Few days make all the difference

It has officially been one week since we changed the med doses. It is remarkable the difference it has made. Each day has been a tiny step forward. Today feels like a bigger step forward. I am moving back toward center, a much safer and good place to be.

I was talking to a close friend last night and she brought up Amanda Todd, and the video on youtube. I can’t help but wonder where the heck this girl’s parents were in all this. I guess you could argue that any suicidal person can be successful in minutes. I don’t know enough about this case, but it was very very clear from her video (link at bottom) that she was in way over her head. She was begging for someone to help her. Guess nobody did. It is incredibly sad. This world, still a cruel awful place, but much worse with the internet. Bullying is taken to the extreme. Given the distance it gives people¬† They seem to so easily say whatever they want. No regard for the aftermath. I thank god I didn’t have to grow up today. It was bad enough dealing with kids in school back then. I can’t even imagine what it would be like now. I see a lot of the same behaviors in adults. Just wander around FB a bit, and you are bound to find someone being nasty about something. Working in the world of rescue, it is even worse. There are different sides. Couple that with people feeling overly passionate about the topic and boom- you have created the perfect environment. All of these rescues compete for the same dollar, the same grants and the same supporters. I have seen cases where one rescue calls the cops on another, just to try to get people to believe the BS. I try to stay off the radar. Not because I have anything to hide- I don’t, our rescue is well run and the horses are well cared for, but because people can turn on you in the blink of an eye. It takes 5 minutes to destroy a reputation via FB. A witch hunt so brutal, it makes Salem look like a walk in the park. These happen all the time. supporters of one rescue trying to tear down another, just so their rescue gets more funds. It is disgusting. It happens every day. I thought adults would be more civil than that. Nope, it is just as bad as middle school. So, like I said I put my head down and try to keep out of the crap that goes on. Sad, having to do that. But working toward a wide internet audience has great risks. I would rather stay off the grid and be left alone. I don’t know why people bully each other. I can’t imagine it really feels all that good to be a bully. Can’t say I have ever treated someone with the intent of intimidating them, we unless you take the psychiatrist in the hospital, but I think that was more out of fear than anything else. I did try to intimidate her, but I didn’t do it thru words so much as behavior. I can’t think back and find any other obvious times when I bullied someone. I may have, but it isn’t really me. I would far rather be quiet and not get involved. As an adult i have called people on actions I thought were not in the best interest of an animal. but that is what we do. We are a rescue. If you are posting something stupid and foolhardy on FB, you bet your ass I am going to say something. Often times it falls on deaf ears. Sadly the animal suffers.

To take someone out at the knees just for the fun of it doesn’t resonate with me. Never did. I was always the kid on the outside of the circle. Not the one tormenting another. It never ceased to amaze me just how cruel kids could be. I think middle school girls are pretty much the worst, though high school could be pretty nasty too. Thankfully for me I had pulled myself up the ranks by the time I got to HS. That’s not to say the boys were all sweet-natured. They were not, but their bullying was more physical. The girls prey on others using more psychological warfare. All the note passing and gossiping and snide remarks. The boys would just beat the crap out of some poor soul. I remember one guy in HS. He was a real ass. Always making trouble. He had been tormenting me since middle school. By the time I got to HS I was so pissed at this guy. I never said anything, never fought back, ever. I distinctly remember a spring day. He loved his car, more than anything. He’d wash it and wax it and drag race it. I think it was a Pontiac. But needless to say, when he wasn’t bullying kids, he was talking about this car. The high school kids all parked in an upper lot, and hike up from the school. It was wooded and secluded. I was on my way back from track practice, and wasn’t paying attention. Next thing I knew here was this prick starting with me. I couldn’t tell you what he said or what I said. I just remember reaching the very end of my tolerance for his crap. In a split second I had put my track spikes (I was wearing them) thru his door panel. I’ll never forget his face. Somewhere between surprise and shock. He didn’t quite know what to do, and I think he realized I might kick the ever-loving shit out of him. I doubt I could have done that, though I probably looked irate enough. He ran like the wuss he really was. Behind all the bullshit and the acting was a scared kid. Probably got the shit kicked out of him at home. It took me all those years of taking it to finally stand up to him. Wish I had figured it out sooner. Lesson learned: Behind most bullies is insecurity and fear.

The girls were a bit different. They took me a while to get my foot in the door. It usually takes one. Just one domino has to fall, before they are all accepting. I know it took me a while, but eventually I did get into that group. Yeah, the one that crucified me daily. It is so sad. To think of all I sacrificed and lost to get into that clique. That in that moment I could forget all the past wrongs, just to be in it. It is truly awful. What I went thru if no different from what goes on everyday across America, and the world. There will always be bullies. Someone will always be on the bottom of that interaction. More often than not it is the kid that doesn’t fit in. Sometimes it is the sensitive shy kid, other times it is the gay kid, or the overweight kid. You can substitute in any number of names. I made it my days work to never let them figure out I was gay. Had they known my life would have been far worse. I was bullied because I was an outsider in a small town. I was different. But they never knew the truth. I lost so much, just to keep my secret. As I wrote in this blog earlier, I put myself out there to be raped, just to keep my secret. I walked away from that school and never looked back. I wanted nothing to do with it. It is strange seeing all my HS class popping up on FB, and sending friend requests. Often times I accept, just out of curiosity. I want to know where they are now. Some I see them in various places around town. I actually am not that far from my HS. Some seem much the same, others have grown up and have families. I actually bumped into the guy I went to prom with. Right after we had moved up here we ran into Target to get something and there he was. I with my partner and he with his wife and kid. It was a bizarre moment. Especially watching it register with him that yes, she is my “partner”. I am glad I made it out of that awful place. There are some wonderful memories of high school, and there are some terrible ones. I am just happy to have walked away. But my heart aches for kids like Amanda Todd. The ones that don’t walk away. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej7afkypUsc

Awful night

Seroquel has a pretty straightforward effect on me. In the first half hour I’ll start to feel a sort of warm fuzzy feeling. Think, nice stoner high. Most of us are familiar with that. As the minutes tick off I start to lose the ability to create words and sentences without lots of concentration. It is actually somewhat amusing, since what soon follows is coordination. I try to be near a bed or couch, since soon I will be flat-out. That is okay, since seroquel is supposed to help me sleep. If I don’t go to sleep I will soon be quite ill. Something about being upright causes pretty bad nausea. I always make sure I am laying down to avoid that side effect.

There have been a handful of times when I had a very different experience with seroquel. Last night was one of those times. As I felt my words start to slur I found my way upstairs and happily settled into bed. It was a cold night and the down comforter was very welcome. My mind soon started to depart into sleep. Wham. My right thigh went from completely relaxed and loose to a solid contracted muscle. My brain in its sleepy haze registered the pain and awakened. I knew this feeling, as I have been there before. I tried to just ignore it and prayed the seroquel would knock me out before the muscles really got going. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. After about an hour of this repeated muscle cramps, spasms and feeling like I had electric current running thru my legs, I finally hauled myself out of bed. I could not spend another minute in that hell. I was lost in this semi awake, semi asleep state. It is a pretty scary place to be. Voices, along with almost dream like sequences often occur. Seeing things and hearing things seem pretty common. With such a heavy sedative it is hard to differentiate which is real or not. Once completely awake, and not sedated, it is easy to say what is dream and what is not. But when that lost in space, it all loses context. You get lost in that place. Minutes feel like hours, hours feel like eternity. Last night was forever. I searched the house for benedryl.¬† But we had none. I wanted to drag myself upright and wait it out, but you can’t do that with seroquel. There is no upright with seroquel. The only option was to lie down into that hellish place. To invite the pain and the voices and the dreams, all without sleep. It is utter powerlessness. I can’t even begin to describe a place so dark and horrible.

So tonight we add another medication to offset the side effects of the higher dose of seroquel. A drug to take a drug. Seems endless. I just want to feel better. So now I run the risk of new side effects to stop the others. None of them are without them. I am exhausted from my night. Frightened of the thought of another like it. So, here another drug may give me some peace tonight. At what cost….

Shifting focus. Finding fantasy

Interesting session. We have decided to shift focus for a bit. I agree with the decision. Given the amount of stress right now, digging through my relationship seems a bad idea. We will come back to it, but for now we will change the direction. It is interesting to note, I have thought about our work quite a bit in the past few weeks. In this past week my gut really was telling me to back off. I should have listened to it. Thankfully I have a good therapist. There are plenty out there that would have kept up the full court press.

Today was spent figuring out which direction we would go. As per usual, I am clueless when it comes to what I want to do in session. We spoke quite a bit about my past, and when everything started to change. I have quite a bit of difficulty remembering when something happened. It is all such a gray jumble. I usually have to use geographic clues to figure out how old I was. What house? where we lived at the time, or how the room looks etc. That is usually the only way I can figure it out. Unfortunately it only gives me a window, and isn’t all that accurate. Not that it matters. There is enough info to work off of. Beatrice asked me about fantasy. I let myself scan my mind, carefully looking for any traces of fantasy. As hard as I looked, I could not find any. I’m sure they are there somewhere. I know sometime after my mother left, I learned to look for a way out. Rather than think about a foreign land, or some other life, I found suicide. It inhabited my mind. It settled there. Since I was pretty young, maybe 10 or so, I had no real concrete skills that might be used to end my life. Instead I looked for passive ways to explore my wish. It was easy to think about the train, since we lived right next to the tracks. That was the first time in my life I was consumed by these thoughts and impulses. So, why did my mind settle on that and not some fantasy life? Where did death enter the picture? Is that genetics? is it the result of trauma and abandonment? I don’t know much about suicidal kids. I know early on after my mom took off I would fantasize about her coming back to get me. She never did. The months stretched out and I gave up on that fantasy. I took refuge in my closet. I took refuge in my mind. In the silence. In the quiet. That is where I wanted to be. I wanted nothing to do with school. I did find refuge in the horses. It was around that time when I started riding. Between books and horses, I found somewhere to go. Something far safer than the train tracks. I guess you could say horses saved me. It wasn’t my family. Here we almost 30 years later and they seem to be killing me. When did everything go so wrong?

Meds changes

Another day, another med change. It was a strange day. Very racy and edgy. To the point my hands would shake if I held still. I spend hours and hours working numbers. That did not help my shaking hands. Think my brain was shaking by the time I headed to the gym. I was out of sorts. The day started fighting with my partner. Clearly not a good way to get started. It didn’t improve much from there. Spending hours on financials and then finishing the day spending 3 hours at the doctor’s office just made for a crappy day. At least I finally faced up to the back pain issues, instead of ignoring it. It is so hard. I don’t like living life with pain. I have enough things going on in my head. But to wake up every time I try to roll over in bed, or not being able to bend over for something for the first hour after I get up. It is tough. I have just learned to deal with the normal baseline pain. and have learned to avoid moving in specific ways, though it has become increasingly hard. A I have worked harder in the gym my back just got worse. So, it was long overdue. Least I have a plan to try to manage the pain without popping pills. In the meantime I just have to get thru till the end of the month when I see the pain specialist to have it injected. For now I keep training and we ramp up the seroquel to see if we can get it to work as an antidepressant.

Birthday

As this day draws to a close, I am glad to see it go. 39yrs on this planet. thirty nine long years, some good, some bad, some awful. I’d like to say there were more good than bad, but this day just felt like another rough day in a long string of them. Some days it feels like forever. An endless number. I know that is my depressed brain telling me it is all shit and will always be shit. But I can’t really swallow that. Though the rough sections always seem to stand out in sharp contrast. This day started with the phone ringing, no different from all the others. My father asking a barrage of questions about this and that and attorneys. As the minutes past it settled over me. He forgot. That isn’t really out of the ordinary. Not in recent years anyhow. But it still hurt. I hung up the phone and got myself ready to leave for session. Briefly saw my mom, who wished me a happy birthday. Unfortunately she showed up just as I was leaving. Session was like many of the others these days. It was a good session, but I found myself thinking not today, I just don’t want to spend today in my head. But it was too late. I was in my head. I was in my head from the minute I hung up the phone with my father. I left feeling deeply sad and adrift. I can’t even say exactly why. I know we covered some difficult territory, but for whatever reason it hung on me as I drove home. I was so adrift I walked into the house and failed to notice a lovely vase of roses.

I just nodded when my partner asked if I liked the flowers. Somewhere in my mind in disbelief I was so freakin out of it I could not stand 3″ from these roses but have them fail to register. It just illustrates how clearly the world can get so dark so fast. I didn’t want to feel anymore adrift. My partner felt a trip off the farm would be good for me. I would have been content going back to bed. But I let her drag me. I was out of sorts and feeling poorly. As we drove along, she was asking how I could possibly leave for session fine and come back so sad. I tried to explain to her. I did my best, but it quickly fell apart. I told her I really needed her to communicate with me. She was silent. I stared at the fall foliage and wondered how we drifted so far. As the minutes of silence ticked off, I found myself searching for some way to reach her. But I could not find a way in. I pushed her a bit, got her to admit she didn’t want this “life”, I admitted I did not either. There we sat miles apart, sharing in the same reaction to our reality. Neither one of us want this. We both know it is slowly but surely drowning us. There is no way to sustain a life under the stress we are living, nevermind a life together. She quickly turned to yelling at me about “why can’t you just have one day, stop thinking, stop being miserable”. She just doesn’t get it. I can’t flip a switch. I cannot turn this off at will, just as I cannot turn it on. I felt that familiar impulsiveness track its way across my mind. I let myself settle there. Exploring it in my silence. But as I have so many times over the past few weeks, I turned my mind in a different direction. Buying time. Hoping for a shift. Not just in mood, but in this life. I don’t get the sense anything will get better. I fight myself to let the days go by. To give change a chance.

As the day passed, not one other member of my family called (but somehow managed to have almost 200 FB friends wish me a good day). I realize in this world I only have myself. It is me. I just cannot expect anything of them. To do so only sets me up to be hurt. I cannot afford hurt right now. I have enough pain and sadness all on my own. I can wish and hope they come thru, but it doesn’t happen. It is easy to get angry, fuck them. I don’t know that it is any better than hurt and sad. They all don’t help my state of mind. So here’s to another year. Another year to be let down, disappointed and hurt by those I love. To be pushed beyond all reason by stress. To be buried under a mountain of debt. To stare down yet another depression. yeah, another year. cheers.

Numbers and more numbers

After hours of slogging thru paperwork my brain was just fried. I don’t usually do our book work, so it takes a lot for my brain to really adjust to that type of concentration. It is not that I can’t focus, it is just difficult. Like everything else, I can’t slip and look at the big picture. I becomes so frustrating and overwhelming. I knew the minute I saw the 6 month financials that they were way off. I chose to just let it go. I didn’t want to fight about it. I didn’t think I had it in me to rework all the numbers. It is too late for that now. It is really evident they are wrong. I’m so angry. When you put your trust in someone and they let you down, there is so much frustration and anger. So here I am looking at everything with a new set of eyes. No longer blinded by allegiance or friendship. It isn’t about that now. It is about survival. I had been led to believe the issues were mainly cash flow. fuck that. This isn’t cash flow problems. This is being way up a creek and hearing banjos. Such a freakin mess. I guess it is a lesson learned. As if I didn’t have enough of a problem trusting people. It feels even worse having to go back to our main benefactors and tell them everything they have been looking at has been BS. I would rather go climb in a hole. So now I need to focus and rework everything properly. Starting with this year, and then going back to the beginning. I am watching the to do list pile up. I am watching days click off the calendar. With each day there is less time. There is too much to do, too little time to do it. I know I am overwhelmed. I can feel it with every cell in my body. I don’t think we can do it. Not on our own anyhow. I don’t feel any sense of urgency from my partner. Maybe she just hides it well, or maybe she doesn’t feel any. It only makes me feel more alienated and isolated. Like I am the only one.

More Post Session thoughts

I have continued to think about session yesterday. Not sure why my brain doesn’t want to leave it alone. There is something of importance there. I know part of it is seeing a different reaction. Any shift in behavior for the better needs noting, but it goes beyond that. I let myself kick it around in my head. One of the things that really stood out seems to hinge on expectations. Should my expectations of Virgil be any greater than those I have for Beatrice? Am I expecting more of her, based on our 17 years together? I guess I do. But, I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing. We all walk into session expecting something. Whether it be understanding, or compassion or connection. Sometimes we go expecting to feel better, though for me that isn’t often the case. I learned a long time ago, you don’t expect rapid shifts. The work is slow and steady. Often hard and painful. I do not expect to walk out the door feeling good. There are times I walk out feeling worse. But in each and every session I do have expectations.

As I sat there across from Virgil, watching her write notes, I thought to myself “I could be anyone”. It felt no different from the hundreds upon hundreds of evaluations I have sat through over the years. They are all similar. Each is meant to glean information, often quite a bit of it, in a short period of time. Just being another number, in a long line of patients. No connection, no feeling. They are all the same. They leave you feeling a bit chilled. Not because of the temperature of the room, but from the handling. As I sat there, I felt that familiar chill. But my mind kept saying, but wait “it is me”. I’m not just a number. Not just another task to be finished before the end of the day. I know in that moment I expected more. Because of all the years and the history. But to tell the truth, it shouldn’t matter. There should always be some connection. Even the endless intakes with the rounds and rounds of questions. Why should they be so cold?

I know it was just a rough day. It is not the way our sessions usually go. Regardless of expectations or not, we are all human. Whether it be myself or Virgil, or Beatrice. There are always times when we are far from ourselves. I’m not angry, or frustrated. I wish I could have figured out my thoughts about the session sooner, but sometimes I need things to settle in my head for a while. I need time to figure them out. This time is no different. I am happy the session shifted, and did not remain so distant and clinical. I am happy I was able to just settle and let it shift without reacting to it. I know with each session I learn something. It is often small, well beneath the radar. But in the years of work, all those little moments add up. They create a clear and distinct shift. I have spent so much time writing about depression and suicide, it is good to be able to note a positive in the midst of it.

Deafening silence

You know it is bad when the silence surrounding you becomes deafening. As we went about our day the thing that struck me most was the quiet. It is really obvious in the truck. Where to even start. I back off, just say nothing. It seems like everything is an argument. Not even a bad one, just another, in a long line of them. I seem to prefer the silence. But part of me hates it. As we drive I watch the leaves blowing, and the sky deepening into a dark grey. This is what fall looks like. It is how it feels, that strays far from the picture perfect colors. There is no beauty for me. Just the sight of the first leaf causes my breath to catch and my heart to skip a beat. It is just a fucking leaf, but is so much more than that. As I stretch my mind back over the years, I look for where this all began. Were falls always this hard? When did they get this way?

I learned of my father’s accident when I got home from camp. I would put that in late summer- at some point. Over that fall and into winter I can only imagine what I grappled with. The first time I laid eyes on his maimed and burned body was the end of October. It was Halloween, I was prob 8 or 9. I think that was the first taste of an awful shift in season. Is that the root? or is it something else? I don’t think it can be ignored. Were all the years before wonderous in their Fall colors? Was it a time of joy and fun, filled with pumpkins and costumes and turkey? I would like to say it was, but I lack any real concrete memories of my past. This has been this way my entire adult life. It is odd, and I often wonder why. My partner can happily recount stories of her childhood. In vivid detail, some at a very young age. So where did my childhood go? Is it there somewhere beyond my grasp? or is it just lost in that void? If I train my focus on my years growing up, I get a deep hollow emptiness. There is nothing that stands out, or makes itself known. It is nothing. The longer I force myself to linger there the more uncomfortable and uneasy it becomes. I have spent my life just avoiding it. It is as if my life didn’t start till I was older. All those prior years lost. Maybe it is a blessing. Those memories I do have are pretty awful. I’d just assume let them be lost.

I have strayed well off my initial quest to find the reason this time of year causes such discontent. I feel the real clear incidents of depression that happened in college also mirror the seasons. Both Spring and Fall. But the very worst being in the fall. I don’t know that there is a more beautiful sight than Ithaca wrapped in hues of copper, red and yellow. The gorges reflecting the colors on the steep rock faces. It is a sight to behold. Unfortunately for me, I saw it in shades of gray. There was no glory, no riot of color. Just a steady dull pallor to everything. It is so remarkable what depression can do to perception. How thoroughly it can leach into everything, taking with it all the wonder. I knew full well I was in trouble by the fall of my first year. I didn’t know the depths I would descend to in my second year, but I knew it was bad. Over the years I have grown to dread the shifts in the seasons. Part of me sees the beauty of the fall, but it cannot compete with the emotional panic that accompanies it. I wish beauty alone could somehow make it better. It does not. It doesn’t last. Fast on the heels of those falling leaves is the dull grey winter.

I always loved snow. I remember that. Happily building forts and snowmen. I felt this soaring type of joy. I was able to lose myself in it. But I took all that away. The predawn hours when I finally acted on my wish to leave this place, when the world was blanketed in snow. Maybe I wished to be back there, in my carefree romps in the snow. Climbing and building without a care in the world. Is that part of what drove me out into the fierce wind and driving snow? I do know that in that moment my view of snow changed forever. Just a single, lone flake can bring my mind right back to that morning. It never changes. A Nor’Easter brings flashbacks and anxiety. It is those storms that drive my mind to relive it- all of it. Thankfully we do not have them often, just a couple of times a year. I know that fall and winter hold no peace for me. There have been years that I have somehow been spared the deep and prolonged pain. I do not know what makes those years different. I cannot tell why one will be that way, while another is not. It never gets any easier watching the summer fade as the days grow shorter. The dread never disappears. The odds are not in my favor. Chances are a change of season means a shift in mood. This year being no different from so many others. It feels a bit like standing on a cliff. The fear so all-encompassing. To think all that, just from watching the leaves fall.

Almost the weekend

As I felt my irritation level rise, it dawned on me why I was sitting in traffic frustrated and angry. It was the friday before a holiday weekend. Everyone and their brother was headed north to take in the fall foliage, and the last of the decent weather. I really hate traffic. There is no better way to get me into a pissy mood. Thankfully I got back up here before the worst of it. I figured a run might settle my head, which it did. The traffic and the run did give me some time to think. These are my thoughts about today and the past few weeks.

As I sat in session today, I thought about how far I have come. I knew the split second I saw Virgil it would be a tough session to connect. I was so taken aback in the first 10 minutes or so by how workmanlike it was. I found myself wanting to say something, but figured that might make matters worse. Instead of getting angry and frustrated, I just settled and observed it, without reacting. That isn’t a common reaction for me. I would normally have done the opposite. As the minutes ticked off I slowly felt the session shift. It was slight, but it was enough. There is so much shit going on right now. It is so enormous. Each time I sit in session and talk about it, it strikes me as how hard it is. I fight the judgements, and the little voice in my head that says I’m not strong enough , or I’m not doing enough. But it is enough. I’m here, and I am trying. I don’t think I can expect miracles. I want to be able to have confidence in myself. I don’t know that I can answer Virgil’s question. All I can do is keep trying. To do anything I can to ward of the overwhelm and all the destructive thoughts that come with it. I know it seems a lot like denial, my just putting my head down and not taking it in. It may well be, but it is protective. To look around, is to invite trouble.

I find myself wavering. Some days I can push-off the thoughts and convince myself it is ridiculous to even contemplate ending my life. Those days I just let them go, not thinking much about them. They come into my consciousness, and leave just as quickly. But there are other days, normally days when something has gone wrong, or I am just buried under feelings of hopelessness, that the thoughts are different. They are more direct, more driven. Far more rapid fire in nature. On the heels of these thoughts are impulses. It is so hard to explain an impulse like this. Especially if someone has not experienced one. Very rarely in life do we feel an impulse that strong. It just doesn’t happen. Least for me. I’m not impulsive in other aspects of my life. I once was, but not now. I think the closest way to relate it would be picture an argument, a very heated one. When you are infuriated. Every once in a while you’ll be struck by this intense desire to throw something, or hit something. It is an impulse that comes from such a primal place. An impulse so intense that often times people find themselves reacting before they ever realize they are. Have you even thrown something? kicked something? or worst case hit something? There is such a disconnect from our logical self. I know I don’t throw things often. It takes a very strong impulse to drive that behavior. I have to be infuriated. I have to be pushed well beyond my limits. So now think for a second if you take all that away. The argument, the other person, whatever is pushing all your buttons. Now imagine that impulse to act in absence of it. That is what it feels like when that wave crashes over me. It is a reaction, don’t get me wrong. There are stressors that fire off that type of impulse. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The challenge becomes figuring out what might get that started. And once it manifests itself, how to put the brakes on it. When I was young I would react. There was no pause, no stopping. If it was driving, that pedal hit the floor before I ever realized. If it was spending, that card was maxed before I even gave it a second thought. It was a given.

I am have learned so much about myself in the last two weeks. I came face to face with these impulses. As strong as they have ever been, but instead of being a given, there was a pause. There was reason. Is that a product of skills taught and gained in treatment? Is is because I’m just not that sick yet? Is it because I haven’t found the bottom? I’d like to have myself believe it is all the skills I have learned. God I hope so. If it is the latter two, that makes my hands shake. I know that no suicidal impulse will last forever. I know that. Just as I know, no emotional state stays the same. As intense and awful as it can get, it will shift. It may not be by much, but it may be enough to refocus. I don’t understand the rapid shift that occurred over the past weeks. Nor do I understand the return of impulses that have laid dormant for years. As I have written about in this blog, my descent into depression and suicidality tends to be gradual and soul sucking. Why the change?

What has happened? Is it just another normal “abnormal” progression or shift in my bipolar? For me no ten year period is like the one before it. Is this how this next phase will be? I sure as fuck hope not. I thought this was well in the past. The impulsivity the product of a miserable, poorly medication managed 20 year old. It went along with what everyone said I was. I was out of control in so many ways. That is not the case now. I am not out of control. In fact, I am actually far more “controlled” than I have ever been. I just don’t understand. I wish someone could explain it. If I had an answer, maybe I might be able to create a plan to work thru it. Virgil asked about a breaking point. I honestly don’t know. I am terrified of the next stressor to land in my life. I am coping with what is here. Barely, but I am coping. The suicidal thoughts are there, but I am dealing with them. Terror doesn’t even begin to explain the feeling I have when I think about the coming months. I am waiting for something else to come, something I can’t cope with. On their own, each of the stressors in my life are bad. Together they are enormous. Even the most normal person, with no problems or issues would be buried. When faced with the loss of your home, your career, your passion, your vision, it isn’t very far to look before the mind grasps loss of life. My mind already lives there often, this is like having it served up on a silver platter. As I have said before, suicide isn’t about dying. It is about ending suffering. It is about trying to breathe when the world if suffocating you. As everything closes in and there isn’t any way to see out of the blur of it.

So, how does one keep their vision in the midst of that horror? It is the most difficult question. But the most straightforward answer is communication. Along with communication comes avoiding isolation. Those two are some of the most critical. I have looked at my life over the past few years. I have pulled back from everyone. From my parents, to my partner to friends. I live a life of isolation here behind a gate. I can’t even remember the last time I left this place for dinner, unless it was a seder. I don’t have much contact with friends. The phone rings and I can’t even bring myself to answer it. I am making a choice, in that moment, I am chosing isolation. With that isolation comes space. Space for the mind to wander into the darkest of recesses. Suicide becomes more palatable when less faces come to mind. As the weeks blend into months, when you have no contact with people, it becomes so much harder to make the effort. I know this goes both ways. To engage and interact comes from both sides. I can’t help but feel people sense the disconnect and move away. If I am lost, disconnected and miserable, who wants to spend time with me? I don’t want to spend time with me. Even the most understanding of people have to get frustrated. So, how do we reverse the trend? Do I even want to? Do I care? I’m not even sure. I find comfort in my world of isolation. I love nothing more than being lost in my thoughts with nobody to hear me, or to question me. But that is the problem. It is a double-edged sword. To be alone may be comfortable, but it is dangerous. The farther I am from everyone, the easier it is to act. People are a buffer. Especially supportive loving people. The help, in those moments when everything disconnects from reality and life becomes only about a single irrational decision. It is the only thing that may give the mind pause. Because nothing else exists, sometimes not even them.

I have spent the last week reading “History of a Suicide”. It is a searing memoir written by a woman who lost her younger sister to suicide. This memoir is an intimate look at what is left behind. I did not intend to buy a book, and happened to walk past it in the store. There it sat, in the non fiction notable books. I picked it up because of its title. This was the day after I had skated so far out on the edge. It seemed fateful. I brought it home and settled in to read it. It is not a book I want to read. It is a book I have forced myself to read. I can only hope that it reaches whatever corners of my brain that spawn these impulses. Maybe it will be a deterrent. I can pray it does. Sadly my mind likes to make me think everyone will be okay without me. That they will all recover. Talk about delusional thinking. How could anyone possibly be okay? I hope reading this book will help. I don’t know any other way to prevent that. It is the single most horrifying aspect of being suicidal. It isn’t the pain, or the strength or number of impulses. It is the fact that you somehow convince yourself that you are worth so little, are so insignificant that the world is better off without you. It is there that suicide becomes a reality. With no self worth and hopelessness coupled with severe emotional pain it becomes plausible. That is how skewed the reality is in the suicidal mind. It doesn’t matter what you have accomplished, or how smart you are, or how unique. It doesn’t matter. None of those exist in the suicidal mind. The only thing that exists is self loathing, pain, rage and hopelessness. Not rage at the world, not for me at least (though I think some people do act in anger at others), but rage at myself. For not being strong enough to be like everyone else. For not being able to cope. For being weak. The farther the slide the greater the rage and hate and loathing. For each and every time I cannot get something done, or screw something up, or fail, it builds just a little more. It isn’t difficult to harm oneself when you can’t stand yourself. Those are the critical pieces to a suicide. Without all of them in place, it is hard for it to happen. I’m not saying it doesn’t, I’m just saying that is what I think has to exist in my mind.

entering orbit

It has been a weird transition back. Having my partner back has been a good thing, don’t get me wrong. But somehow I thought it would be different better. No, same as when she left. But to expect change would be to expect a miracle. Nothing has changed here. Why would I expect her to change? Maybe I thought she would be less stressed and irritable with a break. I thought she’d be happier? Not sure. I do know she is having a tough time reentering orbit here. I made some decisions that needed to be made, and I know that has been difficult. It is also hard for her to figure out all the changes, new horses, different feed, changed turnout schedule. That is all new. It takes a little time to figure it all out. It has frustrated her further. She will settle back in. Out of the blue she headed to a concert last night. There is no point arguing it. It was “planned”, but she didn’t realize she would be gone before, and then come home only to have this show. I sat alone last night. It felt no different from the 10 nights that preceded it. I just have this feeling she doesn’t want to be here. But I don’t blame her. I don’t want to be here either. I really don’t- in so many ways. The night she got home she quickly involved herself on her computer, headphones and all. There was no discussion, no talk of her visit home. I didn’t push. I left her alone. But in doing that it only made the distance between us feel huge. We could have been on different planets. Different galaxies.

My mood has continued to run in a horribly low place. Though the provigil keeps me active enough. It drives me a bit, and that is a great thing. I would otherwise be sleeping. I feel pulled in both directions, but the provigil almost always wins. It has really been a blessing. Now if we could get the depression under control. It has definitely penetrated every aspect of my life. I know it, and I can see it clearly now. There is no questioning what is going on. It is here. Let the battle begin. I made a choice last week. I will put my head down and keep walking, no matter what happens. I promised myself that. No matter how bad, I will stay here. I have to.