Depression had engulfed me and nothing helped: pills were ineffective, talking provided no relief, and my life was shattered. I was forever falling deeper inside a chasm that expanded with every feeble attempt to stop and rise up. Dread came armed with a haunting sadness that welled up inside me, threatening to overwhelm me at every turn.

I jealously held onto prayer, despite the dark thoughts and feelings warring in my head and the agony of my waking reality. That is the power of ritual and, rooted underneath it all, faith.

I said the Mi Sheberach even as I was enthralled with ending my life. I said the Modeh Ani each morning, thanking G-d for returning my spirit to my body; even as a part of that spirit pulled me down. I couldn’t let myself go.

© 2021 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

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