I remember one time, during a difficult period in my life when my depression was at its worst, driving with my husband along the winding roads of Asheville up to Pisgah Mountain. I sat in the passenger’s seat, staring as the trees and mountains blurred by. The world seemed like a dream as the forests fell away to the valleys, and the mountains filled the sky. As I stared out across the landscape, the roadways, the faraway towns, everything looked small, distant, insignificant.
It was a warm day in late summer, but I felt cold. There was a gnawing, painful feeling inside of me that drove away all attachments to this world. Nothing comforted me, not my family, not my friends, not even my God. I was alone, crying out within, but no one could hear. When I looked at the world around me, I couldn’t imagine me in it. It was as if I didn’t belong.
On and on, the drive up the mountain went, and with every bend, I wanted to open the door to the car and just fall away, drop off the side of the mountain and disappear. The thought of the road ripping my skin apart only increased the temptation. At least I would feel something besides this heartache before I died.
In those moments, I had no real sense of myself. I had become the despair that defined my life. For so long, I had been driving myself in a single direction, and now I was moving in another, up and down the winding roads of an unpredictable, uncontrolled life—and I was frightened. I was hopeless because I saw no end to it.