Finding Home. Finding Whole.

CW: Suicidal Ideation

I have traveled many miles in my lifetime — Japan, Scotland, Guam, Palau, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Iceland.  Those journeys, flying through the air, suspended, they changed me — cracked my veneer, opened doors deep inside my spirit.  None of them, no matter how many in-flight meals, airport naps, or Melatonin tabs, shattered me. The furthest I’ve ever traveled was outside the lines of my Mind, outside the deep, inner space of my Body. That long, dark adventure broke me into a million minuscule pieces, and the journey back, recovering those little bits, took turns that I’d never expected and could not have planned.

Blurry lines defined my young life.  My who am I was dependent on my parents’ alcohol-soaked dreams and nightmares.  Saving them was my job, and any notions I had about a separate life, a life that I created, tended, and enjoyed were still heavily colored by their drunken hopes and expectations.  Blurry lines.  Fuzzy edges.  Frayed threads.  The boundaries of my own true Home were undocumented, and as far as surveyors went, I was ill-equipped and scared.  I was always scared.  Until my 27th birthday, I was a homeless vagabond, a couch-surfer in my own life; my preferences, wants, and needs were defined by others.

One night I tripped into the chaos of a mixed-manic episode. The blurry lines faded out; I was lost.

I remember the precise moment.  I was dancing ecstatically in a back bedroom while my husband floated on a ship somewhere in the Persian Gulf.  It was late. The room was hot.  Entranced, my body danced, and in my mind, I danced with the Goddess, Kali. She tore at me, ate my flesh, and spit me out again.

I found myself in a puddle of my own sweat, on the floor, alone, half naked.  Torn away from any bearings I may have had, sitting outside myself, I did not recognize my own hands.  Sitting behind my own eyes, I wanted to escape.  I was untethered and chained at the same time.

My husband’s 9mm Smith and Wesson was in a foam-lined box underneath the bed.  I’d shot it once, home in Wyoming, but I hadn’t touched it since we moved to Hawaii.  Hands shaking, I opened the box and took the heavy, cold metal gun out of the box and curled into a tight ball around it on the bed.  It was an ice-cold Teddy Bear.


My teeth hurt.

My mouth was filled with oily metal.

The Smith and Wesson 9mm was in my hands.  That gun was in my mouth.

I wondered if the safety was on or off.

I was relieved and terrified, both at once.  I'd fantasized about suicide so many times; it was a relief to be so close.




Deep down.

Behind my belly-button.

Something, somewhere deep down behind my belly-button screamed, No! A small voice spoke up.  You can find your way home.

Somehow, I listened. I didn’t believe her in that moment, but I only had one other option.  Between one breath and another, I’d decided I would try to live.

That moment, jaw cracking around cold metal, was the furthest I’ve ever been from Home, and I traveled in and around that waste land for years. That small voice was my only anchor.  She whispered ideas and directions, and every time I listened - get therapy, try yoga, dance, play, write, draw - I would look down at my feet, and I’d see a wee, sparkling crumb.  I collected them in a jar like shells on a beach.  At first, I didn’t know what they were.  I thought I had a jar of pretty dust to set on a window-sill in a house I couldn’t imagine having.  Very slowly, I began to recognize them as bits and pieces of my Self.  The more I collected, the more solid I felt, more anchored and centered, more whole.

I collected sparkling crumbs, left for me by my Deepest Self, and eventually, I found my way Home.  I found my way Whole, and the jar of sparkling dust disappeared.

I hope I never wander away again.  Instead, I pray, let me go deeper.  Let me discover every nook and cranny, rest in every beam of sunlight, take naps in each room, and discover all of the books in every attic.  May I rest always, in my Home.  May I remain Whole.

Copyright Fálki Heiđdóttir

*If you or someone you love is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please consider contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.  Their website is, and they have Spanish language and text resources.

If you are a U.S. Armed Forces Veteran experiencing suicidal thoughts, please consider calling The Veteran's Crisis Line at 1-877-673-8450 (press 1).  Their website is, and they also have text resources.


  1. Your journey through mental health sounds so familiar to me. Like a mirror of the life I once lived. Thanks for sharing such a big part of yourself in this piece. I hope your journey continues on its same path for years and decades to come.

  2. I found your turns of phrase compelling and memorable, like "a couch-surfer in my own life," "an ice-cold teddy bear," "sparkling crumbs." They hint at the theme of "home" while simultaneously describing how far from "home" you felt. Thank goodness for that small voice.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I am so grateful for the moment, the voice, the yes, stay.


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