Pass the Kleenex

sorry bunny

TW: Suicide

I had an interesting birthday. Thanks to my family, I’d say overall, it was a good day. There were a few hiccups though. I had an appointment to get the lesion in my mouth checked out by an oral pathologist. Birthday biopsy! Hooray!! The appointment wasn’t until 2pm, so I spent most of the morning anxious about the appointment. I was worried about the exposed bone in my mouth being something scary. I was paranoid because of my friend’s recent cancer diagnosis. It turned out to be no big deal. I had burnt my mouth so badly on a nacho that bone had been exposed. Exposed bone goes necrotic (dies) and the body pushes the dead bone layer out. This is exactly what happened. So now I have a dent in my gums where the missing bone was. Bone remodels so it will heal on it’s own. The doc didn’t have to take a biopsy in the end because he was so familiar with this type of lesion. Phew! I’m so glad that turned out to be nothing.

The next hiccup was a really bad one. We found out a friend of my husband’s killed himself the night before. My husband is in a real state of shock. He found out through Facebook. Got to love that Facebook…..I had never met this man, but I felt like I knew him because of all the stories my husband has told me about the time they spent working in Africa together. He was in a really sad situation. Of course, I only know his side of the story, but I can imagine the immense amount of pain he must have been in. Suicide always evokes so many different reactions. I feel awful for his family and friends and the grief they must be going through. It’s not about them though, it’s about him. I am saddened that he is gone, but I am glad he is no longer in pain.

I’m surprised how much this is making me think. I think I understand suicide. It’s about the individual having a desire to end their pain that is greater than their desire to live. I hope his family and friends understand that. It’s not about hurting them or being selfish. It’s about the pain. I stay frozen in a state of depression. I don’t know what changes to to make to get better. I’m also afraid to make changes in case I make things worse. I already have several failed strategies in my back pocket. This man put an end to his pain instead of sitting there and letting it take over like I do. I’m not saying he made the right decision. He lost his life in the process, which is never something I would recommend, but he did something, probably the only thing he could think of that would successfully end his pain. It makes me wonder what threw him off balance. What was the final straw that made him want the pain to end more than he wanted to live.

My pain makes me implode. I stand there frozen between wanting to live a happy life and wanting the pain to end and I do nothing. I stop functioning. Countless times I have stood on the platform watching the metro pull in and wondered how many people think about jumping. Just three more steps, that’s all it would take, and it would all be over. Thankfully, I’ve never witnessed this happen. I hope I never will.

I’m sorry. This is an incomplete thought. I don’t mean to upset anyone. My husband’s friend passing has really shaken me. I find it easier to sort myself out in writing than by talking. I’m wondering about this line of thought, is this my illness talking? Would this thinking about suicide be just another symptom of depression? Just like a stuffy nose is a symptom of a cold? If that is the case, then shouldn’t we be talking more matter-of-fact-ly about it? Someone with a stuffy nose doesn’t pretend they don’t have a stuffy nose. They ask you to pass the kleenex and they blow their nose. No one is shocked by nose blowing and the individual isn’t treated any differently. Treating the symptoms of depression isn’t as simple as blowing your nose, but shouldn’t it as easy to talk about it and ask for help as it is to say you have a stuffy nose and ask for a kleenex? I look forward to a day when this is the case.

I have an illness, I experience the associated symptoms and talking about it helps. I don’t want to feel ashamed and guilty anymore. Maybe if it were easier to do so, my husband’s friend would have felt he had more options.

Today I have a migraine (not really)

Today I’m not feeling great. I have a migraine…..or at least that’s what I’m going to tell everyone. I do get migraines and they are terrible, but I don’t get them as often as I say I do. Why am I fibbing? Because people understand migraines and like depression, the symptoms are invisible. If you’ve had one, you can relate to it and if you haven’t, you know they are terrible and render you nonfunctional. Today I am nonfunctional, not because of a migraine, because I am depressed.

If you say, I can’t go to work today, I’m depressed. People don’t get it unless they’ve been there. They expect you to suck it up and get on with your day. Sometimes you just can’t. If you have a migraine, it’s all poor you, put your head down and rest. For some reason the invisible symptoms of a migraine are more acceptable than those of depression.

When I have a real migraine, my head hurts. It’s an unbelievable pain, I imagine its how one of the looney toons must feel after having an anvil dropped on their head. The pain makes me nauseous and I am sensitive to light and sound. All I can do is lie in a cool dark room. The only thing that seems to help is sleep.

Depression is kind of similar, on a bad day, my whole body aches, protests to every movement. I get nauseous too. Not because of the pain, but because I’m so disgusted with myself. I am extra sensitive as well. I can’t be around people because they’ll see through me and discover I’m not worth the air I breathe. How are you supposed to make friendly conversation when all you can think about is how much you hate yourself. If I can’t make regular conversation, how am I supposed to work. As a grad student, my work is thinking. When I am down, my brain gets foggy. I have trouble connecting thoughts and remembering things. I feel broken. It’s like someone took my brain and left this empty shell behind. I feel guilty for not telling the truth, but I feel like people understand better this way.

What do you do when you just can’t face the world?

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