Quiet Desperation


Warning: This post covers sensitive subjects and strong themes that may contain triggers. Reader discretion is advised.

This is the cage I built for myself.

Feral beasts are dangerous business. Clever, tricky, and adapted to escape at all costs.

Be still. It may not see you.

Still, silent in the brush. It obscured any vision. Each breath more shallow, as I dared not inhale, lest the beast’s minions catch the sound. One fatal mistake. One stirring.

Run like hell!

A jump and a sprint, I was dashing off into the great beyond. Dozens of faces, so many places, a blur, while I disguised myself among them. I’m okay. I’m fine. Each tortured response beckoned the minions closer. How can they possibly hear me when I can hardly hear myself?

And I fell silent. I no longer possessed meaningful words, delicate prose, or any of the everything and anything I’ve been revered as.  They were carried away, the winds encircling my disheveled being robbing me of them, and corroding the sharp edges.  Running.  Focus on running.

Crowded towns grew thinner, and passing remarks couldn’t have been louder than a faint whisper.  Sparse landscape, withering, yellow, knee high grass.  Plain sight.

Blistered feet and lungs ablaze, each passing breath more laborious than the last.  I pressed on.  The grass gave way to shifting sands, a sea of desert.  I slipped and skidded, dune to dune, determined.

If I can remain on my feet long enough, I will outpace this.

Every ounce of focus dripped into the concentration it took to remain on my feet, to drag the air into my lungs, to keep myself steady.  The sea of sand was merely a mirage as I kept my sight ahead.  Rock.  Steady, solid, crags awaiting my arrival.  This is where my feet took me.  My safety, solitude amongst these rocks.  I scaled them with delight, my anxiety eased, all of the heavy burdens lifting.  The top was in sight.  I pulled myself to standing.

To precariously perch on a cliffside.  Frozen, despairing, I peered over the edge, just long enough to peek at the crashing, foaming water beneath me.  Was it took late to retrace my path?  One backward glance.  All I saw were shadows rushing me.  With one incredible thrust, I was thrown from that ledge into free fall.

The wind screamed in my ears, filling my head with all of the sound in the world.  One voice stood out in high contrast, seemingly pressed against my eardrum.

The Voice murmured, “Helpless.  On your way down.  You destroy everything you touch.”

Tumbling mid-air, disoriented without a sense of up or down.  I dropped in free fall.  Slam!  – The water became a wall against my back and knocked wind clear from my very soul.  My body had become leaden and weak from the desperate flight.  The sea was the color of ink, waves licking and thrashing my now ragdoll body.

And the sinking.  No flailing and gasping.  No fight.  Just sinking.

——

I waited, ear poised in wait of the closing door. Patient, still anticipation. Another few minutes past, I went to the window. The car was gone. In a moment, I’d be free.

I would be released from the constant, throbbing ache. The very same sore that punctures like soul like cigarette burns through paper. Liberation would come from the nervous pacing, anticipatory anxiety of living within the ever-looming, glaring shadow of bipolar depression. Released from the twisting tendrils born from a withering mind. From my silent desperation.

Solace in a blade.

Necessary evils.

Necessary evils.

Is your love strong enough?

It rang out clear as a bell and filled my otherwise unoccupied room. Everything I loved and hated, all together, all at once, surrounded me. Everything I adored and despised, one in the same within me.

Like a rock in the sea.

The blade edge pierced the flesh of my ankle. The flash of pain merely dimmed the torrent inside of me. A momentary distraction. I’d retrace that line, pressing harder, digging deeper.

And I will answer to no one.

Am I asking too much?

Yes. Always.

First blood. It rushed to the surface, red as fire, trickling from my veins. It was a delightfully horrific sight. A witness to all of the agony released. Blood letting.

Is your love strong enough?

Once. Twice. Again. More. More. Another! I want to drive it all out!

Five distinct slices in all. I heaved an enormous sigh, and lit a cigarette. I sank like a stone. The chase was over; the thrashing and flailing finished. I surrendered myself to the undertow, and watched almost indifferently as the surface faded to black.

Maybe I’d just disappear
If I can’t keep my head above the tide

Please, anyone?
I don’t think I can
Save myself . . .

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37 thoughts on “Quiet Desperation

  1. Such a powerful post – you describe your feelings so clearly and with such feeling.How are you feeling now? Was this written looking back on past times, or is this how you’re feeling at the moment? You have a real talent for writing, I hope it helps you to write down your thoughts, I know it helps me. Take Care xx

    • Reflecting on earlier in the week. I hit rock bottom there. But, I’ve learned a few things from this. Once you’ve hit the bottom, and everything is said and done, there is nowhere to go but up. Also, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s better to surrender to the looming threat and negotiate the hostage situation rather than run. That’s what I was doing. I was avoiding it, rather than treating it.

      In the future, I need to realize that this is not a passing thing. It never was, and I don’t know why I seemed to think so now. I should be able to recognize my symptoms and relate them honestly, instead of insisting that I continue to throw myself into project after project.

      I’m getting better, though that doesn’t mean I’m better per se. Bipolar depression is just like any other state. There are “good” days that, under any other circumstance, I would consider them to be “eh”. And there are “bad” days, some of which are completely disasterous. Too many in a row, not putting those safeguards in place, can and probably will result in some incident similar to this.

      At least I have a handle on it now, anyway. I’ve resigned myself to the idea that at this moment, I cannot afford to continue to hold myself to the same standard. And that’s okay, because that’s not a forever kind of thing. I will go about my life prioritizing the things I have to do, the things I need to do, and then the things I really want to do, while leaving the things I loathe in the dust for now.

  2. I hope this is reflective rather than current status – but can understand if the latter is true. You’re an excellent writer – very vivid and expressive. You describe so well the way I’ve felt so many times.

    • Unfortunately, it’s rather current. Reflecting back several days ago, when I didn’t really have it in me to write it. Again, as I replied to Hannah above, I am getting better. Rock bottom is a place that a person doesn’t have to stay at.

      Thank you for the compliment. Pardon me, I’m blushing. I’m socially awkward in the way that I don’t know how to take a compliment, though I like to give them. So I’ll say this. Your writeups are incredible. I haven’t written any kind of intellectual, informational piece since college. And even then, all I was really doing was fashioning facts from a book and spitting them back out onto the screen. You really think it over, process it, but give the straight facts. You are an amazing investigative writer.

      • I’m glad you’ve at least got your head wrapped around the current situation! It’s so hard to resign ourselves to the fact that it’s not a passing thing – we just want so badly for it not to be true. It massively disappoints me every single time.

        Thank you for the compliment too! I ought to be able to do a good informational piece by now – I have tons of practice. I’m a researcher, so it’s my job, after all! But I really do appreciate that you’d say so. It’s something that I take for granted, much like I’m sure you take for granted your ability to skillfully craft compelling narratives. 🙂

  3. Very powerful and poetic as well. And you are right when you say Rock bottom is not a place that a person has to stay at. It is beautiful becasue the way up is going to happen ♥

    • I joked with a friend on the phone the day after it happened – sidebar: she has incredible intuition – “I’ve always said this, because I often say things in poor taste. Do you know what the one wonderful thing about bipolar disorder is? You know that whatever state you’re in, when you’re in the worst way, that it won’t go on forever. Because you’re bipolar. That’s how it works!”

    • I am always hesitant to hit that publish button when it comes to posts like this. I even find myself disturbed and haunted by the tales when I review them months later. How is an audience going to receive it?

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. I wish I could tell you I enjoyed writing it, but then I’d make myself out to be a bigger masochist than originally suspected. Ha!

  4. “Please, anyone?
    I don’t think I can
    Save myself . . .”

    Somehow, I knew at some point this topic would come up again and I would have to say something. Figured I’d save it for my own blog whenever I got to that point, but frankly it needs to be said now.

    Your narrative is beautifully written, I will admit, it brought back tears in vivid memories of my own. I understand, but please Lulu, dispose of the razors, let the hair grow like hay, scream it out in a pillow if you may. But find another way.

    I nearly lost my life to cutting and someone I know DID. My husband was furious with me, more out of fear than anything shortly after he discovered my cutting. However, as I was at my parents at the time of this incident, he is still unaware. I have uttered not a word to him.

    Two years ago almost to the day it happened. It was a desperate frenzied psycho-motor agitated severely low state on a Sunday morning. In a flash, the cutting moved from a simple source of outlet to a death wish . The impulse was intense. Reality crept in as I saw my life’s substance ebb and then pulsate from me. I sank into the relief that my despairing hopeless physical and mental torment from whatever this horrid illness was would soon be over.

    It was short lived though, the relief. I remember the ground as I surveyed it, the stained pristine snow lying at my feet. I am not sure if it was this or what happened next that jarred me from the delirious state I was in.

    I saw blood splashing off tiny dry rocks and looked up to shake my good fist at the air. Envisioned was Christ hanging there looking down at me. He shed his blood for me and said, ‘it is enough’. But I sat there that day, in the frigid warmth my actions in contrast saying, ‘no God, it is not enough’. And in my mind, he was a liar.

    Then my niece’s fair face I loved dearly appeared before me. I could not bare the thought of her pained appearance in anguish, so with force my eyes were shut my face now in a squish. Her mother died at the young age of just 42 from cancer. I watched and aided my niece and her four siblings as best I could as they recovered. Their scars like mine were forever etched. I lived their grief and I could not put them through that again. I was not their mother, but I had spent so much time with them, that their suffering again would be horrendous.

    Now fearing collapse at any time, I clumsily scrambled up from the frigid waters edge that lapped at the riverside bank. That place where I had chosen to finish what God had begun in me in that secret place. As a child, it used to be my solitude hideaway. But no longer, it was now the place of death. And reaching the crest I caught myself in resign say, ‘you have no choice, back to the meds you must go’.

    It was a blurred quarter mile scurry to my homestead. My parents had just arrived peacefully home from church. But their peace was quickly burst as I crashed through the door. Chaos and terrified shrieks hung inside the car as we sped en route to the local ER. Unlike the other times, this crisis trek was true life and death. And at times I wished I had collapsed at that rivers edge. But God only knew then there was a story to tell of a ladder, a Jacob’s fight, and a limp to the finish.

    I lost the radial artery to my left hand as they were unable to repair it. It is now tied off. I have pain there now following too much activity in that arm and hand. I now fear from time to time when my hand grows cold that I could lose it. The scars are visible and I am often mindful of them. There is nothing I can do about it. At times I try to cover them, but have really given up; they are a part of me now. My family has seen them, but I never talk of it.

    My psychiatrist warned me about the danger of this addictive behavior, but I did not listen.

    I have come close to drawing blood again using some kitchen knives, but stopped short upon seeing those scars. The memory haunted me and I threw the knife back and ran to my bed and screamed, the agitation taunted me, ‘relief is in view’. I walked out the door, tears streamed, and I breathed in the fresh spring air. I beat you into the ground you son of a bitch, I will not cave to this devilish witch.

    And I must have prayed for release that day, not sure.

    I have lost dare I say but, the desire to cut. But, you know how it is when you say, something in a definitive way, and then have it turn and bite you. Someday I’ll learn. So I will not say or mark that day as the last time for fear it again comes my way.

    So, I could not save myself either, but I know someone who helped.

    Hoping your posted past was a memory faraway.
    But suspect this was more of the latter I sway.
    Please Lulu, get some help to find a better way.
    I never meant as usual to reply with so much, but anyway.

    And for anyone else that may read, please take heed and quit the cutting.

    Once more, I hesitate on the ‘Post Comment’ button. Here goes!

    • And you fancy me the gifted writer? I was there with you, gazing across the glittering river. I watched the blood course down your hand, as if it were mine, and onto the rocks below. The scene ran in slow motion, with clips and different camera angles, as if in a movie. I felt the intense realization of mortality grip the heart, as is desperately trying to grasp at something tangible. Yet, mortality is something of a concept that lies between both the tangible and intangible worlds.

      I watched the flurry from afar, a distant angle, now removed. I saw the EMT’s. And, in the still dimness of a kitchen, I saw the hand reach into the drawer for a pairing knife, and the scars became visible. I waited with bated breath, and witnessed it be cast away with a flick and a slam.

      That’s where you took me.

      I don’t know what to say about it. I can’t and won’t make any excuses for it. Neither will I deny any details or circumstances surrounding the even, nor will I lie.

      I have taken the frequency down quite a bit. Like any other undesirable behavior, that’s the goal. ABA therapy works to make those behaviors extinct through positive reinforcement of incompatible behavior. I try to reinforce positive coping skills. But, we all slip.

      So, there is a goal in mind. And, I too have visible scars. Not bad enough to see from afar, but enough to serve as a constant reminder. And still, it is not enough sometimes.

      Thank you for sharing this. It makes me want to work harder to see this behavior got to hell.

  5. Beautifully written for an experience that is.. well, not so beautiful at all. I’m sorry that you are/were in such a dark place again. Try to take care of you and your wound, lovely one..

    Sending love and strength your way *Hugs*

    • Many thanks to you. There is a lot of beauty in very dark places in this world. It’s not admirable by any means. But, the condition of humanity itself is beautiful by design.

      The physical wound is fine. The emotion ones are going to take a little more healing. I’ve been wanting to isolate, and I’m not very adaptable right now. I think my husband senses this, and keeps bringing friends around. He’s social enough, but not to the point where we have some kind of social event every weekend.

      I don’t know whether to love him for recognizing that I should be forced into that socialization. Or loathe him for dragging me into these anxiety producing situations. Admittedly, I do have fun. But, then, the next day comes when I’m alone with myself all over again. It doesn’t feel like socializing as much as it feels like ignoring what’s going on with me.

      So what do I do here? Politely decline and dive into my world by introspection, or accept and forget myself for a few hours?

  6. I love you, my Lulu. Always remember how I love you and value your presence in my life. We are synergistic, I swear it, and I need you around so that I can keep on keepin’ on. *HUGS*

  7. Lulu, I just found this. Your entries dont show up on my “blogs I follow” and I have you on my favorites but I kept thinking I need to check it cause you were on my mind. There you were suffering alone. I hope you are feeling better now. There is no time limit on these things. hugs+

    • It’s okay. I am kind of putting a call out there. But the lyrics appended at the bottom were from a song called, “A Drowning”, a song I happened upon shortly after the incident.

      It fit. I don’t know if I can save myself after all. It’s just the most helpless feeling. I’ve rarely gotten to this point where I looked at myself and considered that I might not be strong enough. It always felt like it was circumstantial and that there was a way out.

      There is no circumstance this time. Every aspect of my life is the best it’s ever been. I know there’s still an up, but I look down with anxiety at depths I’ve been before, and I know it’s a long way back down. I mean, stature in my life, things falling apart and whatnot.

      I can’t find a reason for this. And it’s really complicated. It’s not just depression. There is this awful bout of underlying anxiety that has me shaking sometimes. I’ve been losing tangible items, earrings, pens, things I like, and I am deeply bothered by it. I don’t usually clutch to possessions as if they are irreplaceable. There’s some complicated, irrational fear of loss. I don’t know.

      But, the silence is my fault. I have always been forward about it here, but the trouble is that I wasn’t forward with myself about this. Should I have reached out before letting myself do this? Yes. But, I was already too far gone to even think of it.

      The good news is this. At this point, I know that if this impulse strikes, I can consider alternatives instead of indulging in the behavior.

      • I’ll be praying for you. I am going through something also that I can’t explain that includes anxiety and parnoid syptoms. I think I have just opened up to many things all at once and i can’t handle it. I hope your on your way back up soon. Hugs

  8. This post is so powerful Lulu, it was almost frightening.
    I was worried about reading down to the bottom for fear of what you might have written and for what the ending may be.
    It must take some courage to do that. I never have, mainly because I know it would hurt so much…perhaps I’ve never felt desperate enough..
    I hope that your words are about an earlier time and not now.
    I can’t imagine how you must feel, but try to reach out for help before, like laurie, you do some more permanent damage… this world will be a worse place without your prescence in it.
    I hope you fell better soon, and that you will be able to see the good side of things soon..
    Take care, close the draw, throw the blades away Lulu, listen to Laurie…
    love and many hugs
    xxx

    • I’m a bit better. I guess there’s something about hitting bottom. In a way, it feels like losing everything. It’s painful, but liberating in a way. What do you do standing in ashes? You rebuild somethng beautiful and better.

      I wish I could promise everyone that this will not happen again. I tried to make that promise to someone once. I made good on it for a long time, until one day, I didn’t. Once it’s been broken, it’s done. And I became more clever about my instruments, methods, and areas. I won’t go into it – that would be enabling, maybe even encouraging and I’m not doing that. I’m only offering solace to others who think themselves monstrous and defective because of self-injury.

      I can promise one thing. I will post, even if it’s brief, before I succumb to the impulse again.

      • Thank you for your promise to post lulu, hopefully you won’t have to or feel the need to.
        As for not doing again, just try your best, whatever you think of yourself, for us you are not monstrous or defective because you hurt yourself, you are a special person in your own right.
        No promises lulu, just try to do what you can. Hope you are feeling better soon, love n hugs xxxx

        • I want to make promises, but I know better. Something always happens to counteract my efforts and makes keeping a promise almost impossible. This happens with all kinds of things, even outside the scope of self-injury. I consider promises to be jinxes. I won’t do it unless I know I have multiple fail safes.

          Thank you for your kind words. Honestly. I think reading them, hearing them in my own mind as that internal voice reads it, I think it helps me find my own voice. The voice that is me, my clarity, and my self-love, not the bad one that encourages self destruction.

          • If my words have helped you to feel better in any way, then that can only be a good thing, and I hope they have.
            Look after yourself Lulu,
            love n hugs
            xxx

            • They have. I realized that you and Laurie were right. About everything. And I couldn’t let myself self-harm our of overwhelming emotions triggering unhealthy impulses.

              Depression is sometimes hard for me. I’m used to it, but I still succumb to it. I thought to myself, “I can restrain in hypomania. Why can’t I do it in depression?” Well, why not? Why can’t I be kind to myself and nurse my wounds?

              Thank you. For everything. For helping me find my way to get back out.

  9. Pingback: I Made a Promise « As the Pendulum Swings

  10. You just do your best Lulu, it’s all you can do.
    i’m glad we’ve been able to help, and hopefully make a difference,and I hope that you are still on that way back out.

    In reply to your thanks, I will say just one thing.. You’re welcome 🙂
    Take care Lulu,
    love n hugs xxx

    • I’m not going to jinx it, but I will tell you that I’m in a better place than I was in those days. I can only divide this up over days, because that’s how I’m choosing to live right now. Incrementally.

      Sometimes, it’s better to not try to see the bigger picture. Sometimes, there really isn’t a bigger picture. And sometimes, in these times, the picture is too big to see.

      I meant every word I’ve said to you. The outreach is spectacular. It is more than I could have ever hoped for, and way more than I would have even asked for. I owe everyone my world. And I can assure everyone that I am more than happy to pay it forward if they ever need anything.

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