I am thrilled to say that I have another guest blog for you guys today! Not only is it helpful for me, because right now I am going through a tough time and it takes a lot of effort to write, so I don’t need to spend as much time writing when others are doing it for me. But also, I am excited to be able to share multiple experiences with mental illness and mental health issues. I’m just warning you that this is a tough read with some potential triggers. But it is so important to share the real experiences of people, the low points, the trials, the difficult moments. People need to understand the depths of mental health and how bad it can truly get. Why? Then they will understand the magnitude of the problem and the necessity for more resources and funding to address it. I am honoured that today’s guest blogger, Christine, wanted to share her story here. Please comment below with your thoughts to show her your support!
People say when all else fails, write. Write what you feel, write beautiful poems about long lost loves, or in my case just write what you know. It took me about 5 minutes to close all the pop-ups and reminders in order to even open this stupid document in an attempt to put beauty to words, but I will confess now, that you will find nothing beautiful about this.
There is no love story to tell, no happy ending. I am sitting on a couch soiled in beer, dog piss, and let’s not lie to ourselves, probably human feces too—whose and when I’m not entirely sure, and forever wish not to remember. I’m in a room, my living room, covered in dirty clothes, empty beer bottles, make-shift ashtrays, lighters, dust, and vomit. When all else fails, write. I couldn’t bring myself to clean, so I’ll write. There are empty pizza boxes, wet cigarettes on top of what appear to have been clean dishes. There is a stench that I must walk around with permanently. My breath reeks as I mouth the words I type; my head hurts because my hair is one big, dirty tangle that would require a team of patient hair-dressers to unknot. It seems pointless to worry about hair when everything inside me is so damaged that I have forever believed suicide was the answer. I guess in some way committing suicide would be like cutting off that tangle— takes a lot less work, but no one ever recommends it. I haven’t eaten today and won’t shower, but then I don’t much plan on going further than around the block. Either way opinions won’t be shattered when people see me in a torn tee and pajama pants. You see, this thing happened recently, I tried to kill myself.
I got home from the hospital last night. My friend said they weren’t letting me out, but I knew they would.
This woman there asked me, “Do you feel any different today about dying than you did when you were admitted?”
I guess she’s some kind of shrink or something.
“No.” I said.
She looked at me (strangely) and asked, “Don’t you think it would be silly for me to let you go if you still felt like dying?”
That’s the thing people don’t get about wanting to die, it’s a constant, a thought that never lets up, never subsides.
“I’ve felt this way for the past ten years, every day. Only every once in a while do I act on it.”
They let me go. The hospital is only a few blocks away, but it was a long walk. It’s a cowardly way to die, taking pills that is. The dying takes so long that someone will probably find you. Or sometimes you just wake up the next day really high, realize you aren’t dead, and are already five minutes late for work. Fuck! But that’s in the past. Can’t change it, right? I don’t want to apologize to the people I’ve hurt. Jesus, that’d be some feat. No one much cares or remembers anyway. I believe self-help groups might tell you to ask for forgiveness; I’m pretty sure the only life I’ve ever actually fucked up was my own. My sister will forget I missed her party, the cabbie will get over that punch in the face, and my friends will excuse my off-handed comments—which I likely meant anyway. In fact, all the (disgusting) things I’ve done will be some anecdote people tell at their dinner parties. Shouldn’t I be apologizing to me? For missing moments in my life that could have meant something? Dropping out of school? Burning bridges? For what my life might have been if it weren’t for my past? But they want me to apologize to the people who’ve moved on? Who are happy? Those people don’t need my apology. Hell, I’m the 37 year old sitting on a soiled sofa, (surrounded by dirt), thinking when all else fails, write.
Let’s be honest, I did this to myself. My problem isn’t that I attempted suicide, or my major depressive disorder; it’s not even my borderline personality disorder. No, my problem now and likely one of the largest I will ever face is that I need to stop drinking, and there’s no way around it. No making deals, like once a week or only on special occasions, it’s over. The one thing that I had to get me through the day is now gone and I have no idea how to see myself in its absences. Holding a beer in my hand is honestly like nothing else in the world, it’s my coping strategy, its comfort, and security, like a child and its soother. It is my confidence, my sense of humour; it makes me happy and popular … a beer? But it’s true, it gives me purpose. I am fun, truly. When I drink there is no one else you’d rather drink with, so how do I identify myself now? Join a gym, a group? Let one of those be my purpose, the lesser of two evils? Quitting drinking is the equivalent of having my heart broken, only worse because I can’t keep knocking on that door hoping feelings will change. I have to walk away now and the truth is, that what I’m homesick for is me. People don’t get it but in a very serious way this is suicide.