Last night I sensed a difference. The mood was shifting rapidly. In under an hour the deep despair was replaced by anger and irritability. It was so quick. I didn’t sense it, until after I had already started being nasty. Fighting over nothing. Pushing away. Pulling back, and creating distance. It is more than just irritable. It isn’t just about mood. It is not wanting to let anyone in. As the days of struggle continue I start to get numb. I don’t want anyone near me. This was evident yesterday. I had opened up and let both Virgil and Beatrice know what had happened. It was very hard to do. Beatrice insisted that I let my partner in and tell her where my head was at, and how bad it was. I did not want to do this. I wished to remain in my own private world, alone with the guilt and fear. The suffering and pain belonging to me. The distance last night wasn’t just me. This was coming from my partner also. I know it is hard to hear about this. Even harder to move forward into the unknown. She is afraid, as am I. She has been there when everything has spiraled away. Been there each time to take me to the hospital. She knows. It feels like we are both trying to get across a path, only to figure out midway, that we are in quicksand. Struggling to make it, but terrified to move too much. Knowing that it will just sink us further. We both resort to not talking, not moving. barely breathing. It is silent and strange. Each of us, just feet apart, but it feels like an emotional sahara stretching thousands of miles. It feels uncrossable. We give up. Skirting around the issues. Never joining together to face the danger. I feel lost and alienated. But it is all of my own doing. I am asking her to read my mind. Not ever offering up an explanation. It is so fucking lonely. There has to be a better way. Standing still and hoping for the best doesn’t work. If only I could be honest without being terrified. somewhere in the back of my mind I am scared she will think it is just too much. After all these years of crisis after crisis, will she just throw up her hands and say enough? It keeps me silent. Always worried and almost never sharing what goes on up in my skull.
It was a rough session today. I feel so fucking awful about what happened. In my mind it seems like I let everyone down. I know I am supposed to pick up the phone and ask for help. To share my impulsiveness and offset the risk by letting Virgil and Beatrice help me. I didn’t do that. I did not even know what was happening. How could I have stopped it. I was holding the gun, there was no impulses prior to it. I did not feel depressed earlier that day. I felt a very strong disconnect. I was numb. I remember that clearly. Leaving session I recall little if any of the afternoon. I think I went to the gym, but I really am not sure. I don’t understand how everything is so jumbled in my brain. It is like the past week has been shuffled. I didn’t sense anything bad was happening. I was overwhelmed, especially with the financial information I received from the accountant. I was under a tremendous amount of stress. I can be really sure about that. Was it the final straw that tipped that awful afternoon in motion?
sitting in session today I couldn’t help but replay the time in the room as the light was slipping away. I could sense the way it felt, the shift of the temperature in the room. the weight of the gun in my hands. the groves and textures of her. Every inch. I was so painfully wrapped up in that process of feeling it. It was a very strange eerie experience. Time stood still. nothing existed beyond that cold piece of lethal steel and my anguish. I didn’t know how I got there, but I accepted it. I didn’t recoil as I recognized what was happening. I didn’t think to myself NO. instead I bowed my head, tears falling in silence. I did not pick up the phone sitting less than a foot from me. I did nothing but accept it. Why? how did it seem okay to me. sure I was disoriented. All that was in my head was a steady race of thoughts. Moving fast enough I could not tease out any one thought. Even now, letting myself replay the moments in my mind. It wasn’t until I was startled by the sound of the round being racked did I even realize what exactly was about to happen. yet, I still did not pause. I placed that barrel against my head. I was holding an AR-15 Bushmaster A-2 “shorty”. This is basically the same type of gun used by the military, only it is not a fully automatic like the M-16. It is an assault rifle. Like any gun, there is recoil whenever the trigger is pulled. My concern in that moment was not that I was holding a gun to my head, or that I was alone in the fast fading light. My worry was that when I pulled that trigger the barrel would jump, losing contact with my head. I could not be certain where the bullet would go. I adjusted how I was holding her, but I couldn’t get it secure enough. I just lost it. I rarely cry like that. I knew there was no way I could hold that gun and get the round to travel thru my skull and travel thru the brain stem. that is the only sure way for a bullet to kill you. A bullet can travel all the way thru the brain, leaving only severe injury. Not death. You are probably wondering why I know this. I have studied suicide in all its forms. Every method, all the ways to make mistakes, all the ways to be successful. It was in that moment, when I should have been horrified by what I was doing, instead I was in this cold calculated place. The racing thoughts fell to the wayside. Time crawled. I went thru my mental checklist. What was wrong, and what was right. Only thing going thru my mind was odds and what might go wrong. I was fixated on the gun barrel placement. It was not RIGHT. Did not matter what I did, still my head said no. There was too high a probability it would just leave devastating injury. This feeling of dread started to creep in. I tried to bargain. tried to get myself to think it was good enough. let myself go to the impulse pushing so hard against my back. that wasn’t the only thing wrong. the gun was loaded with a light target round. I wasn’t sure it was heavy enough. I could not remember the jacket. was it a full metal jacket?? I just couldn’t think straight. It was as if I had marbles rattling around up there between the analyzing and the impulses. I lowered the barrel, releasing the trigger from under my finger. I pulled the gun close, hugged her to me. Tight. very tight. I held her and was overcome by the weight of the situation I had found myself in. I was no longer analyzing, I was feeling. Such deep pain, like none I had ever felt. There was no one, so I held that gun. I lost myself in that moment. I was terrified. I was completely overcome. I held her to me, resting my forehead on the barrel. I rocked in the dark. back and forth, back and forth. I do not know how long I spent. I do not remember unloading the gun, or sliding her back in her place. I recall nothing. It is as if it all just evaporated. The sadness remained. It did not go into storage with the gun. It hung on me making my bones feel heavy and my soul feel weak. Here I am a few days later, the sadness still everywhere. but it is now coupled with the most paralyzing guilt. I am disgusted with myself. I could not even bring myself to look at Beatrice. I just feel this terrible darkness. I feel no good. worthless. I promised them I would let them help me. I said I would be truthful and reach out for help. did I? no, instead I waited days before allowing myself to share what I had done. I know I am sick. I know that. I understand there is a chemical maelstrom going on in my head. But it just feels like another failure on my part. I am so sorry. so fucking sorry. i am ashamed of myself.
I am so confused. I cannot even begin to figure out what is wrong. I know they say it is the steroids. These fucking pills that were supposed to make me feel better. to take away the problems with my back. Some make the pain less. But i did not realize what they could do. I didn’t know. Never saw it coming. How could I end up with a gun to my head with no idea of how I got there? I have been suicidal. I know what that is, and how the impulses start and fade. This was not that. It was different. I had lost control entirely. I was gone. Lost in my head. I don’t understand. Was I dissociating? was i psychotic? what the fuck happened to get me alone in that room. oh god. i am so ashamed. In the blink of an eye it could have ended. I would have been dead with no idea of myself and no control. Bipolar is scary, don’t get me wrong. Becoming suicidal is scary. but this is a whole different kind of awful. Virgil says it is the steroids. She tells me they do this to everyone. Does everyone come within a split second of being dead? no, doubt that. Do that disappear into some void only to surface in horror. I thank god some doubt crawled across my conscience. Would it have been over had I had a different type of ammo? would it have been done had i found a comfortable way to hold her. i am so afraid. i cannot even put words to how terrifying this is. I didn’t want to tell anyone. I feel so badly. it is just so wrong. by the middle of yesterday I had thought about it and realized that if the gun stayed in the house it might happen again with deadly results. But some part of me did not want to hand over that gun. I didn’t want to tell Beatrice, or Virgil. My gun was control. it was always here if things got too hard, to terrible. I didn’t want to relinquish her to anyone. But i was so scared about what had happened the day before. I had to say something. I went back and forth in my mind. I had to make a decision. I found a way to offer the gun. I gave her to a safe home, to keep her locked away. I let her go. my fear overcame my desire to hold on. god help me.
I have to talk about this. I have to process this horror of what happened. A steroid can do that? god, what now. What if I end up somewhere else? will that disconnect return? will it come back before the seroquel has a chance to work? I know they want me in the hospital. I realize that is best. but I cannot stomach going back. I just can’t. It has been so many times already. I cannot fail again and go back. relinquishing all control. what if they want to fry my brain again? they have ways of pressuring you in there. At the mercy of the staff and the drs, they make it sound like it is best. they change the meds, question Virgil’s plan. I can’t deal with that. I can’t deal with any of this. It just makes me sick. absolutely sick to my stomach with worry. I can only hold out so long. one more slip and I know I have no choice. I fucking hate this powerless feeling. I am just so disgusted with myself at this point.
She is cold beneath my shaking hands. weighty and solid. I run my fingers over her. Every inch, as if discovering her for the first time. I can feel the urgent rap of my heart against my ribs. I pay no attention. I just continue my careful caress. She is beautiful. The light is fading fast. There in the gloaming I am holding her. My mind is racing. Sorrow is all around me, thick as fog. I am barely aware of my hands as they slide the round in. The click of it as it is chambered. I am startled by the SNAP. I am utterly alone with a gun. A gun with a live round chambered. My mind starts worrying. My impulse is ramping up, raging against the stillness. The ice cold barrel meets my skull. I can’t help but lose control. I am sobbing. The pain is so very great, but I am unsure. I don’t know about this placement. I understand her, I know what she does when that trigger is pulled. I cannot be sure the end of her barrel will stay. It isn’t right. I pause, finger beside the trigger. I readjust and it still doesn’t feel right. I can’t get it right. I am afraid of getting it wrong. Of ending up not finishing it. I am afraid of being left with half a head. Nothing is in my mind but the impulse to pull that trigger running neck and neck with the fear of getting it wrong. or maybe it is a subconscious fear of the gun. I have never held a gun to my head with the safety off. I have never been there. I don’t even know how I got there. I have no recollection of walking upstairs, or taking out the gun. It is as if I am lost in some strange maze in my mind. I am terrified in that moment. I have never felt like that. All I could do was hold that firearm to my chest, crying, alone in the dark. I held her and rocked. Something was strangely comforting. Whether it was the movement, or the coldness of the gun. I don’t know. I held her there against me. Just me, a gun, and an impulse. I am horrified. I am confused. but most of all I am terrified of how it came undone so fast. What is the matter with me?????
It was burning. Everything was burning. Initially just an orange glow in the distance. But it grew and grew. Racing toward us. I stood holding a hose, useless against the wall of flames descending on the farm. Every fire extinguisher was in use. We were trying, but we were losing. We couldn’t stop it. It soon became apparent that the only choice was to flee. What about the horses? and animals? How would we save them? which would we chose to save? there was only so much time. My heart was racing and my mind numb. Sadness was immense. I made my choices. I saved the ones dearest to me. I walked away from the rest. Loaded the horses into the trailer. grabbed anything of value, or that wasn’t replaceable. tears streamed as I looked over my shoulder. We left it. The flames loomed just a few feet from the buildings. We had set the rest of the animals free in hopes they would run. The first rays of dawn broke on the horizon. The long night of fire was past. In the light of day we returned. Everything stood untouched. The fire had changed direction. It had spared the farm and the animals. All the terror and the fighting, and most of all the choice of whom to save had been for nothing. Just some weird sick twist of fate. It was futile. There was no getting away. No walking away from this place. The sadness of leaving it all behind had been for not. This dream was as vivid and real as they get. Every detail in Technicolor. The heat of the fire, the smell of the burning woods, the panicked calls of the horses. all of it so real. so so real. I woke, as if propelled by some hand, out of bed. Breathing hard, as if just running. I had been running in my dream. I had been running away. I actually was free, for a moment. I had made my decision to go. Only to awake to this life, again.
That wasn’t the only dream. I had fallen into a restless sleep during the late afternoon yesterday. the seroquel had combined with the exhaustion of depression to just level me. it wasn’t long before I was dreaming. the dream repeated every time I fell back into sleep. It is very hard to write about this, nevermind think about it. I was hanging. back in that predawn storm. All the sensations, the cold, the rope as it snapped tight against my throat. I felt the weightless moment of suspension. the struggling for breath. the pounding of blood in my ears, the sway of the rope in the wind and my weight. and I would wake up. Panting pulling at my neck, looking to free myself. There was not rope, but I felt like I was being strangled. I would slowly start breathing more regularly and sleep would return and the process would repeat. It was so real I was convinced I had hung myself again. It was terrifying. I dragged myself out of bed, I couldn’t take it anymore.
I do not often remember dreaming. it is so rare for me to dream like this and remember it so clearly. I know dreams have a place, and often we process during our dream phases of sleep. I can only hope they don’t get worse than these. I have always found peace in sleep. Using it as an escape. There is no escape if it is all terror.
(image courtesy of http://www.stockfreeimages.com)
The free fall continues. I awoke to a day as grey and bleak as my mind. I went to the park to try to clear my thoughts with a run in the cold air and falling snow. It was so quiet. Eerily so. The only sound, my shoes on the path. I ran and ran. I tried to shake the misery that surrounds me. I wanted to free myself and find some peace in the grey beauty of the lake. There was no solace in that snowy landscape. My mind kept folding back on itself. The only thing it wants is escape. I can’t give up. I know that, but it sits there in my mind’s eye. Never, ever leaving. I sentenced myself to this reality. The very first time I chose to harm myself. It is there in my mind forever. I did that. I created an option where there had not been one. I gave it a chance and planted a seed. One I can’t seem to be free of. The endless dialog. I just wish I had never given it the power it has. and so I ran. I ran to find peace. to find quiet. to give myself some space from the demons in my head. If only I had found it. Instead I returned, as miserable and sad as when I left. I am exhausted. Every gesture and glance seems to take immense amounts of effort. This is depression at its worst. To exist is difficult. To breath seems redundant and hard. The simplest has become the most draining. I retreat to my bed hoping to find escape in sleep. I relish the hours of nothingness. It is safe there, if only sleep would come.
There is something terrifying about the feeling of the floor falling out of my mood. It is so swift and so utterly devastating. The darkness envelopes everything. It is as if someone swapped out the scenery in my mind. The landscape, in an instant, goes grey and bleak. There is nothing. no love, no hope, no options. there is nothing. just the whisper in my ear. there is nothing left here. nothing you can do. it is pointless to even try. just give up. there is a way out. a place with no pain, no stress. But I’m scared. don’t be scared, there is nothing to be afraid of. you are suffering. you don’t need to suffer. i don’t want to hurt anyone. so you are supposed to suffer so no one else gets hurt? are you a martyr? No, I don’t mean it like that. I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I just want to be free. I want to be okay. You’ll never be okay. just look at you, sitting in a heap. completely and utterly overwhelmed to the point of not being able to move. I just have to sit still. If I am still enough I can ride this out. I can keep calm. I don’t have to listen to you. But you want to! you want to let go. you’ve had enough. Your life has been one endless disaster. nobody would be surprised if you left it. I don’t know. I don’t know what happens after here. maybe i will suffer more. maybe I will go to hell. it will be better than here. Anything is better than here. I don’t know. I just…you just what?I’m scared I’ll screw up. I won’t get it right. It will just be more of the same. more hospitals, more drugs, more treatments. a never ending process of not getting well. all the more reason to just let go. I don’t know. I’ll give it some time. I don’t want to just react. maybe my mood will right itself. I will start to feel better. I will give it some time. I have to give myself that. I will shoulder this pain and stay still hoping for a shift.
I thought my day was going pretty well. Woke up with a pretty good sense of what I wanted to accomplish. Sat with my light and caught up on emails. hopped in the shower to get ready for session. Walked out the door on time as the phone was ringing. I glanced at the caller ID. Accountant. Not now, I had to leave to get to session. The cell started ringing. Great, that can’t be good. But I was going to be late, so I let it ring. Arrived and parked and had a few moments to check messages. Not sure why, but I decided to call the accountant back. As usual some fucking mess is going on with the taxes. To make matters worse my father is apparently confused. The accountant was confused, and now I am throughly confused. It is like a bad game of telephone with everyone misinformed. But this isn’t some innocent game of telephone. This is real and this is about money and levys and more problems. My frustration and anger was now well off the charts. Unfortunately, I did not have time to go over everything. Now I had to get my head together and go to therapy. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. today was fine, everything was okay. WHAM. nope everything is not okay. Not even close. I’m so fucking angry at that point that my emergency switch in my brain flips to disengage. Within the blink of an eye, I was disconnected. You probably could have removed my flesh and it would not have registered. I was fending off the nasty voice in my head. I had to disconnect because I just couldn’t take it anymore. I have had enough. I just don’t know what to do anymore. Every time I try to get myself together to face the problems I start doubting myself. All the nasty comments running thru my head just do me in. I give up and get overwhelmed. At this point I am completely and utterly swamped. I try to see a way out of all this, but it looks pretty hopeless at this point. I wish more than anything I could disappear. The farther away the better. It never fails. I want an out, an escape from here. I tried to settle my head with a gym session. I ran and ran, nothing. no relief there. Because there is no relief. There is no hiding or outrunning this reality. I wish there was a way. I wish there was a way to convince myself I can get thru all this. All there is in my head is doubt and a nasty voice telling me I am useless. I can’t get away from it. I am far too weak to battle it. God I wish I had some solution. Some way to get us out of this disaster. I think about it, but no solution exists. I only see escape routes, no solutions.
It is terribly easy to become self-centered during the process of treatment. Since it is, in fact, a process about you. How you are doing, what you are feeling. What everyone around you has done, or not done. What wrongs have befallen you. What family screw ups have harmed you. It is all about you. Needless to say, care must be taken to keep perspective. Hard to do, easy to say. I know for much of this process I have been in that egocentric place. That’s okay, we all spend parts of our lives there. It is necessary, especially when it is also easy to place far too much effort, and care into everyone around us. Our selves lost in that process of pleasing others, at the cost of ourselves. There needs to be some balance. Taking care of ourselves without losing sight of how we effect those around us. When dealing with depression, or bipolar, behavior often has terrible repercussions. We can harm those around us, without even being aware. Lost in the heights of mania, we can decimate relationships and try even the most loyal of supporters. In the deep depths of depression we are so consumed by pain and suffering, we may choose to attempt to depart this life, causing great pain to those that love us. I have been in all those places. I have harmed those around me. That is why I find it so important to realize this. As I have written prior, and I am sure will write again, I am so very blessed to have people in my life that have been able to cope with these ups and downs while remaining steadfastly at my side.
There is a very fine balancing act that comes into play. Realizing our own needs, but not losing sight of everyone in our lives. Holding fast to helping ourselves become whole, while not allowing ourselves to fall back into old habits of valuing others over ourselves. There have been many times in my life where I deferred and gave others a tremendous amount of power. Losing sight of myself and what was best for me. I just didn’t believe I was worth anything. There are many times I fall back into devaluing myself. Normally when I have stretched and come into a new place in my journey. It is uncomfortable and awkward. Taking two steps back for every one step forward. I often wonder why it is so easy for me to back down and offer myself as sacrifice. Not even thinking for a second how much I give up every time I do that. It may be because it is such a familiar state, to be small and worthless. Stepping down to give others control. Years spent controlled and manipulated. It would become my normal state of being. That has left a mark. Causing this ceaseless voice of doubt to linger in my skull. I stretch and grow, only to slink back in disbelief. Never accepting and truly believing my worth. I am not sure what it will take to finally get me to move past this ever-present roadblock. For me to be able to see what those around me see. I am worth it, and I can be selfish. I can make this about me without harm. I can balance on that fine line, keeping myself as a priority while still loving those in my life. I can grow as a person and realize both my shortcomings and those of everyone around me. I will slowly find my way toward a stronger me, while maintaining boundaries and keeping faith in myself. In the end it is about learning to love me, and understand the value of me. To stop hating myself and giving those around me all too much say. At the end of the day, it is okay to be focused on me, as I learn a new perspective.