Angels lie to keep control

Hopefully this is the darkest I’ll ever get on here, folks. 

Hopefully this is the darkest corner in which you’ll have found me and the deepest within the forest of depression I’ll ever hide. 

Before I finished my last post was the first time in a very long time I had come to suicide.  The sheer amount of stress and depression was all consuming and swallowed me whole. 

I’m still fighting my way out, but at least I’m able to function right now. Over the weekend I wasn’t taking care of my hygiene, wouldn’t get out of bed, ate my husband’s entire birthday cake, 2.5 pints of ice cream, and wouldn’t engage in day to day human activities like talking. I blew up on my mother for asking me to pick up something off the floor. 

My husband says I don’t treat him like he matters when I’m this depressed. He says I don’t treat him like a husband but like a buddy or a friend. It comes from years of pushing people away. Every time someone gets close to me, I step back. It’s so strange to never live in the same household as my father and pick up his traits.  

I have 2 friends – Alissa and Elizabeth – who are both very close to me. I’ve known Elizabeth for over 20 years. We reconnected a few years back and have grown closer since. She’s truly a good friend. She tries to psychoanalyze me at times which I’m not the biggest fan of (not qualified to do!), but I know she means well.  Here’s the deal: for every inch she scooches closer, I pull back six. It’s not something I do consciously, it’s just done. Moving closer would make me too vulnerable and I’m in no position for that.  

My other friend, Alissa is also a counselor. She suffers with depression (I personally think she’s got more than depression, but I’m not in the business of diagnosing my friends) like I do so we commiserate together. We both work in the same area with the same population so, again, we commiserate about work stress and drama. She and I have grown very close. As she grows closer or needs more support, I fucking run – I don’t understand why.  When I need support, I hide from her until I feel well enough to express my feelings without being under suspicion of being suicidal. I’m always afraid she’ll petition me or send the police to my house to check on me because she’s a counselor. I refuse to go into a hospital involuntarily – I know what they’re like and I’m not ruining my career by sitting next to a patient in a group session. Fuck that shit. I’ve always gone voluntarily. 

Back to the husband thing, I always back away. I told him I distance myself from everyone because it’s habit at this point and – as much sense as this doesn’t make – if I did commit suicide, I will have put so much distance between me and everyone else, it’s like it wouldn’t have mattered much if I was gone. Just a buddy, not a wife. 

H: “That doesn’t make any sense.”
Me: “Depression doesn’t make any sense. What kind of disease has you thinking that in order to survive you have to die?  Our purpose as humans is to propagate the species. We can’t do that if we’re dead.  Depression isn’t based in any reality; my thinking isn’t real.  It makes you focus on what it wants you to focus on – which is mainly your depression, nothing else.  But you always matter; you’ve always mattered.”

I explained that it’s difficult talking to him about my deepest and darkest thoughts and feelings because he’s never been there. While I’m delighted he hasn’t, explaining what Hell looks like and how it felt versus describing how it feels to someone who’s already been there are 2 separate things. (I can’t go to support groups – I may run into patients there.). So I keep to myself. I understand my Hell and I know my pain. I’ll get through this if it kills me – whether by my hand or G-d’s. 

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Never pay the Reaper with love only

 

Two weeks ago, I was very depressed suicidal.  I had the means, plan, opportunity.  I told him and my mother.  Now, I’m fully aware that my mother has washed her hands of me; there is only one star to the show here and if it’s not her, it’s not a show she’s going to watch.  But I live in her house.  You’d think finding your daughter’s bloated and clammy body would inadvertently make you the star of the show…  Oh no, that role would be played by the grieving 35-year-old widower.  Damn, she misses out again.  Rats.

I don’t think my husband gets it yet.  By “it,” I’m referring to my illness.  We had a long conversation after I was coming out of my suicidal state and I was able to distance myself from the severe depression that was tying me to those thoughts.  He didn’t seem – and still doesn’t – to understand how the mind, how biology, can fight so hard to keep us alive as a species yet the mind can turn on itself.  One thought becomes a fixation that can lead to total destruction of oneself.  Here was this woman he’s known for 25 years – since childhood – and he never saw her pain then (I studied to be an actress – I was good at hiding most things), just a normal kid like him.  Fast forward two decades and all that’s written on my face when the curtains are closed and the doors are locked is pain and fear.

I told him I know where his guns are and despite being a pacifist, I know how to load and fire them.  I just didn’t want to leave a mess for him and my mother – it’s a new carpet.  I didn’t want to get found by the dog and have her eating me – she’d need to be put down.

I know the nearest access to the local river – our property is 1 mile away from a cliff that plunges straight down to it.  I was warned about it as a child and I found the passage there a month ago.

I have access to my roof.  I can tie a noose.  Cut “down the road, not across the street.”  These are the pathetic and desperate methods you teach yourself and you learn along the way when the pain seems too much to handle.  And some days it is; I’m not going to sit here and say “hold on, it’ll get better!” because some days are worse than others.  But guess what?

I’m still here.  Clearly.

Why?  I honestly don’t have a great answer.  I’d love to say it’s 100% because of my husband, but it’s not.  That’s a shitty way of staying motivated – to have my entire life swing in the balance of someone else’s.  How much pressure does that put on him, do you think?  Every drive to work would be a nightmare for him: “Stay away from me – if I get a scratch on me, my wife will kill herself!  She has nothing else to life for!

Fuck no.  I’d say 45% is him.  The rest has to be something else…

A-Ha!  I got it!  I’m a movie buff!  I love comedies, rom-coms, cartoons, psychological thrillers, docu-dramas… anyway – I love a good ending.  I usually Wikipedia that shit because I can’t wait 2 hours to find out what happens; I am not a patient person (I am diagnosed with ADHD as well).  If I die, that’s it.  No Wikipedia.  No Reader’s Digest.  No Cliff’s Notes.  No nothing.  I’ll never know if Mom gets remarried.  If my sister ever finds happiness.  If I ever have kids.  If Savage Garden will ever get back together.  How does this story end?

A number of passing acquaintances

Have you ever been kidnapped?  I mean, it’s a weird question – not one you’d walk up to a stranger and ask. But I’m asking anyway. 

I was driving today and out of the corner of my eye, this asshole in a black Dodge Charger pulls up to me and runs me off the road.  I didn’t see the bastard coming at all.  I’ve seen this car before – it follows me to work, from home, through the car wash – everywhere. This was the first time in years it got close enough to me to run me clear off the road and into the nearest culvert. 

As I came to, I realized I was bound and gagged – now a passenger of the offending vehicle. I screamed as loud as I could, writhing around in a futile attempt to loosen the rope on my ankles and wrists. I looked through the window, only to see a version of me sitting behind the wheel of my car, driving as though nothing had happened.  I kept screaming at “me” until we reach the next stop light.  I saw the most profound sadness in my eyes; it’s not until then I realized I’ve been stolen again. I’ve been kidnapped again.  I stopped screaming and allowed the driver to carry me away until it was time to find myself again.  

I wish what I’d just written was a dream, but it’s not. I was in traffic today and out of nowhere I did feel this overwhelming depression steal what little of myself I felt I had left.  For the first time in years, I thought of suicide.  Will I act on it? No, I know it’s not what I want. But the thoughts frightened the hell out of me, enough to start writing in here again.  

One day at a time. Thy will, not mine. 

Stille Nächte

Since I was a kid, I’ve hated the holidays. I have no idea why, really. I remember Thanksgiving as a real clusterfuck of a holiday. Food was great, but the family structure was not what my mother (and in turn, I) had signed up for.

I don’t remember a Thanksgiving dinner with my father. My parents were married for 12 years – I don’t remember him being there for ONE. Hmm.

My grandparents were always there with us – Grandpa watching his westerns or “war pictures” and Grandma helping my mother cook and clean. I stayed in my room, watching Nick At Nite marathons, complaining that Christmahanukwanzaa was around the corner and we’d have to put on the “happy holiday family” façade again. Yay.

And we did, this time my father would make an appearance on Christmas Day. He’d always play with my newly unwrapped presents before I’d been given a chance to, adding a layer of sourness to my morning.

“I’ll be done in a minute, Alice!”

When that minute was up, my father would leave. It would be weeks before we’d see him again. My mother and I would get dressed and go to my grandparents house, where Santa had also made a visit; I now believe this extra Santa’s visit was to ease the blow of the real missing piece from my holiday celebrations.

I’d get everything and more than I asked for; I would leave my toys and clothes under the tree, lock myself in my room, and watch Nick At Nite until dinnertime. My depression and sadness raged on, not soothed by Santa’s elves.

Now that I’m married, I’m not able to disappear into the mists of Nickelodeon’s nighttime programming during holidays. My in-laws come over and I find myself still wanting to crawl into a ball in my bed and hide until dinner and disappear when it’s over. My grandparents are no longer here, making me wish I’d stayed out of my room as a child and enjoyed their company while they were alive. G-d, I miss them so very much. (Notice my regret to have spent more time with my grandparents is not akin to spending more time with my in-laws. Nope nope nope.)

So what are my plans today? Stay in my room for as long as I can get away with it at my age and knit. Or sleep. Do my laundry. Meditate. Pray. Anything but prepare food and socialize. I’ve found that I don’t talk much unless I’m manic or at work.

We all fall down

A patient of mine died.

A part of me keeps thinking I could have done more; followed up on calls sooner, tried harder to engage them. Then I remember I wasn’t the first counselor they had. I didn’t think I’d be the last.

The system makes it so difficult for patients to make lasting connections with clinicians: few clinicians + high caseload + low pay = burnout and increased turnover rate. This leads to job dissatisfaction, shitty performance, and a turnstile instead of a counselor’s chair.

Maybe they got tired of the rigmarole. Maybe they were sicker than anyone knew, themselves included.

Maybe I could “maybe” myself to ends of the earth and back and never get an answer. What I do know is that I can’t save anyone; contrary to popular belief, that’s not in my job description. I can’t save anyone as much as I may want to or try to. I’m finding that I sometimes work harder at my patients’ wellness than they do.

And that’s when I stop. That’s when I wake up and realize I’m using my reserves for others instead of myself. So as much as this patient needed treatment, no one could force it. I could have tried every trick in the book to help them; there would have been no guarantee they would have lived.

I wish things were different. I wish they saw – all my patients could see – what they have to offer this world.

But I can only save myself.