I love Enya.
So, it's little wonder that two years ago today, I planned to slowly drift into a permanent sleep while cuddling my kitties and listening to that Irish goddess's mollifying melodies. Sail away, indeed.
To answer your immediate question, yes, I was a tad disappointed that my life's final bow was a middle-aged cat lady's wet dream, but my preferred options weren't workable.
Initially, I wanted be like Beth in Little Women and contract scarlet fever whilst nursing impoverished scamps. But I'm not really an other-people's-kids person. Then I envisioned myself as Juliet, dying in the arms of my beloved Romeo, but the closest thing I've ever come to a turf war was when the Case tractor devotees heckled the John Deere enthusiasts at my hometown's county fair.
Thus I settled for sensibility rather than sentimentality. I rummaged through the apartment and found every pill in my possession. Antidepressants, cold syrups, pain killers, sleeping pills, PMS relievers, laxatives, uppers, downers, Flintstone gummy vitamins -- I wasn't inclined to be picky. Once gathered, I arranged them on the marble bathroom counter according to size.
Our jug of ibuprofen was the tallest, but, as my husband keeps insisting, size doesn't always matter. While all the over-the-counter stuff came in the most imposing containers, they wouldn't get the job totally done. For actual results, I was counting on the more economically-packaged Zoloft and Xanax and Ambien to do the heavy lifting.
I'd been depressed for awhile, so I wasn't that surprised to find myself evaluating pill potency. It had been almost a year since Chris had sat me down and said: "I will get a divorce."
He didn't say this because he's a dick (although he can be). He said it because he's a goddamn American hero (although his infatuation with tater tots and beer indicate that he
probably definitely shouldn't wear Spandex.)
He had spent months pleading with me to see a psychiatrist. I promised and procrastinated. I begged and balked. I resisted and refused. And then he said, kindly but firmly, that he loved me too much to watch me suffer and that he would stay only if I considered myself worthy of how much he adored me.
Now, I like spending my man's money as much as the next spouse, so I figured that if I had to see a shrink to keep on the green gravy train, then so be it.
Okay. So. That sentence is me deflecting.
The thing is: I don't like talking about my depression. It's uncomfortable as fuck. As I've told you before, I don't want to be that blogger who is defined by depression. Even more paramount, though, I don't want to be that person.
So rather than address how my malfunctioning brain, I'd rather redirect the conversation to how my vagina doesn't need any more cake or how Chris accidentally gave our neighbors the impression that he is a pedophile or how a masked stranger hooked a pressure washer to my ass.
Terrified children and anal scarring aside, those things are hilarious. Depression ain't, y'all. So when my best-friend/lover/payer-of-my-bills told me he was so scared of how sick I'd become that he would leave me if I didn't get help, I knew I needed to face my new reality. And that reality wasn't merely that I was depressed. It was that I was suicidal. Which was something even Chris didn't even know.
About a month before Chris's intervention, I was on a highway with no median and unexpectedly thought: "It would be so easy to pull out in front of this semi."
Wanting to die is not as dramatic as I expected. In my naiveté, I thought being suicidal would involve a rush of emotions or a torrent of tears as I faced the dark monster swallowing my soul.
But it's not like that. At all. Or at least, it wasn't for me. I was living my life, and then, without warning, I thought about ending it. There was no build up or mental debate. There was just a moment where I knew that I could yank the wheel, and that'd be it. I was just driving, listening to NPR, and then I thought about dying, which isn't a normal reaction, unless it's Pledge Week.
So, I went to the damn shrink. And he was a SuperSized Ass Value Meal. He made me feel ashamed. That I should just get my shit together. But he gave me meds. Seriously, he gave me meds like woah. At one point, I was on three antidepressants, two anti-anxiety pills, and an Ambien.
And for as long as it takes my husband to eat a platter of his aforementioned beloved tater tots (so, like, one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi), I felt better. I told my (douche nozzle of a) therapist I felt better. And I told Chris I felt better.
I wasn't trying to lie. Rather, I didn't want to be an inconvenience. I didn't want to be a burden. I didn't want to be a source of stress. I didn't want to continue costing us money we didn't really have. So I convinced myself I was happy. And I stopped taking my pills. And I soldiered on. For about three months. And then there I was that soggy February day, lining up pills, determined to shed my coat of pain.
My reasons for wanting to die aren't spectacular. For the most part, I hurt because I'd disappointed myself. I thought things would be better at that point in my life -- physically, socially, financially, familial-ly (if that's a word), professionally.
Physically. I'd developed a thyroid tumor and polycystic ovarian syndrome and had gained about 130 pounds in two years. Every time I looked in the mirror, I saw a whale woman.
Socially. I'd just moved cross-country and had no friends with whom I could grab a drink or make penis-shaped dickerdoodle cookies at Christmas.
Financially. I'd left my journalism career to return to college, so I made zip, and I felt crushed beneath the unrelenting double whammy of medical and student bills.
Familial-ly . I'd found out that I am probably infertile, and despite Chris and I fucking like sad bunnies, we got nowhere. As for adoption? I could barely afford my electricity bill, let alone someone else's child (because apparently people don't give them away for nothing).
Professionally. When I was 6, I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. And then I did exactly that. As a reporter, I met the goddamned President of the United States, rode in hot air balloons, and changed policy and (dare I say) lives. And now I was doing squatarooney. If my younger self visited future me, she'd bitch slap my fat failure of a face.
And when I woke up that morning, I couldn't face the shame of being the fat, friendless, poor, barren, unemployed me.
I wasn't being selfish, as you so often hear suicide victims called. I wasn't killing myself just for me. I was doing it in large part for Chris. I knew in my heart he would be free without me. Sure, he'd be sad for awhile (or at least, he better have been, or I'd come back and haunt his ass), but he'd eventually see it as the relief it was. He wouldn't have to shoulder my sadness anymore. He could live the life he deserved with someone sparkly and shiny enough to deserve him back and to overlook his irritating compulsion of picking his toenails in bed.
And I wasn't doing it because I felt all alone in the world. I knew there were countless others just like me. I remember seeing a statistic that said something like, "Every time you watch an episode of American Idol, four people kill themselves," and it wasn't implying that correlation equaled causation, although the show really has let itself go.
I wanted to kill myself was because I was hurting, and in my pain, I was causing suffering for the one person I love most on this planet (Chris, in case you're wondering. Enya doesn't know I exist). And the only way to stop that hurting was to stop existing. People can talk about "hope" and "light at the end of the tunnel" and all the other optimistic shit they want, but that's like telling a Democrat that Trump won't actually get his Supreme Court pick. It's a lie, and we know it. The only solution to my sadness and my husband's despair was death. (I have no fucking clue how to fix people who vote for Trump.)
Thus, with the best of intentions, I unscrewed the caps of the medicine bottles, and I got my Enya soundtrack queued up, and I was all ready to do this necessary thing, when...
Quick aside here.
Have I told you lately that depression hampers cognitive abilities?
Turns out, I was stupid enough to try to kill myself while my husband was in his at-home office on the other side of our apartment. He heard the Enya music at 9 a.m. and was like, "Huh, that's weird," and checked on me.
So, there I was, my tears practically drowning the cats that I had collected to be with me at the end, listening to "Sail Away" (which most people don't know is actually called "Orinoco Flow"), a glass of Coke nearby to make the pills go down better.
I won't bore you with the details (although I'm sure you wish I had on the rest of this ranty post), but he got me to an emergency room, and I got another prescription and an appointment with a psychiatrist who looks a bit like an ancient splay-legged toad. Then I got home, and Chris held me and told me that he'd never be better off without me, and I apologized repeatedly, and we committed to doing this depression thing right.
And guess what, y'all? He's held me to it. And more importantly, I've held myself to it. Because nobody can fix your depression but you.
I go to regular appointments with my shrink (who is a credit to his profession, unlike the first twat waffle I had the misfortune to see). I see a hypnotherapist who encourages me to be the best version of myself that I can be at that moment. I take the medicine my doctor prescribed after an exhaustive discussion of what had not previously worked. I light incense. I buy healing crystals. I volunteer. I built a support system. I tell Chris every night how I'm feeling, and he listens without judgement, and then he reminds me that he chose me and has no regrets.
In other words, I put in the work. And it's exactly as hard as it sounds, while at the same time being easier than I ever anticipated. I do everything I can think of to make my life better. Because I'm worth it. But even if I weren't, you know what is? All the glorious moments I've experienced since that day I decided not to die.
If I had killed myself, I would have missed out on my newest nephew's birth, the Women's March, and Stranger Things. I never would have found that dong on the highway and discovered that eggplant=penis. I never would have ran a Twitter account for psychic cats. Josh Groban would never have tweeted about my tattoo, and my grandma never would have called to tell me that she only wanted a rabbit for it's poop, but she's glad she got attached to it, because now she's buying marijuana on the DL (more on that later.)
And, perhaps most relevant to you, I never would have started this blog, which all eight of you read.
I still have bad days. And I will. Because, just like you don't flip a switch and get rid of Donald Trump, you don't magically make depression disappear. But I also have good days. And typing that makes me smile. And that smile gives me hope.
Today is different.
Today is beautiful.
Today is a great day to be alive.
And to celebrate, I'm going to listen to Enya. Because, for real, y'all, she's fucking phenomenal.
True story: Life would be super swell if we all embraced our OMG side instead of living a Facebook-friendly existence. So, let it out. This post was about depression and suicide. I don't feel like I need to give you question prompts. If you feel moved to comment, please do. If you feel like contacting me privately, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will respond. You are special. You are worthy. You are alive and should stay that way. Feel free to disclose details. You're safe here.
Awhile back, I compiled the methods I've used for kicking my depression's ass. If you want to try some of them, check out my post, "25 Tips For Beginning Your Recovery With Your Depression."
I may not know you, but I love you. You are part of my world, and my world is better off for it. If you or someone you know needs anybody to listen, I'm here. My e-mail address is email@example.com. Obviously, I'm not a psychiatrist. And I'm not at my e-mail 24/7. So, if you or your loved one needs help, there's zero shame or judgment or stigma in calling 1-800-273-TALK. Yes, it's technically the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. But as they say themselves, "If you feel you are in a crisis, whether or not you are thinking about killing yourself, please call the Lifeline. People have called us for help with substance abuse, economic worries, relationship and family problems, sexual orientation, illness, getting over abuse, depression, mental and physical illness, and even loneliness." For ANY reason, if you feel over your head, call. It's free. And unless you're performing a task that saves another life, what better use is there of your time than to get the help you need? Hugs and kittens, y'all. Or puppies, if that's your thing.