People cringe at the word. Unless it’s trending like last month when celebrities succumbed to their own hands and then there is a pseudo- what am I looking to say – care? People cared? Or they didn’t want to feel discomfort about something they don’t understand?
The first definition of the word suicidal per merriam-webster is dangerous; especially to life. The second is destructive to one’s own interests.
Negative. Whomever wrote that has not lived it.
This episode started Monday on my commute. Overwhelming anxiety and hallucinations in my periphery. Birds everywhere. It’s spring/summer. There are birds. But they have been sitting on the ground or in a flower bed – one was on the hood of a car as I walked along my street. I know what’s real and what only I can see. Hallucinations have been with me since I was twenty years old. It’s not premonitions or memories or ghosts – although there have been a few of those. They are just things I see outside of my head that no one else does. Frequently, it is the goat man who runs from corner to corner on the floor. Probably more than him, the bugs come around. Along my computer screen or on my hands as they type on the keyboard. Windowsills and doorframes. It’s just bugs. There was a head with a lot of make-up, but she was only there, inexplicably, once.
Anxiety. Anxiety is my temperature rising suddenly. People invade what I perceive as my personal space. They look at me hard. My heart pounds. My breath labors. I open my mouth wide to draw in breath to fill my lungs before exhaling in case it is my last breath. My dad did this too. Did he suffer from anxiety?
On auto-pilot I reached my office and sat my ass in my chair. Nine hours before I can make my way home again and get under the security of a blanket. A comforter. I needed comfort. I needed to be comforted. But immediately, I needed to isolate until this passed. I’ve been through it before; but, what if it doesn’t go away this time? What if my heart pounding and my temperature fluctuating is something requiring medical attention?
Still in auto-pilot I worked. Mid-morning showed up with weaponry to vanquish the anxiety. Quiet in my brain. Darkness in my thoughts. I took a walk around to get coffee. Blood pumping would prod thoughts. I’m suspicious when the chaotic noise hushes. It’s readying an attack. I take a breath as I smell the coffee. Still nothing inside me. I walk back to take my chair and the lighting seems dim. The sun shining through my window is not bright enough to be the ball of fire I know it to be. My vision blurs and I am seeing movement in the trees outside, now wondering if it is in my head or before my eyes. I check to ensure I’m wearing my prescription lenses and not my cheap sunglasses.
And then the breath happened. An inhalation of air that filled me with the darkness surrounding me. That ton of bricks I’ve mentioned before. That feeling of being so full of sorrow I can’t control the weeping and whimpering. And then I beat myself up for displaying weakness. I’m quiet, because I fear an explosion of uncertain mood. I fear someone knowing that I’m having an episode. I don’t even know if this is the bipolar 1. I don’t know what this is. It’s terrible. It’s an absolute war within me of anxiety and depression. It’s not sad. I don’t need a hug and I don’t need water. I’ve taken my meds and I’ve gotten enough vitamins. I just sink. Intolerance grows for anything not profound and from my mouth comes thoughts peppered with the profane.
Double medication on Monday night and then when waking in the middle of the night, I took another half a pill. I got collectively four hours of sleep (taking way more of my anti-psychotic than my body should have needed).
Tuesday morning. I was up at four am making coffee. I was sinking and while I blanketed up on the couch to watch the news while I caffeinated, I felt myself gasping for air. And at the same time, I couldn’t reason why I was trying to breathe so hard. The anxiety and depression weren’t passing. The sneaky bastards invited another to the party in that space disconnecting my brain from my body. Suicidal feelings. Separate from the anxiety and far different from depression. It's Thursday now. The thoughts are still present.
And I’ve been suicidal before. A new friend keeps calling me ‘an attempt survivor’. I suppose everyone survives something daily. I speak of myself when I say the following. It’s what I’ve noticed inside and out. If you experience something different, it’s no more or less than i.
Suicide. People are afraid to confront the word and the feelings. There is a guilt when experiencing thoughts and actions that could result in death. Others are struggling with things they have no control over. Things their bodies are fighting and they grow weak and medically they are nothing more than shells until their brain and their heart can no longer sustain communication one to another. What gives me the right to decide when my time is over? Well, I’m struggling too. I have a different fight, but it’s still a fight to keep brain and my blood working together.
It’s the ones left behind that suffers. To this, I say everyone dies and everyone grieves for something or someone. Frequently I find myself grieving for people who still exist, but not in my world. I call out for them with as much fervor as I cry at the cemetery when I talk to those I used to know, no longer able to walk beside me. I’m feeling internal guilt for the incapacity to suffer one more breath and one more heartbeat sounding like thumping drums in my chest and behind my eyes. External guilt by those who do not live it is not only unnecessary, but it’s impolite. There’s an arrogance in the sentiment that my medical condition, although different, is less than another. And without a doubt, there is not a range of severity with any other condition. Why should mental illness be so embarrassing? It’s not embarrassing. It’s misunderstood. It cannot be understood by everyone. And I had a hard time grasping this concept.
I have become open about my mental illness because I’m so tired of the internal attack that can’t be seen by others. I’m tired of being questioned when I don’t have the reason to lay out words to explain. I become incapacitated. I’m as frozen with any of these episodes as when a bird flies toward me or stands steady looking at me while I walk along the sidewalk. That passes in a moment. And people seem to understand that fear with either understanding or a laugh. But days on end without the ability to shower or cleaning obsessively or holding my mouth open in an effort to fill my lungs with breath- this is not understood?
Breathe. I cannot when my chest is closing and when the suicidal thoughts creep in, I can’t feel my chest or breath or heartbeat. And to the point, I don’t care.
Something to live for. [Something from my past] cannot be my legacy. Why the fuck not? What makes it so important that I contribute anything to a society that has devolved into a popularity contest and trending topics instead of the progression of a thoughtful and reasonable society. Words have lost their meaning. I fail to see the point in creating something significant that will be viewed as garbage.
My kids. See the bit about grieving. It pains me that I have passed this madness to them. I don’t know what to say about having them as collateral damage. I hesitate in writing this because I fear them reading it. I hesitate in sharing this, maybe because I don’t want to admit it’s affecting me as it is. My children are not responsible for my actions. I speak to one or all of my adult children daily. This is a big deal when none of them live with me and an even bigger deal knowing the lack of communication I had with my parents, even when I lived in the same house as they. In no way is suicidal thoughts ever because there is an absence of feeling toward those you are love.
It’s selfish. Absolutely not. I am hurting everyone in my path as it is. I’m not of any value. I can not care for myself or others. It’s no more selfish than removing myself from a situation in which I am no longer valuable. Again, see that bit about grieving.
Permanent solution to a temporary problem. This may be my least favorite of all the things people say when addressing suicidal thoughts. My bipolar is a permanent problem. Six years old I remember the mood swings. Eight years old was my first suicide attempt. Eleven years old i was possessed with mania and had such a mood swing that I had to be held down so I didn’t hurt myself. I’ve been hospitalized three times for bipolar disorder and have walked into emergency rooms several times for sedation without being admitted. I had no idea I would have made it forty-five years, but here I am, still living with this very permanent condition.
To digress, the first definition of the word suicidal per merriam-webster is dangerous; especially to life. The second is destructive to one’s own interests. I still can’t figure out how this is the definition. The only danger is an abnormality causing an uncomfortable discussion. Destructive to one’s interest? What if the interest is to stop suffering? I’m having a real hard time understanding why this topic is taboo. I’m having a harder time reasoning how words in a book to describe words could be so foreign from what I experience.
So, I sit among people without the ability or care to stop tears leaking out my face. And it has been said that this will pass as it has before. To my silent retort, ‘unless it doesn’t and it’s me who passes.’
A moment of illumination occurred last night when I said, ‘they can’t see how I feel.’ There is nothing that my body does to illustrate to others the turmoil occurring inside. It’s the same as looking at someone with a broken leg. I have a broken head. And I must remember that no one can see what I feel.
If you read this whole thing today, thank you. I know I’m all over the place with this free-writing I do. I suppose my words will not stop until that complete disconnect from my head to my heart is for real.