It’s difficult, I suppose, for people who are emotionally and mentally healthy to comprehend the thoughts and mind patterns of those who struggle to keep clarity or sanity. I, for one, have no concept of what a “normal mind” functions like, or even if there is such a thing. I also assume, with no particular evidence to back me up, that the minds of those who suffer any one of the various emotional or mental problems function differently – that one would not recognize the cognitive patterns of the other. A counselor once shook her head, looked down and described me as a having a chaotic psyche. I thanked her profusely, and she looked shocked when she realized I was serious.
In an effort to communicate what thoughts are like while in a deep depressive episode, I recently, while in such a state, sat at my computer and typed what came to mind. Even for me, just a few weeks later, the thoughts are like those that might belong to someone else – someone far more dysfunctional than I. Prompted a little, but not sure why, by what Joyce wrote in a comment I decided to post it here. If it helps someone understand, then let it be a blessing. If it causes someone pain, please chalk it up as the ramblings of one worse off than you.
I so want you to understand where I am but know you cannot. I want you to know what can’t even be known unless it’s known first hand. I want you to hold me and want me, but I don’t want to be me anymore – and, so, I am afraid of wanting to be wanted. I am so ashamed of being afraid of being shamed, that I shame myself. I am a self-fulfilling prophecy – a cosmic practical joke played on me by myself. I want you to know where I am, but I am terrified of you hating me if you knew. This is the best I can do at making the irrational understandable – explaining my tenuous hold on sanity written in moments of lucidity. I don’t know if it will make sense – actually, I’m pretty sure it won’t. I live in such doubt right now that I have been in a tug of war about writing this for almost an hour.
I don’t want to die, but I wonder what it feels likes to want to live. I know I should know, after all I am sure I have felt that way before. But I forget. Maybe it’s just been too long. Maybe crying out to God to take me overwhelmed that tiny little spark of life. Maybe I just blew it out. Why, God? Why can’t I just fade away – disappear in some totally unobtrusive way? I don’t want to hurt anyone, not even myself, but I do – over and over again I cause pain. I don’t want to feel pain either, but the deafening dull pain in my chest is my constant companion. I just want to be numb – anesthetized – comatose. I’m not picky, just so damn tired.
Sometimes it comes quickly; other times it takes forever. Come it does, though, eventually. It steals into my heart making it ache incessantly, reminding me of how I have felt so many times for so damn long. It comes relentlessly, sucking the life out of my limbs, absconding with my initiative, killing my creativity, smothering my identity – all the while making my mind a constant, confused, raucous noise of despair. I am useless. I know better when I can think it through, but I am useless anyway. Useless to stop it; useless to fend it off; useless against the shame that rears on its hind legs and kicks me when I’m down; useless at being me.
The bottomless pit only varies in its darkness, not its depth. Otherwise, it would be an oxymoron. Sometimes it’s just a hanging, foreboding, and nebulous grey like an Ohio winter. Sometimes, like now, its pitch black and thick like treacle – a faceless, formless, suffocating mass that I can neither touch nor escape. It envelopes my mind leaving holes where once thoughts ran free. I know I still think, it’s just that there’s no memory of it, no outcome and no point to it. Minutes, hours, days – they just ooze by as a blubbery, gelatinous sludge – agonizingly slow and yet astonishingly fast. Time becomes immeasurable, the seconds ticking off in some somber death march and the hours getting gobbled up like they have no substance. Forever lasts but a moment and an instant is like eternity.
So, I stare. I stare at screens of information flowing by as I search for something – anything on which to be able to focus and keep out the noise. Of course, it just adds to the clamor. I stare at my own life dribbling along like a week of rain, wishing for something extreme to get my attention – but not really. I could care less whether it’s a heat wave or a thunder storm, just something other than no thing – even though I cling to the comforting discomfort of nothing. The nothingness is all that persists. I am an expert on nothingness. I know everything there is to know about it. It’s insidious and pervasive like a stalking cat, ready to overwhelm all things in its path. It’s what I see when I stare at myself from the vantage of my place in the pit – an amorphous blob indistinct from the turbid bile that is trying to digest me. Nothing eats no thing, yet here I am.
The ache in my solar plexus spreads throughout; fingers of throbbing malaise ripping out the pages of my life day by day – the life I should be living but which evaporates as I watch from a distance. I want to engage, but I quake at the thought of having nothing to give. I want to be held, but am afraid of it. I want to withdraw, but can’t face the loneliness. I want to approach love, even while I walk backwards away from feeling anything. My head, stomach and heart are indistinct in their endless misery, and hate each other with no passion whatsoever. I want to tell you how much I need you, but I wince at every invisible word that cannot leave my mouth. I want to be loved by you, but I am terrified that there is nothing left to love. My biggest fear is being nothing, and I feel as if I am almost there.