Sunday, March 26
Wow. Today was one to forget. Maybe one of the worst. I think it all started a couple of days ago. As I have mentioned, my family is out of town visiting family. I knew this might be a hard time for me, being home alone. I’ve been telling myself for weeks, preparing myself, that it was going to be fine, and I would get through it with no interruption in the progress I have made.
A couple of days ago, and at the time I thought nothing of it, I think was the genesis of today's disaster. A couple of days ago, I was thinking, generally, about suicide. I wasn't "suicidal", or thinking of killing myself, or planning or anything like that. I hadn't thought about suicide in any capacity for some time. It just hasn't been part of my being "better." But I was thinking about the fact that suicide is always an option available to me, but that I no longer “wanted” to die. For some sick reason, there is comfort in the idea that suicide is always an option. I think it’s a control thing. I think I like the idea that I am in control of how long I fight this fight. So, I was thinking that, despite feeling much better (remember, last week I reported some "great" days), the most likely cause of my death, whenever that may come, will probably be something in my control.
That was a couple of days ago. Friday, I think, the question of "purpose", which I wrote about yesterday, entered my head. It hasn't left my head since that time. Its presence has become more and more controlling, and the more the question resonates without an answer, the more controlling it becomes. What IS my purpose. I used to know that answer. I was the "bread-winner", the career person, the one bringing home the income that provided my family with the lifestyle to which they became accustomed. Then, I stopped playing that role. I became less and less of the bread-winner, working myself further and further from the prestigious career positions I have held and into less and less important roles in the mortgage business (and earning less and less money.) This continued, it seems, until I became just a guy hanging around, being a drag against what little income I was generating. My purpose, as I used to see it, is gone.
Philosophically, I see us all as little jigsaw puzzle pieces which, in some way or another, fit together to form a much larger picture: The World. Some of us have big parts in that big picture. Some are just supporting parts. Some, maybe, are only here to antagonize someone else in such a way that the antagonized takes an action (which he/she might not have otherwise taken) which enables the antagonized to serve his/her ultimate “important” destiny. Sorry, rambling. Anyway, I no longer know my part. I don’t know what piece I am. Maybe I'm just here to help my wife become the super-strong person that she has become (from dealing with my son and myself and our issues.) Maybe I'm just here to guide one or both of my children in some way. I just don't know anymore.
I experienced something today, which I now realize has been coming for some time now, which I imagine might be common to many or most ECT patients (or anyone that finds a way to climb out of that deep, dark, lonely, hopeless hole we call "depression"). I experienced this "awakening" which was stark, and ugly, and very disturbing. I realized, in this grand sense, just how far things have fallen during the time during which I have been ill. The order, the organization, the clean, well maintained beautiful home...all have fallen into this ragged state of disorder, disarray, disorganization, clutter, dirty mismanagement. My wife, back in those “good old days”, kept an immaculate house. Everything was well organized, our garage was used to keep “stuff”, but it was orderly. Same applies to the basement. There wasn’t a speck of dust on anything. All of the walls and doors and floors were well kept (painted and clean.) As I was searching for something in the garage today (which I never found), I realized just how much crap we have, and how cluttered and completely disorganized everything is. I found the same thing in the basement (didn’t find that missing item down there either.) And as I began to see these things, it began to dawn on me how beat up the walls and doors and floors are, how much most of the house is in need of paint and how much dust and grime there is everywhere. We had, many years ago, a beautiful yard which I mowed and kept in great shape. Now, it looks like hell. Melissa has done the mowing for the last 3, maybe 4, years. She had never mowed a yard before in her life until then. The dog has destroyed the back yard.
Where am I going with all of this babble? Its like I’ve been gone, and now I return and everything has gone to shit. But I wasn’t gone. I WAS RIGHT HERE, LETTING IT HAPPEN! “Guilt” has never been part of my depression. Self-loathing, unhappy, suicidal, isolation, obsession…those were my “depression features.” Guilt is only something I’ve heard other depressed people talk about. And now, now that I’m “Better”, and now that I see what I stood around and allowed to happen to the beautiful home that we worked so hard to afford and create, NOW I FEEL NOTHING BUT GUILTY!.
So, today was a day of realizing all of these things, and feeling guilty about what I have allowed to happen. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t blame anyone, certainly not my wife, for allowing this transformation to happen. Its MY fault, and mine alone. So, the generic self-loathing, self-isolating, unhappy depression has been well treated and has been put under some control is gone and I felt “better”, but now this NEW depression has arrived. While the “me” that I like has been away, that other “me” has been busy passively destroying everything I worked so hard for. And now that the “me” that I like has made a reappearance, he is having a hell of a hard time dealing with the circumstances that the other “me” left behind. Feeling better has allowed me to realize all of these things that just make me feel worse. And, I found in a hurry, that the guilt and the depression feed one another. As soon as one got started and began to feed the other (who knows which one started this cycle?), they quickly, very quickly, spiraled into this mental implosion which left me sitting in my house in an emotional disaster, asking a God I don’t believe in to just let me die, and wondering how in the hell I could have gone from the “great” days I had last week to where I found myself today. How? And if my well-being is this fragile, if the fight from sick to better is this tough, but the fall from better to this new hell is this easy, what’s the use? Why put everybody through this?
And if the guilt wasn’t bad enough already, it wasn’t until Melissa called me from out of town that the emotion that had been building overwhelmed me. And then I just totally fell apart on the phone. So, now, on top of everything else I had found to blame myself for, I could add stealing the “vacation” from my wife, and making her worry about me while she was supposed to be getting away from all of that. Oh, and exhibiting for her that the hours and hours that she’s spent at the hospital with me during treatments was just so I could be back “here” again. And, being the amazing person that she is, she stood her ground, talked me through things, and reminded me of the great progress that “we” have made, that some days were going to be better than others, and that it would just take time to get everything back on track and back to the way things used to be. I don’t know where she gets her strength, but everyone could use some of it. She’s more than I deserve, and she is certainly the reason I’m still here, and still fighting this fight. Tomorrow is another day, and I will find a way to make it better than this one.