Wednesday, June 12, 2013

to dissolve somehow

With hot summer wind blowing through the front windows of my grandmother's car while out running errands this afternoon, I was struck with the fleeting, but very real, impulse to sharply turn the steering wheel and drive myself in to the neighboring lane of oncoming traffic.

Not thirty minutes before, I was in the kitchen listening to Grams verbally give me a short, simple grocery list that for the life of me, I couldn't keep straight in my mind. I just couldn't seem to grasp what I was hearing. I couldn't make sense of her words. After asking her to repeat herself yet again, I got so frustrated by my own confusion and exhausted by...well, being awake...that I just started crying. 

After having a cigarette or two and calming down, I convinced her I'd be okay to drive, and with shopping list in hand, off I went. 

It was just a momentary thought; a passing vision. But it's not one that I take lightly.

I was 13 the first time I tried to kill myself. I secretly took some of what I think were my stepfather's blood pressure medicine, which only resulted in my throwing up and feeling sick for hours the next day. When that didn't work, I took my mom's blow dryer, plugged it in, and dropped it in to my bathwater, though I hadn't been quite bold enough to turn it on first, hoping and praying that its being connected would be enough to get the job done. For quite a long time afterward, whenever I'd walk to and from school, I'd have extensive inner debates about stepping out in front of a passing car - something I thank God I never quite had the nerve to do. As I got older, though, in high school and senior high, thoughts of suicide became a favorite mental preoccupation of mine. Emre doesn't return my phone call, he's hanging out with other friends, not returning my homosexual desires for him that he not only knows nothing about at that point, but as a straight teenage boy has no possible way of reciprocating anyhow - yes, I'll kill myself. I sense a trace, just one more ounce of hateful bullshit from my stepdad come my way, I swear to god, I'll kill myself. Another diet failed: I'll kill myself. Simone's too busy to pick me up, I'll kill myself. Is that Cody looking at me again like I'm an idiot; a psychotic drama queen? Well, of course, she's right - I have to kill myself! Aside from a short stint where I'd dig in to my limbs with house keys or burn myself with cigarettes, overdosing on sleeping pills was what I tended to resort to when I thought I couldn't deal. Not only did it land me in the mental hospital, but often first, with charcoal vomit-inducing cocktails or with the pumping of my stomach - all more than once or twice. Sometimes they came from a genuine desire to be wiped off the face of the planet. Sometimes the attempts were merely cries for attention; a hopeful demand that my inner pain not only be recognized but brought in to the light and out of my dark heart's disrepair - done something with; dissolved somehow.

I bow to my mother when I think of what she endured because of me. To all the people that loved me back then, really. But especially her. I can't imagine that anyone would have hurt as much as she would have had I succeeded.

Since that time, with a greater age and maturity, some great blessing has shifted my perceptions about who and what I am - about what Life is for- so self-destructive thoughts like suicide seldom even sweep across my mind anymore. Hurting myself in that way is just no longer an option. The underlying thoughts that give rise to those inclinations, though - the haunting ones, angry ones, fearful ones - they're more than alive and well. I don't know if it's karmic residue that is responsible or a hypersensitive nervous system with freaky brain chemistry, or both, but depression is just something I'm very much prone to - that's the way of it. When I take anti-depressants, the mind is so much sharper, more calm, easier to investigate and work with. And when they're not in my system, which happens to be the case right now, the world that's projected back is a threatening one that is too judgmental, too loud, and far too much to handle. Everything appears in my awareness with a seeming toxicity that both repulses me with anger and despair. It's a profound ugliness that I can't adequately describe, come to destroy any semblance of peace I had or am capable of having in the future. Its purpose: to feed on my destruction. That's what it feels like. And it's a pain I haven't felt in a very, very long time. It's a pain and a sense of worthlessness that has robbed me of the desire to shower, change clothes, or brush my teeth in days, because...well, what's the point? Who gives a damn?

After almost 20 years of taking one kind of mind-altering drug or another, I sometimes still forget to take my medicine each day. How is that shit even possible, seriously? In the past I was foolish enough - or curious enough!? - to wonder how I'd do without it and so I'd try it for a few days, hoping the biological need would somehow be gone. Imagine a diabetic treating his insulin with such disregard. In this instance, though, I just forgot. Repeatedly. It just didn't occur to me that I'd been so many days without it. The problem with not staying vigilant is that the clouds can descend on you so quickly, that despite your common sense, your will to even care about seeing things clearly is lost. Each time it's been found again, every single one, I consider a moment of profound grace. The mind can viciously attack itself and cause a world of misery in so short a time - and that's even in the healthiest, sanest mind.

I'm seeing my psychiatrist on Friday. I'm seeing my counselor tomorrow. And in the meantime, I'm going to grab myself a water bottle and take those four little pills that serve me so well; that I'm so blessed to have access to.

Then I'm going to dance and let my body have its say - because sometimes that feels right. And then I'm going to sit down and get very, very still...and listen.

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