Hope in a Prison of DespairI woke up happy this morning, much like I do every morning.  I woke up in a soft bed with clean sheets, surrounded by love.  As I woke, cats were already at the door begging for food, and birds were outside singing in joy at the dawn of a new day.  The breeze was playing a soft melody on the windchimes, and the house was already ringing with laughter.  As I waited for coffee to brew, I took a moment to see what my Facebook friends were doing.

I had recently become a fan of the author, Paulo Coelho, and his daily post happened to be at the top of my Wall.  Normally, I just read what he has to say and move on; he generally has over 1,000 comments to each of his posts, and who has time to read that?  But today I was intrigued.  He had just reached 800,000 fans and was asking for advice on how they could celebrate that milestone together, as a group.   Because I had been considering doing something similar with the fans of my own Page, The Attitude of Gratitude Project, I started reading the comments to see what ideas people were suggesting.

Not very far down, posted about 6 seconds earlier, was a post by a young girl that said, “Share the love.  I am going to kill myself today.”  Buried, as it was, amid 1100 other comments, it is a miracle that I saw it at all.  A miracle, but certainly no accident.

When I read that post, memories came flooding back to me of a time when I, too, would wake up in the morning determined that before the sun set on that day, I would find some way to kill myself.   I woke up like that, in a deep suicidal despair, for three very dark years.   It is truly a miracle that I survived at all.  A miracle, but not an accident, as every day I managed to find some reason to postpone that final task for yet one more day.

When I read that young girl’s cry for help, I forgot all about my coffee and followed her link to her own Wall so that I could send her a message.  I just wanted to say to her,  “Please don’t kill yourself.  Not today, anyway.”  Turns out she lives in the Philippines and all the posts on her Wall were in Tagalog.  Except one.  Her latest status, posted just minutes earlier,  said in very clear English:  “I want to die pretty.”

It broke my heart to read that, because I could feel the depth of her despair reaching out to me from the other side of the planet.   Her pain screamed to me in a soul-piercing screech, although her actual words were buried and obscured on the page, a mere whisper.

Seven hours have passed since I read her last post.  There have been no signs of life from her since her last cry for help … not on Facebook, anyway … and I have no way to know if she will survive this day.  I’m certain that the sun has already set in the Philippines, and I can’t help but wonder how her day ended.

That young girl touched my life today, and  I owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude for the compassion that she awakened within me.  Even if only for that one reason, her life had tremendous meaning and worth.  I only wish that she could see herself through my grateful eyes.



I talk more about healing from depression in my post, Emotional Healing:  Why We Need Pets