Why?

When someone kills themselves seemingly out of the blue, without warning ( in the words of friends and co workers) there is always the question left behind “WHY”? Does there need to be a why? does there need to be an answer? I cannot answer that. I don’t know that there is always an answer or an explanation. It could be as simple as a reaction to an antidepressant. a routine change in dose or drug leading to a horrific spiral the person themselves cannot even explain. or it could be far more deep an answer, a lifetime of suffering, or challenges. One stressor too many that did indeed finally break the camel’s back so to speak. For me whenever the word is uttered, or depicted it is impossible to not be instantly placed back in those moments before I acted upon my basest impulse to no longer be. It is a knee jerk reaction I guess. I could not tell you if it is compulsive or empathetic. It just is. I know in my heart exactly what that person felt. Maybe not 100% the same experience but I do know the fear and the pain. The terror and the ambivalence. Yes, ambivalence. There is always that deep desire for some magic word, or bullet or drug that would take it all away. Something that would quell the chaos raging and offset the panic. The desire for someone, anyone to understand and get it at the same level I am know telling you I get it whenever I hear someone ended their life. That is hard to come by when you are spiraling deep within the darkness and have unknowingly (or sometimes knowingly) cut yourself off from everyone. Found ways to push the people you love and care about far enough away that you can create that room you need to act. That may be a very matter of fact process that is consciously decided upon or it may be a collateral casualty of the darkness and irritability. There is only so long people can take that. The instinct is to move away, not toward that. Who want to spend time with someone so deeply depressed. For me I collapse into this world of silence. Words as heavy as setting concrete stall in my mouth before they ever have the opportunity to make themselves known. Sure we want nothing more than to be loved and held when it is that hellish. To surrender completely to a person that can care for us and keep is from harm. But how many people have that? How many lovers, friends, husbands and wives say the wrong thing at the wrong time? When the smallest of miscommunications lay proof to the depressed that they are indeed worthless, unloveable, unsalvagable. It may be the farthest thing from the truth yet it is what we hear. The distortion echoing loud in that cavern we have found ourselves in. and so it goes. Distance. Pain and the ultimate decision. So many, so so many end up there and far too many act and never come back. I came back, whether of my choosing or not. I had no say in the CPR. under different circumstances I would have been just another statistic. Another number. Yet another person who left far too many Whys and not enough answers. Though I think at the end of the day I would be one of those that people could say it was just a matter of time. It was her whole life. There was a disease. There was trauma. There were all the hallmarks of why a person chooses death over life. I would never be one of those “but I don’t understand she never showed anything to the world, she never had a reason.” No that would not be me. sadly. does that make it any better? In the larger picture, no. Death is still death. Loss is still loss and devastation is still complete. I can’t begin to know why I am still here. It wasn’t my time I guess. I was not meant to leave with world yet. It did give me that deep insight into the moments of death and dying. The complete and utter calm that falls over you when the decision locks into you free falling mind. But the fear remains. That doesn’t leave. Will it hurt? What happens next? The questions each of us asks in the course of a normal life. We all wonder and think about death. Just some more than others, and some in the context of suicide and others within the scope of aging and dying. I answered those questions for myself. I regret that my choice at 20 more than words could ever describe. I crossed a boundary few ever choose to. A boundary nobody should ever stray over. There is no coming back. Either by fatality or by the intrinsic weakening of the moral fibers in one’s being. Once weakened it is far too easy to toe that line again. That boundary is barely visible on my radar anymore. It should be marked by flashing lights and sirens. Blocked by walls and razor wire. It is not. It once was. At 20 when I first touched it. It was an enormous hurdle to be overcome. I brushed against it many times in the years prior. Over the course of my life, yet I never made that leap. Always stopped dead and retreated because it was NOT to be crossed no matter how great the pain. I cannot tell you why that changed at 20. I can only wonder now, after all the changes in knowledge about medications if it wasn’t the antidepressants. I have never been back to that place in my head. Never have I returned to the full tilt don’t stop till your gone behavior. When I look back at that week period I cannot help but be appalled and shocked by that impulsivity and rage. I was without a doubt unhinged. I would without provocation attempt to kill myself unless I was drugged and tied down in restraints. That isn’t me. Least not the me I know now. Sad thinking back over it. I do truly wonder what set off that reaction and why it was so intense. I count myself lucky that despite their complete incompetence and poor treatment I was still in a hospital minutes from a standard medical team with the ability to deal with a coding patient. and so the story of my life moved on and I was not just a number. yes, I learned that it doesn’t hurt to die. It is just a lapse into darkness. Does the body fight, yes. But there is no pain. I learned I could walk across that boundary and that is indeed my greatest mistake. I wish to god I had never made the decisions I made that week, though I find it very hard to consider them decisions given the mental state I was in. I do not even recall actively thinking to myself “you need to kill yourself now”. That is not how it was. Looking forward out over my life I made it quite a long time before that decision came back again. Very different than that time in my youth. But a boundary is a boundary and I crossed it again.
I do not know what the future will bring. I only know that I of all people need to tread so carefully. To always know where I have been, what I have done and sadly what it changed in me. Suicide will never be just a word. I live it every time I hear it and you know what, maybe I should. I deserve that.

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Slow bleed

Seems I can’t quite get past the Virgil issues. As we circled back in session to meds and options I realized I am still so far from a good place about all this. I can’t even begin to figure out how to move towards some middle ground. I know, logically, why. I know far more than I wish to about these meds. I find myself anxious about the upcoming psychopharm consult, not because I think I am out of options but because I don’t know if I can stomach what the next option is. I have agreed, near blindly to his suggestions and each has worked. I do trust him. I am just fearful that I will find myself in the position I am in now with the depakote. Common sense, and published protocol would say go back up till we reach a solid blood level. I know that. The fact remains I am not sure I am willing to do that. I know that might be a grievous error. Truly I do. Though I think I am having a very hard time with that. My instinct is to just comply because I am truly terrified of another session with Virgil like the one we had. My instinct is to be a good patient, say yes and meet expectations despite my knowing it will cause so much anxiety and sadness. To comply is laced with great sorrow and fear. I do not want to feel strong armed and pushed even if I am making a terrible mistake. I know it seems so stupid. It is just pounds. It is just a mental haze and a weird discontent. What is the matter with that? Seems pretty simple. Just chose the med and accept it may bring stability even with a cost. Yet there is a stubborn independent soul in me that refuses to be forced to accept realities I cannot tolerate. I try. I go through my days trying to pretend all is well till I have to remember a name, or work on some book work. Until I need to look at myself or pull on my running clothes that do not fit. I just cannot wrap my head around it then. When I stand in the kitchen in the middle of the night eating anything in sight and calculating the amount I need to run just to break even. On the days when I know my body isn’t up to it but I go anyway all because I can’t give in and gain more. Most people shrug at 10 pounds. Meaningless. What is failed to account for is that is 10+ lbs in the face of extreme amounts of exercise. Running up to 45 miles a week. Biking, and riding the horses. Working around the farm. If I were to sit down and not do all I am doing where would I be? God forbid I got injured? what would it be then? 20? 30, 40 lbs…yes. that is a reality I cannot help but fear and so I run anyway knowing I am pushing myself out onto the edge of what is sensible. Is that stability? But that isn’t what it is about. At the end of the day it comes down to control. The last bastion of relief in my world of stress and powerlessness. It was something I alone could hold onto tight and make sense of days where nothing did. I could look at myself and find solace when nothing felt alright. and in flash that was gone. The change so fast and brutal I myself could not fathom the change. I know what you are thinking. My thoughts and perceptions are distorted. I have no real idea of my body image. I am wrong here. Does it really matter? Do you take the tattered blanket a toddler is dragging around for security just because to an adult that is ridiculous and meaningless? No, of course not. It plays itself out. The kid outgrows it. There is no need to be cruel and wrench them from their fantasy. So my perception is skewed. I know that. Maybe I need it right now since everything else is so damn fucked up. I control nothing now except the choice to live or die. I chose to wake up and go about my day in a haze of anxiety and fear. Each day bleeding fatally into the next and there is nothing to stop that hemorrhage. In the past 6 months I lost my security blanket, actually I lost a few. I continue along realizing there is only so much blood I can lose, only so many days till I am empty. and so I run on, exhausted and hurting, not knowing what tomorrow will bring though I can’t help but think it will not be good and it will bring more pain and more running just to stay ahead of it.

Past colliding

(unedited) I sat still listening. Here was the voice I heard for more than a year. The same but different. It was hard for my mind to reconcile and to collect itself. My heart ached. All I wanted to do was wrap my arms around her. She was a person I had all in one package loved, cherished, worshiped all while coveting and at times hating. I had never in my life seen anyone like her. When she sat on a horse it was as if time stood still. It was hard not to be completely and utterly transfixed. Her tall elegant frame always adorned in fine breeches. Always a magnificent animal beneath her. I watched from afar as her star ascended. I made sure those breeches were clean and that her boots were free of dust. I attended to whatever she needed as she went from horse to horse at the many shows. I walked back and forth draped in ribbons and coolers not of my earning all while wishing it were me. But I was not the rider she was, nor could I ever be. The refinement and beauty of her long torso and legs. The feel. The way she could brush away immense pressure and perform. Exacting the very utmost from horses that may have even been lacking in talent or ability. They blossomed beneath her. She gave them confidence. But beyond all that she could be silly and fun. Most people only saw the serious side of her. The competitor and an icy one at that. The bigger the stakes the more she put on her game face and took it to task. She won, and then won some more. It was no surprise she was headed to Europe and on to the Olympics. Our paths diverged there. I still remember our moments of silliness amongst all the long days and brutal work. She taught me so much. I might not have ever become a good rider in the sense of a dressage competitor but I learned what it felt like. What correct looked like and how much it took to get there. We went our ways and we moved north to the farm. I followed her career and read of her successes. But life seemed set to change for her. The Olympic dream of hers marred by a bizarre positive drug test. Though nobody had intentionally used the drug, or even heard of it got into the horse’s system. They were disqualified from a USA 5th place finish. Within a year her Olympic partner would be dead. Another potential superstar in her barn tragically injured herself and would also be lost. It was as if the fates had blown her well off course from that rapidly ascending star path she had been on. The fates were not done. We heard the news like everyone else. She had a fall from a young horse. A routine ride ended in anything but normal. The horse stumbled, getting his feet tangled a bit and she fell and struck her head. Helmet-less. The norm for all of us back then. She remained in a coma. Nobody was sure if she would make it. She did make it. If anyone was stubborn enough to survive it was her. It was the beginning of her journey back. I saw her today. I can’t remember if it is the first time since the accident. It may well be. She was sitting in a golf cart teacher her student through the wireless headset. My approach went unnoticed. I sat beside her and watched her unwavering gaze as she concentrated on communicating to her rider. In a moment she turned and the recognition flashed in her eyes. joy. My heart leap. That same intense look. The same lean frame. I sat with her silently while she taught. I said nothing. My mind played back over all the times I heard those words and phrases. They are engraved in my gray matter and I often use them when I teach as they are what I know. It was at once amazing and heart wrenching. I could tell when she wanted to communicate something instantly yet her mind would not allow the words to find her lips. Eventually they would get there. Those words in that voice. It has been a very long time since that part of me was touched so deeply. I realized in that moment just how much I had loved her and still do. She is an amazing person. I wish nothing but the best for her. I do however walk away from out encounter today shaken a bit. I think it will take time to sort out my feeling about it.

Archeology

(unedited) The unearthing of weeks, months and years of data left me reticent. I have daily mood charts, blog entries and of course the medication list. I can cross reference and mine the information endlessly. The reality is sad and striking. I just can’t seem to put together any long stretch of normalcy (or even a steady mood state). Even in months of very solid mood the off days are much like a step off a cliff. Notes show perfectly fine mood punctuated by descents into dark despair for a day or two, only to return to the middle like nothing happened. But those are the exceptions. The vast majority of time is spent below the middle road. Long lengths of time fluctuating between utter hopeless depression and barely hanging on. These stretches seem to far outnumber the okay ones. I think reticence is a decent response to such a dose of reality. My reality. My existence. A life that just doesn’t seen able to get on course and stay there. I cannot seem to break out of this pattern. The deep depressions that threaten my life and soul. They leave me anxious and unsteady. When the pattern shifts and the middle ground appears I can only fret at when the sadness and apathy will return. It ALWAYS does. it never leaves me. Reading over the charts and blogs I can only say it appears to be dormant. Waiting for the perfect time when stress and anxiety lay the perfect runway for its arrival. At the worst time, when I need more than anything to be strong is when I falter. When I hang on by my finger tips and dream in Technicolor lethality.
I don’t see much hope for the future. I see only more of the same. More stress and more sadness. The future is bleak when the reality is I cannot keep my mood stable for more than a few months at most before falling again. I’m not sure what kind of life this is. Not one I had hoped for.

9/11

Today went along like a lot of other days. The date registered. It always does and always will. Because of my schedule I was not home to see any of the coverage by the news. and the ceremonies this morning. I even missed the evening news. A rarity. That is probably a blessing. As I drove down the thruway I noted the flags hanging from overpasses and thought back to the September they first appeared. I remember vividly driving my dad to the airport and noting each of the flags as we headed south. An American flag became so much more. So vibrant a symbol of our stubborn tenacity in the face of such evil and destruction. Those flags have remained. Never growing worn or tattered. Never thread bare or faded. I often wonder to myself who tends these flags? is there someone out there that just makes sure they are all okay and hanging just so. A flag tender?
I finished my day in the garden beneath a sky painted in pink and scarlet. A quiet beautiful evening with hints of that azure sky that burned so crisp that autumn morning. A blue etched in my mind and probably will never be unmistakable for any other blue. A 9/11 blue. How such a magnificent color could be so tarnished. But it was. When that first crisp perfect September morning rolls around, and it does every year, I think we each feel a little catch in our throat and we are instantly transported back to a day of lethal planes and falling humans. It is heart wrenching and comes without warning. out of the clear 9/11 blue.

Tonight I watched some shows while breezing through Facebook. My feed filled with each expressing their thoughts about that day and where they were. We are all the same that way. I didn’t connect with it though. I was still in my own world until I came across the picture of the last remaining search and rescue dog. Old and weary. In that moment all the feelings and sorrow attached to that day came tumbling out. I didn’t even sense it before it had me by the throat. The intensity alarming but not really surprising. We can’t ever outrun that day and what it did to each of us. We can not forget it even if we tried. I do not think we ever should. I welcomed that sorrow for I know it is just a small fraction of what so many people today are enduring. Such sadness and loss for so many.

Flight

(unedited) I fled the house like a person possessed. All the stresses were driving me to flee. It is a list that seems to grow longer by the day. I have finally broken free of the flat line only to find myself out on this tight rope with no safety net.

I guess it makes sense to just write it all out. Make a list so I can stare at it and stress some more. I am not finding answers or solutions, just more anxiety and panic.

Taxes, jesus, where does one even begin. State, IRS, town. You name it and they are coming hard. As of Nov a lien will be placed on the property for unpaid town taxes. about 40K to dodge that speeding train. The IRS, well they are in line too. A warrant already issued. Apparently way back in 2008 the accountant filed the corporate tax extension incorrectly. great. so, $3500 to get that sorted. But then there is NYS as well. Withholding. Add another 3K. Even better. There qre no funds in the corp. it is insolvent. The ponzi scheme that took all the money still tied up in a never-ending court battle. The principles that stole the $ keep stretching the case slowly bleeding all the creditors they took the $60 million from and defaulted. In checking today the current legal fees for the attorneys representing most of the people screwed is almost $250,000. nice. really. That money that might save us will never come. even if they ever settle it won’t leave us with much if anything. Sickening really. I still remember so vividly the day in Nov 2009 when the check wasn’t in the mailbox. A week went by. and then another. It was the beginning of the free fall. There was no safety net anymore. I went from someone who had no concept of money to a person that learned fast and hard just what reality is. The world of begging and borrowing and trying to just get by. Each time we were completely submerged somehow we managed to survive. people helped us. funds were somehow found. but each takes a little piece. it notches out another section of pride from your core. Makes you feel a little less each time. Your worth crumbles slowly, grain by grain slipping away as you watch everything come undone and know what it would all be fixable with some money. Fucking money. something that was always there. gone in an instant. I didn’t know how good I had it. Didn’t know how hard life could become in its absence. As I look out over bills stacked higher than shoe boxes and endlessly shuffle to see where the priority is. Who gets stiffed that month. Who do I tell no to. Who do I avoid just to get through another month. To carve away a debt only to have another one appear. Disheartening is not even a word worthy enough. My hands shake and my mind numbs as I try harder and force myself to run the numbers again. figure out where the funds need to go to keep the lights on and the animals fed. But I have lost track of where I was. I forget and have to start again. The numbers run together. I can’t figure it out. A mind that was once sharp and honed is dull and stupid. Tears of frustration and ripples of anxiety join me at my desk. I fight to get through each work session but know I am getting nowhere. I need help that I can’t afford. We are under a deadline to file both NYS and federal forms for the sanctuary. wish I could function well enough to do it. I’m not. I have no fucking idea.

I know, I was making a list. I am. In the aftermath of the financial meltdown the insurance debacle came along. Sure, I knew we could not keep paying $1300 a month in insurance. But the descent off a decent plan with good coverage is sickening. I have seen the quality of care. The lack of choices. The worry that goes along with it. I finally found a decent GP. Nice, thoughtful and seemingly thorough. This week they called to tell me she doesn’t take the shit insurance I have through Medicaid. oh and I have to pay for that last office visit. Yeah the one where they did the yearly EKG. another bill. more $ I don’t have. After two weeks of looking for a dentist and realizing none of the directories are up to date, not even the insurance companies automated phone system I am dreading the hunt for a new GP. Seem like nobody takes this insurance. Probably pays them nothing. But I have no choice. Do I change plans and run he risk of them not covering the meds?> that was a stressful enough venture the first time around and I sure don’t have the 1800 a month to spend in meds. what the fuck am I supposed to do, I am just shaking my head trying to figure this all out.

Meds, yeah. the meds. add them to the list. Do I stay with depakote. sell myself out. go against everything my gut is telling me? or do I just bury it and accept it. continue. take more. I don’t know what to do. I know how awful I feel on this drug. But I don’t know what choice I have or even what options I have left. More $ another consult. another handout I have to ask for. amongst all the other ones.

The corporation and its insolvent nature. do we just dissolve it? I need a lawyer. a good one. I need counsel and I need someone to do this. oh yeah. that’s right it takes 450 an hour to buy a good lawyer. jesus, I am wondering how to keep the power on and the bill collectors at bay, how in the fuck am I supposed to do all this.

Taxes. yep back to taxes. The sanctuary needs an accounting review. that’ll be another 2-5K. Is it making sense. do you feel the water up around your neck now? yeah. it is a terrible feeling to drown. It is awful and terrifying and it all comes back to the fucking dollar. something so simple. so easy yet so far away.

I could keep on going. I could. I have the pain mgmt dr. tomorrow, well if he still takes my insurance. Clock ticking on the next round of injections to keep me going. Polo starting and it is the most wear and tear I get. Sadly I don’t think polo will be an option this year. I normally pull some magic out of a hat and find a few extra bucks to pay dues but this year doesn’t look feasible with so many other priorities. I know it is one of the last things remaining in my life I love. I may be ambivalent about going, but once playing it makes me feel something. I can be alive. Be in my own skin and happy for a few hours while I forget. I don’t think it is all that responsible to play when there are other bills that need to be payed. I know it will come at a great cost. but isn;t that what responsibility is. Isn;t that being a grown up? to make the right decision even if it means sacrificing your happiness. I am just terrified of the prospect of a long winter with no outlet. no escape beyond my running.

Running. and running. Where am I going> in circles it seems. The list grows longer by the day and the end is nowhere in sight. Running feels like drowning these days because there is no relief. I just end up back where I started and everything is here waiting for me.

Submission

take the meds they say. this drug or that drug. Don’t argue. don’t fight. there is no point to that. You are the patient. You can’t possibly know what is in your best interest. You are sick. Worse, mentally ill. Take the drugs.
When Beatrice asked why I am not fighting I just shook my head fighting the tears. “This system has broken us.” I could not bring myself to say me. I know the cost. I have given up. I see no point fighting. It is my fault here. You think I have sabotaged this from the beginning. I didn’t want to take the drug. Funny how that works, that whole free will and thinking for oneself until you find yourself in this spot. Those thoughts and fears. All the issues or side effects shrugged aside because you are not the one that can determine if they are important enough. I guess I walked right into this. I stated in the beginning my dislike of the medication and some of the side effects it was known for. I set myself up. I should have kept my mouth shut. Should have been a lemming like all the other patients. swallow them. yep, swallow a few more. doesn’t matter. In the pursuit of stability I have learned powerlessness and hopelessness. It is okay to dismiss me. It is okay to brush aside with irritation my inability to pinpoint the problem. I can not think straight. Haven’t since the beginning. The weeks are blurred and faded. Names and numbers disfigured and mangled, lost within my head. But that doesn’t matter either. I’m exhausted now. Teetering out on the edge in the land of broken people. I think of all the others I crossed paths with in this life. Those vacant stares. The minds eaten away by drugs and forced submission until they are docile fat and slow. The reality that there is no control here just dominance by a field that says it makes us better. There is no better. there is following in line and keeping up. Don’t think outside the box. There is no right to be worried or fearful. No use for anger and frustration. It only makes the process harder. Give up. Conform. That is all. My anger has no purpose except to make this living nightmare worse. The tears of sadness and devastation tore me apart today. I don’t know how to put myself back where I was except to fall deeply into sleep.