My psychiatrist asked me, as he always did, “how are you?” And i remember saying the word to him with a heavy sigh. “Suicidal.” His response was intriguing. He asked me, “What do you mean?”
Inside I puzzled. How curious he asked ME to tell HIM what I meant by this terrible word I was finally growing comfortable with saying, even if I still shied away from contentment at its presence. What did i mean? The room was silent while I reflected on it. How would my brain define this word if I was the wordsmith with a blank page? What words can explain to someone unfamiliar with the etymology of the word; Sui- meaning of one’s self + -Cida meaning to cut or kill?
The room was silent except for the white noise machine buzzing outside the door. The sun pierced through the undressed window and my doctor sat with obstinance waiting for the machine in my head to churn out an appropriate response. I refused to squint in the spotlight, but I was powerless against the tear pushing from my eye to move the plot of this story.
“Hopeless.” I said it aloud knowing that I have heard that word before. I never hope. I work my ass off to get the little bit i have. But hopeless may be acceptable. People say that. And I am not prepared to be so honest with myself to say the thing that I actually feel. I nodded. The room remained silent other than the faint scratch of ink to paper as the doctor made another note. His brow furrowed and he moved his chair closer to mine shifting the shadows of the sun, changing perspective of the spotlight upon my face. “What were you hoping for?” He called my bluff. I returned the silent treatment. “You said you are hopeless. What made you lose hope? What were you hoping for?” He challenged me with the idea I had used in untruth.
“It’s not hopelessness,” I confessed. “I feel,” I hesitated in sharing the word I had known from the beginning. “I feel useless.”
He nodded in confirmation of belief. He knew me well enough to know that the idea of having no use was the stupid feeling I had. He knew that I was breaking down, not because I couldn’t reason what contribution I had to make. This is not fitting in. This is not completion of a goal. This is not making someone smile. The only thing that could send me into that terrible feeling of CUTting my SELF from the world is not being useful. It’s terrifying.
That was around two years ago. And I go up and down with suicidal thoughts and ideations. I have thoughts. I have a plan. I have triggers. I have motivators to bring me back to the reality that this action is unacceptable. And I have some people to whom I can be honest about this stuff who don’t want to strap me down and numb it out of me.
But this current wave of - I’ve come to a point in acknowledgement of my mental illness where I take stock of my head in no more that one week blocks. It’s not a stringent meditation, but a passive meditative state that I fall into when I’m drawing in the aroma of a coffee, or stopped at a red light, or walking through the supermarket. It’s a semi-constant mental note of the state of my mood so I’m on the ready to respond to the very common question, “how are you?”
Since Sunday, five days ago, I was numb, manic, needy, depressed, suicidal. Not just one mood per day, although I see there are five for five there. But right there at the end is suicidal. I think I’m still in the wave. I don’t think it’s time to wipe the wave out of my eyes and reset with functionality. I don’t think suicidal is going to be the end of this wave. But, my stupid brain doesn’t give me foreshadowing clues.
I read an article about passive suicidal ideations. It suggested that although I’m not going to take a knife to an artery to bleed out, there are still thoughts of walking in front a speeding car - something that could be perceived to be an accident. These things have always been present for me. This passivity. This numbness. This apathetic mechanical cause and effect scenario.
This time it feels different though. I still feel useless. I really feel useless. I don’t feel like the world would be better without me - i feel like it would be completely the same. And that’s okay. So, what’s the difference? Well, in the past few years, I have reflected on the differences of chemical and situational. There is so much of psychology that is not understood. And I believe a great deal of this misunderstanding, misdiagnosis, missing the mark on making people well from within - I believe some of this mis- is from a lack of understanding if the disorder resulted from situational or chemical roots. Is my brain malfunctioning? Am I lacking a hormone, or enzyme? Or is it effect from a situational cause? Is my bad mood because I introduced something physically or emotionally detrimental?
If that makes sense, then this may - I’m in a situational mood. I may have chemical deficiencies right now, and I’m positive my shakiness and dizziness and intolerance for light and smell may be chemical. That seems like droplets of the current wave of uncontrollable chemical shift in my brain goo. But yesterday I stopped the standoff in silence, using the wrong words, and confessed that I am choking under the weight of suicidal thoughts right now because this time, I jumped into it. This is situational. Maybe I was pushed? Maybe I’m being held down, but I think if I fight I can get out of it and wipe it out of my eyes? I just feel like I haven’t got much fight left. I haven’t got anything this time.
Today I’m fine. I’m not fighting to get out of it, but I’m fine. I have some times for which I have to hold myself together. I’m fine. I’m suicidal, but I’m fine. I’m going to make it to the sunset, probably. I’m going to make it to the sunrise again, probably. And if I don’t, that’s okay too. Today I am probably not going to do any fighting - mainly because I don’t know how to. I think it’s important to say the word situational. I am trying to dissect that. I am trying to decipher what that is for me.