After I got back from Kripalu, starting with New Year’s Eve, which ended poorly, I fell into a deep, deep depression. All last week I felt gray. I felt that I had blown up a comfortable and loving life with Drew for no reason except that I am a destroyer incapable of real love. I felt that I am untrustworthy, unlovable, bad. I felt old, my best days behind me, having achieved very little, wasted so much time, etc. All of the things that people feel when they are depressed. People tell you that you are lovable but you don’t feel it. It feels like you’ve fooled them somehow. I cried every day, all day, except when I had to work or be on point socially.
I have never been truly suicidal. I’ve written about walking the streets in my youth, drunk and hoping to be murdered, to this day still looking at buildings and wondering what it would be to fly off. But never serious about it. I’m dramatic, but too responsible.
On Thursday night I worked a gallery opening at my job and went out for a couple of drinks afterward with my girlfriends. Sam was, as usual, because he’s a near-child with ADHD, unavailable for communication when I could have used it. I got home drunk and thought, “A pill would be nice…” Even though I would have fallen asleep right away if I’d laid down. I just wanted to float untethered for a while. I remembered that I had a bottle of phenobarbitol for my recently deceased dog’s seizures, so I went for that. Couple of those should do it.
As I rolled the full bottle in my hand an idea formed. I thought, “Hey…this could work…” This would be so easy. Let’s hit the reset button and float away for real. Die middle aged, leave an almost beautiful corpse…
I dumped it in my hand and swallowed 55 pills with a couple of chugs of water. And I went to bed.
In bed, I texted Drew that I took them. I was so high that I thought it would be good to tell people that I found this awesome new solution. I wasn’t thinking about punishing him or asking for help. More like, “Hey, this is cool…”
Drew has experienced major trauma from suicide, and I think didn’t see the message until morning, when he called my sister. He’s so angry he’s not speaking to me at all. I don’t know that I’ll ever be fully able to make him understand how sorry I am for all of it.
I woke up very late the next morning, got up to get to the bathroom and couldn’t navigate. I banged into the kitchen table, then off into the stove, veering wildly around the apartment and hanging on to stay upright, like I was on a boat on a stormy sea. My first thought was, “What the hell? I didn’t have that much to drink last night…” It took a few seconds standing there hanging on to the stove to realize what was happening.
Boom! My first thought was “Oooooooooh….” And then my second one was, “God damn it!” I’m still here! I burst into tears. The cats looked at me like, “Really, this again?”
An awareness crept in that there was heavy knocking on my door. I don’t know for how long. I swerved to it and opened it to my neighbor from across the hall, who my sister had called in a panic to check on me. She’s lived across from me since the 90’s and has seen it all. I did my best to stand upright and tell her I was fine, in a stained GnR tee and ugly cotton panties, hair and tears plastered to my face. I wiped snot off my nose with my hand and swayed a little. She looked dubious but she accepted it and said she was home all day if I needed her. Then I called my sister, who had also left a ton of messages. This was difficult because the numbers on the phone kept dancing around most uncooperatively. I squinted and poked. She picked up and said,
“You’re a pain in the ass.”
I assured her I was alive, then went back to crying all morning until it was time to pull it together to bartend. I couldn’t call in suicidal, I needed the money. I actually handled it without looking like a total lunatic, although I kept dropping things and my numbers were probably off. I was high as a fucking kite but I’m the queen of keeping it together when there’s a job to do, and no one knew except those closest to me. Once I got out of work it kicked back in again and I had to hang onto Sam to walk home. He, God bless him, was so terrified he couldn’t speak. He thought phenobarbitol was one of my new agey herbs; when he finally discovered what it was he just shut down.
Sam spent the weekend sitting next to me, not talking, ordering food for us and working on art while I watched movies and conversed on the phone to my people. I was high until late Sunday afternoon., but I got guy wisdom from Jesse, love from Storm, love from Samara, love from Grace, love from Christa, love from Wendy, love from friends, sarcasm and love from my sister, unconditional love from my mom. I got so much love. I am so blessed.
My mother is very pragmatic and not easily ruffled. She’s a fucking tank. If there’s a zombie apocalypse, she’s the person you want on your team. She didn’t see me as suicidal, which I wasn’t exactly, so I’m grateful for that. It wasn’t a cry for help either. It was more a clumsy attempt to shift out of pain that felt no longer bearable. I would not have done it if I hadn’t been drinking, and she got that and didn’t get hysterical. She did a reading for me and this is what she said (paraphrasing and condensing):
Kripalu opened up something very deep that you are ready to heal and clear. You came into this life to learn self-love, and now is the time. We are moving into a higher vibration and we cannot carry old baggage to get there. You are carrying cellular memory of another lifetime in which you made decisions that hurt many people very deeply, and you are carrying a lot of guilt and self-hatred. It’s time for you to let it go. This chapter is not a failure, it is a graduation. You don’t need to do anything, achieve anything. Let go and rest.
Then Grace asked another psychic friend to call me and give me a reading. It was eye-opening and helped me to understand further how I got here.
Something lifted for me. Like really lifted. I feel brighter and clearer than I have in two years. It’s like I went through a tunnel. I could have handled my relationships better, I’m so bone-deep sorry for the pain I’ve caused people. But there were reasons that things went down, and those reasons weren’t all my fault. I can feel that now, before it was just a thought that didn’t seem real. I did the best I could. I’m not a monster, I’m not insane. Wacky, yes, dramatic, definitely. But that’s okay. I’m ready to sit (mostly) quietly and sort out the next chapter of my life.
I’m writing this as it appears to be my bizarre calling to put it all my crap out there for the world to see. It helps some and that helps me, and honestly I don’t care anymore what strangers think of me. Some of you don’t believe the same things that I do, and that’s okay. Take what you can and leave the rest.
We’re all messy, we’re all hurting, we’re all doing our best under trying circumstances. Being alive is hard. If you are feeling depressed, you are not alone. Whatever you are feeling is exactly the same as what someone else is feeling. Be kind to yourself, wear clothes you like, eat food that warms you, call people that like you, watch movies that make you feel good, clean your house so when you look around you feel good about where you’re sitting. Cry more, you’ll pee less. If you need some of the kind of spiritual help I’m talking about here, I’ve got phone numbers. Please don’t send me letters urging mental care, please don’t worry. I’m not looking for sympathy or attention. I’ve got a big support system and well-meaning scrutiny tends to make me feel like a bug under a microscope. I’m absolutely okay and there are others out there who need you more than I do. I feel raw, but grateful, happy, and hopeful.
4 thoughts on “Tunnel”
Girl, and to think I was going to call you when I was down. I'm starting to see clearly now too. LOVE YA! Beautifully written.
And in the wise words of Iggy Pop, your old neighbor,when asked what he wished he could tell his younger self,”Don't grow up. Really, don't do that. At certain points in my life I said, “You know what? I need to grow up and do X or be Y or whatever.” Most of the time,
it was a mistake, though fortunately not all the time.”