Saturday, February 9, 2008

Dead People Don't Bleed

(Written in 2002, re written Feb 2008)

There are no beds available,” my psychiatrist says. I look at him in amazement. I have not eaten in a week. I have not bathed. I have not washed my hair. For some reason I am afraid to touch it- I feel if I touch it I will lose my strength, like Samson. It lies in a scrunchie, askew around my neck. I have my first pimple since adolescence.
“We can put you on a waiting list, but the best way for you to get in is to be suicidal. And even then, the insurance companies push you out after 48 hours”, he continued, crossing his long legs and taking a sip from a blue coffee mug that simply says “Zoloft”, in white letters.
I wonder. I ponder. He knows that two nights before I was feeling suicidal and cramping, found a bottle of Excedrin PM and swallowed the whole thing, all fifty tablets. He knows that I awoke a couple hours later, covered from head to toe in vomit, all over my bed. He knows that I spent several hours vomiting on the toilet. He knows that a friend of mine came down the next day, 12 hours after the overdose, and tried to get me to eat. He knows that for 2 days I could not feel my fingers or my toes.
He also knows that earlier this month I decided to drown myself. I went to the town's lake, the place where I learned how to ice skate, leaving the window of the car open enough so someone could open it. The note was on the dashboard, in plain view; the keys were in my jeans pocket. I stripped down to my underwear - so it looked like I had a bikini on. I went into the cold dark waters, and kept walking. It was a harder thing to do. I thought the water would just fill my lungs and it would be over. No such luck. The water went into my lungs and I gagged. It was foul. Maybe my mistake was not wearing clothing. Clothing after all does drag you under. I held my breath, but it was just to no avail. I couldn’t do it. I stepped out the water like Venus coming out of her clamshell, went to my car, put my clothes on and sat there, looking at the calm lake. No one has ever drowned in it. I guess the lake did not want to claim it’s first victim. I turned on the engine and went home.
He also knows I have been haunting the train station, looking for a train to jump in front of. And every time I go, even if it is 2:00 AM there are too many people there. I cannot jump. It is not for naught that I have a leave of absence from work.
It seems that someone or something is conspiring to keep me alive. Who ever it is - I hate you.
I really do. I hypersleep, because the thought of spending another day just fills me with dread. Only one short month ago I was manic- thinking I was indestructible. In the four days of my blessed mania, I wrote slightly over 1000 pages of a woman having a nervous breakdown, hospitalization and - no ending. I don’t know how it ends. She can kill herself, or she can live happily ever after. I have looked at what I have written only a month ago, most of it is unsalvageable. But there are glimmers of genius in there, and not a lot that can be used, say 200 pages. Chucking 800 pages out of the hard drive does not seem to be so daunting. I made an outline, and put them elsewhere on the computer, on floppies and got to work.
Now with the depression, it is agony to write two pages. It is agony to read. My doctor has raised my medication - doubled the dose of lithium, and put me on Wellbutrin. I am hollow, like a chocolate Easter rabbit. I cannot think. I cannot eat. I cannot cry. I don’t feel real.
I was eating at a restaurant last week with a friend; I grabbed the steak knife at the table and was fingering it, pricking my fingertips with it. He grabbed it out of my hands, and gave it to the waitress. “Why?” He seemed to be saying.
“I don’t feel real”, I said. “I think if I cut myself, I wouldn’t breathe. I am not alive. Dead people don’t bleed. I want to see if I can bleed; if I can bleed I know I am alive.”
See, I don’t feel real. Its like everyone else is made of bone and skin, and I am made of silly putty. Silly putty does not bleed. I feel like I have no viscera. No emotion.
I just feel - I don’t feel. I called a friend of mine the other night. Someone who I could fall hard for. Someone who, if he told me to lasso the moon and place it in his back yard, I would do so just to see him smile. He is a very intelligent person- and is very spiritual. In his world, people do not commit suicide under any reason, because it messes up their karma. He has done past life regressions on people who have told him what it was like to commit suicide and how much it messed up their next lifetimes. I look at him, and admire him, his values and his faith tremendously. He is also one of the kindest, non-violent people in the world. A modern day Gandhi. When he found out what I had done, he tore into me. Ripped me to shreds. I should have felt it. At the time, no, I didn’t. His pain towards me was real. But if you are made out of Silly Putty, you can’t feel other people’s emotions, they bounce off you. Like an alcoholic, I remembered the next day, and the guilt and pain were overwhelming. How could I hurt one of my best friends like this?
But then, if I had succeeded in suicide, I would have hurt him more. Really? Yes, really. I would have hurt him a lot more. He was lashing out because he was frustrated, just as another friend, another real nice guy, who came down from NYC to see me, make sure I was eating, last week did. That one also tore into me. People don’t like suicide, and a suicidal person is not afraid of death. Everyone is afraid of death. Everyone but me. I have never feared the reaper; instead I long for him to claim me, singing to him with a siren song, but he never comes.
Thus, I came to the conclusion. People do not like suicide. It is a dirty secret. Someone attempting it should possibly be shunned. The reason - it upsets them. It is a thought that crosses everyone’s mind sometime or another in their lifetime. But most people do not know what it is to be suicidal, where the thought is with you 24/7, where a tape in your head sings, "You’re no good”, over and over again. Most people wouldn’t know what it is like to be manic - unless they took amphetamines. But the mania where you become godlike - that is something most will never experience. To hear voices in your head - again that is something most will never hear, unless they have taken illegal drugs.
There seems to be an understanding of mental illness- with the movie “A Beautiful Mind” playing in the theatres. Heck, they filmed it in the town I grew up and live in. There should be more understanding from health insurance companies, allowing a kinder, gentler hospitalization, and not turning anyone away who needs it. Someone like me, acutely suicidal should be able to stay there, instead of being told “there are no beds”.
I do not feel safe right now. Three people I know made me promise I would not try to top myself off this weekend. Or harm myself. I blithely said, “yes”, but the answer is “I don’t know”. Right now, I want to. Right now I do not feel safe. This scares me. They are wonderful friends - I care so much for each of them. But -
When the voices go inside my head, the tape plays over and over again that I am useless, worthless, and feeds on itself, the only relief seems to be to end it.
I feel like I am hanging by a thread. It is not a nice feeling. I really want to jump this time.

2002-revised 2008


Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing. You give me my 'fix' every day. I love reading what you write, it makes me cry, it makes me want to scream, it makes me want to laugh. You have so much creativity inside you, it's amazing.
Keep on writing, keep on writing.

susan said...

Chocolate is my fix, so I am glad to be someone elses fix. (That and the cat ).

It wil be a day or two til the next one. me if you want......

Anonymous said...

Chocolate is my fix too...but I love to read your writing. I keep your blog on my bookmarks list.

Anonymous said...

A person who REALLY wants to off themselves is going to do it, and they are going to do it without negotiating, discussing, or telling anyone who may stand in their way. And if by chance they do talk to someone first and that person doesn't stop them, the suicide is typically a form of revenge. The funny part is, truely the only person you end up permenately hurting is yourslef. I've done the medications, many the same combintations as yours, I was in/out of psychiatric hospitals from age 15 to 22. I'vr been off all medication for 3 plus years. I am not proud of any part of my past. Life is not easy, and I still carry many proverbial scars. I made the choice to reclaim my life. By no means do I recomend any actions on anyone's part when it comes to medication choices. I just happen to find your writings to be not fully forthcomming, not because you are a liar, but because you lie to yourself.

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