Small Fears

I haven’t felt compelled to update my WordPress blog(s) in over two years. There’s been paper journals in that time, half-formed doodles in my sketchbook and unabashedly earnest Facebook posts. I’ve experienced the brain-death of a loved one, a major geographical move, and a good, solid period of time where I finally felt like I was engaged in my life, rather than an unwilling participant to it.

Why come back to this blank, unmonitored, and unloved forum? I suppose I’ve been feeling lonely – overwhelmed and tired. Above all, I am so fatigued with talking myself into living my life each day and out of thoughts of suicide. I am achingly tempted to slide a rope around my throat, to throw myself into a basement bar and not come out for days, only to emerge with an equally unwell stranger who will hold me down, dominate my life, and take away everything I have come to know and love, just so I can have some relief from the unrelenting responsibility of keeping myself alive and well. On days like these, I am only my addict: nothing is ever enough and the knowing makes the depression stronger than it ever has been before.

I have climbed out of this pit many times before – most notably and decidedly in 2012 when I made the conscious decision to get clean and sober. I know what I can change and what I can’t. I know I hate reaching out for help, but it’s the only way I’ve managed to stay alive so far. I know people care, and yet I feel unable to care about myself. I feel especially unable to let people care for me or give any indication that I may need it.

There was only ever one person I let care for me when even the thought of grasping that lifeline smothered me with revulsion and self-loathing. He’s somewhat dead now – a permanent vegetable shunted away in a Putney neuro-rehabilitative facility for patients with equally little chance of recovery. It’s impossible to describe my extreme desire to be next to him, to kiss him on the cheek as his mouth fumbles empty vowels and his eyes flick back and forth uncomprehendingly. Where he is, I am safe, and I can keep him safe, as I failed to in the past. Where he is, I can cry and not feel abjectly miserable and alone. I can read out loud and play music and find contentment in the company of another. Where he is, I can tell him that I will always love him, that I still love him, and in that way, absolve me of my guilt for living and allow me to love myself.

Where I am, I feel neglected. I am neglecting myself and chasing after others who neglect me whilst those who seek to help are left in my wake. I rouse myself daily and throw myself brutally into my work, without care, without expectation, and without optimism. I engage my colleagues as cheerfully as I can, when all I think about is death, my death, his death, and how long it will be until I earn my death. Haven’t I worked hard enough? Haven’t I tried hard enough in this life to be granted that relief?

This life has been extended so far past my planned expiration date that I can hardly bear to live it any longer. I trip along, year after year, striving always to be better, to be well. Are the years laid out before me my only reward? I have never so resented the implication that a long life is the goal in common of so many of our species. I have never felt particularly motivated by the idea.

People wonder why individuals commit suicide when life is going ‘well’, or at least, going at all. The tentative consensus is that the determinedly deceased was so mentally unwell as to be temporarily insane. It comforts them to think that sanity is a barrier against suicide, and that they will never stray across that ill-defined boundary. To me, though, suicide is sane, to live without an anticipated end is insane, and I have come to the end of my story.

These are my small fears.

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