Sunday, 24 May 2015

A Necessary Pause

Image by geralt (
I've been considering a question raised by my counsellors. After they'd read my last post, Another Group of Three - Pt 3, they asked me if I was re-living my suicide attempt?

I admit I hadn't considered this possibility; however, the importance of the question warranted a thoughtful answer. So I took some time off from posting to consider the motivations behind that post.

My initial motivation was simply to write to my son in an honest and forthright manner and communicate openly to him. He's fully aware of the events described in that last post, albeit less bluntly, knew it was coming and was ready.

A second, equal, motivation was to take pleasure in writing. Writing, like so much else, had been denied me, and I delighted in having recaptured my voice and expressing myself. My choice of words, my choice of images, convey feeling and nuances and life. And I revel in the opportunity.

But these motivations don't answer the question. I had to consider what other motivations might be at play.

I begin by telling you that the short answer to my counsellors' question is Yes. And No.

If you have no personal experience with Major Depressive Disorder, you can't understand just how debilitating it is. Any understanding you think you have is tainted by the common use of the word "depression" to refer to sadness, grief, loss or economic malaise. These meanings, while well-intentioned, perhaps trivialize what I and many, many others suffer. The illness, my illness, Major Depressive Disorder, is so much more than this.

 Image by John D. using Pablo by
So how do I convey this in any meaningful way? I could go on at length and describe incident after incident, like how I did not eat for days because I was unable to go across the street to get bread; or how self-abuse created feelings of shame of such intolerable levels that I isolated myself, hiding in my apartment for months on end; or how I could not reach out to anyone, especially those who loved me, because I was unworthy of that love.

Such lists, while compelling, lose their effect when presented in this way. They become a diatribe of negativity that disguise the underlying malady, my nemesis, the Black. When you are in the midst of an episode of Major Depressive Disorder, all is negativity. All is Black.

To give voice to the nadir of my despair, I used September 2, 2014, the day upon which I chose to die. That day, more than any other, is the exemplar of my plight. Only through showing you how bleak my illness made me can you gain a sense of the extent of my self-imposed horror or the salvation in my recovery.

Yes, I did re-live September 2, 2014. By so doing, I could be honest with myself, my son and all others who may read this letter. Only by being open could I face the truth.

Yet, I didn't re-live that day in the same way. I sought to learn, to find a seed that could teach me, guide me, and lend support to my recovery. This seed I found. I must have because I didn't fall into a new tailspin.

But just in case, after the post I contacted my counsellors and invited them to read it. I wanted to be sure that someone might be concerned. I reached out, one thing I hadn't done before. If nothing else, I'd learned that one lesson.

I looked at September 2, 2014 with open eyes, saw myself, and found comfort in my survival.

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