Back in October, Sadie had suggested doing a Pros & Cons of Existence, which I opted not to do because it sounded too dangerous. What would happen when I weighed the evidence and found that it was much more in favor of not existing? Well, I’m about ready to do that pros & cons list now.
Recently I’ve come to understand how people develop Munchausen’s syndrome, in which they intentionally cause themselves illness or injury in order to get medical attention. I found myself wanting to cut myself or overdose so that I could be sent someplace safe, where people would take care of me and I wouldn’t have to deal with my life. As time passed I found myself reacting to every little twinge of pain or discomfort with the hope that it was a serious illness. Every time mom and I were in the car, I would cross my fingers for us to have an accident.
I got a little taste of being taken care of when I got dizzy while Suffering for a Good Cause, but it wasn’t enough. In my appointment with Sadie the next day, which I’d scheduled specifically to discuss these thoughts, she asked me if being taken care of was a need or a want. I said that everyone needs to be taken care of sometimes, but I imagine her point was that I’m capable of taking care of myself at this point. She said it was a Catch-22, that in order to form relationships with people who will take care of you when you need it, you first have to show confidence in who you are in order to attract those people.
I said I didn’t know who I am (lack of a sense of self is a symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder) and we worked on naming off some of my interests and personality traits. She asked what I would say if I was writing an author’s bio for my book. I was going to go with where I was born, where I live now, and that I have cats. Somehow that didn’t seem like enough to give me an identity. I said that identifying my values would probably help with this, and then remembered that in reading The Happiness Trap there were exercises about values. From the website of worksheets to go with the book, there is a Life Values Questionnaire and Bull’s Eye Worksheet that can be used to identify one’s values and how far or close one is to living by them.
I had done the Bull’s Eye Worksheet but the other one looks even more specific by addressing more areas of life. Sadie and I have to update my ANSA and treatment plan at the next appointment on Wednesday, but I will try to prepare these worksheets in case we have any time leftover.
And the pros & cons list? Well, over the weekend I was on a spontaneous trip out of town. Mom had asked me Wednesday evening if I’d like to go, and we made all the plans on Thursday and left at noon on Friday. Throughout the weekend, I struggled with suicidal thoughts. I no longer was thinking about the possibility of getting attention. No, I was thinking about actually wanting to die. I was crying every time mom was out of sight.
I don’t want to be dead. The thought of dying makes me sad. I remember back in December, when I was sure I’d be acting on a plan on January 1st, I would cry every time I did something for what would be the last time. I saw Jean at a choir performance and tagged along behind her for the whole tour of the historic house it was held in, hoping to be able to hug her goodbye. She never made a move to hug me, despite having done so the last several times I saw her, and I went home in tears.
Brent noted back in June last year, when I recently had started my job at the hospital and was desperately overwhelmed by it, that I had very specific suicide plans. What I have in mind now is even more specific. I don’t see Brent for another 3 weeks, and I don’t know if I’m going to make it that long. Everything feels manageable early in the day, but as the hours pass and darkness falls I fall with it, spiraling into a swirl of negative thoughts and tears. I don’t want to be dead, but I don’t have hope of things ever being better enough for life to be worth living.
Brent and Sadie tell me I could work full-time, that I’m not disabled, which would make it very difficult to actually get approved for disability if they don’t support me. What I’m coming to realize is that I may not be too disabled to work, but I am too disabled to accomplish what I want out of life and I don’t know how to accept the idea that my dreams are unattainable. I have some good days, but then I have some really bad ones that, if they continue, would make it impossible to follow long-term plans.
It just feels like it’s not possible to be well consistently. I was patient in the first year of treatment, knowing that it can take a while to get the right combination of meds and have them take full effect. Now I’m more than two years into this process and I never feel good for more than a month at a time. Instead of manic highs alternated with the depths of despair, I have an occasional sense of peace alternated with a lingering malaise just bad enough to hinder progress.
So I’m going to make that pros & cons list. There are some pretty big pros in favor of suicide, and I don’t know if the cons will seem like enough to balance it. For example, I don’t really want to live to my next birthday, which is next week, but if I don’t I will never get to use the birthday gift I know I’m getting, which is something I’ve wanted for a really long time. So I cry about the idea of not using the gift, but then I ask myself why it even matters. If I’m dead I won’t know that I didn’t use it.
I’m trying to remind myself each evening that the next day, although it may not get me any closer to a life worth living, will possibly be just a little less painful, so I can wait one more day before acting. If I ever feel that I can’t wait and am feeling compelled to go buy the last ingredient in my suicide recipe, then I know it’s time to call for help.