Fawlty Brains

We’re 25 days in to the new year, and I am still dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts.  I’m managing.  Work is getting done, bills are getting paid.  But I’m miserable.  I wonder sometimes how long the part of me that wants to live can fight off the part that has decided it’s time to die.  It’s a scary place to be.

The one thing that has been my refuge is Fawlty Towers, the John Cleese/Connie Booth comedy from the 70s.  For some reason, my darkened mind can concentrate on the show.  I can laugh and not feel terrible about it.  I can lose myself in the troubles of Basil, and for 25 minutes or so, I’m in someone else’s life.

My cats save me time and again.  People can understand the concept of suicide, even if they don’t understand the reasons behind it.  Cats will just feel abandoned when one of the people they love stops coming to see them.  This has been my life force of late.  I know that, as long as my cats are alive, I will not follow through with my suicidal thoughts.  I just can’t imagine outliving those cats for long.

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*That* Behaviour

Warning:  This will very likely trigger anyone who is sensitive to the topic of self injury.

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My depression has not improved, my suicidal thoughts have not lessened, and I find myself returning to the behaviour that has seen me through for over twenty years.  I find solace in the touch of a razor on my skin.  I find comfort in the blood.  It is a sick and twisted little dance I do with my mind, yet it keeps me from going through with the suicidal intentions when things get this bad.  Proof of my life saves me somehow.

If you are an adult who self injures, please know you are not alone.  Emphasis is always placed on teenagers, especially teen girls, but there are many people who continue with SI or even start it long after the teen years.  It’s not talked about, because most of us are so ashamed of what we do.  I couldn’t talk about it without the anonymity of this blog.  If you want to talk about the issue, please leave a comment or email me.  I will not discuss pro-self injury topics, and I’m not at all qualified to give mental health advice.  If what you need is someone to share your suffering, though, I can be there for that.

Low

The suicidal feelings have come.  Like a dark wave, hot and cold at once, they surround me and pull me under.  I’m fighting against them.  I know what it’s like to be the surviving one.  But they’re still there, eating at me.  It feels miserable.

I hold on for my cats.  The people in my life would eventually understand.  You can’t explain suicide to the cats who would miss their ‘mum.’  The thought of hurting them like that makes me sad beyond belief.  It’s not that I don’t love the people in my life.  It’s just that my suicidal brain tells me they will just leave me in the end, anyway.  That I will be alone once they move on to more stable people.  I’m tired of being the one who’s always a second from going over the edge.

So here we are, three days in to the new year, and I’m fighting for my life once again.  Sometimes I wonder how many times I can face this fight and win.

Happy Bloody New Year

It’s January.  The start of a new year, full of promise and hope.  So where does this leave me?  Mildly suicidal and horrendously depressed.  It started yesterday and has just continued to get worse over time.

It occurred to me that, whilst I am perfectly happy to spend the rest of my life at the side of my best friend, he might well wish to spend the rest of his life at the side of an actual romantic partner.  My head spun as  I realised that things could change in a major way.  My entire lifestyle could be smashed.  It would be a good thing for my best friend, and I would never begrudge him of that.  I would just miss being centre stage in his life as opposed to an understudy.  I like us as us.  Not a couple, but definitely a unit.

So I recognise that part of this is situational; my big realisation isn’t helping my low mood.  I realise, as well, though, that this is a bipolar depression.  The sun is dimmer.  That’s a sure sign to me that I am falling in to an episode.  The sun looks noticeably dimmer even high in the sky.  In short, I am depressed.

Fortunately, I see my therapist later this week.  We will talk through my realisation, talk through the suicidal feelings, and make a plan for coping with it all.  She’s patient but firm, and I know I can hold on long enough to make this happen.

Numb

I’m starting to feel the numbness creep in that I thought I would avoid this holiday season.  It’s Chanukah, and, even though I’m not Jewish, I keep that holiday.  The burning candles comfort me and bring peace in to my life.  That’s worth celebrating.  Tonight is  the last night.  The entire row will be lit.  I’m hoping the warmth of the candles will take away some of this numbness.  It’s a feeling that you can’t feel anything.  Does that even make sense?

This year, I have done festive things.  I have participated in a Chanukah Shabbat service, attended a gift swap, and even have two Christmas parties on my weekend agenda.  These are better efforts than I’ve made in years past.  But the numbness is taking over now.

I have to be very careful with this numbness, as it tends to lead toward self-injury.   There’s a need to see blood for proof that I’m alive.  The warmth of the blood against my cold skin awakens me.  It’s a sick process founded by a sick mind.  I have to be diligent and aware.

As the numbness creeps in, the happiness and feelings of family and love begin to fade.  I am in a fight against my mind, once again, and I don’t know which of us will win.

Anger

I have been angry on and off all year.  It comes in waves.  There’s a tiny flicker of anger just in the top of my mind, and then the wave comes crashing down.  I am consumed by anger.  Everything makes me angry.  Even things that would otherwise be enjoyable are tinged with anger.  It is  everywhere.  Suffocating.

I’ve also felt genuine hatred this year for this first time in my life.  Even when discussing the people who hurt me, I’ve not felt hatred.  I’ve felt sympathy and disgust.  But this year I’ve felt hatred, mostly towards people I don’t even know.  It burns, just like the angry.

I have no idea what’s causing these feelings.  The therapist said she actually liked that I was feeling this way because it meant the last vestiges of numbness were fading away.  I don’t like these feelings at all, though.  They put negative energy in to the Universe, and none of us need that.  Still, I can’t seem to block them or stop them when they happen.  I just have to feel them, express what I can in a safe way, and hope they pass quickly.  These feelings are so new to me, and I would definitely prefer for them to stop situating themselves quite so firmly in my mind.

Current Mood: Unknown

This week has been great.  I have worked many hours, completed student loan repayment applications, kept up with household chores, and generally felt well mentally.  This has all happened for the first time in months, and it leaves me wondering where my mood has been.  I feel good right now.  I can concentrate again, and life doesn’t seem so overwhelming.  I’m grateful for whatever shift has happened.

The one dark spot in this is that I have obviously been having mood issues without being aware of them.  I’m usually good at picking up on mood symptoms and dealing with them before things get bad.  The recent manic episode must have split what has been a months-long depressive episode.  That’s all I can think of.  Depression causes that soul-sucking overwhelm and inability to concentrate.  I didn’t particularly feel depressed, but apparently, my mind was acting in depressed mode.

Whatever it was, I’m just happy it has passed.  Does anyone else out there have mood episodes that you only see in hindsight?

Trapped

Life has turned in to a comedy of sorts right now.  Probably more like a horror, but the extent of events heading one in to the other is mind boggling.

It all started Saturday night.  My best friend and I went out looking at Christmas light shows in the area.  Whilst travelling on a crowded motorway at 70mph, my best friend noted that the car was becoming hard to steer.  Safely ensconced in a car park under a light near security cameras, we looked under the bonnet to find the power steering fluid reservoir empty.  That seemed an easy fix, given the shop where we were parked sold power steering fluid.

Upon retrieving said fluid and pouring it in to said reservoir, I cranked the car and reversed out of the parking spot.  With much difficulty, as the car still didn’t want to turn.  And the battery light came on.  And a sound like gravel trailing behind the car could be heard.  I somehow steered us in to another spot and phoned for a tow truck.

Sunday, the day of my major work deadline, I awoke feeling a bit under the weather.  As the day progressed, I got worse and worse.  By late Sunday/very early Monday, I could barely breathe from the congestion.  Mid-morning Monday, I phoned the mechanic to see how things were going with my car.  He told me it would be Tuesday before he could finish it.  As my doctor is located approximately 50 miles from my house, that was right out.  As I was still choking whilst trying to breathe, what’s called here an ‘urgent care clinic’ was in store.  I was diagnosed with flu, given medication and sent on my way.  That part is improving.

Next it was Tuesday and the day my car was to be complete.  Except that, whilst he was tightening the new part, my mechanic noticed another part fall off.  And now it will be Monday before the car is finished.  It will, in theory, be a much nicer car to steer after this.  It’s just costing hundreds and leaving me in debt.  No idea how I’ll make my bills next month, and no idea how I’ll cope with the claustrophobia of having no way to get out of here without my car.

So that’s the plight of December so far.  I wish I could say I knew it would only get better.

Sparkling

My sister was born 29 years ago today.  I can’t imagine her at that age.  I wonder at what she would have become.

Today is always an odd day for me.  Part of me wants to celebrate her.  To make the day all about the things she loved.  I want to colour unicorn pictures, listen to silly pop music and eat chocolate cake with loads of chocolate frosting.  All the things we did on her birthdays.  Her last birthday was no different.  It was a day spend focusing on her and a day spent trying to catch that special smile I’ll never forget.  Her blue eyes sparkled when she smiled, lighting up the little freckles on her eyes and nose.  She was so beautiful.

What I will do on this day will likely counteract that.  This year, there’s work keeping me busy.  Most years, though, I feel drawn back to her last day.  Not her last birthday.  The last day of her existence.  That day, too, was perfectly ordinary until I found her.  On this anniversary of her birth, I’ll struggle not to think of her death.  I hate that her life seems to be defined by that now, but I can’t pull it away.

My goal for this day is to perform some unexpected act of kindness, just to bring the light my sister brought to my life in to the life of another.  A way to honour her.  If you are at all able, share your own act of kindness today.  You will honour the life and memory of a beautiful child who left us far too soon.

Thanks.