I hadn’t been dressed in over a week.
It was about then that the buzz of the accident was over and the heaviness of the real world settled on and around me. I was still unemployed. We still had bills to pay, and now we have more. And I was mostly a single parent.
But none of that was really different before the accident, was it?
It’s circular logic. Do hard life events bring on a depressive episode or does depression beget hardship?
I’ve been trying to outrun it for awhile now. I’m well versed in the signs and signals of it’s approach. Suddenly, I have the urge to be alone. I have lost interest in everything I work so hard on and I have lost pleasure in all of academic and creative pursuits that I pride myself in. I start spending more time in the house, and even more time gravitating toward the bed. Everything is a laborious task. Showering even seems inconvenient and exhausting.
It went above and beyond. I started cancelling important appointments. I didn’t want to see anyone at all. I didn’t return any of my phone calls. In fact, I stopped answering the phone entirely. I didn’t have anything to say. And I didn’t want anyone to notice my condition.
I can’t say that I didn’t try to head this off. I still invited friends over. And I enjoyed their company. It was nice to put all of this in the back of my head for a minute. Until the moment I said, “Take care!” and latched the door behind them. Then it all came flooding back, like a tsunami of emotion with an anchor around my neck.
I’ve been a zombie. I see the dishes pile up in the sink and can’t bring myself to do them. And when I don’t, then the guilt and depression deepen. I lay there and stare at the television while my son brings me toy, after toy, after toy. He just wants his mommy to cheer up and play. For a moment, I sit up, and smile weakly at him. I hug him hard and try to play. But I’m not all there. And it’s not fair to him.
I’m taking medication but I never seem to get completely better. I’m better for awhile and then I gradually backslide. I’ll notice an episode here and there. But they’re pretty short lived and not very intense. But it grows. The next episode is longer and suddenly I’m thinking that I might not be able to handle my life. Until finally, I am here.
Where is here? It’s all too familiar a place for me. This is the deepest, darkest pit in the whole bleak and treacherous landscape of my bipolar mind. The is where the pendulum flings me when it takes a hearty swing and I can’t hold onto it any longer. This is the place where the shadow monsters live. All of the bad things I’ve ever done and all of the things I never could be exist in this place. And I’m never sure how to get out.
And in this place today, I went to the home that resembled mine. The rooms were dark and the house was still. I went into my drawer and took some medicine – ya know, just to take the edge off. I went into the bathroom and stripped down to nothing but my astrological charms, my engagement ring, and my wedding ring. I sat down in the tub with the shower pounding on my head and back as I put my head on my knees. And I cried.
These delusions are greater than me. “Your husband hates you.” “You are the reason your son needs extra help.” “Your mother considers you a burden.” “Your father only loves you for your son.” “Are you going to keep killing everyone’s souls with your illness?” Every ache from the past rose to the surface until it felt like I had better battered.
I cried for everything I cannot be, cannot have, and cannot do.
All I wanted to do was bleed. And I pulled out a razor and went to it. I was hoping to gauge whether I was ready to go for the vein. Or if the blade was even up to the challenge. I hardly broke skin – and I gave up. For now. I didn’t have the right tools and time was up.
Pruned-up and water-logged, I dressed and hid the evidence. I patiently waited for everyone to be in bed for their naps and I took some more medicine. And a little more medicine. I wanted to be out of my mind this time. I was hoping some crazy concoction of depressants that I put into my body would be enough to do the trick. I’d drift off and never awake again. I found a sharper razor. But not sharp enough. I barely drew blood on an already open wound. But it was just enough pain to put everything else to rest.
Alas, alack, I am here. I just wasn’t meant to go through with it.
I need to go to the doctor. But what use is a doctor when you’re still completely alone with this?