends, and Everything matters.

Everything matters not in spite of the end of you and all that you love, but because of it. Everything is all you’ve got and after Everything is nothing. So you were wise to welcome Everything, the good and the bad alike, and cling to it all. Gather it in. Seek the meaning in sorrow and don’t ever turn away, not once, from here until the end. Because it is all the same, it is all unfathomable, and it is all infinitely preferable to the one dreadful alternative.”

We need to realize that we are just as important as everything else. We can’t let our lives slip through the cracks or else we have nothing. Every second is important. Each day is another day we have the time to make a difference and share our love. We cannot only focus on our mistakes or failures. This is time that we were given; the good, bad, beautiful or astonishing, it is all yours for the taking.