I took a long journey last year but I didn’t physically go anywhere. In October, maybe even before that, I started to get depressed. Nothing new really – these bouts have come and gone before and I just muddle through and hope for the best as eventually I’ll even out and be fine. I even wrote about it in my blog in November as I had a few good days in a row and I thought I was through the storm… but it was just a brief respite.
It got progressively worse and then dramatically worse, before I knew it there was so much darkness in everything and I was lost. I didn’t have positive thoughts about anything, it was all I could do to smile at people at meetings or at work if I thought it mattered – most of the time it didn’t.
I committed without fear to doing things in the future when asked – it wouldn’t matter anyway I wasn’t planning to stick around. I said yes to a trip, yes to a family member, yes to a friend – but I knew that it would be over before then. I was a yes man, because nothing mattered – not one thing in the world.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that every thought was about death and dying – every moment that my mind was alert was filled with doom and despair. I had stopped dreaming, that I could remember anyway – nights were restless and insomnia let me mind continue to fill with clouds. Waking moments spent thinking of ending it all and how to do it. Researched hours and hours on the computer for the best ways to die – what’s not messy, what’s not loud, what’s most successful. I collected some poisons and looked into purchasing a gun – there was that moment before I found sobriety that I was going to lay down on the train tracks one night and just end it all.
You have to suck it up and pretend during certain moments – your friend wants to take you to dinner for your birthday or your loved ones call to say they miss you. Still not a fan of lying, I just answered non-chalantly back with a grumble or dull response – the fake smile they seem to like can be held with a little effort.
Weekends had opportunities to escape and enjoy the Arizona sun, but I just couldn’t get out of bed with the shades drawn and the dark comforting me. You can only sleep so long and the waking returns you to the spiral of depressing thoughts.
On the night before my birthday I dreamed and remembered it. I dreamt of several different ways to take my own life – and logically they seemed well worth investigating. Half of the day was spent researching those avenues and the success rates of the attempts. It’s hard to search on the internet for suicide methods – Google and other search engines like to fill up the feed with help links – but I didn’t want help so I didn’t click those. A few were traps – seemed to be about death and how to accomplish that but actually were about finding help, which just upset me.
I came to a decision that I would end my life on Christmas day. It seemed logical – friends and family would be with other friends and family and if they were hurt they could be comforted if that was what they wanted. There was also the thought that in the future they would, like most people on Christmas, be so wrapped up in themselves that they wouldn’t be sad on the anniversary of my death (I think it’s weird to recognize the anniversary of someone’s death… rather morbid). My logic may have been flawed a bit there, but logic doesn’t really play when your mind is playing tricks on you.
I had a plan and a back up plan (always plan ahead) and there wasn’t any fear. It was the right thing to do.
On Christmas day I called those people that matter to me and said “Merry Christmas” or something like that – I wasn’t very happy about it but it’s an obligation. You call this person and that family member and you say you love them or they’ll think something is wrong… and no one can think anything is wrong. It’s just another day of the week to me, has been for a long, long time.
I called Suzanne and she didn’t let me get off with just “Merry Christmas and I love you”. She asked me the right questions I guess and she’s difficult to lie to… not impossible, just difficult. I was at a bottom – really low low point of the whole situation. She somehow gave me hope (a sliver) and I decided to maybe start taking some medication.
Flashback to a few months back – I had gone to see my regular doctor about a cough or something and they do this annual assessment I guess about depression – they asked me some questions about how I was feeling and I came out as pretty depressed. Doc advised me to take some medication, but I was pretty sure this was going to pass so I declined. The doc assured me that I could call and he’d be happy to write a script if I changed my mind. In early December I asked him to fill that script and he did – the goal at the time was to take the whole bottle at once and be done with it – but research says that rarely works. I did my due diligence.
I started on Celexa (generic brand – Citalopram) on December 29th – I didn’t really follow the directions – they suggested “take half a pill first and second day” I took the whole pill – which then had side-effects that were unpleasant (stomach pain and projectile diarrhea).
On January 20th, almost a month of the medication I sent my sponsor the following paragraph in a longer email:
The depression thing is still here too – less than it was with the medication and it’s easier to pretend to be ok again. For a good long while it wasn’t easy at all and I found it exhausting to even greet people at the office. The sense of hopelessness the feeling of being trapped with no way out is still here but being dulled I guess. I think I mentioned that I’m dreaming again and that I hadn’t noticed I wasn’t – its mostly just crazy dream stuff, nothing sad or suicidal like December was. (I still think killing myself is a good idea, but the goal for the last 15 years has been to wait until I’m 55 so other people will think I at least tried to have a good long life – not sure why I think other people matter).
So now it’s the beginning of March and I’ve been taking this medication for about two months now and things are much better (yes, I still think dying at 55 is the answer it’s just logical).
Some benefits that I’ve been having:
- Tolerating people I don’t normally tolerate
- Dreaming again
- Less desire to shrink away from other people
- Looking forward to the future (not just the end at 55)
And this one I don’t know how to say in little words so I have to tell a story. I’m a stickler for being on time and I need other people to be on time if they are doing something with me and if they aren’t I’ve always had a very had time controlling a desire to freak out – my heart will race, I start to think very unkind things about them – even people I like (short list)… I’ve always been that way for as long as I can remember… On Friday Suzanne came to visit and there are things I tolerate about her that I wouldn’t for anyone else… but that doesn’t keep the feelings of anxiety from coming if we’re going to be late or if she can’t pick out a shoe and we’ve been in the same store for what seems like 12 hours ;-)…. But on Friday we were on our way to watch a High School Girls Basketball semi-final game and I wasn’t thinking about what time it was or anything I was just there in the moment with Suzanne… turns out we missed the first half of the game (they still won, even though I wasn’t there). That is something I just realized today in reflection and it’s a nice feeling.
Granted there are some negative side-effects:
- It hurts when I cum and doesn’t shoot out like it used to (TMI, yeah, get over it)
- I think I’m a little scattered brained more than I normally would be
- I don’t seem to stack stress – nothing really bothers me (could be a bad thing I guess).
I didn’t write in my blog in December or January – first because I didn’t want to share all that dark with others and then after because it didn’t matter anymore. I’ve been writing this particular piece in my head for a few weeks now I think – I have a little fear of backlash from work or AA people but I’m not that worried – fire me or leave me whatever, wont bother me at all (I guess that might be a bad thing… lol).
In the middle of all the darkness I couldn’t see hope or joy – I couldn’t see a way out. Many people offered God as a solution and a way out – but that’s never worked for me. I’ve spent 20 years pretending to believe “fake it til you make it” but it’s not for me. Science helped here – with some love from friends and family and that’ll do. Am I going to take medication forever now? I have no idea. It’s not my ideal situation, I’m not a fan of taking any kind of pills (watching my mother growing up it wasn’t pretty). But here’s what I know – I feel better. I don’t even have to pretend to feel better – I just do. I don’t feel high or numb… I just feel ok and there aren’t any dark clouds covering up the light. That’s a pretty good place to be compared to where I was and I’m happy about that.
I’d tell you some nonsense about how to get help if you find yourself in a darkness like this one, but I couldn’t do that when I was there myself – as I wrote before the depression became comfortable and the outside world a place to fear. If you think you can talk about it with someone and you think you’ll feel better… go for it. If you think you need to take your own life – wait til you’re 55.. that’s a good long life.