Darkest Post

Posted 2010.06.30 9.00 in Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Over the past year or two, I’ve made comments, jokes, and entire posts about dealing with depression. Sometimes I deliberately try and make light of it, or look for a way to ‘find the funny’. Sometimes I make posts about it more for my own benefit, sort of theraputic writing, when I can’t keep stuff bottled up anymore. Mostly, my natural reaction is to keep my feelings hidden, not let anyone around me know just how desperate or lost I’m feeling. I don’t want to burden anyone else with my problems, and I don’t like attention.

As to which category this post will fall into… we’ll see how it develops. I might end up not even publishing it.

So… depression. I wonder sometimes if I’ve suffered from depression most of my life. I know I’ve been tired most of my life, and sometimes being really tired all the time seems like depression. Or, sometimes being depressed seems like being really tired all the time. At least, to me it does.

Then again, sometimes I can’t tell the difference between hunger and fear, so I may not be the best at discerning feelings.

I know my current ‘depressive episode’ started in 2007, and was going pretty strong in 2008. By the end of ’08 I was on anti-depressants, and am still on them now. Though for the past several months I’ve been suspicious that they aren’t quite working any more.

I remember being on drugs in the mid 90’s too, for a year or two. They never seemed to really do the trick then either, it felt more like an elaborate plan to get me to pay for the pharmacist to put his kids through college or something. Actually it sorta feels like that again now… Hmm.

I was probably depressed or something back in high school too. I remember having to see the school psychologist for regular meetings, but maybe that wasn’t technically depression. I was ‘troubled’. Or something to that effect. I do remember the first time I considered suicide – or at least, I remember the first time I can remember considering it. I was 17. I usually attribute my cat as the one who saved me, since I wasn’t sure if she’d be well-looked-after if I was gone. Really though, I’m just too much of a coward to make the leap.

At this point I can’t even count how many times I’ve stood at the edge (both literaly and metaphorically)  and looked down, only to step back again. There’s always been a reason to step back. Maybe as simple as fear of the unknown, or maybe a sense of responsibility or unfinished business. Mostly though it’s the fear.

One thing that’s occured to me recently though is that if I was going to do it, I should have done it when I was 17 or 18. It’s too late now — I’m in too deep. Too many responsibilities, too many people depending on me. Twenty-odd years ago, sure it would have been tragic, but nobody was depending on me back then. Nowadays, it’d really be a huge inconvenience to folks if I wasn’t around any more.

I read somewhere recently that if you brush away all the taboos about suicide and self destruction, what it really comes down to is a relatively simple equation. When the issues and stresses on a person exceed the capacity of their coping mechanisms, that person is liable to self destruct.

Everyone is different; some people react or feel stress more or less than others, and some peoples’ coping mechanisms are more- or less-efficient at dealing with them. If someone ever tells you that they’re having trouble coping with life, their problems may not seem life-and-death to you, but remember it may seem or feel that way to them.

And while I’m up here on my soapbox, real depression isn’t something you can just ‘snap out of‘ or ‘cheer up‘ from. Saying those sorts of things to someone who’s in a real depression is just insulting and insensitive. It’d earn you a brick to the mouth, except that they know there’s no point and it won’t solve anything, and anyhow they’re just too tired and listless to get worked up about it. So they fake a smile, nodd, and say they’ll try and cheer up.

I mentioned that my natural reaction was to conceal my feelings. That’s another thing, a lot of times you might not even realize someone is really depressed or self-destructive. Not every potential suicide is a ‘cry for help’. Seriously, if someone really wants out, they’re not going to tip you off first. At least, not intentionally.

Moving on… somewhere between the self-destructive inclinations and the fear or cowardice, there’s a safely comfortable dangerous place. I’ve written before about how danger is ignored when it’s vague or imprecise. For instance, smokers can keep smoking because no one single cigarette is going to kill them. And at some, perhaps subconsious level, since no individual cigarette is going to kill them, then every cigarette is “safe”.

A lot of risky, potentially self-destructive behavior can feel safer when it’s vague or imprecise. Something as simple as routinely driving too fast on empty streets, for instance, could be a sort of passive-agressive way to increase the risk of dying without ‘deliberately’ pulling the trigger or stepping over the edge et cetera. In this example, the odds of any particular drive ending in a fatal accident may not go up much, but if you do it enough, overall the odds get higher and higher.

In my case, I tend to abuse food and alcohol. I know that no single glass of wine or cheese-and-cracker is going to kill me. So every individual glass of wine and every individual cheese on a cracker is safe. And yummy. Overall though, they’re going to cumulate in a heart attack or stroke or liver failure or something along those lines. What I’m dealing with now is the in-between bit – you don’t go from healthy and feeling ok, to dead. You gradually feel worse and worse, with deteriorating health. I haven’t had a heart attack or stroke, and my liver probably isn’t permanently damaged, but I feel like crap all the time. Physically as well as emotionally.

The gotcha is that it’s a much more difficult edge to step back from. For all the years of abuse it takes to get to the line, it can take at least that many years, or more, to get back. And that leads to a sort of downward spiral, knowing that pulling back is going to be a lot of hard work for a long time… makes it seem like the easier course is just to keep following the same path, right up to the edge and over it.

I’m really at the lowest point now that I’ve ever been, I think. I’ve joked about how I’ve felt like I’m losing it, but the joking is just a defence mechanism. Like being at about the point where I’m hardly able to keep myself clothed and fed. Sometimes I eat too much, but other times I don’t eat at all, either I forget, or just can’t be bothered. I have exactly the right amount of clothes to last a week, so I have to do laundry once a week or I’m either stuck at home till the wash is done, or have to wear dirty clothes. My house is a shambles, and I don’t like living this way, but like my dad’s oncologist says, “at least it’s better than the alternative.”

And I’m afraid to talk to the shrink about most of this stuff because I don’t want to be committed or hospitalized or whatever the hell they do nowadays. In my past experiences with the mental health ‘professionals’ I’ve learned not to trust them. Anyways even though I could use a vacation, I can’t afford to not work. I’ve got bills and taxes and my mortgage to pay, and my family and other people depend on me. That’s the whole point really – if I didn’t have all these responsibilities and all these people counting on me, maybe I wouldn’t be this bad in the first place. Whether dead or in some hospital, either way it means I’ve failed in those responsibilities and lose my home and my cats and snails and fish.

It is ironic, this stuff that I can’t or won’t talk about with my family, friends, or psychiatrist, but I can share it with teh interwebz. It’s somehow safer, or at least, it feels safer. I’m sure in 20 years when I’m about to be crowned Supreme Earth Overloard someone will dig this up and circulate it and they’ll try to cast me out for my indescrete writing of 2010. Fortunately I’ll have secured the loyalty of my praetorian guard by that point and will have the muckrakers banished to toil in the salt mines. See? Still trying to find some funny. Probably failing.

Anyhow… lowest of the low, darkest of the dark. I’m not quite ready to give up. I still have a bit of fight left. I contacted some people who’ve helped me in the past, not sure I’m ready to go that route yet, but I wanted to find out of they were still there and if I could return to that path should I chose to. They’re still there, but have changed things around a bit, and say they don’t know anything about the lifetime support I paid for a few years ago. They’re looking into it, so we’ll have to wait a bit to find out if they’re still in the business of helping people, or if that didn’t work out so now they’re in the business of making money.

No big decisions either way this week in any event, it’s Canada Day on Thursday and that’s always been an important celebration to me. I’m not just a depressed borderline-suicidal loner, I’m a depressed borderline-suicidal loner Canadian.

4 Comments

  1. Kim Link says:

    We are still here and would love to have you back.

  2. Igel Hawks says:

    I understand you so very well. Loving you and holding you when you need it, but keeping you allways in my heart…

  3. MrPlow says:

    Try smoking weed, cures everything…

    Also worshiping the devil isnt the best way to live life…

    1. Stephanie says:

      Well, I don’t really approve of smoking, but if you’re gonna smoke something, weed is probably the best choice.

      I don’t get the devil comment though – are you saying that pot is bad? If that’s the case, then why suggest it in the first place?

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