bearthinking

About recovering from depression and suicide.

ARG!!!

I started this blog with high hopes.  I would recover, I would get better, a year from now (August 2009), I would be in better shape and functioning in society again.  HA!!!

Now, I just feel like a lamp that keeps blowing out the light bulbs.  We try new meds, we try new combos, I get a glimmer of light then pfffffft, burnt out bulb time.  I’ve had 20 watts, 40 watts, 40-60-100 watts, green, natural, black light, Compact fluorescents, you name it.  pffft, burn out.

If I was a lamp, we’d fix the wiring.  But I’m not a lamp, and our neuro-surgery is not that good or precise yet.  And we’re not allowed to just chuck the lamp out for spare parts, we have to keep it plugged in and turned on.  Soooo, I wonder what wattage and colour this time?  Maybe a halogen?

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May 9, 2011 Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Note about Suicides

I am so sick and tired of hearing that suicide is the ultimate act of selfishness, or ingratitude, or cowardice.  Maybe that is true of some suicides; the ones who blow their brains out because they have suffered one major defeat and think the world is ending.  Maybe; heck, in a case by case examination I would probably grant the assertion’s validity.  But I argue that this is not the case in the majority of suicides and suicide attempts.

The majority of suicides and suicide attempts are carried out by people with a history of on-going severe clinical depression, Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome, Bi-Polar Disorder, schizophrenia, and paranoia, as well as other mental disorders.  The initial cause can be genetic, environmental, or both.  Over time, the disorder is a combination as the brain adjusts neurochemically to environmental stress, or the personality adapts to altered perceptions of reality brought on by neurochemical imbalances until the mind is caught between the two and unable to cope any longer.  The altered perceptions and imbalanced neurochemistry that are now the ‘baseline’ state of the mind become less and less effective at shielding the mind from the stresses of everyday life and indeed exacerbate them.

It is a catch-22 bringing on a situation strongly reminiscent of alcoholism.   Behaviours and neurochemistry intended to cope with stress become counter-productive.  To cope with the increased stress, the behaviours and neurochemical imbalance intensify; then the stress gets greater because the coping techniques are no longer as effective, so they are intensified.  A feedback occurs that lock the mind into a ‘tail-chasing’ cycle until it can no  longer take the strain of stresses.

The mind, the person, is cornered, trapped and seeking a way out of this unbearable situation, any way out that can be achieved.  This is where mental illness takes its most terrible form.  The person wants help, but perceptions are so altered that nothing promises a way out, they don’t know how to reach out anymore, nothing will work, shame is felt because they have gotten so far down this road, the situation is too much to solve, but the stress is no longer bearable and there is no way out, but the stress is worse, and there is no solution, nothing, nothing…

except…

death.

I’ve attempted suicide.  I’ve faced the moments just before the act; moments where you try to think of another way out that is not worse than death, moments trying to find another way out of the pain that has become too unbearable.  Moments recounting the course of your life, seeing if there is something that might work, that might offer hope, that might be a way out, a way through.  Then the moment before death.

Then comes another moment, one that should not be: the moment after death.  The moment you realise you failed, for whatever reason.  An sickly amusing failure, you could just die… oh, wait, no, you tried that.

What the suicide lacks is not courage, nor gratitude, nor selflessness.  What the suicide lacks is hope.  We live each day in unbearable pain, grateful for those small moments of oblivion that pain cannot reach, trying to help others like us find a way through the pain.  But hope does not ‘spring eternal’ with us.

We hopelessly hope that somehow, some way, one of us will make it out without dying.  That they can reach back and hold out a hand to help us out, so we can turn and reach out a hand.  That we can help each other out of the desert pit of suicide.

Then someone does make it out…  by dying.  Their meds failed, or therapy no longer could reach them, or worst… both failed.  It is not hope we feel but loss and even more despair, but we fight in our own ways to overcome it still.  Sometimes, though, it overwhelms us and we try to die.  We feel then that life has no options anymore aside from death.  So we face it, knowing we may not succeed even at this.

Try sometime waking up in your own vomit, or with an exploded garbage bag on your head, thinking “great, yet another thing I failed at”, knowing you have to face people again.  It is worse when you leave a note, or are discovered before completion.

Loved ones are hurt that you would try to leave to leave them behind not understanding that you weren’t trying to leave them, but trying to leave the pain you could no longer take.  Not understanding that you did not like what you were being forced to become by staying and enduring unendurable pain.  Not understanding that  you now live with the ultimate failure while still in pain.

But we go through the motions again, try new therapy and new meds, wake up each morning wondering if we will ever make it through, make it out, be able to live without constant pain again.  What many fail to understand is that we endure this for months, years, even decades.  I’m 49 and have dealt (or not) with severe, suicidal depression ever since I can remember, since at least the age of 4.

Tell you what, you try living with our problems for even half the time we do, then tell me we are cowardly, or ungrateful, or selfish.

May 8, 2011 Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery, suicide | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rant – Treatment

Ok, it has been awhile… a long while since I last posted here.  Why?  Meds.  It is that simple.

Celexa and Trazadone made me edgy, irritable, and isolating as well as messing up my sleep.  Gave me nightmares.   Pristiq made me scared, edgy, irritable, and suicidal as well as messing with my sleep and the nightmares.  Celexa and Geodon… legal LSD as far as I’m concerned, and yes, it messed with my sleep.  I isolated during these months because I was afraid of how I would behave… and had some evidence I was right.

Now, however, I’m on Celexa and Abilify.   It makes me capable of dealing with everything except the fact that I have Restless Leg Syndrome, and feel like I have ADD and mild Autism… can not concentrate for extended oh, look, a chicken.  And, again, it messes with my sleep, but at least the dreams are odd, not nightmarish.

I feel at times like I am defusing bombs.  I do things and report how it makes me feel and side effects (did I mention the nasty flatulence on the Celexa + Abilify?) that hit me.  I’m not writing these to scare you away from these meds because some do work for some people.  Also, the can work fine for awhile then lose effectiveness or produce new, bad side-effects.  Case in point, I did fine for a few years on Zoloft, then pffft, it crapped out on me when I needed it really bad.

The point is, be part of your treatment.  Watch your reactions to the meds, have others help if possible.  Make your doctor(s) respond positively to your concerns, or change doctors if need be.  I know that somehow I will get a med or combination that will work; it may take time, but it will happen.  I work with my pshrink, and we are working to get me on track neurochemically.

But meds alone won’t do the trick for long.  A problem with most mental illnesses is that while medication can help restore normal brain function, it does not change the habits of thought, the built up experiences and filters by which we gauge and respond to our environment.

I have an excellent therapist.  Here, as with the meds, what makes my therapist best for me may not make her best for you.  Again, participate in your treatment.

All certified therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists are bound to confidentiality – professional trust as it were.  But that does not cover personal trust or levels of comfort.  Choose your therapist if possible.  If not, and you are assigned one that you feel uncomfortable with, tell them out right and don’t back down.  If you can’t say whatever you wish to your therapist, you need a new one, one you can trust.

Make your treatment as effective as possible.  Take as much charge of it as you can and expand upon it.  No one knows better than you what is working and what isn’t.  Obviously sometimes you need outside input to determine that, but in the end it is your treatment, your mental health, your chance at a fulfilling life, your freedom from The Pit that is at stake.  Own it and no one can ever again take it from you.

May 6, 2011 Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intimacy Pt. 1

This post has been edited and revised from its original form.  It seems that I was not clear that these posts, aside from where I quote, are nothing more or less than the expression of one person’s perceptions and experiences.  Also, it seems this is nothing more than an attention seeking device.  um, ok, whatever.  – andartos

A thought struck me just now. I was emailing back and forth with my sister, explaining why yesterday I did not emerge from my room. It was not the isolating with the onset of a down-spiral, but because I was very irritable and likely to react poorly to things.
Anyway, as part of it I mentioned that I missed emotional intimacy. It is all very well to talk to friends and family or a therapist or pshrink, but it is not the same as sitting, cuddling with a lover/partner/spouse and sharing.
I followed that thought, thinking about the sharing I had lost when my ex suddenly decided to divorce. It dawned on me then that I could feel the true loss starting when I began to actually get help with my depression; when I was becoming less vulnerable, less malleable. My ex seemed to like it better when I was depressed – and therefor more tractable, and was unable to handle the idea that she was not the only one with health issues.
The fact that I was now formally diagnosed as having depression seemed like it was a threat to her.  She had frequently mentioned over the years that she hated it when people, even jokingly, alluded to her being crazy.  I think my depression was a threat she was not strong enough to handle it; but I could, of course, be wrong
I know this indicates we were not truly intimate, at least in the last years of the marriage. I still miss even the illusion of intimacy, though. Knowing that there was one person who I could say anything, literally anything, to.

I do not blame her. I honestly think she did what she felt she needed to in order to protect herself psychologically and she was smart to do so. I think she no longer loved me as she had and could not remain in what she saw as a dead and potentially damaging relationship. Our spiritual vows did not include ‘for better or worse’ or ‘until death do us part’, so there was no violation of them. There was nothing more for her, and so she moved on.

I think she did the right thing. I only wish that when I had thought of it, I had done it.  A lot of grief would have been avoided for all concerned.

I think we need emotional intimacy. We need someone we can be vulnerable to, who can be vulnerable to us; someone who can be strong for us, and who we can be strong for. When I lost that, my world ceased to exist.
I am fumbling my way to getting that intimacy back. It has not been easy. I might have had it sooner, but I became afraid of my instability and so, pushed the developing relationship back into friendship. I did something unforgivable in that; I decided for her that she was not strong enough to withstand my illness. I removed the option from her, because I was afraid that she would abandon me (as I felt that my ex had done) when she would be exposed to the full extent of my depression. And worse, I used my ex as a measure for someone else.

July 8, 2010 Posted by | autobio, depression, intimacy, love, recovery, trust | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Choice of judgment.

It was a hard night, last night.  The moon was out, the stars shone bright, the heat of day gave way to a not unpleasant muggy coolness.  But I came up against the “very firmly held belief” of one I had counted as a friend.

Very firmly held beliefs are wonderful things.  They allow you to make up your mind without ever needing to deal with facts.  They allow you stop feeling, stop attempting to understand those around you, allow you to blame them when they give up and walk away.  In a sad way, it is their fault; they now have the very firmly held belief that you do not care, and are they wrong?

But there s something else very firmly held beliefs do.  They allow you to not face yourself.  They allow you to live in denial.  They allow you to ignore the consequences of your own behaviour.

I came up against it last night.  My roller-coaster ride of dealing with depression has actually been going fairly well of late.  There have been a few set-backs here and there, but over-all I have been making progress.

As part of this, I have been reaching out to people that have fallen away from my life.  In a few instances, some have reached out to me.  I have been upfront about having depression.  It is a central fact of my psychology, one that influences my perceptions and reactions.  I have said and done self-destructive things without being aware of it; I figure if my friends know this about me, they can help me before I spiral down too far to reach again.

The major part of how they help is simply by being there; knowing that I can get help when I need it.  This actually makes it easier to NOT call them at 3:47 AM because I don’t think I can make it through the night without putting a bullet through my head.

So when a friend reached out, I reached back.  Then she said her husband would like to hear from me as well.  I took me a few days to email him.   I was nervous, dealing with other issues (aftermath of ‘Sailing’ {cf.} among them), and had already sent a message via her.

Now, I’m glad I waited.  If I had read his reply earlier, it would have been much harder to dig myself out of a down-spiral I had hit.  “I think it is stupid and selfish for a person to choose to wallow in a masochistic funk that feeds on itself when all that is necessary is for that person to CHOOSE to not follow that path.”  Seems OK on the face of it.

But what about those of us who are not aware of depression or the effect it has on our thinking and perception? This is especially bad with teens whose symptoms are usually masked or explained away by changing hormones.  There are those of us who spend years not knowing why things are always bad around us.  Or why it is so hard to get out of bed, to have an interest in anything at all.

Even after we are aware of the situation, it is hard to get help – for so many reasons.  Not all of us can hang tough through it, either; hell, not even Ernest Hemingway managed it.  And for some of us, the help has to be fairly radical even after we have committed ourselves to it.

There are two main forms of Depression proper: Situational Depression, a temporary downturn as a result of things such as job loss or ‘holiday blues’; and Clinical Depression, a permanent but treatable condition.  The basis of Clinical Depression is not choice, but hard neuro-chemical fact.  For a varied combination of reasons, there is a flaw in the neuro-chemical cycles that regulate mood.  Sometimes, things go wrong in our lives and overwhelm us; for most people, that can be dealt with as the neuro-chemical cycles kick in to help keep us positive.  For others, that does not happen.

Our perceptions are that things will not get better, that we have no real positive effect on our circumstances, that there is no point in trying even.  The world sucks, and we get to have the shitty end of the stick.  There is no choice, that’s just the way it is and it can never change.  We have a ‘very firmly held belief’ in that.

Then there are those of us who really are beyond help, who are so firmly held by the grip of a vicious neuro-chemical imbalance that we cannot get out of even with radical help.  Well, they are stupid and selfish for choosing to wallow in that, aren’t they?

Given a choice we can actually see, given an opportunity to stop feeling this way – helpless, isolated, and worthless – we try to abandon our very firmly held beliefs and come out of The Pit.  I will not go back into The Pit because of his very firmly held belief, but it seems to me that he has made a choice, built his place of judgment.  As have I.

June 20, 2010 Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery, suicide | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

remembering to create: day zero

day zero

For years I lied.  Everyday, to everyone, I told a lie.  A deep, pervasive, insidious lie that tainted all my life, my hopes, my plans.  It blighted and consumed every aspect of my life.

I told one lie for seventeen and a half years.  I lived it, in spite of so much evidence that it was false.  I was married for just over 19 years; do you count the time you are separated, if not then it was almost 19 years.

I told myself that in spite of the problems we had, that it was a happy marriage.  People who did not know us well assumed it was too.  Apparently the divorce did not come as much of a surprise to people who knew us.  It seems that what came as a surprise was that I was not the one who initiated it and that we had lasted as long as we did.  This is the power of a lie.

This lie was just one of many I was living.  (I can just hear my ex now… and she is neither wrong nor right, such are people)  Some of the lies, I’m still living.  A list?  Well, here’s a partial of the more socially acceptable ones…
1) I am basically a happy person; 2) I’m a horrible writer; 3) I’m a horrible artist; 4) I have a good opinion of myself; 5) I am solely responsible for the ruin of my marriage; 6) I had a happy childhood.
I know my ex would never believe that I think #5, but it is true.  I do blame myself, completely.  I ‘know’ it to be true, and try to compensate.  I also know it is not true as nothing is ever that simple; we both lied to ourselves and each other.

These lies, these self-delusions are just part of what led to my suiciding.  Several times.  Why?

Why?  Why did, and do, I buy into them?  Part of it is neuro-chemical, part is habit, part is believing what others have told me, and, oh my, how many other factors can I list?  In the end, though, I must bear the ultimate responsibility.

I am fully aware, and have been, of my depression.  I was fully aware, on one level, of the falsity of my marriage after that first year and a half.  I know I am a talented artist and writer.  I know I have low self-esteem (see depression).  I know my childhood was not happy.  But being oblivious is so easy.

I lived in that warm, comfortable oblivion.  I let myself allow depression to take hold of me.  I did not seek help before, during, or after my suicides.  And, actually, after one suicidal ideation episode, it was my ex who encouraged me to get help.  Well, threatened me more than encouraged me, but I did get help, so that is forgivable, I think.

But (it is always there, isn’t it?), nothing like that can last long.  Reality crashed the party, put cigarette butts in the fish tank, smeared cake on the ceiling, and set fire to the couch.

See, when she told me she was divorcing me, I went into an auto-pilot mode.  I agreed to things that are going to end up damaging my life further, I made poor decisions for my future, forgot to trust my instincts, and went into a numbed emotional state.  I don’t think anybody noticed because of the worst decision I made; I isolated from my family and friends.  No-one I was around for the next year actually knew me.

I could not afford either good insurance coverage, a therapist, nor my meds.  That last did not seem to be a real problem, because long before I ran out they stopped working.  And the only therapists I would have been able to go to, well, it would have been public assistance therapists, and they are way overworked.

The house of cards started falling apart.  First the meds stopped working, then a person I thought was a friend turned out not to be with a vengeance.  I hit a creative wall at a million miles per hour and now had no expressive outlet.  I lost my job and could not get another one.  My plans for Father’s Day a year ago got nuked with no warning, no negotiation.  I stayed alone in my apartment for days on end, money was running out, my lease was ending.  I had nothing to live for anymore.

I had no desire to live of my own and it seemed to me that no-one else had any constructive use for me either.  Everything was gone.  I had nothing, not even emptiness.  Not even oblivion.

and the evening and the morning were before…

June 16, 2010 Posted by | autobio, depression, suicide | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sailing

Note: there is a glossary of a few sailing terms if you need it. It is not highly technical, so if you are a sailor, please forgive slight inaccuracies.

When I was a boy, my father, a lawyer, had a client who declared bankruptcy. The man lost most of his assets, and his ability to pay my father. Eventually, they struck a deal whereby he would transfer his sailboat to Dad as the balance of his debt. For this, Dad christened the boat “Slophy”.

Initially, we did not sail often as the nearest place to sail was inconveniently far. Before long though, we moved and there was a lake close enough that we sailed more often. It was often enough to justify paying for a dock. That meant we did not have to keep putting the boat in and pulling it out of the water every-time we went.

I really liked sailing. Feeling the wind, the rush of water along the hull, even when the boat heeled over as we caught as much wind as we could and shot along at the speeds a small craft can attain. It was exhilarating.

I confess that what I enjoyed most were the easy day cruises. There would be time to watch the shore, watch the rippling of the water in the wind, watch the clouds scudding along, the birds flying, fish jumping. We would not be so hurried to make the next tack, the boat would not be heeling over quite so much or often. I could learn the feel of the sheets in my hands as the wind would catch in the sails.

My sister, though. She loved it, loved racing and cruising, and got to be very good. Then she graduated high-school, went off to college, and on to other things. Dad and I went out a few more times, but I was neither the sailor my sister was, nor interested in being. I did not enjoy racing, and was developing different interests. The sailboat languished and was eventually sold. We moved on to other things.

Until recently, the last time I went sailing was about 35 years ago. I have passed much water under the bridge since then. Sailing remained something interesting I had done, and the knowledge I acquired fitted into other pursuits. I remained interested in sailing craft of all types, but as a land-lubber, not a sailor.

Before, during, and after that time, the neuro-chemistry of depression had taken hold in me and was influencing my behaviour and thoughts. My life had taken various twists and turns, ups and downs. Although contiguous through time, experience had changed me from the teen I was.

I had attempted suicide several times, culminating a year after my ex announced she wanted a divorce in my being hospitalized. My sister took charge of me and got me to a safe haven where I can try and put my life, my heart, my mind back into some semblance of functionality in the world at large.

I had lost touch, to a degree, with her during my marriage. We became re-acquainted, renewing and confirming our bond, our trust. It developed that she had taken up sailing again. She has a boat, an Interlake (for those interested), and has become part of a local fleet, sailing as often as she can.

This was exciting to me. She was animated about her sailing and the fact that my niece is a natural sailor; she waxed lyrical about it as the saying goes. I was intrigued, stimulated by this. It struck a chord, memories of good times when she, Dad, and I would sail. I got excited by the idea of going sailing again.

So much so, in fact, that when we went to step the mast, I was almost as upset as her when we found one of the stays had frayed and was no longer safe; no sailing until that could be replaced. Two weeks, she finally got the new stays (they had to be ordered), and we went back to step the mast and sail for the first time in the season.

She, my niece, and I stepped the mast, readied the boat, got it in the water. This was going to be really cool. A nice shakedown sail to refresh my memory and skills. My niece got the rudder and tiller in place and lowered the centerboard.

My sister and I boarded the boat, and we set about raising the sails. We coasted gently from the dock, my sister and niece getting a feel for the wind and the sails. I was a little twitchy, not having been on a sailboat for all those years.

Then, we started sailing. Or rather, they started sailing. Within minutes of picking up speed – not even heeling the boat – nothing was right. I was hit by a very deep and pervasive panic.

Panting, quivering, jumping at the snap of the sails in the wind, I began trying to find ways off the boat. It got so bad, I let it take me. When I did, part of my brainthingy took over and put me into a pre-verbal, pre-rational mode

Instead of being irrational and jumping out of the boat (it would have been physically fine, I was wearing a life-vest), I cowered into the bottom of the boat by the centerboard. I put my weight where it would have the least effect on the boat and the boat’s motion would have the least effect on my perceptions. I kept my head down, my eyes away from the outside of the boat aside from occasional panic-scans of my environment.

My sister and niece were, of course, not oblivious. By the time I reached this state, we were sufficiently far enough down wind of the dock to make it a bit of a trip back. They tacked broadly into the wind, sacrificing the speed they could have gotten in order to keep the boat on as even a keel as possible.

As often as safely possible they would touch my shoulder to pat me and speak soothingly. It kept me from shattering, it allowed me to understand that they were getting me back to the shore as quickly as possible. It helped me to stay still and safe; it kept the irrational from taking over. It kept me from The Pit.

Once ashore, my sister helped me get under a tree; I collapsed there and let my mind go away. It took a while to become verbal again, not until we were well on our way back home in the car.

I have been thinking about this experience; examining it from every angle, in every mode I can. I still want to go sailing. I still want to feel the sheets as they tighten with the wind in the sails; the pull of the rudder on the tiller, the satisfaction of a smart tack into the wind, the agony of ‘being in irons’.

It is like so much in my life right now. I have lost so much in these last two years. Or, rather, I have realized how much I lost in the preceding years. How much I put on hold, or simply discarded, or let myself go blind to; somethings were better, but all too many of them got worse as my repressed depression got worse.

And why? Why? Because I convinced myself that I had to. Please note those words, I used them with care and deliberation. Because I convinced myself that I had to in order to be happy. I gave up what made me me. I felt that in order to keep the love of my ex-wife, I had to change.

I had forgotten that if someone does not love you for who you are, not who you were or could be, but who you are, then they do not love you. At best they love a shadow of you, but usually they are just fooling themselves and condemning the both of you to a dismal time, a misery. There is a corollary to that, as well: if you don’t love yourself for who you are, again, not who you could be or were, then you don’t love yourself, and you won’t truly love someone else.

My sister, her partner, and my niece accept me, love me for who I am. My sister and niece were upset that I was upset, not that they had to cut the sailing short. I accept them, I love them for who they are. The trust I have in them was strengthened, not lessened, by this experience. In deed, part of the reason I was able to cope is because I trust my sister, her partner, my niece; this merely demonstrated the worthiness of that trust. If only I could trust myself to that degree again.

When you sail, you sail in the now. You sail accepting that the wind will do as it will; you cannot change the wind, it will change of itself. You may be able to anticipate – really good sailors can – but must work with the wind in flux. You must accept the wind, just as you must accept people for who they are, not as you wish them to be.

Glossary:

Step, stepping: putting the mast up after storing the boat for the winter with it down.

Heeling: this is when the boat looks like it is about to fall over and drown every one on board. It usually does not. It happens when you are trying to sail in the direction the wind is blowing from. See Tack.

Mast: the big pole sticking up that holds the sails.

Stay: a cable or rope that helps to hold and stabilize the mast so that it does not fall off or over.

Sheet: a rope that is attached to the sail, used to control it.

Tack, Tacking: sometimes you want to go in the direction the wind is blowing from, or ‘into the wind’. You do this by turning from side to side not quite into the wind. This is also when you usually heel. The closer into the wind you are, the faster you go and the farther you heel. Broader means you go slower, and usually don’t heel as much.

Centerboard: a board that sticks down from the center of the boat, a miniature keel. It helps to stablize the boat when you heel, among other things.

Tiller, Rudder: this dynamic duo is how you steer the boat. The rudder sticks down in the water, and the tiller is the handle for moving the rudder.

In irons: term for when the wind is no longer blowing into the sails, which means you aren’t going anywhere. Now that makes sense.

June 13, 2010 Posted by | autobio, depression, love, recovery, sailing, suicide, trust | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nightmarish Iterations

Between 1:30 am and 7:15 am, June 6, 2010;
could Jack Bauer handle this?

I am standing in front of my easel when she comes in. Her foot taps, and I start to get the flush across my body that happens when I think I have forgotten something. I wait for her to speak, but she is making me wait, trying to force me to speak first. I rack my brain trying to remember. My concentration is blown, my artistic momentum gone.
I turn to ask what is wrong, but she turns away as I turn toward her. She leaves, knowing I must now put things away, clean my brushes, and stop for the day. I do so and look for her.
I search the house. It occurs to me that while this is our house, and I live here, I have never been here before. The rooms are dark even though it is noon and no shades are down, no curtains hide the world outside. There are shadows everywhere, doors that make no sense, nothing is familiar although I recognize it all.
I search and search, from the basement up. There is no-one here. I can’t find her, our son is not here, the cats are not here. My reflections in the mirrors are unfamiliar, showing only confusion and despair. Where are they, where am I?
As I search, traveling up the stairs, examining each floor, every room, I begin to hear voices low and indistinct. Every time I think I have reached the top floor of the house, I find another staircase going up. The voices get closer, but remain low and indistinct. I become more and more frantic; I feel that something is very wrong, she is in trouble, our son is in trouble. I can’t find them.
They are gone.

I am standing in front of my easel when she comes in. Her foot taps, and I start to get the flush across my body that happens when I think I have forgotten something. I wait for her to speak, but she is making me wait, trying to force me to speak first. I rack my brain trying to remember. My concentration is blown, my artistic momentum gone.
I turn to ask what is wrong, but she turns away as I turn toward her. She leaves, knowing I must now put things away, clean my brushes, and stop for the day. I do so and look for her.
As I step out of the door, talons rend my flesh, beaks pluck and ravage my ears and eyes. I scream soundlessly, endlessly. My blood is everywhere, my hands plead for mercy, my feet shatter.
My guts spill across an endless ocean. My intestines entwine about my neck, squeezing, twisting, crushing. My hair catches fire and writhes away in the wind. My tongue has been shredded into maggoty snakes of disgust.
Laughter I cannot hear fills my soul, echoing in my skull, devouring my spirit.

I am standing in front of my easel when she comes in. Her foot taps, and I start to get the flush across my body that happens when I think I have forgotten something. I wait for her to speak, but she is making me wait, trying to force me to speak first. I rack my brain trying to remember. My concentration is blown, my artistic momentum gone.
I turn to ask what is wrong, but she turns away as I turn toward her. She leaves, knowing I must now put things away, clean my brushes, and stop for the day. I do so and look for her.
She is in the shower and the both of our towels are hanging, ready to be grabbed, a sign she wants me to join her. I strip, excited and desiring her. I step into the shower behind her as she washes her hair. I slide my hands up her back and into the froth of lather, the feel of her hair caressing me.
I rub her scalp, working the shampoo through her hair, then grab the shower head on its hose and rinse her. As I rinse, I realize that while this is her, I don’t know who this person is. I don’t recall meeting her. Her curves, her limbs, the structure of her face and body are familiar, but the eyes and the way the mouth are held are unknown to me.
The beautiful woman I was cleaning is gone, leaving a stranger in her place.
I put the shower head back and try to get out of the shower. I’m confused and hurt. She grabs me, enfolds me in her arms. I’m scared, terrified of this person. The shower spews acid that melts me and she engulfs me, pressing me into myself, makes me smaller. She stuffs me into the drain and I am washed away.

I am standing in front of my easel when she comes in. Her foot taps, and I start to get the flush across my body that happens when I think I have forgotten something. I wait for her to speak, but she is making me wait, trying to force me to speak first. I rack my brain trying to remember. My concentration is blown, my artistic momentum gone.
I turn to ask what is wrong, but she turns away as I turn toward her. She leaves, knowing I must now put things away, clean my brushes, and stop for the day. I do so and look for her.
I hear the door lock behind me and turn. She is there, the key in her hand as she strokes my hair, my face, my body. Her kisses caress me, drain me.
I fall to the bed. She grabs my cock and strokes me more. I cannot move except to thrust into her hand. She mounts me, fucks me. It hurts. Her vagina is made of jagged glass, ripping me, rending me. Her fingers claw into my chest. My heart is tossed to the side, into the trash. My lungs are filled with her bile, my skull hollowed out as pain racks my body. I orgasm not from pleasure, but fear and anguish.
She stamps on my body, ululating in triumph as my semen leaks from her and melts my body into a steel floor.

I am standing in front of my easel when she comes in. Her foot taps, and I start to get the flush across my body that happens when I think I have forgotten something. I wait for her to speak, but she is making me wait, trying to force me to speak first. I rack my brain trying to remember. My concentration is blown, my artistic momentum gone.
I turn to ask what is wrong, but she turns away as I turn toward her. She leaves, knowing I must now put things away, clean my brushes, and stop for the day. I do so and look for her.
She is in the kitchen, cooking. She is cutting up a large carcass, blood streaking her face, hair, and body. She smiles sweetly at me and offers me the skull. It is a bear and I vomit profusely as I recognize myself.
I am bound in my chair. A fork pushes meat at my mouth, hands pull to open my jaws. My tears dissolve in pools of pain. I cannot hold my jaws closed much longer. She beats me with my claws, tearing me apart to make me cry out.
I am smeared in my blood, shit, bile, piss, brains, and fear. Spitted and turning above the fire, feeling my skin, my self, my soul crisping, charring, burning, cracking. My heart bursts and my blood feeds her fire as it consumes me.

I am standing in front of my easel when she comes in. Her foot taps, and I start to get the flush across my body that happens when I think I have forgotten something. I wait for her to speak, but she is making me wait, trying to force me to speak first. I rack my brain trying to remember. My concentration is blown, my artistic momentum gone.
I turn to ask what is wrong, but she turns away as I turn toward her. She leaves, knowing I must now put things away, clean my brushes, and stop for the day. I do so and look for her.
She beckons me into the dining room. The house is dark, and she giggles as I stumble slightly. When I get into the dining room, the lights snap on and “surprise!”
Everyone is there who has ever hurt me. People long forgotten, people from yesterday. As they flicker in and out, wraiths of all my pain inhabit them and make them real. My self-doubts cut me up and serve me with ice-cream. Regrets and guilts ice me over, coating me in sweetly destructive hatred.
My fingers burn with no-one to blow them out.

I am standing in front of my easel when she comes in. Her foot taps, and I start to get the flush across my body that happens when I think I have forgotten something. I wait for her to speak, but she is making me wait, trying to force me to speak first. I rack my brain trying to remember. My concentration is blown, my artistic momentum gone.
I turn to ask what is wrong, but she turns away as I turn toward her. She leaves, knowing I must now put things away, clean my brushes, and stop for the day. I do so and look for her.
She is carefully packing my canvases into the car. When I grab some and bring them over, she looks at me, a reproachful smile painted on her face. The show! My exhibit! She had arranged it for me, and I had forgotten that today was the day!
We finish loading them in and drive to the gallery. A wind storm kicks up as we unload the canvases. We struggle to carry them in.
No one is there, we can’t find the lights, there are no hangers, and the ice for the punch has melted all over the ceiling; it drips monotonously like a pendulum’s swing. We get the pictures up and the lights turned on as people begin to arrive. I stand at the entrance, greeting people as she shows them around. I am happy, people are conversing and there is laughter.
The laughter turns mocking, the conversations disparaging. I try to turn around, but my feet have somehow become glued to the floor. I twist my body to see what is happening, what is wrong. People look at me in pitying disgust.
My paintings are nothing but smears of shit and blood punctuated by bile and piss. Mold and maggots spread across the walls. Cockroaches crawl on the paintings and and leap into drinks, hair, and clothing.
The doors slam open, and the canvases are ripped from the walls by tornadoes that writhe like drugged worms. I am battered and crushed to the ground. She stands over me, surrounded by the people she has invited, points to me, sneers and walks away with them.
I have no hands, my feet are nailed to the ground, my mouth filled with ordure and filth, my ears with her mocking disdain. A raven shits on my head and a dog pisses on my face.

I am standing in front of my easel when she comes in. Her foot taps, and I start to get the flush across my body that happens when I think I have forgotten something. I wait for her to speak, but she is making me wait, trying to force me to speak first. I rack my brain trying to remember. My concentration is blown, my artistic momentum gone.
I turn to ask what is wrong, but she turns away as I turn toward her. She leaves, knowing I must now put things away, clean my brushes, and stop for the day. I do so and look for her.
She stands at the front door. I forgot. I have to take the trash out. She gives me the “what am I going to do with you” look.
Smiling sheepishly I take the bag with me in it. She opens the door and kisses me. When she closes it behind me, I see that I am holding nothing, standing nowhere in a boundless desert.

June 6, 2010 Posted by | autobio, depression, Dream, nightmare, recovery, suicide | Leave a comment

The Ninth Circle

OK, this is more or less stream of consciousness.  I have put the Seven Day project on hold indefinitely.  I have too much to work through before it can come to fruition.

Suicide is still something I live with everyday.  Memories are triggered by the smallest things and I cannot seem to break or re-channel the cycles.  It is worse, because I cannot stop thinking about either of two women; my ex and “Babycat”.

I am torn between the past and the future; my present has been one of limbo and looks to remain that way for awhile.  Ideas form, plans start, then a crush of painful, blighted memory and Sisyphian hope traps me, sapping my will, my strength, my spirit.  Only when I draw, or write, or create my digital works, or paint do I have anything resembling relief.

I think I have given up trying for happiness.  And forget about love.  I can no longer contemplate inflicting my life, my self like that upon another person.  I yearn for it, burn for it, need it so badly.  The unconditional sharing and commitment entwining two souls into one.  But, having felt it once, or at least thinking I had, having fooled myself that I shared that way with another, I no longer trust it, no longer trust myself.

And to my ex, NO!  This is MY fault, not yours.  If you think I am blaming you, well that’s your problem, not mine; so keep it to yourself, please.  I am the one who did not question my relationship to you sufficiently.  If I had then I would divorced you before we had been married two year.  Of course, then our son would not have been born.  *sigh*  It truly is an ill wind that blows no good.

What it comes down to is that while I am precluded from completing suicide, I have no real reason to live.  Desire to?  Yes, inasmuch as I have a fair survival instinct.

As much as I want to, as much as my instincts tell me to trust in Babycat, I can’t permit myself to reach out that way.  I started to, I started to come out of The Pit.
I began to reach out, knowing that the least that would happen would be the gaining of a new friend.  Which did happen; I am profoundly grateful.

There is always a ‘But’, right?  One comment and I cracked.  I had no defense, no sense of self worth sufficient unto the day.  I failed, spiraling down again.  Down into The Pit, into the Ninth Circle.  Frozen in my betrayal of Self, glimpsing past Lucifer to reflections of Heaven’s Gates.

How do I forgive myself?  I cannot get past my subversion of self-preservation, my instincts screaming at me to flee a bad choice in marriage partner, my failure to recognize the worst threat to my Self: myself.

One of my people, the Bear people, was sitting on a rock in the hills after a particularly satisfying round of mating followed by berry-eating.  The sun was warm, the breeze just cool enough, and he slept.

He dreamt of his otherself; the cabin, the family, the days of toil and the nights of rest, the times of joy, anger, contentment, and sorrow.  As he dreamt, a branch snapped loudly by his ear.  He awoke, startled and afraid.  He reacted to protect himself and clawed out at the shape that loomed in his eyes.  He roared his pain and fear, smelt the blood, and felt his Self leak away into nothingness.

His life ended then.  He still ate, slept, shat, toiled and rested, but it was meaningless.  There was no more contentment, anger, sorrow, or joy. His home was empty, his days and nights an endless endurance of pointless activities.

I don’t wish to die, but I have no true hold on this life anymore.  It has leaked away into nothingness.  I fear knowing it will always be so and fear hoping it won’t.

May 26, 2010 Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery, suicide | , , , | Leave a comment

Day Seven, soon

I seem to have a couple or so people who check back at this site. I’m assuming you want the rest of “remembering to create: Day (x)”. I am working on days Seven and Zero even as we squeak. Really I am in spite (ha) of my ex’s recent “piss on you and all your works” attempt to blow my healing out of the water. I’m thinking of moving those to a separate page that would be more appropriately titled. Why? because there are more things to say then I had originally thought. it may beneficial for people to read some of the things that happen to a person who is not under treatment for depression. To read some of the things that they do. I did some things that were not so good, that I am not proud of. I am going to tell about them with both the outward, visible events/actions and the internal, subjective views; I will tell why I did what I did.

Some people would advise against this. And for understandable reasons. This culture has a messed up, an insane, attitude towards mental illness. You may want to skip the next paragraph or so, because here comes the socio-political “liberal” (if you really need a silly label) rant.

As a species, we need to grow up. Seriously, we need to get mature and get over ourselves. I have yet to know, meet, interact with a number of humans over the amount of zero who do not box people away to some degree; who do not label away individuality, who do not marginalize someone. This includes me, I know I am as guilty of this as most people. Most of us know it is wrong. And we hate it when it is done to us.

At various times and places around the world, human cultures have decided that various people were the acme and others the nadir of all that is human. In the United States of America, for the longest time there was an overt prejudice in favor of the melanistically deprived, Y-chromosome carrying, Protestant who spoke a particular language. Anyone who did not conform to this socio-physical template, or defer properly to those who did, was persecuted, and even prosecuted. It was so pervasive, so insidiously embedded in the culture that it is still attempting to undo the effects of it.

Part of virtually every culture’s acceptable social template ostracizes the mentally ill. Before the discovery of the neuro-chemical basis of mental illness and the attempts by pioneers in psychiatry and psychology to unravel the causes, this ostracism was to some extent understandable. Severe and untreated mental illness does present a risk to the sufferer, their immediate associates, and, in some cases, society at large.

But this particular ostracism is no longer needed, nor has it ever been desirable, in the majority. Comprehension of the neuro-chemical processes that form the basis of mood regulation has led to the development of a range of medications effective at treating depression, schizophrenia, paranoia, bi-polar disorders, and their kith and kin.

Medication is not a cure; I will repeat this, and beat it into the ground as it has to remembered.  It modifies the neuro-chemical cycles, but only for as long as the medication is in the body; when the dosage is discontinued or drops below a threshold, it is no longer effective.  Some medications are effecitve in some people but not others.  Also, medications can for some reasons loose effectiveness and the cycles return to the undesired state.

For seasonal or episodic depressions, this is not so much an issue.  The neuro-chemistry fluctuates away from a beneficial cycle, needs bolstering during the episode, then returns to it.  Please note, the medication does not cure the imbalance, any more than Nyquil cures a sinus infection.  The medication treats the symptoms while the body re-sets to its prior state.  Once the episode is over, the medication can be safely withdrawn.

But clinical depression is not a temporary imbalance, it is permanent.  The cycle is not functioning properly, and never will.  Proper and effective medication then becomes essential to the mental well-being of the sufferer.  Medication, however, is not enough.  It is conceivable that if caught early enough and with a proper medication regimen applied immediately, that would be all that was needed.

But life, as we all know, is not perfect.  Because it is not, because the education and compassion are lacking, depression etal., may go unrecognized or unacknowedged for years, and hence untreated. By the time it may be diagnosed and medically treated, the habits of depressive thinking are already formed.  The cause is moderated, but the symptoms remain.

This is where therapy comes in.  I know from personal experience, research, and interaction with other depressives, that therapy is essential to recovering and maintaining healthy personal and social functioning.  In some cases it is the only way we can find our way to it for the first time in our lives.

This two-fold approach to treating depression is highly effective, but only when applied diligently and as an on-going effort.  It loses its efficacy when either side is allowed to lapse.  A downspiral back into The Pit becomes virtually inevitable.  For those of us who have experienced joy again, or for the first time, this return is devastating; many of us cannot, will not, bear it again, we suicide.

This is where the most important third factor in recovery and continued mental well-being comes in.  The other people in our lives, loved ones, friends, co-workers.  The people who see us everyday, or most days.  The ones who can help us distinguish between everyday unordinary sadness, anger, excitement and the insidious creeping in of Depression and Depressive thinking.

We need these people.  We need to have those who are not looking at us for their own agenda, who want us depressed – and they do exist.  They may not realize that is what they want from us; then again, some consciously want us that way, their own compliant and dependant emotional, and sometimes physical, punching bag.  I have frequently noted that these people seem to be closet depressives themselves.  As psycho-pathologists can confirm, the most abusive people have been victims of abuse as well.

We need to make sure we have loving, personal support.  We need each other and we need those who do not suffer from clincal depression.  And society needs us.  We are artists, factory workers, lawyers, inventors, police officers, caregivers, friends, lovers, relatives, siblings, and parents.  We have valuable insights and shoulders to cry on, we have laughter, we have passion, we have righteous anger and merciful compassion, we are you and you are us, we need each other.  I don’t want you to take care of me, I want you to help me take care of myself, as I will help you.  If your hand has arthritis, you don’t cut it off, you treat the arthritis and continue with your life.

December 18, 2009 Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery, suicide | , , , | Leave a comment

The Pit

In every clincal depressive’s life there are many people who don’t ‘get it’. In fact most people don’t ‘get it’. They don’t get that clinical depression in not something you get over, that is cured. They don’t get that we don’t really like to stay in bed all day, that we don’t want to be uninterested in life, unable to be happy.

It has taken me a long time to understand that the person I adored, that I was constantly sacrificing my own ambitions and needs for, was the person who did not ‘get it’ most. This was my ex-wife, who suffering from anxiety and panic disorder had me on call 24/7/365(6 in leap years) to the point where three employers threatened to write me up for excessive personal phone time. I did it then, and would still do it (well, I would if I knew I would not get abuse), because I know what it is to be afraid.

She was, and still is, the one who denigrated every aspiration I have ever had or have. She is the one who puts me down saying that all I ever do is play the blame game and tell the poor, poor me tale. Even after I had been diagnosed with depression and started treatment for it while we were married, she kept that up. She still does it to this day.

I’m telling this now, for admittedly two reasons. One is that On 12/14/09, she felt the need to denigrate my attempts at healing, and at reaching out to others to heal. The other reason is infinitely more important and salient to this blog.

Her recent denigration has prompted me to write about those who don’t ‘get it’, who refuse to ‘get it’, and those who do but want to keep us down to bolster their own egos, the ones who are afraid of facing the reality of depression or of their own feelings of inferiority and vulnerability.

We have those people, for some of us it seems that is all we have. That those are the only people in our lives. I know of one depressive woman whose husband has cut her off from virtually every source of support she had, and who has told relatives, friends, and neighbors that the reason she does not leave the house is that she is sick, physically. The one person she turned to who ‘got it’ she is forbidden to contact. After her suicide attempt, he forced her into a group program (where I met her) but still keeps her cut off.

My ex does not know, and will probably deny, that I attempted suicide several times during our marriage. Until recently, I had blocked memory of some of those attempts. It was only a remark made in depression derived anger that prompted us to get me to a therapist, and even then, she was not part of therapy except in a negative sense. In truth, I think she was more concerned about me behaving in a manner detrimental to her career more than concerned for me that prompted her meagre support.

And this is all part of The Pit. The worst part, for me at least. To be committed to a person who not only does not ‘get it’, but uses our depression against us or who assigns our depression the role of a burden they have to carry.

And to pile on top of that, our culture places a severe stigma on depressives, especially those who have attempted suicide. This makes it even easier for the oh-so burdened people in our lives to put themselves in a martyr’s position, as my ex-wife has done.

You know what I have to say to that? Bollocks! If this supposed loved one willfully does not ‘get it’, then they are showing a lack of love, compassion, and empathy; they are showing their own weakness and refusal to face that weakness.

Please do not confuse this with an honest non-comprehension of your situation. Some people really just don’t get it, even after they have been given all the information. This is not their fault, and the two of you can find a way for them to be supportive. Having them talk to your psychiatrist or therapist may help. They may still not ‘get it’, but at least they will be able to help you, or at least not do something to hold you back.

The one thing we depressives really need from those we love is patience. Getting to a stable point, getting to the place where no longer need to hide in our beds, where we can have fun and be interested in life, where we no longer want to die takes time. Sometimes a lot of time.

It is not an overnight recovery, and – I’ll say it again and keep repeating it – there is no cure. We may relapse, or start spiralling down again. Something small, seemingly inconsequential may trigger it. It may just be that that small thing is what breaks the camel’s back and we are actually overwhelmed by a bunch of things that we seemed to be handling well. The camel keeps moving until its back is broken, friends.

Patience is something those who willfully don’t ‘get it’ lack. Because of their denial of the reality of the situation, they want us to be cured right now with a miracle cure. Many think that because we are taking our celexa, sertraline, effexor, or whatever SSRI or MAOI we are taking that we are now cured. They don’t understand why we haven’t just jumped out of bed and are doing their bidding again overnight. Patience. We want to, we really do. We want to want to take walks, to go out and eat, to visit friends, family, museums, to laugh and cry with everyone else.

But we still need time. We still need for the meds to take affect, to make sure they are the right meds. We need to talk to our therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. We need to look at how we think, the downward cyclic habits of thought that our neuro-chemical imbalance have induced and how to break out of those patterns. Sometimes we need to identify the negative influences on us and find ways of turning them positive; failing that we need to know how to neutralize them.
So I end this portion of the blog with some heartfelt gratitude. I want to sincerely thank my ex-wife for divorcing me, finally. I am grateful that one of us was able to own up to our marriage being a grave mistake. I am, in a sense, grateful that she has seen fit to try and keep re-opening old wounds since the divorce. And I would be “forever” grateful for her to stay divorced from me and my life, if only she can find the strength to do so. Goodbye to someone who does not ‘get it’.

December 16, 2009 Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery, suicide | , , | Leave a comment

thoughts, not a day

Today marks a new phase for me on writing this blog, this test draft. I received feedback from someone who has been touched by the effects of suicide. It was very validating feedback even though the events were mixed. One completed suicide, one mercifully uncompleted.
Please note, there are no successful or unsuccessful suicides, only dead people and survivors. There are the people who kill themselves There are the people who do not, for whatever reason, complete the act of killing themselves and end up having to live with that. There are the people who have to live with loss or near loss of a loved one.
If you read the rest of this blog, this draft, you will find that I consider myself to be in all three categories. I have lost people dear to me to suicide, I have survived a number of suicide attempts, and in some senses I have actually killed myself. At some point, I may talk about that last further.
I am not expecting anything from life anymore except to have opportunities. To have the chance to do what I must, need, and desire to do. As an artist the opportunity that means the most to me is to touch another life, soul, person. I am hoping, as it did with the feedback that prompted this posting, that my efforts will be beneficial in some way. That I will leave the world at least a little better for my efforts.
These posts bare my soul, my thoughts, my vulnerabilities, my strengths. I am a phoenix now, re-birthing my self from the ashes of a dead life. I have clinical depression, and always will. I am always on guard, vigilant that depression does not consume me again. But I am still the phoenix.
My days are not always good. My days are not always bad. I have stretches when things go well emotionally, and I have stretches when just getting out of bed seems not worth the effort. I have a woman I am building a relationship with; she is fully aware of my situation, as I am of hers. Her situation is not for airing here though.

December 14, 2009 Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery, suicide | , , , | Leave a comment

remembering to create: Day Six

DISCLAIMER: The statistics and research quoted here were gleaned from a number of reputable websites dealing with depression and suicide.  These quotes are intended to give an idea, a scientific sense of an emotional dis-ease, not to make concrete assertions about depression and recovery.

A quick survey of websites shows that anywhere from 14 to 19 million people, a range of 6.5 to 9.5% of the adult United States population suffers from major depression, the majority of whom are women.  The 1999 White House Conference on Mental Health found that at least two-thirds of the reported 30000 suicides per year are due to depression, roughly the same ration of sufferers do not seek treatment or help.  It is also reported that for every two homicides, there are three suicides.

When I started writing this, I had some thought of a mainstream success story.  An idea that I could be cured, or would be better.  This, however, is not a story like that.  This is a narrative of dealing with clinical depression.  Clinical depression does not go away, it is not curable, it does not fade into a happy ever after ending.

The basis of clinical depression lies within the serotonin cycle of the brain; it is rooted in the mechanics of neurochemistry.  Cycling serotonin through the system too quickly throws mood regulation, and other brain functions, off balance, triggering a cascade of adverse effects including depression.  The functioning of the cycle is “set” by the interplay of various genes.  We carry these genes, they set our biochemical cycles, and usually, we are more or less fine.

But when the genes interact in certain ways and we are stressed emotionally by our environment, our mood may swing too far into a depressive trend and we do not think about things as optimistically as a situation may warrant.  In most cases, when the environmental stress is relieved, our mood lightens and thinking returns to an optimum.  This is situational depression and may include the holiday blues.

Sometimes, however, our mood does not lighten when the stress is relieved.  We continue to think the worst, and to spiral further and further into depression.  We cannot escape feeling that nothing will get better.  This situation which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and problems mount up.  This is clinical depression, an insidious condition that debilitates millions.  In some, as it did with me, this downward spiral continues until death becomes an attractive option; suicide is attempted and sometimes achieved.

My dreams were a muddle of colors and shapes.  Nothing stayed still, and I could not capture it all.  My roommate had left the day before.  Things were changing, and I had to move with them.  I felt the urge to draw, to paint, to hop on my computer and create a new world.

I was glad to wake up, and was actually looking forward to the day.  Breakfast was good, I talked and ate with a new feeling of life.  In the corner of my mind’s eye, however, I could see the shadow of depression waiting, biding its time; looking for a chance to insidiously insinuate itself into my psyche again.

I had to hold it at bay, to find a way I could experience a day without shadows of depression.

I let myself eat, let myself enjoy my food as much as I could.  I could not hold the conversations to my mind so they drifted about like hyperactive butterflies.  I know I spoke, but of what?  I know I listened, but what did I hear?

All the life, light, and words around me were just so much fuzz.  I was at the helm of the S.S. Minnow, fighting a calm, confusing sea of re-, de-, im-, com-, ex-, and su-  pressions.  A three hour tour and I had no coconuts to make a radio with.  *sigh*

Group sessions were not really more of the same, though an outsider might not have perceived that.  We talked of things we had talked about before, but the players changed, perspectives changed, ideas changed.  Moods swung in different ways as we chased our shadows along less trodden paths.

I don’t know when clarity came.  She came in through the bathroom window and sat next to us as we talked, as we learned about our meds, about safety plans, about what life can be like.  She held my hand as I sat there, the words washing over and through me.

No epiphany, no satori, no ‘aha’.  She just crept in and was there all along like a cat sleeping after the lamp broke.  I was going to be depressive all my life.  I am going to be depressive all my life.  I will never be cured.  I can learn to encompass, to hand, to manage my depression.  There is NO cure.

But, there is life, there is hope, there is a course to hold to, a series of lighthouses to help avoid the rocks and reefs, and there are people.  People who will be a life preserver, people who are a life line, and people who “get it” as no-one else can.  They are everywhere.  Some may be family or friends, some may be but a stranger passed on the street, some we may never meet or ever be aware of.

We may not have any family or friends who “get it”.  But we can have each other.  Many of us have our hands out for each other.  We are the walking wounded who will support you, who know that moment when it all stops.  We know The Pit, the Shadow, the Lord of Despair, the cowering Lord of Self-Loathing, the Lord of Autothanatic Urges, the Lord of Depression.

The meds do not cure us; they allow the chance to live with depression.  It is possible to be sad, angry, even indifferent without it withering our life and drying up beauty.  And when we reach out, we can help each other on our climb out of the pit to breathe fresh air.

And evening and morning were the sixth day.

December 3, 2009 Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery, suicide | , , , | Leave a comment

delay on Day Six

I don’t know if anyone is following this.  I am having trouble with Day Six as in many ways it is the pivotal day, but not much happened overtly.  I am getting there, though.

November 9, 2009 Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery, suicide | Leave a comment

remembering to create: Day Five

The sun shone on my eyes.  My face was warm and comfortable.  I lazed up out of sleep and uncurled in a massive stretch.  Morning had woken like the first dawn.
It was still a wrench to wake up, but I was not completely disappointed.  Oh, well.  I got out of bed, dressed, and shambled down the hall in search of caffeine.  I stopped to let them see if I had blood pressure and a pulse rate, then continued on in search of caffeine and food.  The fog lifted as I talked with my psychiatrist and caseworker.  They wanted to know how I was doing, were the meds working yet, was I sleeping well.  We talked for awhile, before I could articulate that I was not actively suicidal, but passively.  That I could just sit and stop, that it was attractive, a comforting thought.  I would not seek it out, but I would not prevent it.  Dying was better, but I would not deliberately stop living.

Vitals, breakfast, meds.  A routine.  A comfort.  I had thought before coffee, no other god to worship.  My Lord Depression rages from his cages, a jealous and vengeful god that eats my joy, my hope, my fear, my anger, my life, my brain, my soul.  Eats them, eats me, and shits out a wall, a fog, a barrier to life.  Brain on fire, twisted in a wire cage of gleaming nothing, sitting and feeling itself.

I sat in the room, a cold room on a hot day, alone.  Where was everyone?  Why was everyone not here?  The door opened.  A ghost of hope, a wisp of wrathful regret, a resentful loss of control, and a wistful wish drifted in, greeting the day with a smile in front of the cowering Lord of Self-Loathing, Lord of Autothanatic Urges, Lord of Depression.

She had a name I did not want to hear, for all that I liked it.  She looked like the beautiful daughter of Tommy Lee Jones and Angelina Jolie after she had been stripped of all her joy, her hope, her life, her child.  Married to the Lord of Denial, of You Will Deny What I Can Not Face, of Thou Shalt Have No Other Feelings Before Me.  I wanted to destroy the bastard for what he was doing to her; tangling her in webs of control, getting her in the system and drugged up so she can not fight, breathe, live as herself, deal with her deep grief, be free.
In chess, you win by eliminating your opponent’s choices, by keeping them reacting to your moves and not allowing them to initiate action.  You take control and never surrender it.  She had lost initiative, surrendered her life, her self.  A hollow beauty, eaten by the soulless wonders of fear and loss.  Her pawns were gone, one Bishop wandering in a crazed imitation of the lone Knight who just circled her King.  Castled and both Rooks gone; the Queen had been bound and gagged, carted from the board like, well, she herself had been.
The more she spoke, the more I realized that all she really needed was for her husband to just stop running from the close touch of death and acknowledge her pain.  It could not be anyone else, due to the trigger of this series of events.  But she had been tossed aside like a Raggedy Ann whose stuffing was coming out of the back of her head.  Anger was followed closely by its sib, Depression.

I wanted to act.  I wanted to hold her, to tell her everything was horrible now, but she could learn to take this depression and incorporate it, become one with it and deny it power.  To let her know that she had not done it, yes; it seemed to be impossible and she could not do it, but that was not true; she had merely not done it yet.  Simply remove a comma and shift a letter one spot and she could look forward to doing it.
But.  But, but, but.  It was hopeless.  How could I hope to tell her that when I had woken up 6 days ago with an exploded garbage bag on my head?  Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.  Oh, I could teach, but could I lead, or even just walk alongside, those who I hoped to help?  I cold not even help myself; I was a lost cause in a sea of fog.  And bidden by the dark beckoning beacon of my despair, My Lord of the Pit came forth to bring me to haven.

I found myself once again talking with others, saying things that let them smile as I watched from the pits and longed for the cool green meadows of yesteryears that never existed.  I cried, and silently sang to the heavens of hell’s bliss and the tortures of feeling and caring that heaven brought.
As I sat in groups, ate my lunch, felt the sun on my skin, I stood and screamed defiance to the large black clouds that rained down pains of the years and decades, that stuck me time and again for eternity with bolts of self-hatred and the agony of longing.  I ran from the hail of words that I had taken to myself, only to hide in a wallow of self pity and loathing.  Thronging fogs of those who had wronged me, who I had wronged, who were nothing and everything, rolled across the plains, bringing razors of memory.

Memory.  I was blessed with the curse of remembering everything hurtful that I and others had said to each other.  I could remember who said what to whom and how it felt.  The demonic legions of my memory fell over each other in their eagerness to attack the inch high parapets of my soul.  Easy pickings, I felt the rope before it broke, the clutch of strychnine in my gut, the rush of air as I fell, the blissful sting of the knife’s edge on my arm, the warm embrace of the bag on my head.  I felt them, strong and happy feelings of finally getting it over with, this endless, hopeless torment of trying and reaching, and losing.  Game over and fuck the score.
Then I would remember falling when the rope broke, the two days of cramps and diarrhea, the smack of parking lot asphalt on the soles of my feet, the scabbing of blood, of waking with an exploded bag on my head.  Of failing to cease existing.  The ultimate failure, the inability to succeed at killing yourself.  Not because someone interrupted you, that had never happened to me, but because fate, physics, the divine, random reality attacks, SOMETHING – who knows what, you can call it what you feel like calling it – steps in or takes effect and counters my actions, renders them invalid, void, and vexes me to no end.  Yet another tooth in My Lord Depression’s bulldog jaw.

Dinner; games of pool, the vector angles and momentum moments, the click-clack-thunk of balls, and the shine of stars in a desperate sky twisting with joyous fears.
I sat with Ophelia as she played with form and color; lost in her world, watching from the corners of ours.  The smile on her lips as she did what she could to keep the predators at bay, to show them that she could outrun them.  Where others have domesticated them, we run from them, desperately trying to live and let live.
Her hair was alive as I watched her color.  I was more than half in love with her, wanting to make a space for her to work in, to protect and help her as she found her way home, to give her a means to fly again.   The flames flowed felicitously down her back, twitching tremulously as I alliterated liberally longing for fortuitous forms.  *sigh*
Without hesitating or looking up, she pushed a blank mandala to me and some color pencils; purples, blues, and greens.  There was no one else around.  I sat for a moment, fearful of yet another failure.  Her smile shrugged and twitched in rhyme with her fiery hair.  My Lord shrugged with her; failure would help him, success would not diminish him.  I began to lay down fields of color, not really trying to accomplish anything except to let Ophelia know I would try.
Insanity is not the loss of reason, it is the surrender to what lies within all of us, it is surrender to the neuro-chemical imbalances that overwhelm us at times, it is surrender to the thoughts of self-destruction that loom with in us all, and abandoning of our innate desire to protect each other and help each other for the innately inane joys of senseless destruction and violence.  Creation demands commitment, demands caring, Destruction demands only surrender.
I sat back.  Before me lay something that had not existed ten minutes earlier.  I wondered where it had come from and looked around before I realized that it was the mandala Ophelia had given me to work.  She paused in her own work, looked at my mandala, and said in a high, clear but faint voice, “I think that is really pretty, thank you” before going back to work.

and evening and morning were the fifth day…

October 3, 2009 Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery, suicide | Leave a comment

remembering to create: day four

I was getting tired of waking up. Nothing was right, my brain was not mine. All of this was just too much. Much too much. The walk down the hall, the vitals being taken, breakfast. It all blurred in my head like bad mustard and ketchup, not making any sense but just being dealt with.

I could not stop thinking about what others were talking about. I kept focusing on them so I would not have to deal with the harsh realities of my subjective truths. I talked for them so I would not hear myself. I cracked jokes, made pithy comments, shared my insights, anything to stop hearing the screaming in my own head. The scream of the mother outside of the building where her children are being burned to death. The man in the apartment building across the way who was torturing himself with guilt because he wanted his 23 year old son’s girlfriend. The man who was starving and just wanted anything to eat, so desperate he got his gun out and thought about bread and how no one had to get hurt. The girl with blood running down her thighs, crying, hoping, alone and hurt.

Focus on the moment, they tell me. Be mindful of the present. Hic et nunc. I had no present, I had no place. Home was gone, washed away by the winter winds of a Kansas summer. Brooklyn had come and gone, Ohio, Florida, Connecticut, Indiana, Virginia; all gone, destroyed with one word, never to be seen or heard or felt again. I could not die, but neither could I live. Stuck, like Muhammad’s coffin, but without the Grace of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate.

The day passed in a random series of events. Nothing meaningful, or not meaningful. I was a pinball in the machine, being flipped and bounced around. Playing pool (boing), outside (flip), another session (ting, ting, ting!), lunch (bounce between three bumpers until suddenly getting flipped back to the springshooter), going outside (ta-ching, bing-boing), just racking up points for some scoreboard until I rocketed between the exit bumpers and found myself sitting with everyone else in two groups of chairs facing each other across a string strung from one side of the room to the other about head height.

After discussing team names, we played balloon volleyball. No butts out of the chairs, if a balloon went under the ‘net’ it was a point unless the team it was travelling towards touched it – then it was still in play. We kept at it, bouncing the balloon, smacking it for ‘spikes’. It seemed to me that the ones who had the most emotional trouble were actually the ones with the best ability. Ophelia made many saves and was very good at getting the balloon to the strongest players on her team.
The team I was on won. But our victory was not a victory against, but for. I did not feel the need to “lord it over” the players on the other team. I think I would have been just as happy… strange, to think of being happy… anyway, just as happy as if they had won.

Then it all came back. The pain, the loneliness, the fear, the loss, despair. Depression reared up within me, claiming my life, my happiness, my achievements. I had to cry, I could not cry. I could not be happy, I had to be depressed. The fog rolled in and covered me in a blanket of nothingness, seeking to cut me off from myself.
Chains enveloped me, strangled my heart, my soul, my toes. Everything shattered into a million, billion, trillion, quadrillion, googleplex shards of whole grain soup and wilted lettuce. People began to run backwards into the futures, seeing what has been, not what will be. The carpet ran up my legs and swallowed air from a thousand days of mad sanity. The voices cried, died, sighed.
Food was on the fork nearing my mouth. Lasagna. It was okay, I was no longer running. I ate, I responded to others’ queries, statements, interjections. I could no longer hold back what I thought. I said things, I do not know what. People smiled though.

Fire and wind, pills and pain. I watched TV with the others and thought of chicken enchiladas. We played chess, my roommate, the non-poseur Christian, the Elvis Costello man, and I.
Why can we not believe in ourselves? We can so easily believe in others, but not ourselves. I won each time, not victories of defeating my opponents, but an exchange of thought, of process, of communicating existence.

And evening and morning were the fourth day…

September 23, 2009 Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery, suicide | , , , , | Leave a comment

remembering to create: day three

I woke up to find myself alive yet again.  I was not particularly happy to do so, but well, as long as I’m here…
The walk down the hall, vital signs, breakfast.  New faces, old faces, I still had trouble looking up, but I did see more faces.  I talked to more people.  I recognized faces again.  Faces everywhere, too many, too many, too many.
Sit down, close eyes, just sit for a minute, time passes and then I can open my eyes and eat.  Watch the food, watch the fork and spoon, take a bite, bring it up, chew and swallow, just repeat that over and over until it is gone.  People talk, I answer, but nothing takes hold for long.
I catch a flash of burning auburn hair as Ophelia moves through the room.  I recognize a woman who had kept talking about chicken enchiladas, and a young man who rapped a mighty rap the night before, distracting those who were watching television.  He has a gift for iambs and meter; his best work is in pentameter, another Shakespeare in a different medium and time, perhaps.
I noticed the slash scars from the rascettes up his arm to the hollow of muscle just below the arm pit.  They were nearly identical in size, maybe three inches long and about a quarter inch wide, and fairly evenly spaced about an inch apart.  I did not stare at the pale marks, but guessed there were around thirty of them.
He moved slightly, and I saw he had a matched set.  Our eyes locked briefly and he told me about standing in the wind, his blood seeping down his arm to scatter in the wind.  His eyes glazed with the blue of the sky, teasingly inviting, yet closed down and remote; china eyes, seemingly strong, but easily shattered.  I was caught in his spell as he wove his rap about wanting to die.

Then the wind ceased, and broke off in the middle of his rap, his eyes briefly more vulnerable as he moved on to a sit by the window.  My food was gone, other people at the table were getting up, how did I get here?  A wave of sadness washed over me, tumbling my soul onto a sidewalk of tortured flames and turtles.
I got up and put my tray in the food cart, an imposing mobile metal structure.  It looked like a professional kitchen freezer on wheels.  There were three doors that opened to reveal racks designed so that the trays could be slid in and out.  I thought it was a really smart design as you could safely transport many meal trays through the jungle maze of the hospital.  I stood there, waiting my turn to slid my tray of trash in.
Knives, why were we allowed knives?  They weren’t plastic either.  I think we were not seen as being an immediate risk to ourselves or each other.  But the thought occurred to me that I could, if I chose, go ahead and succeed at this last thing.  This very last thing that I had not accomplished.
I slid the tray in with all of the silver on it and wandered away to the patio.  Several times during the course of our days, we would get outside breaks.  The patio was just big enough that you could sit by yourself, or walk around, or just stand or sit and talk or stare at the sky.

In session, we talked about the importance of our medications.  Not only is it important to take the meds, but just as important is to understand how they affect us, and what side effects may be occurring.  I had been on a regimen of sertraline before my scrip and finances ran out.  I was in the 0.01% whose libido did not lower, but the opposite.  Ramping up was like a slow climb through a 24/7 mellow acid trip.
I was, at the time, totally aware of my reactions and the side effects.  But now, I was not on meds and they were telling me all about it again.  Be aware was the message; be aware of the effects, the side effects, the possible interactions with foods and other medications.  Learn what your medications do, how they work, why they work.  What to avoid, what can help.  Above all, do not skip a dose and make sure you follow the instructions about what to do if you do miss a dose.
The haze rolled in, blotting out my mind and covering everything in maple syrup.
I was back outside, talking to my roommate about motorcycles, handsful of pills, and alcohol.  He tried to do a Death Ride but woke up in an ER and they shipped him here.  Then I was sitting in the session room again, talking about coping with depression and anger and all sorts of fun stuff.
Why did we come to this?  Why are we so hurt by life that we want to give up?  And worse, why do we actively try and stop our life-cycles?  Why can’t we stop hurting and just laugh?  Why do we draw in and retreat, refusing to ask for help or even just tell some one we are sad?
Safety plan?  OK, don’t handle knives by the blade, try to keep staples out of the food, don’t poke your fingers into 1) electric sockets, 2) tiger cages, 3) pirahna tanks, or 4) accountancy firms.  Did I miss anything?  Oh, yeah, never, ever get between a child and it’s mother.
It turns out they want me to be aware of my behaviour.  They think it would be good to identify what throws me into depression and what I can do about it, what helps bring me out of depression, what helps keep me out of it.  Cognitive Behavioural psychology.  It is in some senses like a leper’s VSE (look it up, it will mean more to you then, trust me) for your brain.
Some of us are just well off enough to be able to function “normally”, but we are still at risk.  We have to be aware at all times of what is happening to us emotionally.  We can not relax our vigilance because when we do we are prone to being found floating face down, or similar.
I found myself sitting there.  One of the women had come in because of suicide.  Her son had died, her husband had withdrawn, and she had found the easy release of alcohol.  But things just got to be too much, emotional isolation had escalated into the desire to stop, to let go, to go away from pain permanently.  I don’t know what her method was, it does not matter.  But she tried to leave.  I tried to leave.  So many of us tried to leave.  I left again.
I was sitting in the dining area, a tray of food in front of me.  French fries.  Golden and just salty enough, mmmmmm.
Time dilates and contracts, we flow though a duct of perceptions and non-sensate action, we reach for another chance, another way to make sense of nothing that can be made sense of.  Spicy feelings hellishly flow like spiky flames of hot fur.  The french fries carry me to dinner, chocolate milk and two small eclairs turn my ragged head into smooth bliss.
The want to play pictionary, I can not draw, but when Ophelia does I know what she is drawing before you she gets very far.  My head has no meaning any more, and time dies in a pool of nocturnal oblivion.

And the evening and the morning were the third day.

September 18, 2009 Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery, suicide | Leave a comment

remembering to create: Day Two

My first thought upon waking was “oh… i’m alive, damn”, *sigh*.  So I got out of bed, and wandered down the hall to get breakfast.  I was stopped along the way to let people get my vitals: blood pressure, blood oxy, temperature, and pulse.  I wandered away from there and was then caught up in the tide of people getting their breakfast trays.

After I ate, the flow carried me away and into a room where we sat around a large table.  Some papers were passed around, some one talked telling us to fill them out.  ‘What makes me most sad is _______’, ‘I feel most complete when  _______’, ‘When I am sad I like to  _______’, ‘I am happy when  _______’; there were others along that line.

It was too much.  Everything reminded me of why I was there.  Reminded me of everything that hurt, that burned my soul, that I had lost and made me empty, worthless, hopeless, dead.

I smelt my way back to my cave, my refuge.  I curled into a fetal mass around my pain, trying to wash it away from me with my tears as it ripped me apart yet again.  Pain swallowed me like a tourist in a piranha maelstrom.  Bits of me were flensed and devoured; I sank into the depths, away from life and light.

A hand touched my shoulder.  A simple, open hand touch of the fingers, very light on me, no pressure, no demand, nothing but the touch of another.  “Are you okay?  Do you need anything?”  “go away.”  “Okay, but I will be back to check on you.”  “go away.”

time passed in waves of roiling grief and anguish

“Gor, it is lunch time.  Come on, let’s get something to eat,” said a gentle voice.  “no, please”  “Would you like me to bring your tray here and we can eat here?”  “go away… i’m not hungry”  “Okay.  There are more sessions after lunch, and there are people out here who are worried about you and would like to see you.  They want to make sure you are alright.”  “no, please, i can’t”  “Well, okay, I’ll be back later to check on you.”  “whatever”

time passed away with everything i loved, needed, built my life, my soul around
all gone…

i still don’t know why i got up later  comfortably wrapped in a fetal ball of nothing  they were gone… my son, my… my… wife, my ex-wife, my art, my muse, my love and forever… gone, lost, why am i not dead… just let me stop and die… please…  please?

But i did get up.  My body walked down the hall again.  i sat somewhere.  Things happened around me, but a gentle voice echoed in my skull.  The voice that told me people cared.  The voice did not ask anything of me, did not want me to do anything except to be.  Be here.  Be alive.

i sat in a session.  i do not remember what it was about, or what happened.  i remember the depression, the sadness, the anger, the mania, the voices that spoke endings and loss.  It was almost too much, piranhas stripping joy, love, happiness from my morose skeleton… let me die… let me stop… stop…

But as I sat in the session, the voice spoke.  It spoke different words, it seemed to be talking about it’s own depression, it’s own attempt to die, to stop…  i… I brought my eyes up and looked at the voice.  It was my room mate.  He had tried to die too.  Someone else spoke of dying, of despair, of loss.  I was in a room of those who knew.  Who had taken that step, who had tried to stop and not be.  Those who had seen nothing and found it within themselves to not be any more.

I saw people.  I sat among them.  They asked nothing of me.

I listened, I tried to speak, I do not know now what, if anything, I said or what the session was about.  It was, is, not important; but I sat there with my peers and heard myself from other perspectives, other words, other pains.

The session ended.  We dispersed into the halls and other areas.  I sat and saw a young woman, a Waterhouse Ophelia with rich waves of auburn, warm alabaster skin, and deep pale blue echoes of pain and betrayal.  She was coloring, away in her own world, away from the pain, the fear, the betrayal, the others.  A child violently wrenched from delight into despair trying to stay where she could be happy, free, alive again.

Another came up to her, touched her shoulder.  She froze, ready to kill, ready to run, ready to die.  Everything drained from her face; a mask came over her, draped the world behind a grey mist.

“Don’t touch me,” she said in dead tones, “I have anger management problems.  I do not like to be touched.”  There was no threat, no emotion, almost as though she had generated it from a computer, and played the file to warn people that this was not a good idea.  Nothing about her threatened; her body was a taut, still immoveable mass.

The other removed her hand, and backed slowly away.  By the time she found her own voice, Ophelia was already back in her own world, the threat to her safety, to the last shreds of self had receded.  She resumed laying down patches of color, small oblongs progressing subtly from shade to shade, hue to hue, tone to tone.

I felt the need to protect her, to keep her safe.  I wanted, in that moment, to destroy what had stolen her peace, what had taken delight from her to replace it with pain.  She looked up at me then.  I do not know why she did, but I saw in her eyes that she would never be wholly free from it, that she would have that pain, that crippling memory the rest of her life.  Nothing could eradicate it, nothing could replace it, but she would endure however she could if she could.  In her I saw an island refuge, tall enough to be touched by light, but eternally isolated in the worst of the abyss.  Only wings would save her, only her desire to fly if she could ever come to trust it.

And the evening and the morning were the second day.

September 7, 2009 Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery, suicide | Leave a comment

remembering to create: Day One

I committed suicide on Monday, August 3, 2009 at around 11 p.m. Mountain Time.  I woke up around 1 a.m. with a severe headache and an exploded “Force-flex” garbage bag around my head.  Then the thought “great, something else I have failed at…” crept across my mind like a vengeful snail.

So, I sat.  For around 60 hours, I sat and did nothing.  I mean nothing, absolutely nothing but sat.  No thoughts, no actions…

Thursday morning a sound occurred.  Then another sound, or series of sounds.  It took a while, but central data processing finally woke up, identified the sounds, and translated them.  Something about police, my mother, and a welfare check.

WTF? I’m not on welfare.  OK, must unbend legs and bifurcate to the door.

More sounds, non-threatening coming from beyond a door.  I opened it and there were two hominids on the other side insisting on coming in to my apartment and giving me a welfare check.

Things are confusing from there on; I remember them putting my shoes on me because my hands were cuffed.  I rode in the police car to somewhere, I went where they put me, I sat where they put me, I answered questions I think.  I had no volition, I just did what they had me do.

Some one brought copious amounts of food, but I was not hungry; I had no reason to be hungry, I was dead, or would soon be, I hoped.  I lay on the soft area I was on, curled in to a fetal position to minimize contact with the world I wanted to reject.  The world that was too painful to endure any longer.

A woman came in, she was gentle and did not insist on anything.  She said things to me, asked me questions, I think.  She said something about helping me.  Upon reflection now, it was like a spark onto semi-dry tinder.  It prompted a response from me, one not in mere answer to a question.

“Do you really think I can be helped?”

“Yes, I think we can help you help yourself.”

I had to absorb this.  She went away saying something about eating.  So I did.  Everything.  A lunch and a dinner.  I began to register my surroundings, but only the floor, I did not want to see anyone, anything.
She came back, and we went up an elevator to a place where other things happened involving my weight, my height, and pressure on my upper arm… oh, yeah, blood pressure, blood oxy levels, temperature.

I was given more food which I ate all of.  It began to register that I had not eaten in several days.  I began to feel my body absorbing nutrients, reveling in the taste and strength flowing into it.  My mind turned from it though, not trusting what was happening, knowing that I was here because I trusted and loved and was betrayed.

I looked only at the floor.  A swirling, almost non-descript mix of mute green, purple, and orange.  I saw feet pass as my peripheral registered shapes moving by.  I kept myself in a fog to not know who was there, what was there.  I came to stop and sit in a room with a box that was making shapes and sounds… a television.

Other… people? were sitting around, watching it.  I sat and stared at the box, the tv, so I would not have to see or hear the other people.  The shapes and sounds had no meaning for me… no trace remained in my mind; I did not want a trace, I wanted to just sit and die…

“What did you do to get here”, one of the shapes, one of the people? near me asked.

I looked up.  It flooded into me again.  I felt.  I felt all of it.  All of the sadness, the depression, the despair.  WHY WAS I STILL ALIVE, IS THIS HELL?  I could not stop crying,  I went away, I followed my own scent to a place where I could curl up into my own world again, where no one could hurt me, where I could stay until I died.

And evening and morning were the first day…

August 31, 2009 Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery, suicide | Leave a comment

Hello world, again…

I have survived, I have been reborn, I have been rescued by my Mother, my sister, and my two best friends.  Ophelia gave me back the seed of my soul.  A Mental Health Hold ward was my womb.  I am learning to walk among humans again, I am remembering what it is to live, laugh, and maybe love without reservation.

August 24, 2009 Posted by | autobio | , , | Leave a comment