Or, The Little Suicide Switch
I was disabled recently. I haven’t mentioned it much here. Eventually I’ll get around to writing about the whole mess, I’m sure. It was a mess of gigantic proportions.
For right now, I’ll just say that I was unable to work, unable to control my own body, and unable to support myself. Most days, thanks to a “throw medications at it and hope something works because we don’t know what the hell is wrong” approach from various doctors, I was unable to leave my bed. For almost 2 years, I was in hell. I wanted to die. I don’t write that lightly, or use it to emphasize how bad it was.
I truly wanted to die. And I spent a lot of time, trapped in bed, planning exactly how I would kill myself.
I’m not exactly sure what derailed my plans in the beginning. At first, I guess I was hopeful every time I went to a new doctor. Maybe this time, this one will know what to do. But he wouldn’t, though he wouldn’t admit it until I’d visited him a good three or four times. And so I’d make an appointment for another doctor.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
There was no magic pill for me. Once I realized that the doctors wouldn’t hand me a cure that would get me up and running in a short time, all that kept me from suicide was worry about the pain my parents would feel at my self-inflicted death.
Living for someone else is a shitty way to live. I resented loving them because it made me so spineless that I couldn’t relieve my own misery. Then I resented them for being the reason why I couldn’t do it. Then I hated them, because they became the reason for the continuation of my misery. (Hey! No one said depression is logical.)
I started therapy, which made me realize that there was really no reason to blame my parents for my disability or my inability to kill myself. Once I stopped blaming my parents, I realized that there really was no reason not kill myself. Yeah, I can thank my therapist for making me realize that it really was OK to kill myself. Thanks, Doc!
So. Miserable and trapped and in weekly therapy, I plotted. I denied any such plans to my therapist. I made sure that my parents thought that the therapy was working to “cure” my depression. I researched suicide methods on the net. I wrote out exactly what I’d do. Laundry piled up. I made lists detailing what I’d need to kill myself. My room was a mess. I made sure that everything I’d need for the big event was in place. I waited for the perfect opportunity.
And then I learned that my cousin Pete died. He killed himself the exact way I’d planned to kill myself.
At first I was angry at Pete for being as thorough as I’d been in research. Then I was angry because I still wanted to kill myself, but I didn’t want to use the same method as Pete. I didn’t want to be seen as a copycat. And then I was just angry at him for stealing my thunder. (Yeah, depression isn’t rational, remember?)
Pete’s funeral was torture. I knew ahead of time that it would be. But what surprised me was why it was so hard. I sat through the thing clutching my father’s hand, knowing that I’d never be able to go through with my suicide plans.
I really don’t know what changed. It was if something just clicked from ON to OFF in my head in the middle of the funeral. I don’t know how else to explain it.
So I sat there in the last family pew, desperately sad because I had to live. Fuck me. I didn’t want to live.
And even more, after more than two years of disability, after such a long time without human contact outside of my parents and my blog, and after such a long time of living in my head, I realized that I didn’t know how to live.
After the funeral, I confessed my plans to my therapist. I dedicated myself to learning as much about spirituality as I could. I cleaned my room. I burned my suicide plans and lists. I laundered my clothes. I dusted off my recumbent stationary exercise bike. I participated in the subdivision yard sale. And I wrote my Skinny on Fat Pep Talk somewhere in there.
Oh, some days I want to scream fuck it all and end it. And there are days that I’m not sure if I’m thankful to Pete for clicking that switch in my head to OFF. Those days are mostly few and far between. There’s no real planning behind them. They seem to be getting fewer and further between even though I’m no longer in therapy. And now I can’t imagine that the little suicide switch in my head will ever get clicked back to ON.
So now I’m no longer disabled. I’m looking for a job. I’m planning on going back to college. I’m looking for a local Pagan group. I’m thinking about joining a local rock hound society. I’m planning a vacation. I’m decorating for the holidays. And after a three year absence, my damned Biological Clock is waking me up at 2AM again.
For the first time in almost three years, I’m thinking about what I want to do tomorrow. And I’m trying to enjoy today.
That may not be great. But it’s pretty good. And these days, pretty good is fucking fabulous.