You can’t imagine tomorrow

Photo by Jake Givens

What will tomorrow bring?

If you’re reading this, at least a few things can be assured.

Probably snow, a little bit of sun if we’re lucky and the Maple Leafs won’t be doing well.

A wise man once said that all we’re guaranteed in life is death and taxes. That man definitely wasn’t a Toronto hockey fan or else he’d have added a third.

But unless you’ve got yourself a crystal ball, there’s no sense in attempting to figure out what’s going to happen before it happens.

There’s a freeing sense to that. No use holding on to all the worries of what might or might not happen until you cross that bridge.

Someone else a lot smarter than me said that worrying about the future is like trying to solve a math problem by chewing bubblegum.

To be fair, it’s been so long since I’ve done long division that chewing gum sounds like as good an idea as anything else.

But no one can predict the future and the future is always unpredictable.

It’s it funny, then, that a good portion of our anxieties tend to focus on the negative?

So many people focus on the possibility of what negatives, what pitfalls or perils they might run into. We rarely think about all the positive possibilities, the wondrous and exciting things that each next day could bring, even if they are just as likely or unlikely as the not-so-nice stuff.

You really can’t imagine what tomorrow might bring.

I know this from experience.

When I was younger, I lived a good portion of my life unable to imagine the next day.

Not in the sense that I found myself not able to predict the future — again, no one can predict the future.

Rather, I reached a terrible and frightening place where the prospect of facing the next day grew seemingly more difficult as time passed.

When every tomorrow seems like it’s not worth the wait: what a terrible fortune, what a terrible fate.

I’d not wish those days of mine on a worst enemy.

Loneliness and apathy, fear and anxiety: I found myself unable to find a moment’s rest.

It’s no wonder that I — like many others — turned to the bottom of a bottle to find a solution.

I won’t go into the details of my swirling descent. Any reader’s active imagination could fill in the blanks with details and the real story would probably match.

I brought myself to a place devoid of colour, as if the drink I held so tightly to my chest was paint thinner: slowly removing the bright blues and verdant greens of my life to grayscale.

At the lowest point of my life, I could not imagine tomorrow and instead took refuge in oblivion.

I am happy and relieved to say, I did not go gently into that night.

I, instead, did one of the most difficult and frightening things I’ve ever done in my entire life.

I picked up the phone.

Asking for help is not easy.

But I can assure you that the alternative is much worse.

I reached out, in the eleventh hour, hoping against hope that someone would throw me a life preserver — anything at all — to help keep me afloat.

And wouldn’t you know it? Despite all my attempts at keeping myself shuttered in and blinded to the world around me, shielding my eyes because I couldn’t bear to look?

I was surrounded by people — some friends, some family and some complete strangers — who were willing to pull me out from the icy waters I’d sank in so deeply.

In the same way no one can predict the future, I could have never imagined the outpouring of support, understanding and empathy that I received.

Back then, I could not have imagined another day forward. But now, here I am, far into the future. I am healthy and I am happy.

Not to say that things are always perfect. Life is never easy, but instead, I’ve learned to train a pair of guard dogs in my mind, that fight and scream and struggle whenever the cold hand of depression knocks at my door.

And I’ve learned to be brave in reaching out.

Reaching out is not a sign of weakness. It’s the bravest thing you could possibly do.

But I know that, still, may others may have fears or anxieties about reaching out. So to those folks, who might need some words of encouragement, I offer you this.

If a friend, a family member or a stranger, reached out their hand for help when they needed it most, would you judge them? Would you mock their bravery in their time of need?

Or would you grasp them so tightly, cling to them and circle the wagons? Ensure that they got what they needed to make it through?

If you answered the latter and yet still don’t know whether you’d be able to reach out: extend to yourself the grace that you would extend to a stranger.

You’ll realize that everyone in this world is blessed with the ability to listen. Humanity, as a species, wants to take care of one another.

If you reach out, even if it’s to pitch darkness, something will happen.

A multitude of hands will reach back to you.

You could never imagine it in your wildest dreams. And while I might not be able to predict the future, this is one thing I can guarantee.

There are people out there who care and who want you to see tomorrow alongside them.

Facing crisis? 24-Hour Support through Distress Centre Calgary is available for urgent matters of crisis and immediate support.

403-266-4357 (403-543-1967 for the hearing impaired).

Non-urgent information requests can be made through email at