Into Darkness & Light
April 27, 2019
I spend a lot of my time lying in a bed with white sheets and white blankets, next to a bottle of green and white pills-- Prozac.
Last week I finally lost my will to live. Tapped out. One last lightning bolt to my system of a year of too many. And I gave up. I spent the week closer to a suicidal state of mind than I’ve ever been before. I hardly left the bed. Continuing to shed weight despite my greatest efforts. The only thing keeping me from wanting to die was the will not to cause suffering to my mother for the rest of her life and to others close to me if I did.
I’ve spent a lot of time close to death energy over the past year. In December, when I looked at my face in a mirror and into my eyes, I saw death. I saw a grey ghost of a person, with almost no glimmer inside. I had never seen that person before. I balked. I knew I was on the edge.
My mother is like a lion. She flew me all the way to Atlanta to see the best psychiatrist she knew. Now I’ve met clearly one of the best psychiatrists there are. If you ever need him his name is Dr. Walter Anderson. He must be close to 70, and is a clear-eyed mystic. He told me he believes depression is an inflammatory illness--inflammation of the brain tissue. And this makes intuitive sense to me.
Here in Florida I walked into the office of the first psychotherapist I picked, with the most experience and best credentials, to find a dark haired witch sitting in a room of crystals and tarot cards and purple velvet curtains. So I’m 2 for 2 on my lucky stars.
I thought these kind of professionals would be gentle and quietly ask me things like “so how are you feeling?” Instead they’re tough, they tell it like it is, don’t waste minutes, and they tell me what to do. Woah. I wasn’t up for that. And they definitely don’t act like I’m crazy. They look in my eyes and demand that I recognize that I’m not.
Stacey, the witch, has me do silly things like get a tongue scraper from the Indian grocery store down the road, buy rose quartz (which I’m not going to do), and drink golden milk boiled three times. She also makes me do the hard shit, like brain-dump journaling, movement, and changing the way I talk to myself.
My mother spent ten years of her life talking to a psychologist whom she tells me saved her life. Who pushed her hard out of an abusive marriage when my brother and I were 8 and 11. The psychologist told my mother she was on the edge of a dark, dark place, and that if she went down there, then no one would be able to bring her back, and no one would be there to take care of her children. Because my mother did the hard, hard work, and went to hell and back again, she is the alive and awake and strong woman who can be my rock now. When back then, the only person my mother had was Dr. Linda.
I’m learning a lot about narcissism. I used to think that narcissistic personality disorder was something that new age women made up in order to blame and demonize another person in relationships that didn’t work out the way they wanted. Just like I thought that depression was about feeling sad and tired. Now I know, about the panic and the racing heart. I know about the monster mind that begins the very first moment I awake in the wee hours of the morning, lashing and looping its agonizing obsessive thoughts for hours, until the AM finally turns to PM, day after day, week after week. I know about the inability to eat, about the fight to take each bite without wanting to gag. I know about the constant anxiety, the PTSD-like fear and jumpiness of my nervous system continually poised in overdrive. I know about the body twitches, the paranoia, the inability to fall asleep, the soul-level exhaustion, and the hopelessness. Now I know about depression from the inside. I know it physiologically.
I have always wanted to be a healer. Because I have lived a very privileged life, it seems that the suffering and the trauma required for that vocation has come to me through other ways, mainly through relationships. Starting with my father.
I am no stranger to trauma. I once had the interesting experience in relationship of my house looking like a crime scene from Law & Order. With every piece of furniture, every ceramic plate, and every possible item of glass smashed to bits amid projectile sprays of blood across walls and floors, while a police officer demanded I, sleep deprived and in hysterics, come out.
Relationships can bring out the darkest shadows, the most deeply hidden childhood wounds and traumas, and desperation, whilst enacting soul shattering pain. These things can be in each of us. They’re in all of us, on some level. I risk, by always sharing so openly about my life, people thinking I’m an unstable drama queen and therefore losing others’ trust. When I really think about it, I don’t care about that. Life is hard. Hiding our wounds and suffering doesn’t do any help for the suffering of others.
So, I’m down to 110 lbs and am crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to hold steady here. I’m also learning how to walk away when love, no matter how good it looks or how convinced I am that I have found my soulmate, is conditional. When it has the fragrance of God but fails to have my back. When someone cannot say yes to me, to all of me, and stand with me in the storm. And most certainly, that if I’m spending two out of every four months of the last year in a major depressive episode, with no prior history or depression, my self esteem has dropped from my normal high to ground zero, I feel like I’m going crazy, and I’m wishing I were dead, all at triggering from a person who supposedly loves me, then something is definitely not right.
So what’s my plan? In the words of Austin Powers, “first I’m going to soil myself. Then I’m going to re-group and come up with a new plan.” But really I’m just going to do what Stacey, Walter, and my mother tell me to do. Or at least half of it. At least I got that tongue scraper.