It’s approaching midnight in a quiet home in the woods, filled with the incestuous sounds of insects who commence their daily nocturnal routine.
Though there are four walls of separation between their outside world and the world of those who slumber comfortably within the walls of this home, the sounds permeate as if these walls never existed.
Lying there, on a couch, awake and held captive to the sounds of the many cricket songs, I couldn’t help but notice a loan ranger, a breach in the walls that separate two worlds. I naturally reacted; reacted with an intention that was inborn.
But, as I approached the small creature that has often times filled me with fear and grotesque at the sight of its creepy crawly anatomy, the intention to destroy its existence in rage from an inherent agreement that was broken, was interrupted.
Something was different; this became no usual story of David and Goliath, but an excerpt from Roahl Dahl’s The BFG. As I watched the still unattractive anatomy of the cricket cling to the crisp whiteness of the baseboard, I could only imagine the sheer panic it had from the thought of being consumed by a world of unfamiliarity, as the sounds of its species seemed so close, but yet so far.
The broom and dust pan were near, at my disposal, and ready to get rid of yet another offender without afterthought, but I still couldn’t do it; I couldn’t kill it. I could only analyze it further in that moment; it had only three legs, no jump, and no voice.
This cricket was a female, a voiceless part of a species that only gifts the voice of song to the males. She was all alone, missing a part of her that gave her the ability to jump beyond things that we could not fathom, but she didn’t show it.
The defensive mechanism to escape, to live by any means necessary, masked these physical imperfections and as I approached her with mercy, to give her a hand of assistance back to the world she longed for, she steadily resisted me. Finally, as my frustrations with this resistance increased, I felt my patience decrease, and my compassion began to wane, but after seconds of what felt like minutes of fighting me, she gave in.
She rested on the dust pan as if she knew she had lost the fight, ready to accept the consequences of her failure. But as I gently returned her back into the comfort of the moon’s light, I couldn’t help but to reflect on my act of odd generosity.
That cricket, though seemingly small and perhaps insignificant to those who walk amongst her, strangely reminded me of me; of others who are daily wounded by the effects of depression or mental illness on their life, unable to jump, at times, into performing simple tasks, and feeling isolated from a world that they are very much a part of.
A voiceless people, silenced by the fear of what others would think and the stigma associated with being but a small part of the population, who have a mental illness. But just like the unmoving stamina of that cricket’s will to survive, so does the mind of the suffering; resistant at first to giving into recognizing that they need help, but strong enough to eventually accept help from those who show mercy. There is no shame in associating with this cricket; you are not alone in your association.
She is but another major character now, like Jiminy Cricket, in American literature, who speaks for the voiceless, defends for the defenseless, and brings honor to the seemingly honorless.
But I honor you, as well as so many more individuals who are fighting in a war, sometimes in silent, right along with you.
Mental illness doesn’t identify with just one face, one race, one creed, or one education, or lack there of. Mental illness can affect everyone; we’re all connected. Even if you are not personally battling with a mental illness, we all are walking amongst crickets and crickets may need mercy.
Dominique is a 31 year old career driven mother of Sydney (2 years old) and Sage (1 years old), as well as an honored wife of Derrick, a local practicing nurse practitioner. She is starting a PhD program in nursing in the fall, continuing to teach full time as a professor at a local college, and be the best mother, wife, and friend, all while riding the waves of unpredictability with living with depression.
Depression may be familial and prescriptions may have failed to work, but she refuses to let this illness stop her from living her LIFE; getting her PhD, continuing to be a great professor, wife, mother, friend, and a blessing to others. She wants to break the stigma of living with a mental illness and help hold up the arms of those who are in the fight with her, those supporting those in the fight, and educating those that may not understand what it is like to battle with a mental illness everyday of your life.