Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Another Group of Three - Pt 3

Image "Depression" by Tyler Herbert

Major Depressive Disorder and Me

This is Part 3 of a three-part series. Each post can be read independently of the others; however, if you would like to see the full series, click for Part 1 and Part 2.

On September 2, 2014 I chose to die. A couple of days earlier, I'd went through my apartment gathering all the pills - mostly over the counter medications - I could find. Now I opened an app on my KoboARC and left a note for my son and my family. I scribbled another note to my son in an old notebook and left it in front of my living-room chair. I poured myself a small glass of water. Then I went to bed, lay back, and deliberately, one by one, took each pill with a small sip of water until none were left. In all, I swallowed in excess of thirty-five pills. My research told me I'd taken more than enough pills to kill me. I lay back, closed my eyes, and drifted into oblivion.

At some point, over the prior months and years, my mind, for so long my strongest asset, became my worst enemy. An internal war was raging as I fought against myself. I could not understand why I was so despondent, so lethargic, so lacking in anything. I chastised myself mercilessly, castigating myself with the vilest and most repugnant epithets I could hurl all in an effort to elicit some response, to shock and shame myself into action. When this didn't work, the self-loathing grew culminating in a never-ending spiral of self-denigration within an ever closing world of utter Black.

Shame and self-hate prevented my reaching out. After all, there was nothing visibly wrong with me. Everyone has difficult patches in their lives. I had a son who loved me. I had a family.

 Image by John D. using Pablo by Buffer.com
Yet, despite this, my personal world had shrunk to the Black space that my mind had become. The external world was nothing more than torment, a reminder that there was no reason for my lack of, well, anything. And so the self-blame and denigration grew. The Black that was my mind expanded and, through expansion, my perception of, and interaction with, the world became more and more limited. Physically, and especially mentally, I became fatigued and lived in a state that was beyond numb.

By September 2, my mind had become such a poison to me, had exhausted me so much, that the permanent rest offered by Death - oh how seductive that possibility of permanent peace is when all is Black - was welcome. Better to die than to exist like this. I existed, I didn't Live.

No. That is too simple. There was no analysis, no forethought. There was nothing more than desperation, an urgency to make it all stop, to make it all go away. The seductiveness of Death appealed, not because I thought it through, but because it was an act, and any act had been beyond me for so long. My mind was so Black by then, Death seemed natural. I'd convinced myself I was worthless, and suicide is an expression of this worthlessness.

The notes I left were apologies; but, I wasn't apologizing for killing myself. I was apologizing for being so worthless, for letting down my son by not being the dad he deserved, for letting down my family by not fulfilling the hopes they had for me. Someone so worthless, so filled with Black, so lacking in Life, so filled with self-loathing, had nothing to offer anyone.

Image by John D. using Pablo by Buffer.com
I survived. Not by choice but by chance. My salvation is that I seized this chance and sought a means to recover and regain self-worth. This blog, this letter to my son, is about this recovery.

And recovery requires a raw honesty. I tried to kill myself. I hurt my son and my family. I have a mood disorder - Major Depressive Disorder. I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder. I will always suffer from Major Depressive Disorder. I've known this for many years but tried to ignore it. By ignoring my illness, I set in motion the causal connections that led to September 2, 2014.

I caused my downfall. Now I'm causing my recovery. This I promise to myself, my son and my family.

This is Part 3 of a three-part series. Each post can be read independently of the others; however, if you would like to see the full series, click for Part 1 and Part 2.

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