Past 5 in the morning; feeling worse for the weather, it seems.

“And I was gonna write a poem about how fire is the only thing that can make a person jump out of a window, […] but depression, too, is a kind of fire… and I know nothing of either.” –Taylor Mali, “Depression Too Is a Type of Fire”

Yesterday I wanted to be dead. Not to kill myself, not to die, just… to cease existing. And yes, I could recognize that having been awake for over 24 hours straight — having lost count of exactly how many — likely helped color my view of the world, but I could also recognize that it only added intensity to what is generally sitting just under everything else, just like alcohol lowers my inhibitions but doesn’t make me do anything I wouldn’t have done while sober. A few drinks might make me do whatever it is more easily, more quickly, with less hesitation; being sleep-deprived and hungry makes me hit those lows more profoundly, more easily too.

Before falling asleep yesterday evening, I posted some depressed and depressing rant like I frequently do, I sent my therapist a text message letting her know I was “wishing hard I wasn’t alive” and that I was about to sleep, and then I got a message on Facebook from Escrow. The first message just said “hey!” And shit, I was overwhelmed, barely able to cope, and I was starting to tell her thanks for checking in but that I couldn’t really process chatting right then… but as I was doing so, she mentioned that she was checking to see that I was safe because she’d heard about a huge fire in my general overall area and she was worried about me.

Oh, right. I’d seen the “safety check” thing from Facebook when I’d picked up my phone, and I had dismissed the notification because it was more shit that I couldn’t deal with when I was already struggling to deal with everything else… but the check-in from a dear friend drove home something that I have known for a long time: an immediate, obvious threat to life gets responses. The slow quotidian slide, the mundane yet no less significant forces that are weighing me down and killing me… those are much, much harder to get help in dealing with. It’s the reason why, in the past, I might have made an obvious post about being ready to kill myself. Or why I might have called a crisis hospital and said that I believed I was a danger to myself or others. Or why I might have chosen any number of, essentially, ruses to make it seem as if there were an immediate, obvious threat to my life. Because that’s what people respond to! But, of course, the responses I’d get in those situations aren’t really all that helpful. And there’s the additional aspect of being “the girl who cried wolf,” because if I ever were at a point where I had specific plans to kill myself and enough motivation to do so, then I’d want to know that I hadn’t left behind me a trail of people too burned by my prior attention-grabbing to intervene when I really needed it.

So I don’t do that kind of thing anymore. Haven’t for years. But when things are caving in under the heaviness of life with depression, and I’m feeling alone and hurting and would love to have someone I know and trust be there for me — not because I’m about to die, but because I’m struggling in other, equally difficult ways… it seems a lot like, well,

“When I expressed my desire to kill myself, I was overwhelmed with offers from people who wanted to spend time with me. Two weeks later, though, I couldn’t get any of them to pick up the phone. It made recovery really difficult because it communicated that people only really cared when I was in crisis.” –Kitty Stryker, “So Someone You Love Is Suicidal”

The title of this post comes from the lyrics of an Erasure song, “Rock Me Gently.” The official music video is a shorter cut than the album version, which basically takes away the otherworldly sadness of synthesizers amid the shrieks of Diamanda Galás which make it such a perfect match to my mood on many occasions. The chorus, however, is simple, direct, and to the point:

“I dream you’re with me
You hold me sweetly
And rock me gently to sleep
In your arms.”

I wish I knew what that felt like again. It’s been a very long time indeed.

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I hear the doorbell ring and suddenly the panic takes me

I need to write.
I want to write.

But I’m balancing that need
That desire
Against my physical exhaustion
Against my minimal food intake today
Against the enormous effort that it takes
To remain outwardly calm
While the sounds from the next room
Fill me with
Irrational
Insistent
Immense

PANIC.

No, it’s not a “logical” connection.
No, I can’t explain why those sounds affect me as they do.
No, it’s not just me finding something to complain about.

I have worked over many years
Learned very carefully
Through practice
Mistakes
Refinement of technique
To appear relaxed
And pleasant
And friendly

Instead of screaming as loudly as my lungs allow
Smashing any solid object within reach
Against any other object in my swing
Stomping and smashing
Making noise and breaking things
All in a feeble and ever-failed attempt
To demonstrate to others —
But no, not a demonstration —
It’s an attempt to harm others
In a fashion that they can comprehend
To a degree equivalent
To the harm they inflict on me.

I have learned to be mute
I have learned to accept harm
I have learned to do nothing in retaliation
I have learned to turn inward and die

And I am praised for my “success” far too often
Told that I am “strong”
That I am “brave”
That I have “accomplished so much”

How is it
That so many seem to envy
This so-called “skill”
Of saying nothing
Doing nothing
Lying on the ground after being driven there again
And most of all for my friendly smile
And calm, even voice
As I am kicked again and again and again?

You value self-restraint
You value compliance
You value non-violence and avoiding confrontation
And I have learned these things you so value

But you never taught me when to stop holding back
You never taught me how to say, “Fuck no, and fuck you!”
You never taught me how to knock a motherfucker out when they come at me wrong
Or to do anything but whimper, turn, and run or better yet, stay and take it with a smile

So I have learned nothing of value at all

title to be determined later

Imagine this hypothetical situation:

Someone starts their day, within minutes of waking up, with a drink or two of alcohol.  They have another drink with (or even as) their breakfast.  Before noon they’re smashed drunk, and rarely sober up while they’re awake.  Maybe you make a comment to them that you’d like to talk to them, but that it’s a serious subject and you’d prefer that they weren’t inebriated — and they reply that they can actually function when they’re drunk, even suggesting that they’d be less likely to carry a conversation otherwise.  They drink with dinner, have a few more drinks in the evening with their friends and a last few before going to bed.

Now… what changes if instead of alcohol, that’s marijuana?

I’d say that person is still addicted.  I’d say it’s incredibly frustrating, actually.

-=-=-=-=-

Imagine, again as a hypothetical, that you’ve had some pretty significant bad experiences with dogs.  Bad enough that you’ve developed symptoms of PTSD, and when you hear a dog bark nearby or see a dog in the same room as you, it paralyzes you with fear, gives you flashbacks to a particularly traumatic experience, makes you want to scream and run and fight and ohgodohgodohgod get it away NOW!

Now imagine you’re living with someone who brings a big dog to visit your house on a regular basis, who talks non-stop about how cute and wonderful and cuddly and sweet this dog is, even keeps the dog around the house overnight or for a weekend sometimes.  Imagine that you’ve completely freaked out a few times when confronted by this dog, flipped out and started screaming or maybe tried to attack the dog when it’s just being playful.  Imagine telling your roommate that you’re dealing with PTSD and that having dogs around isn’t okay, that you understand this particular dog is harmless but that you can’t handle being around any dogs at all, and you get scolded for being mean to the poor little doggy, blamed for scaring him with your screaming when all he wants to do is be cute and lovable and adorable — and the dog keeps coming back again and again.

Now imagine any other PTSD triggers, say — not just as a random example — low masculine voices, especially loud ones.  Same situation, same response.  That’s what I’m living with, and today after having my schedule thrown apart with a last-minute cancellation, being absolutely broke but hoping to get something done around the house… the dog — erm, I mean the boyfriend — came by, and I’m trying to type this while managing some extreme anxiety.  Not only am I having to hear loud low male voices that make me want to scream, I’ve got loud coughing too, because the addicts are all drinking smoking in the next room and the wet lung-hacking that goes with getting stoned makes me want to scream.

If I had anywhere else to go to escape this shit, I’d be there.  If I had anything I could do to avoid dealing with this, I would.  I don’t.  I need to be able to feel safe when I’m at home, and I rarely do — not that I’m physically in danger, but I feel emotionally threatened on a near-constant basis, and I’m not getting some essential things done that I need to, like searching for a new home, because I spend so much time struggling to barely maintain my fucking SANITY that I have nothing left to actually do anything.

I need to write some more but I can’t do this with all of the shit in the next room. I’m going to fucki9ing smash things if I don’t get out of here now.

fuck you all and go to fucking hell and DIE.

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