Snow for my Birthday

snowmanI am officially 30 years old and like so many of my birthdays, I spent it a depressed anxious wreck. What can I say that I have not said so many times? I did not plan to live this long. In school, they often asked what I wanted to be when I got older. I said a Writer or a Teacher. In truth, I wanted to be dead. Dramatic perhaps, but if Depression makes you anything, it’s dramatic.

So how did I handle the crushing realization of my continued existence this year? I crawled up into a ball on my bedroom floor and sobbed like a child and perhaps because I was feeling nostalgic for high school I took a pairing knife to my forearm. I cut into myself, quickly at first but found my skin much tougher then I remember. Sawing back and forth with the knife I could barely make a mark deeper than a bad cat scratch.

That was it….that was my grand gesture of defiance to living. Nearly a ten years since I last did anything like that broken. But some childish part of me felt I needed to do something. It was unhealthy and stupid, but I suppose it was a better act than a handful of pills or walking into traffic that my young self-promised would happen by now. Still, my young self could not foresee the support I would receive from the friends and family I have now. It’s snowing outside, and it is so very beautiful.

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Shadow of death

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I have questioned life and death more than someone my age should. Struggling with thoughts of suicide for a long time. I was scared to die but wanted it. I can recall a moment of complete despair. A moment that in my heart that I know I was going to die. I remember the very feeling in my chest as I lay in bed. The sorrow I felt knowing my life would end soon. I don’t know why that moment clicked while I thought of death so many other times. I was not crying because I wanted to die, but because I know I was going to die. That I may not kill myself then, but my life would not last much longer. I mourned my own death as if it was a forgone conclusion.

Years have passed, many I thought would be the last year of my life. Am older now than I ever thought I would be. In many ways, I still mourn the life I killed as well as the life I wasted mourning it. Still, another year ticks by. That has to count for something.

Camping with Mental Health Issues.

Growing up my parents would pack me and my two siblings up to go camping every year. It was always over a weekend and we have a family reunion in between. When I was little I really enjoyed the experience but as I grow into a moody teen I set up a PlayStation in a tent and never leave. As depression took over my life, I sneak off at night to cry.  They were beautiful quiet nights. My sobs mixed with only the sounds of frogs and crickets. However, I remember distinctly secretly wishing someone would hear me.

It has been a few years since then, and another family reunion has come up. I decided to try camping on my own this past weekend. I now have my own car, my own tent, my own money, I thought I surely be able to recapture some of the glory of my childhood. My Sister had similar ideas and was already planning a trip of her own as I was mine. We would have a chance to see each other for the first time in nearly a year.

The first thing I noticed about all of this was just how much effort my parents put into it. Booking a campsite, bringing food, water, clothes, soap, toothbrushes, and every other little thing that makes the experience a little more comfortable. I arrived on my own early Friday and was proud of my little set up. Things were going well. I managed to go for a swim in the pool and even strike up conversation with strangers despite my anxiety. My sister arrived in the evening with her boyfriend and we had a good time catching up. I made hotdogs over a fire.

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Then I was alone in my tent, and all I wanted to do was collapse and cry. The sense of loneliness that filled my heart was like a dagger. I texted my mother for support before finally falling asleep. The next day was the family reunion. Frankly I was disinterested in the whole affair. It was nice to see my grandmother, my aunt, and cousins, but I had little to say to any of them really. It was hot, and exhausting. I must of sweat my weight in water. The reunion was wrapping up when it started to rain for an hour. I ran around to secure my sight so that the rain would not ruin anything before the rain stopped anyway.

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Perhaps it was the heat, or dealing with the social aspects of family but I broke. I could only sob uncontrollably. I wanted to run away. I managed to walk for a while, the woods where pretty and reminded me of the times me and my brother would explore them. I followed a trail to a winery near the campground before walking back. It was here I made up my mind to just leave the campground. I turned some mail I needed to give my sister over, she was swimming in the pool, and quickly walked away embarrassed.  I hid in the woods, my back against a tree hiding from my sister and from myself. I was having a full on panic attack. I imagined what it be like to hang myself from one of the trees in front of me. I traded some emotional texts with my brother, mother, and sister. The sun came down while I was hiding behind that tree. Bugs crawled along my legs but I did not care anymore.

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I walked back to my campsite without any light and packed up my tent and things and got in my car. I drove past my sisters campsite, gave her a hug and drove away. Sobbing and crying along the way. I had to pull over to the side of the road to wipe my tears more than once. When I was about fifteen minutes from the campground I pulled over once more. I could only think that “If only I just jumped into the pool with my sister that we could have swam, made s’mores by the fire and everything would’ve been ok.” I know I was running away, all i wanted to do was run away. I felt humiliated about how emotional I got, making me feel even worse. I called my mom, as if asking for permission if it was ok if I just turned around and forget it all happened. My sister was still up, sitting by a fire, I still had a little time to change the outcome of the night. I turned the car around, went back to the campsite. I went to my sister campsite and managed to enjoy a bit of time by the fire.
I never did put back up my tent, I slept in my car with my feet hanging out the window. I was able to go for one last swim in the pool with my sister before we had to leave the campground. It was a stressful weekend over all. I feel like I made a fool of myself the whole time. However I did manage to scrape together a better ending than what could of been thanks to the support of my family.

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Pills in Hand

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Yesterday I dumped my medicine into my hands. Pills in hand I studied there weight. I did not feel depressed, thoughts of suicide did not cross my mind. I just wanted to know what they felt like. It was such a surreal urge I can’t forget it. I then looked online for the overdose information on each pill. Two out of the three pills would cause vomiting and a deep sleep, likely followed by death. I looked at this information without emotion. I simply don’t know what possessed me to do so.

I should know the weight of my medicine already because there was a time I felt them before. Years ago, I was young and hopeless. I saw no way out, and the pain overwhelmed me. I wasn’t as open with my depression as I am now, so I can’t help but wonder if the people who loved me know how far I had fallen. I took a small handful of my pills, added some Tylenol for good measure and washed them down with water. I tried to go to sleep but panic set in. I ran to my bathroom and forced myself to throw up.

It all seems so silly now. There was a good chance I did not take a lethal dose of anything. It was like I was just playing at the idea of suicide. We all hold our own lives in our hands. A life is heavy, I have no other way of saying so. Perhaps from time to time we just need to feel how heavy.

Spiral Logic

Uzimaki
From the manga Uzumaki

Depression and Anxiety can often lead to spiral logic. This is when the having depression or anxiety is enough to make your depression or anxiety worse. It does not take much, just one bad moment or day. Just enough for your mind to feed on. Soon you are depressed because you are depressed, you are stressed because your are stressed and you are having an anxiety attack because you felt anxious.

Your mental health is a gross eater. It feeds on itself growing worse and worse on its own power. You fight so hard, but one misstep no matter how small hurts. Your mind finds that wound and tears it wider and wider as you dwell on it. Every step backwards can feel like a fall off a cliff back to where you started, but perhaps each climb back up gets a little more easy.

Self Harm

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Self Harm is a scary trait seen in people with mental illness. It’s something both hard to describe and explain to people who have never experienced it. I used to cut myself. Most often I cut my forearm with a knife used for model building. Although the scars have faded a bit over time they are still noticeable if you know where to look. I often lie about what I was using to cut myself, the rush of endorphin’s caused me to act like an addict. If i did not have a knife I would use my own fingernails. Digging into my skin like am trying to rip if off.

Why did I do it? That is a complicated question. The most simple answer would be to say it was for the chemical rush but there is more to it then that. That need to feel something, anything when your mind is going out of control…that self loathing feeling, I did not have the self value to think it was not ok to be hurt. The pain helped to focus the mind on something…anything. I haven’t self harmed in a long time…but the thoughts still occasionally cross my mind. All I can do is let the thoughts pass, and try not to dwell.

A long path.

I lived like the uphills were mountains and the downhills were cliffs. Always walking slowly forward, while everyone I know drove past me. Every step back felt like a fall into the abyss. Despite my slow movement forward I was always followed by Darkness. Just a small step off the path and I could of ended my Journey grimly. It would of been so easy, every breeze seemed to knock me down. I juggled depression and loneliness trying to guess what one would crush me first.

I can still feel this way at times. I still often feel lonely, and I still sometimes feel like am still moving slowly on that path while others drive by me. Yet I still move forward even if a tiny bit at a time.