i cannot die

I shouldn’t be typing this right now. I should be dead; or, at the very least, in a coma rapidly approaching death. For the past three months or so, I had been planning to kill myself last night. I hoarded drugs and pushed people away. I become so isolated that I guess I rather naively thought I could just slip away unnoticed. I really wish my brain wasn’t buzzing right now–that is, I really wish I could think–because I really want to offer an explanation to you–and myself.

Last weekend the pain became too great and so I decided to carry out my plans a week early. Let me say this: planning suicide is easy, carrying it out is something different altogether. In short, I got scared. I started thinking about my own mortality–and what that really means–perhaps for the first time.

I like to intellectualize my feelings because it’s easier that way. Well, when you’re on the verge of ending your life, there is no intellectualizing. Everything you may or may not have believed in goes out the door, because after all this, there is only uncertainty.

I needed liquid courage, so I got a six-pack. I drank that and still felt scared. Sixteen beers later (and a few Ativans), I passed out. Last night, I took all the proper anti-emetics, had the pills lined out .. but I got scared again. I threw my phone battery out earlier in the week so I wouldn’t be able to call for help, so I chatted with a suicide prevention counselor online. She talked me down.

I don’t feel suicidal anymore. I feel depressed, though. Maybe even more depressed and hopeless than ever, because now I’m left with the almost impossible task of sorting out the pieces of my life. Should I go back to school full time? Should I quit my job? Should I get on disability? Should I quit Lexapro and try a new anti-depressant? Should I leave my girlfriend to spare her from witnessing my self-destruction? Should I continue to go on?

There’s more to say, but that’s all I can muster for now.

depression as waves

Sorry, I haven’t been writing or even responding to comments. I think I know why. As depression deepens, rational thought fades away. Often I’ll sit down at the computer with intentions to write a post, but I’ll only be able to muster a few words. It used to be that I was only flooded with emotions during social situations. Now I find myself flooded most of the day.

One of the most frustrating parts of major depression–even when it’s gone–is that it strips everything from you, everything you used to enjoy in life.

I do all I can to keep the emotions at bay during work, as I work in accounting now and if I let them take control, the numbers just jumble together. Then when I leave, the emotions flood in, demanding to be seen.

I’m powerless. Calling what I’m going through “depression” is not fair. I’m not going through a tiny spell of the blues. This is something much deeper and much more profound. I don’t know what to call it other than madness. I don’t think I’ve quite gone mad yet–I’ve been able to keep my life somewhat together–but the madness is there in front of me, like a giant wave, and all I can do is hunker down in a fetal position and protect myself the best I can.

empty shell

I’m still here. I guess. Still here, with little to say. Today I went to the grocery store, the bank, and the drug store. I walked through the park and rented a movie. I ate a burrito and drank a glass of wine. I can’t explain it but I know the depression is returning. I’m scared. The last wave changed me.

My girlfriend asked me last week “what happened to the reader, writer, runner, librarian Mike?” Depression destroyed that person. I don’t have much left. This time, the depression may leave me with nothing.

I don’t want to go through that again. I can’t go through that again.

I wish I could explain just how claustrophobic I feel right now. There’s someone else living inside of me, forcing me to think things I never imagined were possible just a few months ago.

I’m so lonely. I’m thinking about my family. I haven’t talked to any of them in months. I hope they’re okay and not worried about me.

It’s hard to form thoughts into words. When I focus on the emotions, my head begins to spin–I begin to spin. I wonder if any of you have felt like this before. I’m still here. But I feel like an empty shell.

always wishing i was somewhere else

I’ve spent most of my life dreaming of either being somewhere else or being someone other than who I am. For example, for the longest time I wanted to be a writer. I spent over five years working on a novel. I put that dream on hold last year and started writing flash fiction. I got a few stories published, but I gave up after that. My perfectionism makes writing really, really hard. Plus, I can’t handle rejection. I guess it’s not even really like I thought I could be a writer; it’s more like I used the thought of possibly being a writer to propel me forward, through my depressions.

Lately, I’ve used running to push me through. In the past, I’ve put my hope in life transitions, like going to college or moving to New York, to get me through the day. I remember when I made the decision to move to New York and bought my one-way ticket how good I felt. No matter what was going on in the present, just the thought of that ticket made everything better.

You see, I thought the transitions would change me. I thought moving to New York or running seventeen miles or writing a book would change who I am–that is, I would no longer be depressed or anxious. This thinking not only took me out of the present moment, it pushed a lot of negative feelings aside. Instead of dealing with my problems, I focused on the future–something that doesn’t even exist–and suppressed my feelings and emotions.

I think this deep, all-encompassing depression I’m feeling now is all those feelings and emotions catching up to me. I’m running out of options. I’ve tried a lot of things. I can’t run anymore. I have to be present–and the present is complete shit when there’s no hope.

Maybe awareness will save me?

crisis

I think part of the reason why I haven’t been writing much on here is because all I’ve really thought about these past few weeks is how I’m going to kill myself. I told myself it’s not good to entertain my suicidal thoughts in the past, and so I promised myself I wouldn’t do it on here–so instead I’m just doing it in my head. Anyway, I don’t want to talk about them, but I do want to start writing regularly again.

As many of you know, I was doing CBT for a few months last year. I thought it was working, and, I guess, to a certain degree it was. I was feeling a little better about myself, which, in turn, made social situations a little easier. But what I’ve come to realize is that no matter how good I do, I’m never good enough. I still think I’m a piece of shit, regardless. So what’s the point of changing my behaviors when my underlying feelings about myself are so negative?

So I’ve given up on CBT.

I also gravitated toward running. I thought that was helping me, emotionally. Sure, it was taking my mind off things, but I think it was really just suppressing a lot of my feelings.

Anyway, I originally had a point I wanted to make and I’m too tired to connect the dots so I’ll just get right to it. I think that deep down I am a good person. But no one really sees that because of the anxious front I put up. I have a good heart, but I just don’t belong .. anywhere.

That voice in my head–my ego–which tells me I can’t change and so I shouldn’t even try is getting stronger and more powerful. More and more, I divert my attention to him. I don’t know why I have to suffer anymore. I don’t know why I feel guilt for killing myself when I haven’t even done it, nor have I seriously tried it. I feel guilty for something I haven’t even done. Why?

Our culture is definitely more manic as a whole than depressive. We jam pack our days with activities, leaving little room for rest or thought. And when someone feels depressed we try to prop them up and when that fails, we medicate them. We don’t try to understand them. It’s just another case of people being afraid of something they don’t understand.

I wonder how many people have felt such a deep depression that I’m going through. How many people have dealt with an existential crisis like this? I mean I want to die. I don’t want to be here anymore–and it’s not fair that I feel so much guilt over that. No one asked me if I wanted to be here, so I don’t owe anybody anything. Does that make me selfish?

And yet, even as I write this I can hear another voice–a voice that wants to survive.

i am my only one

I don’t understand why I’m so tired all the time. Since I started my job and internship about a month ago, I’ve just been in a daze. The past two weeks have been particularly difficult. Am I just doing too much, too fast? My girlfriend thinks I should quit my job. “I think your internship is enough right now,” she said to me a few days ago. Maybe she’s right? I don’t know.

What I do know is that my depression has intensified. I don’t have much time to fret anymore, so anticipatory anxiety isn’t taking me over as much, and so social situations aren’t so bad. But–and there’s always a but–my depression has really been knocking me around.

I’m back to old habits. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve binged on food these past few weeks. I’m going on three days in a row right now. Maybe that’s why I’m so tired?

I started taking Chromium Picolinate last week because a Wikipedia article on Atypical depression said it could help–

It has been noted that patients with atypical depression often suffer from intense cravings for carbohydrates. A mineral supplement, chromium picolinate, was found to assuage these cravings. It also was found to have an antidepressant effect on some atypical depression sufferers.

I’ve stopped taking it, because I felt even worse on it. I binged more and harder, and felt even more tired. I felt like a zombie. Everything seemed to culminate on Sunday night when I found my girlfriend’s stash of Vicodin. I took ten pills and then got scared and went to the ER. I don’t really think the nurses or doctors knew what to do with me. I probably would have had to take at least fifty pills to do any real damage. I guess I just wanted attention. I don’t know. I’m still in a daze from that. Maybe that’s why I’m so tired.

I went with my boss today to a marijuana dispensary to help the managers set-up a budget and whatnot. I sat in on a meeting. I had no input. I just sat there while everybody else talked, laughed, and joked around. I’m just on a different level than everyone else. I’m going in some other direction. I could follow the conversation fine, but when I opened my mouth, I had nothing to say. That’s the best way I can describe social anxiety.

Anyway, I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I’m tired of therapy and medication. I want to quit it all. It’s not helping. I’m just tired of trying. I’m not going to ever open up to people. I’m always going to direct my pain and negative feelings inside. Why is that not okay?

Being a therapist, my girlfriend has a hard time dealing with my depressions. She feels like that she is the only one I open up to–which is true–and she’s tired of being that one person. Long story short, we’re going to start seeing a couple’s counselor tomorrow. More therapy. I don’t think I can do it. I want to leave her. I want to leave my job, my school .. and go back home ..

I don’t know what happened on Sunday. I don’t know if I really tried to kill myself or not. But I do know is that something isn’t working. I’ve been on a bad path for a while now. Something has to change.

i miss you

I’m sorry. I’ve been a bad blogger this past month or so.

First, I decided to take a step back and see what life would be like not totally immersed in my issues. I found this experience good at first, but I missed all of you–all the blogs I used to frequent, all the people who have commented.

Second, I started my internship–at an academic library–on Monday, and I got a full-time job last Saturday at an accounting firm, which I started on Tuesday. I’m at the library for eight hours and at my job for forty plus hours. I’m also taking a class, which I’m already behind on. It’s been busy. I went from having very little social interaction to having a lot–fast. Fortunately, both my job and internship have been going well.

The library director is easy to talk to, and I get a long with her well. She coddled me a bit, but that’s okay–it was my first day, after all. I worked at the reference desk and then on a few IT-related side projects.

I still don’t really know what I’m doing at my job. I guess I’m like an administrative assistant. I do odd-jobs. The office is a complete wreck. I spent half my time trying to understand the organization of all the files. My boss enjoys power and isn’t afraid to show it. He talks down to all his employees, sometimes even in front of them. He’s nice to me, though. But who knows what he’s saying behind my back. Today he told me that I’m absolutely pleasant to be around, which felt good.

Anyway, I got side-tracked. I originally just wanted to say that I miss all of you. I’m going to be really busy the next four months, but I will try to post every now and then. But please know this: each of you will be in my thoughts.

Cheers!

detachment

Does anybody ever feel detached from reality in social situations? It’s like I’m there, interacting and what not, but I don’t feel truly there. I don’t think I’m dissociating or anything because I’m totally aware of what’s going on. It’s more like I just feel like I don’t belong. It’s a terrible feeling.

a little down

I’ve been feeling a bit low the past few days. I really miss Kansas City and my family. Talking on the phone with them just isn’t the same.

I’ve been running a lot. I signed up for the San Francisco Marathon. Running has become something to live for. I love it. I can’t explain it. I’ve never felt like I had any true hobbies or anything I’ve really loved in this world, but I do think I’ve found something–and it’s actually healthy.

I’m still waiting to hear back about the eight jobs I applied for at the public library. I’m already starting to lose hope. I applied for some teaching English jobs abroad for after I graduate in August.

Nothing much is happening right now, really.

I am thinking about ending therapy and just seeing my hypnotherapist and continue doing CBT with her. CBT has made such a tremendous difference in my life. It’s great! I know my hypnotherapist isn’t formally qualified to be working on CBT with me, but she’s recovering from social anxiety herself and has used CBT extensively–so I feel like she’s more qualified than my therapist.

I’m also thinking of getting off the Lamictal. I do not think I have Cyclothymia. I think my deep depressions happen within the context of social anxiety.

I am starting to accept myself more. I am who I am inside–and I am starting to be okay with that. I do have limitations, but I do have many positives as well–like all people. Most days I am happy and feel good about the future. I am excited (well, most of the time) about starting my internship in a few weeks, and I am just overall liking the direction I am going.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to Nick over at The Social Phobic. He’s been away for a while but now he’s back. He inspired me to start my blog and writing about my day-to-day experiences with social anxiety.

Thanks Nick. I hope all is well.

back in san francisco

I got back yesterday. Honestly, I miss Kansas City and my family. Even though we didn’t get to talk about the letter, I think a lot was accomplished, and I had a lot of fun with my family. My relationship to them is different. On the surface, we’re the same, but deeper down, I think there’s more understanding between all of us. It’s strange being back. I feel like a part of me is still in Missouri. I feel like I could walk out of my apartment right now and be back there.

***

I’ve been thinking more about this blog and decided that I want to spend less time on it–and the “blogsphere” as a whole. I’m getting a lot out of writing about my issues, and I am so grateful for all the support I’ve received. I cannot thank you all enough. I am going to probably spend one day a week posting, answering comments, and reading other blogs.

That said, I am feeling a lot better about life in general. I’m doing more, engaging more, and, for the most part, I’m happy. There are days where I feel down, but, at the end of the day, all feels right. I think it’s a combination of all my interventions–and, again, your support. Also, over the holidays, I think I finally realized that social anxiety is my choice. That is, it’s my choice how much of my soul I put into social anxiety. I am the one in control. Social anxiety is not who I am. It’s not my friend, it’s not my child–it’s a part of me, but it’s not me.

Finally, I got runner up for Best Neurotic, Stress-Related and Somatorm Disorders Blog over at Mental Nurse for the 2010 TWIM Awards. I’m surprised, especially considering how new my blog is. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks to them and to those who voted for me.

I hope everyone is well. I’m looking forward to catching up on my favorite blogs later today. And Happy New Year!