So, my memory isn’t exactly what it used to be. Between years of drugs, hardcore meds, and ECT, I am operating at a surprisingly high level of memory. However I do repeat myself, and for that I apologize in advance (or maybe I already said a lot of what I’m about to say, so in that case I apologize in retrospect). In many ways repetition is good. As Zenyatta says, “Repetition is the pathway to mastery.” Anyway, sorry if I repeat myself. I am trying to become excellent.
After I tried to kill myself, once I came out of the initial painkiller stupor, I was immediately confronted with the interpersonal complications of a suicide attempt. It’s hard to remember that time because I was so sedated, but I know that I felt trapped, because I was under constant observation, and also scrutinized because my whole family and a lot of my friends were there to “support” me. I only put that in quotes because I know it’s wonderful support but at the time it felt oppressive. Receiving love is a lot of pressure. It may sound very “first world” to put it that way but it can be seriously confusing for someone who desperately doesn’t want to be alive. I didn’t want to hurt anybody. I say this all the time but when I jumped I really wasn’t thinking about anyone. I had devolved into a totally selfish being that simply didn’t want to exist any longer. My prime directive was to die. There were no other thoughts. In hindsight of course I feel badly that I didn’t think about anyone, and if I had I probably wouldn’t have jumped, honestly. Loved ones have always been the tether for me, that kept me alive. They weren’t present in my head the day I jumped but they were certainly present as soon as I woke up.
Everyone came to take care of me, to be with me, to support me. I immediately felt the sharp sting of guilt. People were angry, Husband was hurt and angry, family was confused, but everyone focused and just took care of me for a while. Once I was more functional people started talking to me about it more, especially as care issues arose. That particular hospitalization was my 6th in about 18 months. My family, aside from Husband, was only involved in two of them. I keep these things to myself usually. This blog is currently terrifying me for that reason. But as usual my ambivalence is central (I care and I don’t care equally) so, fuck it. Let’s be brave.
I compensated for the tragic mood that I was in I think by being overly cheerful. I really did feel better after the attempt, almost immediately, like a psychic pressure was released, but I didn’t feel “as better” as I said I did. This was entirely for the benefit of those close to me because I wanted to comfort them. I had put them through a traumatizing experience and I felt incredibly guilty. I wanted to do anything I could to assure them that I was going to be OK, that the worst was over, that I wouldn’t do it again. That was the beginning of six weeks of constant observation so in the end my protestations about safety went both unheard and unnoticed. That’s fine. I was not in a stable place. I think I was in shock, and those watching out for me knew that.
I’m still feeling really guilty. My therapist asks when I’m going to let myself off the hook. I don’t know. I’d like to do it now. I think I am on my way, but I also know that I was the center of a traumatic experience for a lot of people and it is somehow also my responsibility to assuage their concerns. Isn’t it? This is territory that I am not used to treading. What would you do? I figure the best answer is to live well, to function well, to actively take care of myself, to maintain my therapies and make sure this doesn’t happen again. In the meantime, I need to work on self talk. As Aristotle said, excellence is habit. Time to repeat repeat repeat until I feel better.