We’ve known each other for a long time. I’d say going on 20 years. We have quite the relationship. It was odd for many years. I mean, how is a kid supposed to figure you out? I thought it was my family’s background that made me odd. But that didn’t make sense because I know other rabbis’ kids from BT homes* and you’re not with them.
As we got better acquainted, I thought you were just cold winter days and living at a boarding school. It has been hard to recognize you. You’re pretty fashionable with that wardrobe of yours, covering up what you really are. I mean, heck, I’ve called you Stress, Winter Blues, PMS, Burnout, and Exhaustion, just to name a few. I’ve tried understanding what you represent in my life and the life of people I love. After all, I’ve made it my goal to help teens dealing with addiction and mental health and was so focused on my future that I never took the time to realize how our relationship has grown over the years.
And then BAM!
I had that bike accident this past summer and maybe it finally knocked something into my head. Well, it knocked something all right. Until now, I had thought I had been through the worst of Depression, had met Rock Bottom and its good buddy, 10 Feet Below That. But, gosh, you sure made that look beautiful. These past few months of just the two of us hanging out all the time has really helped me understand the space you take up in my life. And you take up way too much of it. You need to tone it down.
Calm down. I am not throwing you out. That would be impossible. I know you’re not going anywhere and how powerful you are, and I’m beginning to learn where that power comes from.
I know our relationship needs a lot of work.
To start, you need to remember that my goals are important. My family and friends mean the world to me and so we need to share this time. You can’t have all of me. You are just some of me. I know you are there. I get it. I’m pushing 29. You’ve been a part of me for a long time and I am more than ready to embrace you.
I want to give you a big hug and tell you that it’s okay that you chose me, because I am not afraid of you anymore. I am not afraid to talk about you to other people, and I am not afraid to expose you or me. After all, life is a gift that is meant to be shared with others. Why keep the struggles you provide to myself? I am going to do what I need to do. Love those whom I can love. Help those I can help. Learn from those I can learn from and aim to be a healthy Hindy. In order for me to do that, we need to back it up and be honest with each other. If I want to grow up and be a youth advocate for mental health, then there is no room for BS. So let’s start over.
Hey — I am Hindy.
For the past 20 years you — Suicidal Ideation and Depression — have gotten the better of me. And as I head into the next 20 years of my life, I’d like to get the better of you. I don’t know what this will look like, but I’ve got a great team. I can’t and will not do this alone, as this is too much for one person. Over the next few years, I hope to learn more about you, me and you, and the world. You are not ugly; you are not shameful, nor should you feel the need to hide behind the veil my community cloaks you with. It is not your choosing as to whom you target, nor will any of us ever really understand why. You were created with a unique task that only you can do — so I applaud you, Suicide, because you do a great job!
Also, thanks for sticking with me; I’ve been able to use our bond to form friendships with some of the most incredible and kind-hearted people. Your interactions with them have been able to provide us with some deep insights on how to navigate your good buddy — Life. Oh, and one more thing: you’ve made my life a roller coaster ride and I hate those things. So, in turn, I am going to expose all your vulnerabilities.
That veil you hide under? Well, consider it gone. Not donated, but gone.
If it’s going to be you and me — well, now it’s my turn and I’m pretty competitive. Thanks for getting me this far, but I can take it from here. And as sad as this is, I know it’s not good-bye. It’s just . . . the next time I see you, please, no costumes. Come as you, choose a time that works for the both of us, and stay for a really short visit, as I’ve got stuff to do. (And stop bringing cookies — my metabolism is slowing down and I can’t afford new clothes.)
Forever and always,
*BT stands for “Ba’al Teshuva,” Hebrew for those who embrace Orthodox Judaism
*This piece was originally published in Times Of Israel