I was in the bath tonight and saw a white flake floating in the water. When I examined it, it was a piece of skin. I released it back into the water and it settled on my thigh as if it was trying to rejoin my body. I felt sorry for the little piece of skin. It used to be part of this bigger being and has been released into the unknown, to be spewed down the drain into the ether beyond to live as long as it will before completely decomposing. I related strongly to the skin because that sums up how I feel now. I too used to be part of the great cosmic energy of the universe before floating in my mother’s womb to be spewed out into this world, left to live as long as I can before decomposing in the dirt. I wished I could take the skin back and reaffix it to my body so that it could be part of that which it was, but much like the universe, I was helpless to do anything but let it continue on its journey, wherever it may go.
So… as you probably guessed, this whole “coming into my body” thing is still going really well (*sarcasm implied*).
I wish I had enough energy to finish this post when I was actually still in this state, but I made some notes and I’ll do my best to fill in the blanks, but at the time, things were the darkest of black and I couldn’t – for the most part there aren’t even really words to describe the experience of travelling through the underworld of the psyche (I’ve tried). So far, only my therapist (who has traveled there herself) has really been able to understand – the one note I would like you to keep in mind while reading is that despite all of this, I am the happiest I have been in my entire life (which is truth – a future post will deal with the dichotomy of the soul). Anyway, it has been an extremely transformative part of the process.
- comparing this to previous depression
So, it has been 5 years since my “last depression”. This term makes me laugh, because there have been so many that it is hard to determine which one I was talking about, but by “previous depression”, I’m pretty sure I was referring to the one in 2010 which caused me to implode my life and set the course for the crazy journey I’ve been on ever since.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever really talked about this time in detail on this blog. When the implosion happened, I had been unemployed for 10 months, I was at the end of an 8 year relationship with an emotionally unavailable man and more depressed than I have ever known before (which was quite impressive because depression was pretty much the closest friend I had). I would get high as soon as I woke up (usually around 8am) and stay high until I want to bed (usually around 4am). I was anorexic, which was a change from my usual bouts of bulimia – I was determined to starve myself until my boyfriend noticed that I wasn’t eating (it didn’t work). I would spend between 3-5 hours lying on the floor of our condo bawling my eyes out each day (while he was at work). I didn’t leave the house. I didn’t get dressed. I had a part-time job working 1-2 shifts a week, which I would call in sick to most of the time. I wanted to die. I wished for death. I didn’t even have enough energy to kill myself. I stopped existing. It was awful. It was the closest I’ve ever come to true insanity. I was right at the edge. I could taste it. I could see it. I could feel it – just giving into the chaos. Wandering the streets screaming profanities. I get it. (I wrote this poem during that time: The Abyss. To date it is the scariest thing I have ever written… at least to me.)
I was out with a friend recently and describing what I’m currently going through and she said “it sounds like depression.” She is a good friend and I love her for her concern, but I adamantly explained that “it is NOT depression”, but I don’t think she ever believed me. The symptoms are very much the same: sleeping all the time, lethargy, lack of appetite (though I did eat… begrudgingly), spontaneous emotional reactions, loss of hope, etc. But, I say again, it was NOT depression… well, not in the way we think of it. I am well-versed in depression. But, I spent a lot of time thinking about it. I was descending, as my therapist says, I was descending into the underworld of the soul. All those things that we push away and ignore, the things that lurk in the darkness and haunt our dreams and strike us when we are least expecting. All those fears, pains, hurts and anger. That place where everything that you hide from the light of day is buried. It is kind of a depression, but this was entering it – conscious and willing… well, conscious anyway, maybe ignorantly willing. If I had known what hell would be like, I may not have gone so boldly, or at all – but once there, it kind of grows on you. The merging of the conscious and unconscious world is exhausting. Think of the theory of nuclear fusion and the energy that would be created by the merging of atoms – that is kind of like what this experience was like, except that it happened in my body and there was not infinite room for the energy to expand, so it kind of kicked the shit out of me and it took me a while to get things back under control. So, yes, it may have appeared like depression, but I was far from depressed. I was alive for the first time in my life. And truly living presently takes a lot of work – it’s exhausting!
- total loss of hope
This is my favourite one to talk about. I wrote last year about Killing Hope. Well, I have now vanquished the enemy! The weirdest thing about this entire process is the awakening of true meanings of common words. Despair will be something I talk about soon, but for now, I’m talking about the complete lack of hope – which, I know, sounds like depression, but it’s NOT. Hope isn’t all we make it out to be and our dependence on being hopeful is steering many of us down long dead-end roads. I need a new word. “Hope” now sounds dirty and tainted in my mouth. Fuck hope! I still think of the future. There are still things that I would like to see happen in the future… maybe. The thing is that they are now more ideas, thoughts, fancies. If they happen, great! If they don’t happen, they weren’t meant for me. Instead of trying to drive my life towards this imaginary future I have created in my mind, I’m strolling with the universe and living the life I have right now. I don’t hope for anything else. Now is enough. I have spent most of my life attempting to create what I thought I wanted, but it wasn’t until I became overwhelmed by “what should be” that I could even begin to see that I hadn’t paid any attention to “what is”. Now, I don’t stress. What is, is. What will be, will be (I have yet to be successful at changing what life has in store and it takes too much energy to try!) Now, I let life wash over me, greeting each wave and what it brings with open excitement. Sure, I could hope, but why spend my energy on something that may never be, when I can be dancing with what is.
- suicide doesn’t even sound like an alternate option
This is a big one for me! Ever since I can remember, I have thought about killing myself. It likely really started around grade 7 or 8. It got really bad when I was around 16 years old. I would walk home through bad neighbourhoods hoping to get kidnapped and/or killed. I would stand on a bridge over the 12-Mile Creek in St. Catharines and understand why they had the anti-jumper netting and plot what I would have to do to get around it so I would land in the water… or on the road for dramatic impact. I never actually attempted suicide. I was raised really Christian and the one thing that stood out for me was the idea that you went hell if you killed yourself and if there was any chance that there was a place worse than this life, I wasn’t going to risk it – hence wanting to be murdered. Murder doesn’t send you hell (according to Roman Catholic terms). I used to know every way in the house that I could kill myself. I wouldn’t act, but I would think about it – long and deeply. I knew how to go dramatically, painlessly, quickly, etc. Strange ways that you would never think of – it made me feel better, knowing there was an escape plan; a way out.
My ideas have since changed and ironically, it was descending into a “hell state” that has relieved me of all suicidal thoughts. It struck me one day, while sitting on my washroom floor, not even enough energy to dress myself, tears streaming down my face, that even death seemed futile. Then I laughed and cried so hard I didn’t know what was happening. It was so sad that even the thought of killing myself didn’t give me the sweet solace that it once did, but it was also amazing that for the first time, the FIRST TIME, in 20 years, I truly didn’t want to die… but that also meant I had to learn how to live. Death no longer offered the escape I once believed. Basically, whatever energy we leave this body with, is the energy that gets transferred back into the Earth and whatever comes after that builds on that energy. Death is not release, it’s just a change from one form to another.
Anyhoo, I’m happy to report that I have not found any solace in thinking about suicide in 2015, which is truly mind-blowing. Not even a thought of jumping in front of a subway train (even though I would never do it, I used to think it, which is almost just as bad).
(UPDATE: Part II can be found here.)
(As a prelude, check out Rip Me Out)