UNEDITED an intro- this entry was written over the course of almost two years. Written in bits and pieces and always saved as a draft. I never felt comfortable publishing it. Actually I still don’t as I do not believe it truly describes all that I experience and struggle with as my mind wanders off into the darker recesses. I am leaving it unedited for now with the intent of returning to it again at a later point. It is not in any way a goodbye, or an explanation. I have no intent of going anywhere. It is born out of a need to get the shit out of my head so it stops spinning and in the hopes of buying some peace and quiet up there.
This isn’t the usual manifesto. It is the voice of the suicidal mind. The thoughts and impulses honed over years. Slowly but surely shaping and developing into a formidable opponent. One might say the hardest foe of all. It is what life becomes when there is always a very dark guest residing in your head. Manifestos are often written to make oneself heard. Here is mine. For all the years I said nothing, did nothing and tried to feel nothing. This is what remains.
Being heard is important. Not just as an adult, but as a child. so much rides on our connection to those around us. When we feel unheard, or go unnoticed, little worries and fears become huge looming monsters. with nobody to reach out to they begin to tear us apart. slowly but surely. Doubt and fear become a way of life. That is no way to grow up.I can’t say it was all bad, because it wasn’t. I was loved. I was clothed, and fed. I was educated. I had a family. It didn’t hold together. It came undone. On so many levels life changed. It was in no way my fault, but I blamed myself anyway. Maybe if I’d been better, or smarter, or less demanding maybe the family would have held together. It didn’t. I withdrew. There were so many things wrong, but I didn’t know what to say, or who to say them to. I learned to hold on to it. I never let go. I held it and held it. Like a silent challenge to see how long I could hold my breath. But like holding my breath eventually I could not contain it and broke to the surface. I didn’t know where the line was, and often didn’t know what would send me over into a state of panic and overwhelm. I didn’t look at my thoughts and feelings in real-time as they were occurring. I pushed them back. They became the backdrop of my life. In the quiet they would creep back. Inch by inch they’d regain ground. All that effort I put into hiding them when I never understood them. Didn’t like the way pain and sadness made me feel. Instead of sharing that, I buried it. This went on for years. But there comes a time when you have to pay the piper for that approach. When the emotions found their way out, and they always did, it was hellish. Fierce and terrifying for me. It made me redouble my efforts to send the emotions farther into the darkest deepest corner I could find. I reinforced the doors, nailed the windows shut and pulled the shutters tight. For a time it worked. But they came back, worse than ever. They breached the locks, and seeped under the doors, flooding my existence with a pain so substantial it took my breath away. I knew I was no match for them, but I remained stubborn. Once again I fought to put them back. I worked harder and retreated. I fooled my young mind into believing I could banish them. But I was young, and stupid. I didn’t know I was up against myself. It was in fact, my nature. It was my nature, what it became in the absence of nurture. The pain returned. It came back stronger and more fearsome than ever. It pushed my young self far beyond anywhere it had ever been. In that darkness, overwhelmed and alone, the pieces slid into place. This world was no place for me. It was a place of pain, and fear, and trauma. It was cruel and unkind. It was not a place I wanted to stay. In those bleak moments my mind produced a solution. So clean, so shiny. just so damn exquisite. It was my answer to a psychic dilemma I could not solve nor endure. I had in that moment created an exit. Perfect in every way. I would often lie and stare at my ceiling thinking of ways to leave. To create the plan. But I was just a child. What of death does a child know? I knew enough. I knew enough to tell myself there was no more suffering there. It was a place of serenity and calm. There was no rape, or incest, or sodomy. there were no planes falling from the warm summer sky. There were no families left in ruin. There was only peace. No more uncontrollable emotions. No more battles to hold back the ever rising current pressing at all my reinforcements. I didn’t have a chance to figure out a different way. I had no idea. I was lost and it was my nirvana. So each day I would sit and wonder about what it would be like to disappear. Initially it was rather innocuous, and innocent. But the pain remained, and my misery was unavoidable. I redoubled my efforts and began to work out a plan. Again, I was just a kid. This was before the internet, and how to guides to kill yourself. Long before CSI, Criminal Minds, and all the other shows that bring death via entertainment into our lives each week. I was clueless. I knew a train could kill a kid like me, so each day I would walk down the tracks on the way home. Too stupid to ever think about actually figuring out the train schedule. So I never did meet a train, never had to make that split second decision about standing in the tracks or stepping off. I wish I had met that train, just so I could have known what my 12 year old mind would have decided. I know what it wished for and longed endless hours for, but I do not know what I would have done if I had looked death in the eye. I can only wonder, now, all these years later. I know that is where the seed was sown. It was the beginning of this life. The very start of when I learned death might be better than life as I knew it. To find comfort in spending hours contemplating my fate.
I hate to make it sound like my life was all bad. It wasn’t. I know many who live far worse and celebrate life. They never once look to death as a place to seek peace. I do not know what makes me different. I don’t mean different, odd. I mean why I am not able to look the other way. Why my young mind chose suicide as an active exit strategy. I often wonder if I had known someone who killed themselves, or if I had heard of someone killing themselves around that time. If it was some outside influence, and not, in fact, my own creation. I don’t know that it really matters. It was where it started. The late night whistle from the nearby tracks pulling me off into dreaming of death. From there it flourished quietly in my head. When things became too bad, or too stressful I would settle down the same path. Instantly giving up and shifting focus away from problem solving. I would become obsessed with planning. Around and around in my head I would go. Instead of using my energy to push on past the trouble or fear, I’d use it to create scenarios in my mind’s eye. It is remarkable how detailed and creative the mind can be. I saw every detail, every second and every inch. The scenario in my head so perfect, it would never be that way in reality. Suicide is dirty, and awful. It is heart wrenching and soul stripping. But there in the mind it is without those details. Each of the people who might be harmed, or reduced to nothing by my actions suddenly became better off without me. I see them happy, and without the burden and stress of me hanging on them. My mind whitewashed the worst parts of it to the point they get lost. It continues to now. The disconnect between reality and that place is so harsh. An act so brutal and disgusting becomes perfect and ideal. There is nothing tarnishing it. NOTHING. It is horrifying how easy it is to lose sight of the people I love and all I have worked hard to become.
As life tumbles on I walk a divergent path. I do both at once. Smile and make small talk. Conjure a facade of okay just to keep all the people around me moving and not looking. I can keep moving and living life while endlessly fantasizing about death. I hate to use the word fantasize since it isn’t like I’m dreaming of a beach or a shiny neon yellow pair of running shoes. Those are things people fantasize about. It should never be about ropes and syringes, and coffins. There should be some other word for this departure into an alternate universe. Divergent sticks, but think that is only because it is a movie title. Though I guess it is suitable for this purpose. I am different. I know that and it is okay. What I need to tell you is I find solace in my journeys. I return reborn and renewed just enough to make it through another hour or day. It keeps the panic away. Instead of losing myself amidst fear and uncertainty about the future I create an ending. There is no uncertainty there. I need that in my life. I need to know that I will not suffer. is that truly so awful? the need for an alternate space where there is no panic. As I look around at my life now I see only problems. Not minor ones either. I see the next foreclosure looming large amidst the tax bills and notices. I see the unpaid bills and the unfinished work. I see the loose nails and fallen boards. the flaking paint and the rusting metal. I see decay and disrepair. It haunts me awake and asleep. I see the winter’s damage beneath the receding snow and desperately attempt to hold back the rising anxiety. It is eroding all around me and there is nothing I can do to stop it. You might see a broken board. I see $s and an hour labor. When they all get added up it starts to feel impossible. Not because I lack the ability to fix them but because I lack the will and the means to replace them. I see the foot deep ruts from a tractor in hours spent smoothing, fixing and reseeding.
This manifesto is quickly becoming a whine. That isn’t what I wanted it to be. I have to make you all understand though I have no idea how to do that. God I wish I could put words on it all. I don’t want saving. Can’t you all see that. I want to dissolve out into my mind and find peace between the seconds as they flash past. It never stops. Time runs on and it feels so fast. I wish it could slow down so the decay and the damage might ease up if only for a while. It won’t. Instead they just pile up like the cords of wood in the shed. Many argue suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. what if the problem isn’t temporary? What if they are stacked like wood? what if they are not fixable? What if they lay deep beyond the exterior, superficial layers of bills and boards? What if they lay inside? rather than cords of wood they coil like pythons around and around waiting to smother you in pain. All those years of trauma and chaos feeding the snakes of suffering till they grow too mighty to be shaken off. As I work at creating a better life they wrap themselves tighter. I know what I’m up against now. I define them and pick them apart thought they remain far too tight to shake off. With each session I show you my pain and my fear. I lay my hands on their sleek pearly skins and come closer to understanding how vast their hold is. I battle to find some order and return myself to the middle. It is harder and harder. When I held back and refused to let go I could pretend they were not all that bad. that is all different now. I see only the infinite nature of my sorrow. I see the darkness all around. In every session it pushes back at me. I feel it. I try to shake it off. Run it into submission. Guess what? it never goes away. It may pale and find its way back into the edges but it NEVER leaves me. Your drugs will never touch this. It is me. Not a disease or a diagnosis. Not a episode or a relapse. this is who I am. The sooner you all realize that the better. I may not be savable. I may not be fixable. In fact I know that. You try anyhow, as do I. It is when I am worn down and tired that this becomes so evident. I wish it were different. I DO. you might not believe that anymore. I haven’t exactly had the best track record. I have worked to get better. I think I have dedicated much of the past 20 years to getting better. I have only taught myself that it won’t get better. It always comes back. I always lose myself to it. If only I can get you all to understand how demoralizing and sad that is. The disappointment mixed with fear as each year rolls past and each new episode blooms. Somewhere along the line it becomes one too many. It bolsters the divergent part of me and coaxes her one step closer to determining her end rather than be victim to the endless tides of sadness and unrest. If only I could stay as committed and valiant as the rest of you. I’m not.
Most will say this is the words of depression. The expression and action of a mind numbed by disease and not truly an expression of who I am. I cannot argue that, though I believe that much of this lies at the heart of who I am. It is not a battle against bipolar as much as it is a battle against a person carved out of pain and trauma. I spirit battered by one too many horrible experiences. I remember crossing paths with a bright energetic woman that could in seconds become and tiny creature harmed and screaming. She was the representation of how I felt though I could never come close to letting go and expressing the hurt I held on to. She had survived the worst abuse possible. Her mind had split itself in pieces just to keep going. We each find ways to keep on breathing and moving. We are slaves to to a genetic code that drives us onward. It is aberrant to chose otherwise. suicide does not grow from nothing. At its root there is some experience(s) that shift focus from surviving to dying. It doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen for no reason. The sad thing is I was so loved. Incredibly supported and loved by many. Though in amongst that were the traumas that tore away some of that support. The vast emptiness that swallows me whole started a long time ago. I can search my mind and look for its index case. I cannot pinpoint where, though I believe it was around 8 or 9. Standing staring out a bedroom window wrapped in a ragged red and white blanket longing for my mother to come back. She didn’t. Not then, not when I needed her most. and so I sat looking out at the sky and feeling my heart crushed in anguish over her loss. To my young self it seemed like eternity. Those years before she returned shaped me, or shall I say hollowed me. The people around me tried to make it okay. Without the love and care from my aunt and uncle I’m pretty sure life would be much much worse. you see I did have love and nurturing. I had a family it just wasn’t what my heart was longing for in that time.
In the confusion and the backlash from her moving away I struggled to figure out who I was. I fell victim to predators lurking behind friendly faces. Desperate for attention I walked right into it. I was an easy target, a lonely kid with absent parents. Perfect. I did things in those years that were filthy and shameful all in the name of connection and “closeness” to another human being. anything but alone staring out my window hollow and brittle tormented by longing and sadness. and so I lay down, I let them use me. But I wasn’t any less hollow after. sitting bleeding alone after being sodomized by a teenager I realized there was no love there. those that treated me so well and manipulated me didn’t love me, they just wanted something from me. something filthy and painful. and so I sat alone. hurt and bleeding staring at the odd pattern of the wallpaper while dreaming of disappearing. The train whistled in the distance. The departure was an easy one. But I remained. There was no easy escape except in my head. I railed against my keepers, my father, anyone that sought to control me. I wanted a life I couldn’t have and control I would never get. In those coming months I would learn how little control I really had while pinned beneath my brother’s 6′ tall frame. While the sodomy I had been manipulated into while at my most vulnerable the incident with my brother was shocking and horrifying. I didn’t anticipate it and I couldn’t stop it. Another bathroom with more blood and pain. another prayer for a way to disappear. It solidified my understanding that this life meant suffering and pain. that there would be horrible experiences and abandonment. that was a certainty. My lust for a train flourished beneath that reinforcement. How could it not? Where was I supposed to go with this pain? I didn’t open my mouth. I never told. I never shared. I stored it there with the train and life continued on. When I returned to my mother I though life would become perfect. I dreamed so long and hard of the day when we would be reunited. what I didn’t know what that it would come at a cost. I had to fend for myself amidst kids that didn’t much like outsiders. I didn’t understand bullying though I got a crash course as I started middle school. I tried hard to leave the train behind. I thought I had left it back there with my father. I made it quite a ways before it caught up to me. But High school brought another trauma and I fought to hold off the horrors of the past. They all came reeling back. Everything I buried and had forced myself to run from. the powerlessness and the fear triggered off all my old coping skills. I wandered once again in my head looking for a way out.
Leaving for school gave me a place to shelf it while life grew exciting and the future stretched out broad and fabulous. High brick walls and bright green english ivy colored my views. But soon summer faded to fall and the icy grip of winter turned everything bleak. I sought refuge in my closet, a behavior I had left behind at 11. Here it was back again. This time there was not train. But there was my mind with thoughts racing like trapped rats in a maze. Trying every which way to break free of the darkness descending around me. I didn’t have an answer so I sat in the dark trying to hold still enough to ease the thoughts crashing around in my skull. It didn’t work. There was no amount of darkness or stillness to quiet them. The drugs prescribed did little more that drive me deeper into the darkness. It became so bleak. I understood nothing of depression in terms of clinical disease. I had known darkness and yearning for death most of my life. I never viewed it from a illness perspective. It was just me. I learned a lot from my hospital stays. Mainly I learned about death. I was like a sponge absorbing every morsel of knowledge offered. Remember this was back before the internet. There was no easy way to come by this info. I stored it and held on to it. The train was replaced with a rope. I no longer thought of train tracks and whistles. they drifted off into my scrambled pile of childhood messes. I had a shiny new idea to hold onto. I didn’t realize how quickly I would leap from hoarding an idea to putting it into action. As I have written before I don’t understand what triggered it, nor do I know why it was such a rampant out of control week in that hospital. What I do know for sure is it taught me skills I never had. I descended into a place of pure impulse with no deterant (least not from myself). I met who I can become when I am unleashed and unteathered. It was a horrifying look at out of control and without boundaries. It was the very opposite of who I had always been. The hard line hold on controlling emotion and action was obliterated. In its place was a racing agitated lethal young woman. If I could get to it I was going to use it. The impulses felt endless, just as the pain felt bottomless. It enveloped me completely. and I LET GO. There was no, well maybe, or wait a minute. None of that. I felt the bite of my life draining away and welcomed it. I cannot describe the feeling of that last minute before consciousness slips away. The calm as the racing thoughts stop and the only beating is my heart. It is the calm and peace of ultimately making a decision and going through with it. There is something so empowering about that. In a world of pain and suffering and hollow emptiness wrapped in indecision and panic this is the opposite. This is true acceptance and ultimately letting go to a place beyond the here and now. To move away from panic and fear. To tame it and control it, even if it is for such a fleeting moment. That is the suicidal mind. That is the allure. I have seen that place. I have seen the sweeping grey as it all fades to black with the just the distant beat of your heart. I have felt the release into nothingness. There was no pain, no horror. No fear. there was only acceptance of a decision distilled from years of sorrow and loss.
One might argue that it is solely a product of depression. I don’t believe that. It has been with me all these years, in depressive episodes and outside of them. It shows me fleeting images even in the happiest of moments. It is always there waiting. Patient and quiet till the next time it is needed. With each stressor and change of season it often returns. Sometimes it is for days and even weeks. There right behind my eyelids with every blink. The sad thing is I often catch myself and recoil. for that split second I say you are really fucked up. and as quickly as I say that I return to my musings. Confident in my ability to leave them behind when faced with a person, or a task. I slide quickly from one to the other. In sessions I can leave them at the door only to find them there when I walk out again. They don’t frighten me even though I know how awful it is. I understand the risks of letting them settle in. I truly do. I don’t have a better way to cope and they have been a standby since I was very young. The experiences of walking all the way out onto that edge and stepping over did nothing but strengthen them. It erased a lot of the fears and the doubts. I still wonder often of what is beyond us. that I cannot answer and it does make me pause. What if there is something worse? Some terrible fate for a weaklings out. Some heinous punishment to inflict revenge for the harm done to so many. that may well be what lies after here. I do not know. I know that the suicidal mind doesn’t always pause to ponder such questions, just as it often doesn’t pause to consider the harm. I do think often of all those around me. I see them working and moving and striving for something as I stand still crippled under the emotions. I see what life could become without me in it. That in my absence they might be able to stretch and move on instead of caring for me, or worrying about me. I know that is quite distorted and does not take into account the pain and suffering it would inflict. I understand that. I do. I know it doesn’t sound like it. I want nothing more than to have both. To be free of this life and to have everyone be okay. Yes, back in fantasy land. I know. But I wanted to write this to shed light on what happens up there. To be understood. I do not mean forgiven. That would probably not happen. Forgiveness is hard to get to. Impossibly hard when you love someone so deeply and they wound you. This is not to seek forgiveness. I’m not going anywhere. I am only writing in an effort to explain how my head works and why it seems to work this way. I don’t have anywhere to be and am not looking for an out right now. I want nothing more that to have a place to deposit all the thoughts that bombard me every waking moment. To show you how quickly they arrive and depart. how they can settle in and make themselves at home at times and others be just a fleeting image. There is no way to predict how it will be, thought usually they remain present longer when the depression is at its worst. I need to make clear I am trying to show you the depression just enables them. It doesn’t create them, nor destroy them. These thoughts, beliefs and behaviors are me. Nurtured and grown slowly from a seed sewn long ago. I think you all believe you can eradicate them with therapy and drugs. You can’t. They will always be a part of me. If they disappeared I’d be lost. I hold tight to them so I can survive. It seems an odd thing, I know. I am holding fast to a very maladaptive behaviors and thought process just to keep on going. I know that. I can’t let go. they are the only thing I feel like I have any sway over. I can’t control them completely, but I understand them well enough to work around them. To pause them and come back to them as I need. This time is no different.
So much in my life right now is not all that okay. I am staggering under the weight of problems I cannot fix. It is horrible to be in this place and feel so trapped. Another person might go to a drink, or a drug. I go to my mind and lose myself in the oldest tales it harbors. The ones that kept me here when I was most alone, afraid and brutalized. I learned I could turn off my mind and body to retreat into this place. It didn’t matter how hard it got, or how painful it way this was always there for me. This is my life and this is how I have gotten this far. I see the awfulness of it. I see the pathology. but there is nothing normal about a lot of events in my life and there is far too much pain and horror to undo. It is forever. We cannot go back, ever. God I wish we could. For so many things, and so many horrors. I wish I could unsee them and unlive them. I wish I could uncoil these horrid painful pythons that squeeze away at my life and never let go. To be honest I wish I never thought of that train, or how to escape. I wish nobody had ever taught me to kill myself, and most of all I fucking wish I didn’t come to know how perfect the split second before nothingness is. I do. There is no going back. I have no idea how to go forward and live my life with this dangerous companion. I am sure you all would like it to go away for good. I know. I don’t think it is that simple. nothing ever is.