Life Boat

Beatrice has a tell. She’ll twist her hair around a finger when sessions get really tough. It was one of those days. I am tired of not being understood. of not being able to get across what is in my heart and in my mind. Even if I don’t really understand any of it.

I do not know that I will ever be able to see suicide as they each do- Virgil, Beatrice, my partner, and anyone else. It lives in me. whole and filthy- always festering. It doesn’t go away when the depression eases. It isn’t a cold or cough. It isn’t a bad habit like chewing one’s nails. It is etched. My thoughts, companions really, when life tumbles hard as it so often does and even with life just goes along.

Where is that line? where one that defines when too much is enough? When life, stress, loss, anxiety and childhood issues all collide. When the tipping point is found. When is it too much? Too much to recover from, or to bounce back. When is a soul too destroyed by the burdens it keeps? Who among us is not fixable? Save-able. There are many days I think long and hard at that. This isn’t like other fields of medicine where a doctor can proclaim a disease is too far gone. Spread too much. This isn’t all disease. This is life intertwined with biochemical combined with the past which colors the present. It is a veritable skein of issues often impossible to tease apart. any one could be enough. Together they are a horror in their enormity. Can they be pulled apart? can the soul find solace when each problem finds a solution? Can the wounds of old be healed in the present enough to readjust the warping of vision? If that indeed is what my problem ultimately is. I cannot see straight? I cannot see the error of my ways.

My ways. My maze. This loop I find myself within all too often. No, actually always. where no solutions exist, only problems. where fixing is impossible and change is unthinkable. This maze of fear and anxiety, of sadness and overwhelm. this is my home. I do not share my home often. Beatrice saw it today and with each lock of hair she coiled I knew she knew. She SAW it. How does one exist here? I do not even know how I survive most days.

Ultimately (as I told her), I never want my actions to be a reflection of the care they have given me. Never want the wrath and judgements of others to come upon them for my choice. One would not judge an oncologist for losing a patient, would they? In grief, surely YES. But ultimately the blame does not lie with them. the blame lies with the cells that invaded their host and turned it against itself. Is there a difference? Will suicide always be “giving up”, “acting out”, “harming others”. Is it an act of aggression in the end? or is it just the sputtering, clunking stop of a soul that has run out of fuel. When the demands on it exceeded what it had to give, even with the best support and care. When is the kindest action to accept? it is acceptable to some in the face of terminal illness. What is terminal? When a body’s resources have been used up. When the vital systems can no longer operate and keep the whole alive (running). But it is different, you will say. this is the voice of a mind hazed by disease, or stress, or life. Is it? Is this life? Is it finally exacting the last pound of flesh? yes. Maybe it is. The scales have slid and the ratio is too far off. We circle back again to that line. Where is that line? Who is not saveable? There is no cure. There is only acceptance. If I offered a life of suffering would you accept? Would you agree to never seek an exit? Would you lay on your back spread wide and not look to escape? would you lose what was most important to you in your world and not give up hope she would come back? not blame yourself for the loss? Could you? Could I? Could they?

There is no right answer. There is only those moments in time and this one here now. This acceptance that life has the odds stacked far against me. The understanding that I need a place to go, even if just for a while to escape this reality. To stay here 24-7 proves far too difficult some days. Okay, a lot of days. You understand that. Help me understand the line. To figure out what will pass in time with work and what I will forever shoulder. Do not judge me for my weakness nor for my inability to see life as you do. The broken and stained glasses I see through were not of my choosing. Often I see things too late, or not at all. They buffet me before I can even react. Other times I see what isn’t there at all. This is a hard way to lead a life worth living.

I know I have asked many questions today. I have provided little insight. I have touched upon a subject nobody wants to hear or talk about. It is painful and scary. I know. I can only thank you for hearing me out. For taking the time to think about what it feels like to live a life where suicide is your lifeboat.


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