Young Love

I was awfully young the time I laid eyes on what would be the first love of my fledgling life. She was older and straight, untouchable in my mind, but that did not mean I didn’t want her. So I settled on the outskirts of her life and watched. I never thought she’d notice. I was trying to find my way in school and was finding Cornell to be well over my head. I was struggling and distracted. I only wanted her. I really had no idea what to do with myself. In the perfect turn of events she noticed me. There was that spark. No denying the connection there. When asked tonight if I remembered that night, I could perfectly visualize the car, the dashboard light and the unspoken lust that hung in the air. I knew I could not go to her, that would have freaked her out and so I waited in the dim light listening to the music and wishing she’d make up her mind. It took a very long time. Very very long time but in that moment when I felt her move I knew she would come to me. It was a strange mixture of passion and shy tentativeness. In those initial minutes we took in each other’s features by touch. Our lips and hands insatiable. It was heart racing and tingling lust finally unleashed after being held in check too long. We could not get enough of each other. When apart my body would tingle at attention if I just happened to picture her in my mind’s eye. I could feel her when she was not even present. All I wanted was to be with her. I would do anything to be there learning the curves of her body. Her taste , her smell so new and novel. I could not get enough. We spent any free moment together. I let her find her way to me. I worried I would scare her off, though I knew in my mind she couldn’t get enough. In my earlier years (as my regular reader’s know) sex was not a consensual process. There was nothing wonderful about it. It was not something to look forward to, or dream about. She gave me the ability to dream about it, to wish for more. That was a gift. Regardless of how our relationship ended I am forever grateful for that gift. Sex didn’t equal harm. It was an act I had control over. I could stretch boundaries and find myself. I could do that. I did not expect to hear from my ex today. I sure did not think I’d be visualizing my first night with her. It is okay. My life is a long way from there. I can think about the past and realize how it shaped my future. We learned a lot from each other, both good and bad. I wouldn’t change a minute of it looking back. I’m sure Virgil probably thinks otherwise as she had to watch the aftermath and fought hard to get me to walk away from that relationship. Ah, to be young and brave. Stupid brave. You only get that opportunity once. It is a christening of sorts as we offer ourselves up to love that very first time, a sacrificial lamb on the altar of life. It never works, never lasts, but you never forget it.

Here we are 20 years later and I can still feel that passion. I can still sense the deep love I had for her. That never goes away. It has faded with the passage of time. I do not dream for her to come back into my life. I know that could only end in heartache and pain. But I can still feel her there with me. There is lust driven love and there is the steadfast solid sort I have now. Sure I miss that wildness and the boundless passion. Who doesn’t? I’m human. I am a realist these days. Though I do not remember accurately the pain she caused me I know enough to not repeat that. I can leave our relationship in the past as just a lingering reminder of what young love felt like and how it rolls in like a freight train and knocks you to your knees. What it feels like to never be able to get enough. Yesterday was just an out of the blue contact that stirred those long-buried memories of our life together. If you could call it that. If only I knew back then how it all would end I doubt I would have handed my heart to her. I didn’t know enough to protect myself. Ah, it is done now and in the past. I lived and learned. that is all any of us can do.

10 Things you didn’t know

As this makes its was around Facebook this week I eventually had a friend give me the number 10. I usually hate anything Facebook trend related, though this one has been pretty interesting. I’ve learned things about people I would never have guessed in a million years. My list was pretty straightforward, as you can imagine.

Thanks Michelle Tibbles, my number is 10

1. I was quite premature and weighed about 2 lbs
2.My mom was a Martha Stewart before it ever became popular
3. My dad was a Marine Vet specializing in whales before he was in a plane crash.
4.Had a bad habit of knocking over people’s mailboxes in High School
5. Did not get into Honor Society in HS because I was accused of cheating , yep I was a handful in my younger years.
6. Really an introvert that struggles with going out and even talking to people.
7. I have a lot of tattoos, and a piercing (I’ll let you guess)
8. Have had electricity run through my brain.
9.I have lived with severe mental illness most of my life.
10. Have been a closet blogger for over a year.

It was rather difficult to think of things people would not know about me. We all have a bias in what we post and share on FB. It fleshes us out and give us shape in this computer universe of friends. I can usually figure out quite a bit from what people share. I am no different in that respect. I figured why not repeat my list, but this time 10 things I doubt my therapists know. This one is infinitely harder. I think I have shared so much of myself.

1.I was to be Kate, that was my parents first choice.
2. I cannot stand perfumes, scented dyes and the like. I can’t even switch detergents or dryer sheets without getting a headache. I am forever stuck with Tide original scent and bounce dryer sheets. My favorite smell in the world is a working art studio, the mix of clay, oil paint and creativity.
3.Have to wear a bra, even when I just run up the hill to check on the horses. don’t like free balling it.
4. Couldn’t go out without hair done and full make up during all my high school years, how far I’ve come???
5. Foods I can’t stand- goat cheese, raw unions, curry, liver (unless it is my mother’s famous chopped liver), most fish, but especially Salmon. Chinese five spice, think it is a smell thing.
6. Love good writing, either novels or poetry. Favorites: Tennyson, Walt Whitman, Margret Atwood, Sylvia Plath (for her visceral no-nonsense approach), Emily Dickinson. More contemporary writers and books In the Woods by Tana French, The Book Thief, The Lovely Bones, Steig Larsson’s Dragon trilogy. Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees.
7.I love almost all art, even if it isn’t visually appealing to me. I see it for the beauty of the creation at the hands and mind of another artist.
8. I love to garden. Real hands in the dirt sitting on your knees gardening. I hate to water plants, so my gardens are mostly tough as nails perennials. I don’t do annuals.
9. Irrationally afraid of the dark, and of spiders. and yes I will scream like a girl.
10. I have forgotten more than I care to remember including my secrets. This was a hard task. Far too hard.

And there is my second list. I’m sure others will come to me along the way. The FB list officially outed me as a blogger though I chose not to share the link. If people look hard enough they can find it. I’m not ready to launch it publicly yet. That would be a huge step.
Getting closer though. Day by day I move closer to being free of anonymity. This blog is my voice, like it or not.

Live Wire

My feet found my floor mat as my hands secured themselves around the big truck’s steering wheel. I stared straight ahead and thought hard.Really painfully hard. I honestly had no idea what exactly had just transpired on Beatrice’s couch beyond her closed pale ivory colored door. My veins all stood out and my heart raced. I retraced my steps. Walked back in my mind and tried to figure out what had changed. Why was I sitting there like someone had just touch me with a live wire? What was I feeling? I couldn’t concentrated beyond the wired adrenaline coursing my veins. I remembered the moment the session shifted from an unfocused innocuous one to something very different. I had noted Beatrice was tired. I very rarely see that. When I am on her couch I am normally the one seeking space and finding places to put my eyes so as not to lock in on her intent gaze. Today wasn’t like that. We floated topic to topic, untethered. Far from where we visited last session. I was content with that. I wasn’t ready to revisit my father, and she knew that. We continued this light back and forth and it seemed this session would be just one of those “get it done” and move on. The put everything back together and make nice before we plunged headlong into the next difficult session. I need those. a lot. I can’t go session to session with the same intensity. yet. I think I might get there, but it seems a ways off. and in all likelihood it might not be what works for me anyhow. So the minutes ticked by. She asked if we could talk about my letter to depression. I didn’t see why not. I figured we had glazed over it previously and it needed a bit of processing. and so the session took its first hard right turn. “It is seductive isn’t it?” she questioned. She was speaking of the suicidal images and thoughts that break like fireworks across a dull and grey depressed mind. “Yes”. This was not a newsflash. I knew this, as does she and Virgil. But it started a steady description of the days, weeks and months that become my existence at times.

It is so bland, drab and colorless this place I come to live in. Everything smells less. I taste food differently. I hate using grey to describe it because I feel that is so overused. There is a reason for that. IT IS GREY. VERY GREY. As each tableau loses color and fades a little piece of me disconnects further. Piece by piece, item by item my world changes. I’m eventually left with nothing of appeal. Nothing that catches my eye or holds my attention. Not that I can concentrate on much. I stop looking. I stop seeing. It becomes a world of wrote and of routine. wake up, go to sleep. wake up and go to sleep. over and over. The only thing I want to do is sleep. Everything else is so exquisitely painful. The pain hollows me out, much like you’d core a pumpkin for carving. Devoid of flesh I repeat the routine. There comes a breaking point though, when the pain just cannot be dealt with anymore. My life becomes brittle and tenuous. I stop feeling anything. I start to lose track of where I begin and where I end. Just a cardboard figure propped in a grey landscape. It takes little to push me over. I easily lose balance since nothing of substance remains. But there is a place for me in those long endless days wishing for sleep. It flashes vermillion across my mind. It is a shock that first time it comes. Like that brush with a live wire. The electricity is long gone yet still your skin tingles as if it remains. Your nerves and cells reliving in excitement that brush. And so too does my mind. The images come and go. The color and clarity remain. I find myself staring off into space wondering where it went. The pursuit begins. This repeats. In time the colors and textures fill the void of my mind. The tapestry so beautiful and stark in contrast to the cardboard existence. My brittle broken mind loses itself within the fantasy of light and color. It is simulating. It is exciting. It is soothing. I get lost in it. Time loses shape. I am not here. I am too busy cobbling together these images. My heart pounding. I see it and just as fast lose it. It is fleeting, but it is there. I take hold and it becomes my truth. I don’t see the distortion. I only see what I have carefully woven. My end.

You don’t get that. I understand. I cannot put words to the experience. I fumble in all my attempts. yet today I felt you HAD to know. I was willing to let you see my reality in those times. I let go. In my mind I stepped back into my world. It sat much as I had left it last I visited, still dressed in my desperation and despair. I heard the words leaving my lips but I was not with you on that couch. I was not there. I felt the live wire flicker, recognized my unfinished work. I let you see. I fought my way back. I had said too much. been far too truthful. I had let you see my place of salvation and of demise. As I felt my way along the edge of your throw pillow and pulled myself back into your office I knew I had gone somewhere different. I felt that electricity crackling just beneath my skin. I knew where I had been. I scanned the words in my head and tried to piece together the prior minutes. and so you asked “Do you say that to Virgil?”. Not sure if it was the deer in the headlights expression, or the mention of Virgil but I knew it must have not been good.

I drove home battling the desire to throw up. I was so amped up I wasn’t really sure what to do with myself. I needed to get some distance from where I had been. I thought about what made this day different. Why today? Why did I let myself go there? I guess I was angry. Angry because nobody seems to get it. The magic and the awe. It is special my place up there in my head where I go to hide and delight in all things lethal. But I was left with nothing but a sick feeling and a judgemental mind when I returned from my sightseeing today. I’m sick, you see. Really sick. It is my addiction of choice. When everything goes to shit I don’t turn to alcohol or drugs, no, I wander down my rabbit hole. I rejoice in this land of sights and sounds. To be stimulated by something, anything. anything to be free of a world with nothing. Absolutely nothing. A cardboard hollow where even pain is no longer felt. The numb frigid barren landscape of my depression. So yes, I take that hit. I chase that pipe because of all the dreams it offers. I stop looking for a way to get better. I don’t see the distortion in this absurd reality I have cobbled together. I don’t see that the Nightly Feature Presentation is my suicide. MY DEATH. my end. Because there is no end in this fantasy world. There is no time, no place. No clocks on the walls. No calendars. No people. Just me. just my sickness. and so I sit transfixed in its presence. that live wire jolt to rekindle my heart. I cannot look away, nor refuse. I accept every time. Like the addict I am. I want anything but the nothingness I am living in. You see? CAN YOU SEE NOW? I let you in.

but where do we go from here? I can sit in shocked recoil, sickened by this, but I cannot deny the scope of its power. I cannot see nor comprehend where we go from here. How do we battle this? How do we tarnish the vibrancy? stifle the wonderment? How do we make it less inviting? Is that even possible? I guess I am left here watching the afterglow fade and wishing for another chance to step inside. Just to feel it. Touch it. Taste it. It eclipses everything else. Nothing else comes close. Nothing else makes me feel as alive. Talk about irony. I can only shake my head and wonder what you saw today.

Lunch Ladies and swastikas

It ran the width of the freshly chalked football field. A symbol as old as time, and ugly as sin. It had been burned deeply into the fall grass. Horrific on its own, but far more so since it was not alone. They slumped on old school desks. Shrieked from bathroom stall walls. Locker rooms gave them shelter. They were all around us. It was the normal. One would have thought it was early 40’s before the Furer got all the Germans completely ramped up. It wasn’t. This was just a little town 2 hours north of New York City in the late 80’s and early 90’s. So, why the hate? I often asked myself that question as I was taunted and teased. Why the jews? There was the catch. It wasn’t just being a jew. It was being any other color but white. It was being anyone other than a local woodchuck. (yes, I am using a derogatory term for the locals). It was about being anything different from what they were. For many years I kept my mouth shut. I did not want to add fuel to this rageful fire that simmered just beneath the surface in this quiet looking community out in the woods. By the time the swastika was burned on the football field I had had enough. A community meeting was held in the cafeteria. I pulled out a tee-shirt from one of my many side trips to the city. I bore an image of a klan member holding a torch. Above it read “I”. Below it “IS FOR IGNORNACE”. Needless to say I stood up at that meeting and had a bit to say. The newspaper reporter shot the picture as I stood on my 60 second soapbox. I was angry. I think I had every right to be. The next morning that shirt and my image blazed across the cover of the newspaper. Interesting though was the crop of the image. So there I stood with a klan picture on my tee. Oy! Anyhow my poor mother nearly had a stoke. To be young and dumb in High School. The hate never left though. It is still their I’m sure. Just as it is here where we live now. Just a few days ago the NY Times reported on suits filed against the local school because of a culture of anti-Semitism and hate.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/08/nyregion/swastikas-slurs-and-torment-in-towns-schools.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1384095987-fPygver92HA4wYI1yyIqgw

When we first arrived up here it never even dawned on me I might see the same hate I saw in HS. Boy was I naive. As we started meeting contractors, vendors and sales people it began to bleed through. First time I heard n*gger I cringed. After the 1000th I don’t even react anymore. Sad. I know. These words come from the lips of people I know as kind and caring. People who would drop anything to help if you needed. Good hearted people. So why n*gger? Why the hate? It is here in this land, in these families. Their parents raised them to hate. Kids don’t draw swastikas, and spew racial epithets without seeing or hearing it first. Well, they hear it and see it here. It is sickening. But was is worse is to integrate and work within this community and with these vendors you need to look the other way. I do. It sounds terrible. I know. When the kind old fella that drops off bulk stone rants about towel heads, I zone out. I don’t even hear it anymore. What is the answer? up and move? Stop using anyone that speaks in hateful jargon? The options are limited, and the problem epidemic in this area. I chose to keep silent and go about my business. At my core I strongly support our right to free speech. I always have. Just as I did that day so many years ago in HS. We have the right to speak our truths, no matter how awful they are. Muzzle one, and many are not far behind. I am willing to let the hate roll off. I let it drop where it lands and walk away. Many will disagree with me. This is how I live my life, and how I live my truth. Sadly many around me live their lives with hate they don’t even know why. They have learned to live a truth their parents gave them. More than just genes passed from those people. They taught about love, life and yes, hate. They taught them to be suspicious of outsiders and to apply labels to all they didn’t understand. So many learned well. Even today, in this small community hate lives on and will pass unceremoniously to the next generation. Hate has a funny way of doing that.

Casseroles and Suicide

http://www.mypocketmouse.com/?p=357″

Please read blog at above link. really well written. this was sent to me by my partner this morning. I had ranted and raved the prior evening about a seemingly benign Facebook post. I occasionally write a comment about what is going on in the world, or a response to the evening news. This night was no different. In the wake of the shooting at the mall in NJ a reporter was interviewing the brother. His words, paraphrased, were something along the lines of “he chose this self indulgent act”. Interesting choice of words. Of course every little cell in my body became a bit angry. It seems the programmed, canned response to most suicides, but especially the go out in a rain of bullets sort. I wrote a quick status on my FB that I thought his words were an odd choice for a grieving sibling. I’m not alone in that since others wrote they too felt it an odd choice. That is before all the ruckus started. Guess I hit a nerve. I know suicide is a tough topic. Needless to say a cacophony of “Selfish”, “self centered”, “cowards” erupted across my newsfeed. Hmmm. Clearly the night wasn’t going to get any better. A few posts:

Suicide is the ultimate act of self centeredness it doesnt take into consideration the impact it will have on others upon completion of it. It is never the solution it is the cowards way out – speaking from experience and training as a medical professional in the mental health arena

Actually, its a very selfish act !

The most selfish thing anyone can do-

Yeah I heard that interview too, I thought he just couldnt find the right word. I too find it strange that its been documented that public suicide is an act of self indulgence. I dont think each suicide and the reason for it can be lumped into the same category. Such as those being bullied and jumping off a bridge or the mass school/mall/theater/airport shooter and the man who lost everything and just cannot go on alone. Are any of these people thinking about the impact of who they are leaving behind? Dont you think their despair doesnt allow them to have compassion and empathy for others at this point? I think being selfish is a conscious decision and people at this point are incapable of feeling selfish.

My daughter and Mother have both attempted suicide so yes this is a personal response from me ( thank goodness neither was successful)- My response “And did you call your daughter a coward?”
Yes Beth as a matter of fact i did tell my daughter that if it only affected her then that would be one thing but to please write a letter to her 2 yr old daughter explaining why she did it….know what? She couldnt write that letter to my grandaughter

Another person joins the mix
I think suicide is like a giant fuck you to everyone who ever cared about that person. Grow up, and get over yourself, it’s only cute to blame your parents until you turn 18, everyone has problems you go on. I will never forgive my mother for SELFISHLY committing suicide, because I was the one who had to look at both my younger sisters (13 and 16) and tell them what our mother had done. It broke my heart to have them ask me why and not have any explanation to give them. And FYI: yeah I did the right thing and I quit college and worked 2 jobs to take care of my sisters. So yeah I think it’s an asshole thing to do. I understand people suffer, but YOU never forgive yourself and you feel guilty because of their choice.
So screw that weak stuff, I lost both my grandmother, mother, and stepfather to suicide. Every time I have to go to a new doctor and fill out the info sheet, I get asked about if I feel depressed. I don’t. I love life, I learned to make my life something I wanted. I am sorry if I sound course or offensive, but you don’t know how it feels until you are the one talking to the coroner.
Here she backs off a little. I lost a close friend who suffered from schizophrenia, I never considered that suicide, I felt it was the illness that killed him, as he wasn’t in touch with reality at the time of his death. He truly believed demons were after him.

others:
I too have lost a few to suicide. I never felt them to be selfish, I knew they were hurting, but never thought they were hurting THAT BAD! I carried some guilt, because I didnt call enough. Now, my at risk person, I dont lose contact with.

Selfish…..mmmm… a true example of a selfish action is not wearing a helmet on a horse because IT IS A CHOICE and it really doesn’t take into consideration the family you leave behind or the ones who will be changing your adult diapers or feeding your crippled butt! Suicide and depression are not choices any sane or insane person makes. Infact, It is an action taken when someone can not see any more choices or options in front of them. I’ve spent more than 50% of my life battling depression and it is not a something I would ever choose to do!

I have lost two good friends to suicide and two good friends to accidental death. They both felt the same to me, it hurts to the bone. However the families of the suicide people, somehow don’t see it that way. One family doesn’t even acknowledge that it happened. I really don’t understand that logic. When someone dies in a horrible accident, the first question is “Did they suffer”? Society doesn’t even think that question of a suicide death. Some yahoo goes on the news and says “selfish”. I think trying to be their for someone without judgment can help, but it’s no cure.

and back to the angry writer:
My mother knew exactly what she was doing, she kept saying how wrong it was in her goodbye letter to me. Her actions were selfish. I have been depressed, and I MADE a CHOICE to do something about it. And as for riding with or without a helmet, my will clearly states what my wishes are concerning major brain damage. No one chooses to suffer from depression, but they do choose how they react to it. I didn’t choose to have RA, but I do choose my reaction to it. I choose to be grateful for the mobility I still have, the same way those who have depression choose to keep fighting. I empathize with them, but don’t condone suicide, when you choose that you let negativity steal everything positive about you. You are given just one shot at this life, I made a choice to see the good in my life, granted some days were harder then others, but I saw those days through. I don’t judge my mother, I miss her, but she was better then the choice she made.

So where does that leave us? Is suicide always a choice, and therefore selfish by design? If it is a symptom of a disease, severe mental illness, is it still selfish? Is it cowardly? If we want that argument to hold water you must take it one step further. If bipolar individuals die by suicide at a far greater rate than the general population are they then to be considered more cowardly than others? In the midst of severe clinical depression are our choices and decisions rational? If they are not, and are distorted and skewed by the disease does that allow a choice to be considered selfish? If we consider a suicide death in a mentally ill individual just the endpoint of a disease that has run its course can we truly judge it and apply labels like “selfish”, cowardly. etc.
I have such mixed feelings. I personally don’t think it is cowardly, nor selfish. I felt the blog I linked to in the first line speaks so well of this. She draws the comparison to cancer (as she has just finished tx for breast cancer). When you lose the battle with cancer people celebrate your battle and comment on just how hard you fought (these are her words, not mine). When you lose the battle with mental illness it is very different. Just as when you are diagnosed. People come out of the woodwork to support you. they send cards, emails, casseroles. There are no casseroles for bipolar.
It is in the end an incurable disease that is potentially life threatening, just as cancer is. But we are judged, criticized and shunned. Cannot imagine someone doing that to a friend with cancer. But sadly it probably happens as well. What I can say is it happens all too often with mental illness. We wear out our friends and loved ones. Our ever-changing moods and extreme behavior at times try the strongest of supporters. I know why bipolars die more than the rest. All too often they end up alone. All their bridges burned and those still standing are so ravaged by the relationship they are precarious at best. I am so blessed to have a partner as solid as mine. But I know I push her to the outer limits of what she can endure. It feels terrible knowing that. I know it doesn’t end here and that we have years more of this ahead. I cannot even fathom walking this path without her. All I could think of the other night was that poor woman’s daughter being told she was a coward. Probably at one of the lowest points in her life and that is how she was treated by her mother. It is sickening. More sickening is that person is supposedly in the mental health field. I think of all the people struggling and dying because of a stigma so harsh it is often the reason for silence. It is the reason people don’t reach out to one another, either for help or to help. A friend of the mall shooter said he had been really paranoid for weeks. She just stopped responding. And so the young man lost another bridge. Most likely a long list of relationships strained, and lost till finally he walked into a mall and shot himself in the head. Alone. In a closet. That is what our society has done. What if people showed up with casseroles and cards when you were diagnosed with mental illness? What if they checked in all the time to see if you were ok? what if they proudly ran 5K each weekend in support? what if they all donned some meaningful color shirt and stood together to find “the cure”? They don’t. they’d won’t. It just doesn’t work like that. To most of the population depression isn’t a disease it is a choice. A weakness of character. A flaw of being. We, with mental illness are selfish and cowardly. If only we tried harder. If only we shrugged it off and pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps. We can’t and so we hide in plain sight without letting others know who and what we are. That is what is wrong. We are not the problem. We are just the ones suffering alone and silent.

Note to depression I

It is late, you know. Even by your standards. The world has been up and working for hours. But I know it doesn’t matter. It just makes you feel worse, right? The bite of guilt to start yet another morning in a long line of mornings that bear the same introduction. You don’t want to get up. It is all the same. Not a single thing comes to mind when you start making lists of what to do. In that haze of grey, you don’t find anything worth climbing out from under those blankets. You are as exhausted and you were when you closed your eyes last night. I know. Another day has coughed and sputtered into existence in a mind that wants no more days. It dawned to a person that wished nothing more than to not wake up from that deep and peaceful slumber. Those are the only painless moments in this existence. They are embraced and fostered into being by medications taken by the handful. It is without option. They are swallowed whole in desperation for a break. Each night looking again at the little pile in your palm, at once angry and horrified. They multiply as you feel worse, as if the dwindling mood somehow causes reproduction of these little round or oval objects. With each fist of pills a silent prayer to let in some light. yet knowing it won’t come. The sun is slanting in the windows but you do not stir. It heightens from pale blue into gold and still you sleep. nothing wakes you. The clock ticks past 11. The guilt finally expels you from the pile of blankets and pillows with force in to an unwanted morning. It is a harsh and bitter start. The day is like all the others. A routine etched hard within you. It is done on auto pilot with no hands to steer, no desire to change. Step by step, minute by minute. There is only suffering and wishing for the next handful of pills so sleep can once more tug at you. The farm huddles low on the hill looking shabby and in need. The broken boards scream at you. The unfinished tasks a mile long. But you don’t do them, you don’t do anything. I know. I know you can’t. Just walking is done by force. The desire and motivation are gone. In its wake an empty ragged shell of the person that did work and accomplished much. She’s gone dormant you see. Hunkered down somewhere deep within you. I know she is there. You do not. You’ve given up hope. You have ceased to resist the steady onslaught of suffering. You’ve bowed your proud head and fallen to your knees. There is nothing beyond the grey world you exist in. No vision beyond the immediate. No entertaining the notion there might be a better life with less suffering. You can’t see it and you have latched on to the belief your suffering is infinite. It isn’t. It will not last forever. Nothing does. You’ve gotten yourself out of bed and have settled in to the chair with your laptop. It is one of those days. Your only drive is to wander the internet in search of answers. Not a good answer. You have found your way back to lostallhope.com, the clearinghouse for all things suicide. It is your place of comfort, your haven. remarkably, the mind that can concentrate on nothing and rarely focus is suddenly riveted. Hours later you come up for air. Time has passed unnoticed. Your mind is lost amidst the images. The ropes, the razors, the ends. In an unending loop they weave their dark and dangerous designs. You don’t even notice. You’ve invited them in. You’ve engaged them and they are here to stay now. It can only get worse from here because once they are here you find solace in them. You no longer push them aside and fight to survive. You no longer wish the meds to work, or for a brighter tomorrow. That is gone. You cannot see it, but there is a change coming. It is going to shift. It will be different. I won’t say better because that will only push you farther away. I know you hate when people say that. You feel it somehow cheapens your tortured existence. You feel so strongly now you deserve the suffering. How dare someone question that. You wish only for the steady downward slide because you know with each awful day your resolve strengthens and your ambivalence crumbles. Just a few more days you say to yourself as your grey mind in suddenly alight with fiery images. There is no longer drab nothingness. It is all anxious anticipatory excitement for an end not far away. With each detail constructed you grow more peaceful. Your pain starts to wash away and you embrace this frenzied place in your mind. Life continues on around you. You are working on auto pilot desperate to keep up appearances. Nobody can know that it is now the endgame. It has to look normal. But you don’t know it doesn’t look normal. You look vacant and empty to those around you. the disconnect so great as to raise the hairs on the back of Virgil’s neck. You don’t hide this place well. When you fell into this place you started to change. The grey dull mask you wore as you fought to spit out words thick as concrete in your mouth, is different. They sense the change. You can’t hide this from them. You need to tell them what is going on because they can keep you safe. You can get past this and into the next fertile valley where your mind flowers once again and life is okay. I wish nothing more than to impress upon you how critical this is. It feels like forever. I KNOW. it feels terrible. I KNOW. you want nothing more than to leave this world. I KNOW. you want to die. YOU DON’T. Somewhere in there is the loving compassionate person you are. IT IS IN THERE. Yes, I know you are angry at me know. I should not have said that. I did. Just hold on. Hold fast. Change is coming. It is in the wind. I know you feel as if someone is tearing the flesh from your bones. IT HURTS. I KNOW. I’m here, flesh intact. whole. I’m here telling you to hold on. When it comes the lights will come back on. It will chase away the grey to the far reaches of your soul. That blissful dawn when the world suddenly comes back into focus is there. IT IS COMING. There is no greater feeling. YOU KNOW THAT. Within your shut down, darkened, deadly mind you know. You are still clinging tightly to your reality now. You want to die. You know how you are going to kill yourself. I KNOW. You are driven only by the task at hand. You want to create enough space to end it all. I KNOW. But there is no space. Even the fact that you can think there will be is testimate to where your head is at right now. All around you stand the most incredible people. In that grey haze they still stand there. You can’t see them anymore. I know you cannot see anything but your plan. I KNOW. I need you to trust me. Me, as in YOU. I know they are all right there wanting nothing more than to try to make it better. There is so much care and love. Trust me. Step back from the fireworks of suicide in you head. Open your eyes and touch the world. Don’t disconnect and dance within that vicious party going on up there. It may seem wonderful. IT IS NOT. It may look easy. IT IS NOT. That rope you have in your hand, in your mind’s eye, it is real. It is the end for you, and as such ME. Put down that fantasy. It is FANTASY. Suicide isn’t easy. You know that. I know that. Didn’t go so easily in the past. DID IT? You don’t just die Beth. If only it were that easy. YOU have to do the work, and it is going to hurt. A LOT. I know up there in your thick skull it looks like a breeze. It is all neat and simple. So inviting. IT ISN’T. I know you have made up your mind. You have committed. You’re 100%, hell 1000% sure it is the way. It is the best solution to everything. I know you feel that way. I’ll tell you what it is the best solution to. It is the best solution if you wish to cause utter torment and pain to everyone around you. Those people you can’t see now within the darkened confines of your depression. It will not make their live’s better, easier, freer. No. It will make them worse. You think it is the best option to make their lives better. IT ISN’T. I don’t know how to make you understand, so I am writing this to you. READ IT. Take it into your pores. Let is seep within you and think about it. Taste it. Touch it. FEEL IT. I am here, alive. I am here, surviving. I am here, thriving. YOU CAN MAKE IT. Give us a chance. WAIT. Let the plans rest. Don’t act on embellished fantasies your mind has created in a desperate measure to be free on the depression. You can wait a little longer. You know pain. I KNOW. You are tough and stubborn. BE STUBBORN. don’t give in. Don’t give up. I’m here waiting. The best is yet to come Beth. I’ll be here waiting for you.