Monday, November 10, 2014

Dammit, Not Again

For about a week now, I've been plagued with the feeling of "who cares?" Otherwise known as "FTW." Or "I give up." These are not good feelings. At first I chalked it up to the truly depressing election results. But then, yesterday happened. But first, why am I telling you this anyway? Because--people need to understand that mental illness is indeed a disease. Not something I make up. Not some drama queen thing I do for attention. Not something I want. I hate it. I hate it so bad. So come and take a walk in my shoes for a day and see what it feels like.

Yesterday started out like the rest of the days this past week--not caring, going through the motions, hanging in there, hoping that things were going to improve. But the day just got worse and worse. As I've said before, nothing specific happened. Nobody said anything or did anything that made my day tumble down a dark tunnel. It just did. Depression took me there without my consent.

In the middle of doing simple, normal things, I could not fight the urge to burst into tears. I struggled all day long to keep going, but it didn't work. Eventually, I flung myself on the bed and cried. Sometimes crying is a cathartic release to people. Maybe it helped in a way, but it didn't feel cathartic. It felt scary. I have nothing to cry about.

As I lay there, all I could think was I hope I'm not going down the dark hole again. I don't want to go there. It's the most awful place ever. You can't dig yourself out of it. It's deep and lonely and fearful. Monsters lurk in tiny pockets all around. Monsters that want you to give in, give up. Monsters that bite and feed off the panic in your heart. Monsters that try to convince you that you are nothing. That it would be best for all if you just fade into the walls and become one of them.

Self talk does nothing at this point. Reminding myself that people care about me does not help. Knowing that others out there suffer too, probably more than I do, doesn't help. Thinking that maybe I'm just having an off day, like any normal person, doesn't help. Because nothing can get me to stand up and go back to what I was doing. I kept lying there, zoned in on visual details next to me--the ridges in the pile of clean clothes stacked on the bed, the pores on my hands, the tiny ripples on the end of my sleeve. They all seem so much bigger than I am. I am so small, so insignificant. Nothing.

Dammit. Why is this happening to me? Again. Why do I have to put up with this? Why does my family have to suffer along with me? The depression monsters dig in their heels, telling me I should relieve my family of this burden. Stop participating. Go away. The pain in my gut makes me want to scratch my face off with my fingernails. I worry I will have to go to a pysch hospital. I worry that I will fall down the dark hole and never emerge. I suddenly understand why cutters do it, because somehow the idea of slicing myself seems like it might be a relief, a distraction from this even worse pain in my own head. It's very real. No wonder people jump off buildings. That seems like no pain at all. I imagine the quiet relief of going for a walk that never ends. A walk into the mountains with my dogs--except I don't want my dogs to suffer either--where I just go and go and go until I have to stop. Then I can just lie down to rest. Forever. Yeah, this is what thoughts of suicide sound like. I hate that they are pestering me, because I WILL NOT give in to them. Yet they sound so enticing.

Fighting this much just to make those thoughts go away is exhausting. Sitting at the bottom of the hole is easier than fighting to climb out. I don't want to be there. I want to get out. But I can't fight anymore. That's why someone would do it--kill themselves. Because they are just so tired of fighting between the desire to get out of the hole and the need to rest.

So by now the damn monsters are making me think that I'm in really deep now, deeper than ever before. I am sincerely scared. I wonder if we will have to change meds again. Or maybe there are not meds strong enough. I am already taking the maximum dose. I imagine being hospitalized. Infantilized.

Here in the dark hole, I am capable of nothing. I am as useless as an infant. I can do nothing but stay here, letting the monsters eat away at me. I hate it. Bloody hate it. Could someone just make the pain end?

All of these thoughts run through my brain like a locomotive in a loop, repeating and repeating. Even a religious person who knows that there is a god and a spirit--in that moment, nothing can reach you.

And then, in walked my one true love, my husband, who said, "Are you okay?"


He stayed with me while I got up the will to speak, listened to me while I shared my fear, knew what to say and do in the moment. I had worried he might have me admitted right then. But instead he offered me dinner, cajoled me into getting on my feet, hugged me, and didn't push. Didn't prod. Just offered me a hand to hold so that I might climb upward, yet again. Those marriage vows, the part about in sickness and health--this is what that looks like. He reminded me that we can handle it. We have doctors. We have help. We don't have do it alone.

So I got up and ate dinner and finished the evening. But I felt physically sick. Oh, I'm not depressed, I'm just coming down with something. No. I have something. I have an illness. Don't minimize it. Don't wave it off. Pay attention. That commercial that says depression hurts--it's true. That feeling that I've just been kicked in the kidneys, that's where it hurts right then. When I first started facing my depression, I read somewhere that ancient cultures believed the kidneys were the center of our being, kind of the way we talk about our hearts now. So it's no surprise that my kidneys scream at me. They are my center, telling me to take notice.

Okay, mind/body/spirit,  you got my attention. I'm here. Paying attention. I will fight.

Is this too honest for you? Would you rather not see what it's like for people like me? Or are you serious when you say, after yet another celebrity suicide, that we need to do something to improve our mental health system? Are  you willing to hold someone's hand while they attempt to climb out of the dark hole? I don't want to burden you with my illness. But I absolutely cannot fight it by myself.

I am still here today. Writing this down in the hope that someone will hear. I'll see how tomorrow goes. It's probable that I will give my psych nurse a call this week. I don't want to. Because I might have to deal with changing or adding meds. Or worse. Or worse. But I will.

For now, it is sunny outside, a slightly blustery fall day. I think I will take the dogs for a walk. But not a forever walk. A healing walk. One I come back from.