Peak and Pit
Back when my sister was still a little kid, she had a friend named Megan. Megan’s family played a game called ‘Peak and Pit’ at the dinner table every night. When my sister was invited over for dinner, she played this game with them.
The idea of the game is to name the ‘peak’ of your day, and the ‘pit’ - the best and worst moments of your day.
Back in whatever - seventh grade? - this game might have been an easy, ‘oh, I went to the dentist, what a bummer!’ as the pit. The peak might be ‘Evan talked to me in the hallway!’
As we get older, I think this conversation becomes more imperative. Mental illness, and suicidal ideation, might make it so that those suffering have no ‘peaks’ at all. This is their darkest hour.
This isn’t an easy topic. It’s messy, gritty, and ugly. There are no easy answers to this rather impossible, timeless question: is life worth living?
In seventh grade, I was a plump, happy-go-lucky, bright young student. At the age of almost thirty, I can now say with confidence that my ‘pits’ have landed me in psychiatric facilities five times, if we’re not counting outpatient centers, individual therapy, or even partial hospitalization programs.
To those suffering, the count doesn’t matter. They’ve already read what I’ve written, in some form. They need hope that one day, things will get better. For real this time.
I want them to know that even in lousy seventh grade, when my peak was talking to Josh between Chemistry and English, I still had a peak, even if I didn’t know it enough to voice it at the dinner table. Even after the mental illness kicked in and I got wheeled in a gurney to some ward of whose name I shall never speak again, I had a peak. Because in the game, there has to be a peak to go with the pit.
I have a voice in my head that doesn’t shut up, that wants to die, but it knows. There’s another voice that existed before you got sick.
There’s peaks. Because there has to be.
Your pit is the darkest moment before you turn thirty when you think it’s never going to get better, but it will. It always does.