I don’t feel well today. I feel scared. I worked really hard to get to this place, but I’m all too aware that it’s just a few steps back to the shadows for me. I know part of my problem is that when I feel bad I don’t believe I will ever feel good again. Lately this strange and amazing thing has been happening where I recover from sadness and somehow I’m ok. It isn’t this endless continuum of darkness that folds in on itself and buries me. It’s so easy for me to lose hope and today I feel a sort of panic. I can’t go back there. I won’t. I’ve heard depressed people are more likely to kill themselves when they are on an upswing. Partially because they finally have the energy and initiative to complete a task, but also, I believe, because they are unwilling to return to what they may believe is an inevitable relapse. Something like a soldier downing poison before they can be captured and tortured.
I was so amazed to be waking up with drive and determination, a desire to live life. But after several days of waking with that familiar dread in my stomach, I’m on edge. Maybe it’s because of these gnawing feelings that I’ll never be offered a job any more fulfilling than pumping gas. That I have no marketable talents and I’ll always be dependent on my gradually more and more resentful family. I tried to “fake it till you make it” but if I never make it I don’t imagine I can fake it forever.
This drawing represents the precarious nature of suicidality. Holding on by a thread, you never know when your life-line will snap and you’ll go beyond return. I never attempted suicide, but I spent hours weeping with a knife in my hand or a bottle full of pills. Day after day my brain returned to what I envisioned as my only hope at peace. I’ve driven down the highway afraid I would cross the median. I’ve willed myself to have the courage to end the suffering in the only way I imagined it would ever end. I was disappointed with myself for being a coward, but also for scaring the people I love. Even thinking about hurting them so terribly was wicked and unforgivable. I tried to convince myself that no one loved me and no one would care because I could not bear the torment of life.
I can’t go back there. Not after I’ve come so far. The one thing I have now that I never had before, an ally that could possibly save me, is myself.