At the root, beneath all the emotions and distortions, behind the fear and the pain is the myth. My ability to drive myself to believe so completely that I can disconnect from my life. I can act on the basest of impulses. It set there between Beatrice and I as the final minutes ticked off her clock. I had said it out loud. I even surprised myself. It is my inner sanctum. My beliefs I hold deeply and silently. I don’t share them. I do not talk about them. But there it was. She repeated my words and it became so real. I don’t want to die. I want to kill the suffering. As if I could indeed kill myself and rise from those ashes. A suicidal phoenix of sorts. That I so completely believed that I would not, in fact, die. There sitting between us was the myth I had created so many years ago. The one I lived by, and so nearly died by on more than one occasion. It fostered the disconnect that became my tool. I desperately needed a way to control the descent. I needed something to latch onto. As self-destructive and awful as it was, and is, it became a means of soothing myself. When the ground pitched and my footing became unsteady rather than look forward and find strength I looked back and found my myth. I grabbed on, and still do. That neon sign in my head pointing me on a path to self-destruction. I know, intellectually know, that I cannot kill my suffering without killing me, or vice versa. If I end my life, yes the suffering goes with it into whatever abyss lies beyond here. The suffering does not abate, even when I have walked out into the very end of this life. Even when cpr brought me back to this time and place, this life, this reality. The pain was still there, as real and immense as it had been before, even greater as it was joined by guilt and shame. The guilt is profound. It surrounds every inch, every pore. To awaken in the shadow of a failed suicide. To come to the realization that it did nothing to abate the pain. To look at the people around me and see the pain it had caused. One might think it would temper a second thought, or attempt. It does not. In that final count down there are no real attempts to examine those around you. Your vision is so tunneled by the plan and the obsessive secretive pattern. The dishonesty keeps the choice there. Beatrice asked that today. It does remain a viable option as long as those around me don’t know it is there. The minute I nod, or reply affirmatively to the question about suicidal ideation, or a true plan it becomes infinitely more difficult to finish. Sure you can kill yourself in a hospital, it happens, but it is a bit more challenging. She asked me about fighting that choice to become secretive and turn down that path. I don’t know why but I found myself angry in my silence. Was it that it felt too pat, and overly simplistic as she said it? Was it that I did not want to change this? Where was that knee jerk reaction coming from? I know it is far too easy for me to stand defiant and exclaim it is my life to take. My choice to make. But I remained silent, taking stock of my reaction and pondering its root. It was an odd session. As much as I might have wanted to I could not settle in and work. What was so straightforward and amazing last week was not in sight this week. I understand I was protecting myself, and that it was all just too close. As I said to her there were many ripples in the pond. Maybe too many for me to keep a handle on and still let myself relax into the work today. I think we somehow found our way to a incredibly important finish, even if it lacked emotion and connection. The honesty she has been asking me for appeared, even a bit to my surprise. Somewhere in the jumble of defenses I heard her. Where it goes from here I don’t know. How do I challenge a myth that was born so long ago? One that I can sell myself so completely that I lose all touch with my reality. A myth so powerful it provides the gateway to depersonalization and ultimately self-destruction. It is the key to my suicidal behaviors because without it I do not think they could occur. I do not think I could stand completely connected and in touch with reality yet still choke the life from myself. It is the piece that primes the weapon and allows be to become lethal.
I am left adrift and wondering where my honesty will take us. It is hard to hear something out loud that has sat so still and silent all these years. It is deafening now.
Wet soggy day up here, perfect for the second brick this week. I can honesty say the term brick is just ideal since the legs do actually feel like bricks by the time you get off the bike. I shortened out the bike today since it was a hilly route. Took me a good 3 miles before I finally started to feel my normal run stride. On a huge up note, no achilles pain! yay!! It is so awesome. Not sure if it was the drastic cut back in the running over the past month, or the bike helped. I have no idea. I am just so happy. Don’t think I can catch up to my training plan and still make the oct marathon. I do not think I can get back up in the mileage soon enough. Guess the next couple weeks will tell.
On a totally different path, Netflicks Orange is the New Black is really good. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it but the writing is great. Really funny and different. Different in a Weeds sort of way. Complete with all the sort of Weeds humor. Sex, drugs and the usual relationship dramas. Since it is women’s prison there is plenty of lesbian sex. It is a good show, worth a look.
I settled in to the bike for a ride. I was not sure where I was going, or how far I really wanted to go. It was a fitful night of sleep that dovetailed into a less than motivated morning. I just couldn’t get myself settled. The cut back in meloxicam really didn’t help matters. Sitting at the desk was miserable. I tried to get stuff done around the house. It wasn’t working. I called the pain management dr that the GP recommended. End of August. You have got to be fucking kidding me. It always seems to be that way with the pain docs. They are so busy, it is really scary. I just don’t get why I have to deal with a pain specialist. I don’t view meloxicam as a hard-core pain med. It isn’t. I just have to go with it, since the GP doesn’t seem comfortable with me staying on the med long-term. I’ve already been on it for quite a while. The option is to get the facet joints injected and hope that controls the pain. I think the epidural did help, so I’m hopeful that injected again might help. Though there is no guarantee, and there is the risk of steroids again. I know I said no steroids, but that is when I was content on meloxicam. Is it worth the risk? I don’t want to have to live with daily pain. I guess I’d be willing to roll the dice. Or I can just try to convince the pain dr to let me continue on the NSAIDs. They can keep track of my heart. I am fully aware of the risk of cardiac arrest. I know the risk. I understand the risks that are inherent in all the drugs I take, and in all the things I do each day. I can just as easily get struck by lighting bringing horses in during a thunderstorm, or get hit by a truck. Each day we live and breathe could be our last. It is just the way it is.
So back to the bike. I wasn’t all that comfortable, but I was so irritable and anxious sitting at home I felt I had to do something. I’m still fighting the achilles injury so it wasn’t like I was going to run. Off I went. finding my rhythm on a piece of aluminum and carbon. Feeling out all the quirks and nuances of this beast. I have a healthy respect for it. I’m not 10, and probably don’t bounce off asphalt like I once did. One of the only nasty scars from childhood I have was from a bike. I remember hauling ass down a hill and taking flight. Yeah, I landed on my face. ouch. Still vaguely remember my mother’s hysteria and the blood dripping off my shirt. Doesn’t stop me from dropping the hammer on this bike and feeling out just how fast she can be. Seems I like a little speed in my life. I’m just happy my back is comfortable on the bike. Probably because there is not much if any twisting at L-5, S-1. Now my ass on the other hand is not a happy camper. I was joking with the bike guy as he adjusted the stem angle that it isn’t like I’m a seat virgin. I sit on horses. My seat bones are not exactly untested. Yeah well, they are not all that thrilled with the saddle. The first couple miles were complete with plenty of curse words and whining. But it was just me and the wind. I settled into the climb away from the farm. It is a quick quad burning half mile. Nothing terrible, just a nice wake up. I set about the task, loving the descent on the other side. Flanked by 3 foot high corn and the chirp of late day crickets. I hit the turnaround point for the short ride and unclipped. I knew I didn’t want to go home. My ass sure did. I settled into the next climb without turning around. It is amazing the difference in the muscles used to drive the bike. It isn’t like I’m out of shape. Far from. But I do find it a challenge. It was a good thing today. My mind was occupied. My worries dissipated as the lactic acid built up. It seems an inverse ratio, always. I pedaled on. More corn, more farms. The 16 mile turn around was looming. All I wanted to do was keep going. An argument ensued in my head. I had to head back. It was late. I went to turn back. ok. slow down. unclip. um, yeah unclip. Why did I change the tension? It was a priceless moment as I fought with that clip. Complete with curses. In the last second I managed to get free and set down my free foot. I actually laughed at myself. It was pretty damn funny, but I managed not to fall or drop the bike. Off I went into the long climb to head home. As the miles flew by I realized how much I need a place to be free. Whether it be running, or polo, or riding. I need a place to step outside my anxiety. To shake free of my life for a time. I don’t know how to do it without these pursuits. I’m unsure how to create the safe space without tapping into the physical exhaustion.
I know it was a stretch to back two 15+ mile rides into a week with a bunch of 6 to 8 milers, but I so needed it today. I needed a quiet place of my own to come to terms with the news from yesterday. I had to wear myself down. I can’t say I found my happy place, but I came as close as I could today.
I Have Arrived. I am Home. The Destination is Each Step. Thich Nath Hanh
I will mindfully walk this path. Because it isn’t about past, present or future. It isn’t about what may be, or what has been. For now it is about the moment we are in. To live this life I must disentangle myself from then, or even what will happen. It is too difficult and far too painful to try and live like that. Instead just breathing and taking in the sight of a sun slipping low in the crisp blue sky. Streaks of sunlight tracking down from the heavens touching us here. It was pure magic that sky this afternoon. Pure magic I was meant to see.
Feeling torn here. The phone rang. My sister-in-law’s sister killer herself. It was out of the blue. She had spent time with us here at the farm. Painting fence, fixing things, hanging out in the sun. A carefree soul with just an edge. One I saw, because I know that edge. The look that lingers just a couple of seconds too long at the distance, or pulls back just a hair too quick. The undefinable features of a person meeting life head on, but with thoughts elsewhere. Last we had heard she was back in FL. Working and doing okay. Instinctively I wanted to follow D out the door and be there for my sister-in-law. In fact, I had my feet in my shoes heart racing. But in a split second I pulled back. The brakes on the floor. NO. Too close, too real. Too much. Call it self-preservation, selfishness, whatever. I just know that I can’t run headlong into that fire and not get burned. She’s hysterical. The emotions are all high and out of control right now. I don’t want to know the hows and whys. Not that there needs to be a why. I know that all too well. In all my years this is the closest suicide has come to our family. Sure I know patients that have killed themselves. You don’t spend time in hospitals without crossing paths with those that are unhelp-able. Those so hell-bent of self-destruction that it is only a matter of time before their time is up.
She wasn’t like that. No history of severe mental illness. No glaring warnings. just a life marred with some rough spots including losing her boyfriend. I know that hung on her, and she never could shake it off and move on.
I don’t like the proximity. I don’t like all the little lights that flickered on in my head when D put down the phone. I need to get as far from this as I can. The timing is just strange. Where I left off in session- to brush so close to a snowy morning and come away feeling okay. If anything confident to go back again. To do the work, and find closure. This is a landmine for sure. I feel terrible for the family. I very much want to be able to console my sister in law. But I just can’t. I cannot, for my own good. Not right now. I hate that. I hate having to make a choice to protect myself. I hate that suicide still lays red hot and raw in me. That even the word causes me to pause in thought. It is seared there. It isn’t ever just brushed off, or joked about. I cannot stand it when people flippantly say ” I just want to shoot myself this day has been such crap”. All too often I sense myself recoil, and try desperately to catch myself so it isn’t too obvious. Force myself to laugh along with a joke that makes me sick.
I am really at a loss for words. Only my hammering heart keeping me company as I wonder why, and what could have happened to make her chose death.
Where does the line get so blurred. the one that I live with everyday. Created from my life and my upbringing. The backbone and integrity that shapes who I am and how I define the edges of my life and my actions. I am a person a strong will. I strongly view the rights and wrongs with conviction. I am no-nonsense, hardcore honest as they come. I’ll tell it like it is, even hurting people in the process. My edit button doesn’t seem to work when it comes to honesty. I don’t sugar coat it. I won’t look the other way. So how do I, in my darkest moments chose deception and dishonesty. Both to those around me, and even to myself. As I spoke with Beatrice, I realized the power of the deception and the reason it is there. The me who charges through life, tough and honest can’t kill herself. No, I need to create space, a void, between me and everyone else. I even need to create distance from myself. I must lie, cheat, disengage from all I value and hold dear. I must disrespect myself and others, or I cannot follow thru. I must fail. Give in and give up. It hurts just thinking about it. The tears in session were in response to that pain. A reaction to examining the person I become to end my suffering. The mind is distorting everything. The pain unimaginable so the mind bends in response. Nothing is as it seems. Nobody around me is there because I have created distance. The more the better. Little endless arguments with my partner coupled with silence. Each day ticking past and the distance grows. Sessions stretch in uncomfortable silence and disconnection. I am moving farther and farther from who “I” am. She is disappearing a piece at a time. The plan becomes the primary focus and everything else pales. Deception comes to stay. A stranger in my house of integrity. Still I accept it with open arms. Anything to stop the pain. Hours spent online looking and reading. Finding confidence in the study of death and suicide. Deleting the browser history, and closing the laptop. Not letting anyone see the path I am walking alone. I have chosen a path. In the vast richness that is life I have skittered off to the very outskirts. Nothing out there but the daily study of death. The obsession. The HOPE. Alone I continue on this path. I do not share my plans. I don’t let anyone see anything beyond the crushing depression I am surviving under. But they know me well enough. They knew I could not hold up much longer. Those bitter cold days toward the end of January as the clock ticked unbeknownst to them. I was getting closer. I had found purpose and hope. The end was in sight all I had to do was stick to the plan. and so the deception continued. I parted ways with everything that makes me me. I failed me and everyone around me with my decisions. I gave up and succombed to the distorted reality by brain was flashing before me. IT WILL BE FOREVER. IT WON’T GET BETTER. IT WILL HURT MORE. Enough, I had come to the outer edge of what I could cope or even comprehend in my slow dumb depressed head. Though becomes hard. Everything feels like you are swimming against the current. Day after day. I had enough. I let go. I went with the current. I stepped off that chair into the blowing snow. I chose death over life. I harmed everyone around me.
It is never spoken about, ever. Not in treatment and never ever at home. This changed. I let my mind drift back into the snow. I lit upon the fear and terror beneath that mound of snow. I followed my footsteps in my mind as I crawled up those icy steps. I saw me in my most vulnerable of places. Under the weight of so many nameless emotions making me smaller and smaller.
Was I relieved? No, I was not relieved I failed. There was however a primitive part of my brain that dragged me inside terrified of freezing to death, or losing my fingers and toes to frost bite. The same primitive part that fought the rope and tried to intervene. Often coroners report hanging victims with their fingers between the rope and their neck, or marks that show an attempt was made to fight the rope. It is the part of us that breaths. The part that keeps us upright and alive. It is always a fight to take one’s life because we are biologically programmed to live. I know that part of me. I found it that morning in the snow. I could have just let go and gone back to black as it was beckoning. Just close your eyes. I crawled instead.
My fear is that the wiring has changed. Once you make that choice, and act on it, it gets easier. That neural pathway lights up like a landing strip. Suffering/ Pain ——>GO HERE.
I don’t know why it is that way. I know I’m not alone. I have met so many others like myself. The battle isn’t depression at that point it is putting the brakes on a well-worn descent. It is finding the part of you that says NO, I’m not a deceitful lying person. I’m not about giving up and giving in. I am a survivor. NO, ————->TURN HERE. And so it goes, over and over. This is why there is such danger once a person has done it before. The odds go up. The path is there to follow. It isn’t scary anymore. It is accepted, and even fostered in the face of pain and suffering. How does one choice under such extreme circumstances paint such a different future? How does one alter that? shut off that path? Remove the option from the table? I don’t know the answer. I’m, not sure it can be done. All I know is it flashes neon in my head at the first sign of change. When the pain arrives at my doorstep and looks to be coming to stay a while. WHY NOT? TURN HERE———–>
It doesn’t fade. It doesn’t waiver. Ever. I watch it in silence. I try not to look, but it is like a car wreck. You can’t peel yours eyes away. I absorb it like a sponge and start the obsessing all over again. The scariest part is the more times it happens the shorter the interval. It is right there. So fast and so bright. I can’t help but be lured. I try to move past. To turn my mind. Find something and concentrate on it. I do okay under most circumstances, but there is always that moment of choice. Keeping my integrity intact. Opening my mouth and allowing my treatment team in. Allowing them to make the good choices they make. Err on the side of caution, even if it would probably work itself out. I trust that, for sadly I have learned I can’t trust myself. I can’t fight the allure of an endless peace with no repeat cycle of pain and suffering this life has offered me. Does that make me weak? yes, in my eyes it does. Does it make me a failure. yes, I believe that as well. Does it make be deceitful? yes, as I have lied and omitted to create the space I needed to take my own life. I am all of those things and I don’t know how to alter it. I know I can be a powerhouse of tough. I can battle and pull myself along by my fingernails. I know I can push myself beyond all I think is possible, except when that neon light flickers on and I take the hard right. TURN HERE——–>
Skinner would have a field day with that one. but I think it goes beyond just conditioning. It is a complicated mess of emotions and distortions. It is a storm that lights up my head with the lighting bolts of the past, present and future. It is a storm that drives me to the nearest shelter I know. Unfortunately that shelter is the most unhealthy, awful choice. It is the end, but somehow my mind can’t see that. I can’t see that, because if I truly did, I would not even consider it a choice.
Well it has been a break from writing. Rather than type I picked up a pad and pen per Beatrice’s instructions.
I returned to that night and wrote. Down the rabbit hole. But I am ok. I think actually this is where I need to be to go back and get the closure that is so iimportant. I can trace that snowy hell in my mind and come out the other side. It is so very important.
A heart pounding visceral reaction speaks volumes for just how badly it needs attention. I can choose not to bury this. I can be brave and take a long look. This is for the best. We will work through it slow and steady till it doesn’t drive my heart to the beat of a drum, and my mind doesn’t recoil from the word N’oreaster or hanging. It is just that. A word, or words, nothing more. Suicide will remain a tough topic. I don’t think that will ever change.
When I think about therapy and my journey, I often have chosen the pull up stakes and run when everything finally settles. The better my head the more common it is. I find I want nothing to do with spending time in my head. It is because I spend so much time in my head. All the weeks, months and years spend wading through shit while trying to keep my head above water. It makes it hard to want to take to the sea when there is not a need to wade or even paddle. But I am understanding the importance of the work. I think I am truly understanding the importance of getting into some of the more difficult work while I am in a place of relative safety and security. I am fit and able to cope where I am right now. The value of that is immeasurable when it comes to wandering some of the darker sections of my past. As I sat with Beatrice I caught a glimpse of where we were going. My knee jerk reaction is, nope, not doing it. But for once I felt a more mature measured response in my mind. A what if. What if I did finally get through some of this. How much better off I will be in the long run. I made a decision in that moment that I would stay put and commit. Not take the time off and say all is well. I am looking forward to a new course even if it will be hard. I have to find a little faith in my health and strength right now. I can. I just need to keep that clearly in mind.
As the world unfurls in all its racist glory, I only have this to say. Should be an interesting couple days post verdict.
Can’t really complain much. It has been the usual busy summer work. Seems like we just start to catch up and the weather grows cold again. Don’t think we ever truly catch up. It is endless.