Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Reasons

  1. Finding out how The Song of Ice and Fire ends.

I've been sitting here for ten minutes with just the title and first sentence. Seriously, I thought I'd be able to make it to at least ten.

Shit.

The Finger Guns Are Not Loaded

Ever since I saw the brain doctor last week I have felt like there is a hole in me.

The hole sits beneath my heart and above my stomach and is still partially behind my ribcage.

I can feel the pull of the hole; how it's trying to curl me up and suck me in.

Into what, I'm not sure, but I know what I hope it is.

My feet are dragging and I'm afraid of how horrible a guest I'll be when I get to Oregon later this month.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

More About That

It terrifies m'better half that I'd ever felt or that I understood something akin to this; I've tried to explain it, but, whoops, it just terrifies her deeper. It's good to know I'm not the only 'someone' trying to explain, not explain away, and understand their own tendencies.

I think, through that, I pretty much get why most people don't understand, don't want to understand, and don't want to learn about the topic.

What I've told you in the past is me-talking-about-me, which is the best I can do to relate suicide to friends and family. It's never easy for them to take. Thank you for posting about you. It's meaningful to me. It might terrify mine, but it's a nice deep meaning to me, and I'm CERTAIN it would be to others, unless I'm unequally, unequivocally unique. You're touching a subject that's very private (extremely personal) for a lot, and I mean 'a LOT' of very silent people.
------Comment from AE

I've been thinking about this comment a lot since I first read it because it's happened to me, will continue to happen to me, and is me all at the same time. What I mean is that I don't like talking about this stuff either. I don't know if it terrifies me anymore, but it did.

Talking about it terrified me because of the dismissal so many people have for this topic. Hearing them dismiss a serious and sincere matter by ignoring it or, even worse, saying you’re just looking for attention hurts, and that hurt is deep. Deeper than any hurt that I've ever known because it's a rejection of the only non-physical feeling that I'm feeling. When I say I want to return this "gift" that no one is supposed to want to return it should be taken seriously, shouldn't it? Then comes the doubt, maybe I am just looking for attention or maybe I will just get over it even though the only attention I want are for the things I do that I think are good and what if something is extra wrong with me because I have had very few moments of gotten over it?

And then what if they do listen to me? How often do severely depressed people hear that this will just pass? Or they're told it must be their situation and they just need to get out of it and find something better? They are hearing what's said, but their experiences are based on the typical human melancholy that does pass in time or disappears when they change jobs or leave an abusive relationship or whatever it is that was bringing them down. This is why when someone like Mr. Williams takes his life the most often thing said is that he had so much to live for because they assume that his feelings would have passed and his stuff, his career, his family would have help the feelings to move on more quickly. Except this kind of depression doesn't work like that.

Also there's the fear of being taken seriously, so seriously that I end up being taken to a facility of some kind. The cost of that, even just for the three days many people stay to get over the hump and onto medication, is astronomical. And I promise that if I end up at a place like that I'm going to give up for a while. Not like kill myself give up, but just not caring anymore give up. I will not participate in group bullshit unless forced and even then I won't speak except, maybe, to outline the logical reasons my brain keeps giving me to make it okay to kill myself. Not really to cause problems, but to just let it all out.

Even writing what I'm writing now, and have been writing recently, is terrifying for me. I have an ache in my stomach that wasn't there before because I'm writing about something that I'm not comfortable with and have trouble understanding completely about myself and I work hard to understand why I do the things I do.

I also get why a spouse would be terrified at the idea of suicide. The knowledge that your best friend, the person you've chosen to stay with for the rest of your life has, in the post, though about ending his or her life, what would that mean for your life? Places never visited, people never met, children never birthed. It's a large quantum change on one life without the spouse they choose. And what if the spouse considers, or worse attempts, while married? What then? And are these things passed on to the children? What if the children feel this way at some point? How do you cope? How do you help? How do you stop it? How do you keep it from happening? Or happening again?

I don't know.

One thing that made me feel some relief was finding out, recently, that my mother, throughout my lifetime at least, had many nights where she'd lie awake in bed and think it would be okay for her to not wake up. Her children would be fine because their father is a good man. I also learned that one of my great-grandmothers once just went to bed and didn't get out again. The kids had to do everything around the house; lucky there were seven of them.

I can't say that I felt better learning this, but I felt relieved. I felt relieved because this isn't something that spontaneously generated during this generation of my family. It's been around and member have been fighting it or giving into it for at least three generations. I just get to experience it differently because I live now, because I don't have children, because it started a long time ago and hasn't ever really backed off. I don't like the idea that these women had similar thoughts to mine, but I like knowing that I'm not just some extra-freaky freak.

One of the hardest parts about trying to talk about/explain this is how intensely personal it is. What I mean is that everyone reacts to this level of depression, this amount of suicidal thought, in different ways.

I force myself to roll out of bed each morning after the alarm goes off and take a shower. I force myself to get dressed and make a lunch and then get on to work. I force myself to stay at work all day long. I force myself to pretend to actually be okay. (That one's become a lot harder since my meds were changed, though. I know I'm not hiding it like I used to because I can't.) Yes some days it is easier than others, but it's still a lot of work and mental pressure I put on myself. I don't want to get out of bed or shower or go to work, but I do. I do because if I don't I'd be better off in some facility somewhere where I don't have to try. Where it just doesn't matter.

I know that other people get up each morning for other reasons. Some have children. Others have a significant other. Some just have a hobby or a project that they want to see through to the end. I'm sure there are even more reasons. There's probably at least one different reason for every thousand people whose brain tells them that they'd rather not be around. Some of those reasons are going to be more common than others.

Writing about all this doesn't make me feel better. It also doesn't make me feel worse. However, I do feel a little guilty because I don't care if any of this helps someone else. I want it to help me and it hasn't, yet.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On the Twelth Day Since Posting

It's been -- What? -- 12 days since my last post. Since the day I was pretty damned crippled by the problems in my head chemistry.

I have been to see the brain doctor in that time. I saw him on the Monday following. I like the brain doctor I see, but he's semi-retired so he's on vacation for about a week each month and sometimes that makes it really hard to contact him. He started me on a new medication. That means I get to feel awful while taking small doses of a new drug to work it into my system while lowering the old drug and experiencing the withdrawal symptoms that come along while also keeping all the side effect I had before. Joy.

Still, I am here, despite the imaginations in my head. That counts for something, right? It's been tough, though and that one, stupid, unanswerable question (Why?) just keeps flowing through my head. Like a little kid who doesn't really care about the answer, but just wants to push you to your breaking point where you turn away and the little kid "wins."

I've been reading one website a lot recently. It's basically people writing about their experiences or desires or thoughts with the end. Many people express their appreciation for group of people who "understand." I'm just humbled with the realization of how not special I am. I am neither the oldest nor the youngest visiting the site, either. That surprised me. I expected to be the oldest. I do not post but the vast majority of the people who post are younger.

For the most part, the posters are all of that age when everything is so serious. Where nothing can be taken at face value, but is scrutinized so much that even a physical object sitting on the palm of a hand becomes nothingness. So scared. So ugly. So fat. So lonely. No understanding. No one. No love. No reciprocity. These are brought up over and over again. Things that are so subjective that even the person who writes them can't properly explain them. (Even the fat one because she posted that she's a disgusting size 12. What does that even mean to me without height and weight and a million other little details?) I read the post and wonder if there is a change that could be made that would make them better?

In some ways, the comments are even worse. Too many of the comments starts with the commenter saying that he or she has no right saying this but... How seriously can one be taken if a few days ago he or she was eagerly waiting to swallow a bottle of pills with a vodka chaser and then tells someone else to wait one more day or focus on the good? I don't know. Those aren't the only comments. Sometimes people say they understand. Sometimes the commenter had a friend or family member end it all. Sometimes it's about missing the poster. Sometimes there's nothing at all.

The weirdest (worst?) part is that I'm jealous of a lot of the kids that are posting. I know that being in the moment is hard and crushing, but most of them will grow out of the darkness as hormones settle and growth stops and they become more comfortable and happy with the person they are rather than believing that there's something that they should be. And then they'll move on. I'm not saying all of them will change and grow out of the depression, but most will. I'm pretty sure about that because everyone I knew growing up had dark times between the ages of 10 and 21. Most of them grew out of the extended periods of horribleness and settled into mostly fine with periods of dank and periods of great.

I didn't grow out of it.

I don't know if I'm mentioned this anywhere except to my brain doctor, but I was 11 when I first seriously considered... First came up with a plan. I was involved with a whole never ending/no escape thing that I had no control over and I just kept burying myself deeper within myself. I can't say if I really might have tried anything, but I kept thinking about my best friend when I was little and how the first time my parents met his mother she told them about how his sister had cut herself; not in that I-want-to-feel-physical-pain-I-controll-rather-than-mental-pain-I-can't-across-the-street sort of cutting, but the seriously-I-don't-want-to-be-around-anymore-down-the-block sort of cutting. Afterward, my parents' took me aside and talked to me about it. I'm sure I didn't understand everything, but I knew that it scared my parents and that it wasn't something that I should ever do.

For a long time, especially in the really deep dark times, that was the thought I hung on to, how much it would upset my parents. It was the reason I would occasionally lose my belt and sit in the closet rather than, say, go to the kitchen which is where my brain wanted me to go. A long time. Really up until about 14 months ago. Losing that barrier was one of the reasons I went to see this current brain doctor because without that barrier I don't know. I don't know.

I should know, shouldn't I?

Shit or get off the pot, right? But what if you didn't want to be on or near the pot in the first place? What if you had no choice in the matter?

***********************

I've been staring at that last question mark for a couple of minutes. It isn't the last thing I wanted to write, but it's the logical place to end.

If I weren't so tired I would have tried to wrap around to something more positive. Something that wouldn't leave a family member with an ache in his or her stomach and a lump in his or her throat.

This is the best that I can do and hopefully it's a much less heart exploding finish because this post wasn't meant to horrify, but to explain and to get a thought or two out of my head so I can obsess over other thoughts.

Friday, August 15, 2014

This Day

Got to the house yesterday a little before 4:30PM. Sat on the bed while I was changing clothes. Next thing I know it's after nine. I opened up the house, turned on the fan, took my meds, and then went back to bed. Other than a brief trip to the bathroom sometime after midnight I didn't wake up until my alarm went off at 6:30. Since I've spent the whole week at work forcing myself to not hide under my desk all day I've decided to not go to work today and fall asleep in front of the TV.

I did call the brain doctor yesterday. Unfortunately I think he's on vacation this week. Maybe next week.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Post Title

I am not feeling right.
I haven't been feeling right for nearly two weeks.
I missed a day with my brother and his family because of this.
I think I should set up an appointment with the brain doctor, but I'm afraid that he will change my medication which will force me to see him once a week and will also make me miss visiting my brother and his family near the end of September.
The trip is an hour or more, depending on traffic, each way and is about 100 miles there and back again.
Add to that an hour, about, of me trying to find new ways to say the same things I've been saying for the past eight months.
I wish there were a brain doctor with 20 miles who took my insurance.

I've been screwing up at work.
Not big things, but minor ones that may one day add up.
Mostly I transpose numbers and write things like 286 rather than 268.
Once, that I know of, I forgot to change/correct a phone number and left it alone when I realized my mistake.
Piles are growing on my desk.
They are sort of organized piles, but they look awful.



I think I scare my dad.
He seems more off-put by me than he used to be.
While he was here, my brother spent time explaining what depression is like to my dad.
My dad has a very hard time understanding what something is like unless he's experienced it and he hasn't experienced anything like this.

My mom says she's had bouts of depression, but she had kids, a family, and couldn't give in.
The thing is when she was my age, I was 16.
My brothers weren't much younger.
I don't know, but I don't think that she had extended periods lasting weeks, months, years.

Recently, I've read a lot about how depression needs to be talked about more.
So people understand it better.
That way it won't have as much of a stigma.
I'm not sure, though.

The whole Robin Williams thing has brought depression/suicidal ideation more to the public discussion, but how long will that last?
Especially when people keep on believing that someone like Mr. Williams had nothing to be depressed about, let alone kill himself.
Thinking like that makes it very hard to discuss either.

By that thinking, I have nothing to be depressed about.
I'm the privileged, white male 25- to 39-years old.
I grew up in a safe place and live in a safe place.
I have two parents who, although there were some severe bumps, have stayed fairly happily married.
I work in a job that I don't hate for a boss that I like and respect.
I make enough money that I'm not living pay check to pay check and can spend a little extra on a trip or useless pop-culture things without having to worry.
I'm content being by myself because I rarely feel lonely.
I have a car that runs and more than enough to eat.
Yet I know how Mr. Williams felt and understand why.

I read a post by some British guy that pointed out how silly it is to ask what Mr. Williams had to be depressed about.
If he were hit by a car would you ask what he did to get hit by a car?
If he died of cancer would you ask what he ate to get cancer?
Probably not.

Even worse has been reading about how Mr. Williams was selfish or a coward or an attention seeker.
We don't really think in those terms.
Selfish implies that something is taken from the people remaining so that the person leaving can gain.
There is unlikely anything to be gained; most of the people who claim to know what happens next believe the Mr. Williams will be punished while those who don't believe expect there to be nothing.
The attention seeker thing comes from people who are always surprised that a person could do this.
These people who are surprised by suicide will be shocked no matter how the act is done -- even when done quietly and privately like Mr. Williams -- because they cannot, or refuse to, believe that a person can give up on the ultimate gift.
Life.
As for the coward, that's much harder.
If you believe, as I do, that bravery is doing what you are scared to do, then maybe they are cowards.
The problem is that we can't know what is/was in a person's head.
We can't.
Can any of us say that to live with chronic pain is brave?
Maybe it's not fair to compare depression with chronic pain.
I don't have chronic pain, but major (clinical) depression doesn't go away.
If you're lucky, sometimes it's less worse, but it's never great and there are no cortisone or steroid shots for depression.

What you choose to do about depression is a choice.
Mr. Williams choose to get help, go to rehab, talk with his family, and then choose to never talk again.
Some people choose to focus on waking up tomorrow and then waking up the next tomorrow and the next.
I choose to believe that there are a few people I would hurt and choose not to hurt them.
I choose to get up and go to work even though I wake up every morning and I don't want to go to work or even climb out of bed.
I choose to hold to the few commitments I have in the future.

After that

Friday, August 01, 2014

Just Within Reason

"Oh, if life were made of moments,
Even now and then a bad one--!
But if life were only moments,
Then you'd never know you had one."
On Tuesday I woke up thinking that it was Wednesday and when I looked at the date and saw it was really Tuesday a string of obscenities came out of my mouth.

Wednesday I woke up just wanting to get out. Get out of here, my insides screamed. It didn't matter where I went just as long as I went and never came back. The feeling has lingered all week long.

It's more than just a feeling in my head; it's a physical feeling. My whole body feels tense, like I'm prepared to run as fast as I can for as long as I can (not very long) to get away from something. I don't know what I want to run from, though. There's nothing there. Nothing's changed.

Still, I feel like I should stand up, walk out of here without saying a word to anyone, head to my car, and just drive.

Drive where?

South. Down the desolate valley and over the mountains. Along the coast through cities too crowded for me to stop. All the way to where the sun is, more or less, always overhead.

North. Up the desolate valley and over the mountains and then through another desolate valley feeling the temperature drop as the latitude gets larger and larger, but also smaller and smaller. Where there's a nip in the air all year round.

East. Over the mountains and across the desert. Through the salty flats. Over more mountains and into the plains -- the alley -- to watch how nature whirls.

West. Quickly across valley and onto the coast. Aboard a plane high above the ocean. To an island and then onto a ship or boat to an even smaller island.

Anywhere I can disappear.

The problem is that, in my head, I can't see anything after I disappear. As if me wandering off will just shut me down and there will be a completely new -- completely separate -- being inhabiting my body and I, if I exist at all, am not aware of anything.

That's not how it works, though. I would get somewhere and still have to think and reason so that I could decide and each decision will inevitably lead to another and then another without stopping. How is that better than right now?

Still, I can picture myself: sitting on a beach, skin redder than a beet; on a street corner dazzled by the age of the buildings; standing half in the shadow of a mountain, half freezing; dazzled at the abundance of life.
"But how can you know what you want
Till you get what you want
And you see if you like it?
All I know is-
What I want most of all-
Is to know what I want."

Saturday, July 26, 2014