I have noticed that in pictures of despair and grief, that the individuals suffering always seem to cover –and hold—their faces with their hands or to hang their heads, hiding their faces and expressions from view. It is the same defense that we employ when we are ashamed, to hide our faces from the world because we are not worthy. But with shamefulness, when you imagine a person hiding their face, it always seems to come with the presence of another waiting there to lift our heads up, wipe the tears and to tell you that it will be alright. Now the reason for that could range from our habit of expecting happy endings, the fact that we have been force-fed stories where there is always a hero that will come to the rescue or that to imagine such hopelessness is almost impossible for our minds, but it is there, with shame, we cover our faces but we know that we will be forgiven, by someone else or by ourselves. It is as if one is lost in a lightless tunnel, with shame, we are embarrassed by the fact that we’ve managed to get lost in the first place, frustrated by our own lack of direction but hopeful that if we keep moving, there will be a light that will highlight the path to the world above. An escape exists, a light –person, thing or idea—will uncover our face. In despair, there exists no such thing, it is the shame without the light. An acceptance that the pain is eternal, you have searched for the light till your legs have become heavy, the eyes tired and the body weary and you suffer shamefully but instead of hiding your face and waiting to be lifted into the light, the face is hidden as a sign of failure of life, of unworthiness. I believe most people do not understand despair and confuse it with the similar suffering, of being in pain or depression and I can understand why they do not. To imagine a life without hope is impossible till you live a life of despair. Hope is hardwired into our minds, with each sunrise is another chance at life, and with each sunset is the disappearance of many problems, but a life of despair does not lend such favors. Each sunrise is dreaded and each sunset is welcomed as hopefully –ironically—the last one. Troubles do not end in a state of despair, the sunset does not end the end, it drags on like one long continuous day and many times suicide or madness is the only true escape. This inability to imagine such a situation is why I believe that people will never fully understand or empathize with suicide victims. It is always said that those who take their own lives are cowards, selfish individuals that are too weak for the troubles of life, that they should have asked for help. Their pain is always compared to the pain of others who manage to live on, those with courage who rage against the pain of life and do not take the easy way out. But what takes more courage than to take your own life? Hope is an innate belief that we have, a belief that one could get lost in, become delusional with and continue to live as if you would be the exception from the suffering of the world. The human brain though instinctively protects itself and the body, if you try to hold your breath for too long, your body will force you to release –unless you’re one of the few who do it till they pass out. When you fall, your hands automatically come to protect your face, if you are being beaten, you curl up and protect your head. To harm oneself is to override the body and brain’s functions of protecting itself. To have that despair is not something that is as simple as “try being happy” or “do you need someone to talk to”, no, that’s ignoring the main aspect of despair, the lack of hope. To talk to someone comes with the hope that it will somehow make things better, and it suggests that such solutions have not been tried, there is no talking because there is no longer any power that worlds have in that lightless tunnel.
"I was engaged eight years ago, but my fiancee died in Iraq. After that, I promised myself that I’d never be that dependent on someone again. So after I met my husband, I fought marriage for the longest time. But we got married in September. And even though I was rebelling against it, and I always saw it as a meaningless formality, I’ve been surprised. There’s a comfort in knowing that you’re sworn to someone else."