Hello friend. I tried, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell you about my day. I am sorry. You should know that my voice gets caught in my chest somehow. … Continue reading Hello Friend: Entry 1
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It is amazing how numb one can feel when thrust into an environment one doesn’t even consider as an actual environment; as part of nature – devoid of its own ecosysytem. A place where time and substance don’t equate to anything. Then, you step out into surroundings that seem to breathe life itself into you. There is colour again, there is vibrance, there is life within the life and the very air seems to have texture. All the senses are stimulated once more and you can feel everything. And then, you have step back in, back to your reality. The air gets ripped out of you again in a quick exhale, and you find you can’t seem to inhale. The pressure in your head builds, your body knows you are dying and your mind is panicked to find a solution to live. Your whole life then, is enacted through a body that is slow, weak and numb.
It all starts with hope…
This is a lengthy post and I thank you for your patience in reading it.
20th December, 2016. This was the day I was meant to die. Suicide. I had it planned for approximately three months, and in those three months I knew that I was already a dead person walking, but wanted to know if I could ever feel alive again.
Growing up, I had always known that my life would end by my own hand, and the older I got the more certain this notion became. I had always visited this option as just that, an option; a thought when life seemed unbearable, when desperation kicked in and I wanted the pain to stop. Something always kept me alive though. I always woke up the next morning and continued on in my misery because that is what I thought my only option should be. That I should somehow retract and recollect all the volatile emotions from the cage that only I could see, and just keep moving like nothing had changed. To others, nothing had. In all of the times that I had wanted to die, it seemed as if my emotions took complete control, and during those times, I had never sought help from therapists to know what introspection could mean from a mental health perspective.
About three months ago, I started to question the notion of what I “should do.” I learned in therapy that for my own sanity, as it were, I should try and not focus on what I think I should be feeling and doing, but rather address what I do feel and how I act. Admittedly, I related this sense of mental liberation to suicide. Taking encouragement from already making peace with my self harming rituals, I wanted to know the answer to one question: Why was suicide so wrong? I wanted to know why everyone wanted to save my life if I didn’t want to be saved. Was it me? Was it a personal thing? Was it love and care? If so, why would they want me to continue in such pain and grief and isolation as I was feeling? My friends, I could understand, but what were the motives of my therapists? Yes, I even questioned these. For a while even, I was convinced, with absolute certainty, that they wanted to change who I was. My entire personality – changed to suit the requirements of a conventional society. They wanted me to conform. I understand how that sounds, but a belief is hard to shake. In all honesty, there are traces of it still. The more I asked the question of why suicide was so wrong, and the longer I went without answers, the more certain I was that it was the only thing for me to do. It was logical to me. I was in pain. A pain that seemed to take over every space of me. My interactions were hurting me, my circumstances were hurting me, breathing was hurting me. I didn’t want to live. Additionally, I had tried therapy, I had tried medications, I had tried my own concoction of coping through self harm, alcohol and prescription abuse to numb it all for as long as I could. Nothing was working. I was stuck and my options ultimately boiled down to living in Hell or death. I picked death.
For the first two weeks after making my decision, I was relieved, lighter somehow. I felt good. I hadn’t felt so good in so long, I just knew it was the right decision. Eventually, that blackness crept back in. It wasn’t enough that I had put suicide on the table, it had to happen soon. I had to have it as a reason to get through my dismal days and angry nights. It had to be more than just an idea. It was more than an idea, it was an obsession. So, I set the date. There was nothing significant to the 20th of December, it just seemed like enough time to plan; my death and my goodbyes to the people I cared about. At the time, I was ending a stressful part of my life, so the time frame also accounted for the possibility that I may feel better about life and living once this stressful period had ended. I did tell my mental health team about it, my plans; not a specific date you see, just that I wanted it and I had a date and even a plan. Telling them, of course, came with the promise that I would try my best to “live” again, so as to be convinced to make it long term. One last attempt at living before I die.
I will concede that twice before this date I came very close to ending it impulsively. An accumulation of depressive thoughts, hallucinations and sleep deprivation resulted in extremely overwhelming thoughts of immediate self-destruction.
That first time really destroyed my mind, my sense of self, my trust in myself. I have always been a person who relied on herself and her own thoughts and decisions to get her through. So, at first, when I wanted to end it, I accepted it. I collected my things to just enact the plan from December. While I was doing so, something was niggling at my brain. Something wasn’t right about it. And, I started crying. For this, I was hard on myself. Why would I cry if this was something I had wanted for so long? What was the problem? After some introspection I remembered a part of the me that I recognized. You see, I have never been a person to believe in absolutes when it comes to a decision or a course of action. There is always doubt and there is always more than one way and combinations of the different ways to reach a goal. On that day, suicide was the only solution, and there was no other way to get better. This shook me to my core. I have never before felt such a schism in my mind, and I didn’t know which side was the actual me. If there was a me in there. Which side do I trust? Which side do I act upon? I lost myself so entirely that day, truly. I don’t trust others easily, I accept advice but ultimately always made up my mind on the trust I placed on my mind. To lose that felt like losing everything.
It is safe to say I didn’t recover from that day.
I have been going through life as if a shell with an emptiness inside. Sometimes existing – though mostly disbelieving this, sometimes knowing of the people I have in my life but not quite connecting, always forcing myself to act or interact. For the most part, I was a shell that could not reignite any spark that I once had. In anything. Stuck in the limbo between knowing I am capable, that I once had passion, and not obtaining any emotion from anything that I used to have that passion for. I had no desire to do anything, and if forced to do something, I would get no feedback from it. It would simply be a waste of whatever limited energy I had. And the days would go on like this. On and on. Then, the second time. The second time I did show emotion. Violence and anger. I needed to just explode. Die violently. Rip myself apart as much as I could hold out for and let everyone just deal with whatever remained. What stopped me was the knowledge that I wasn’t home alone at the time, and would have been caught in the act, and that would have lead to too many questions that I just didn’t want to answer. Very unsatisfying. My shell continued.
As the days got closer to the 20th, I decided not to tell anyone about the significance. I was getting very bitter at everyone, friends and therapists alike. I continued to function as I was, not caring about anything, and all I got told was how great it was that I am making progress, that I am doing things, I am functioning, I am achieving. Over and over. I didn’t see it or feel it, so how was I supposed to believe it? Everyone pointing me down the road of getting back on medication, everybody on this one track and me feeling like I was living and acting and trying because of all of these people. No more me in my own world, and pushed into continuing on anyway. Truly, I was that shell; no person inside. Is that living? Is that even being alive?
When the date came, I needed to just retreat from everyone and seriously think. I needed to choose to trust my mind again because there is no life for me relying on others to show me a way of living. I needed to rid myself of the input from others, irrelevant of their good intentions for me. Ungrateful as it may seem, I needed space with as little extraneous emotions involved. I knew that I could not just deny my suicidal thoughts – my desire for action upon it – as my depression and anything good I knew of myself to be the real me. If I deny one, I deny both and that is death. If I accept one, I accept both – I have to -and that is the high-wire of potential of both life or death. Intellectually, I knew that I did (and still do) have a tether to this world. It is the new people in my life who I am very slowly beginning to believe and trust in – that their intentions for my life and their care for me are genuine, and my care for them is the same. I know my thoughts obfuscate these very tangible and positive things, but in general I can see that they exist, and I have grown to appreciate them. Logically, I knew I had just started new medication, so there was potential for change given patience on my part – a tall ask, but at this point everything is. Finally, I noted utter disbelief and wondered whether, after having lasted so long in this Hell, and the chance to get out being closer than ever; was I going to let go now? Especially, under these newly changed circumstances? I can tell you that on this day, my logic saved my life.
Obviously, I granted myself a stay of execution. I cannot tell you that at the snap of my fingers I trust my mind again, my actions or my decisions. I cannot say that I am even living my life for me again, because I am not. It is a big thing for me to trust my friends when they tell me I am worth life, and I admit, I am alive still for them and my therapists; beholden or obligated to them somehow. I cannot say that I want to be alive even. I don’t. I am still that shell that walks around trying to figure out how to keep functioning when I have no reasons to; when I don’t feel there is a me that is functioning. I cannot tell you how much all of this knowledge pains me everyday, or how beaten and defeated by life that I feel. As such, I cannot guarantee the continuance of my life. I am still that dead person walking. On this side of the 20th though, I have no more time limit to feel alive again. I think that might make all the difference.