This past New Years, I had the first major mental breakdown in a long time. I’d certainly struggled many times throughout my life. Most certainly in the recent years. But something about that night really struck me. Why? It stemmed from seeing social media; people reminiscing about 2017. A common meme that night was things people did or accomplished that year. And it got me thinking: what did I accomplish in 2017? My conclusion? Nothing.
I made my own list, recapping my year. Writing it out only made me more depressed. I’d already been going through major depression for months. Then someone made a derisive comment about it. I confronted them privately, where they tried to give me “tough love,” comparing their own life with mine and saying I have no “real” reason to get so upset. Maybe because I felt so vulnerable at the time, this is the thing that set me off. After pacing around, deciding not whether to kill myself or not, but how to do it, I went with a plan I came up with a few years ago: go somewhere remote and let the cold do me in.
I drove out to where I usually got on the biking trail when I went for long rides. Originally, I planned on driving to another entry point near the Coke plant. I’d planned on going to my favourite spot on the trail: a small waterfall, climbing up it, and finding a quiet, secluded place to lay down and die. But I’d never driven there, so I couldn’t find it, which only made me more upset. So I settled for where I usually got on the trail in Bayers Lake. Before I left the car, I posted a short message on Facebook: “I can’t do another year of failures and disappointments. Goodbye.” Then I got out and just started walking.
As I walked and wept, my phone exploded with texts and phone calls. I either ignored them or promptly hung up on the person. I kept walking. My hands numbed. I purposely hadn’t dressed warmly, after all. I cried so hard, my voice got hoarse. Since no one could hear me, I was shouting, “Why? Why can’t I be happy? Why can’t I do anything with my life?” I cried even because I’d strayed from my original plan to lay down somewhere quiet. So I was even failing at my suicide plan. I turned back several times, intent on walking back to the car. Then I’d turn back again, thinking I’d look even more pathetic for not following through on my promise, or that I did it for the attention.
The phone rang again. I checked the display. It was my sister. For whatever reason, I answered. Maybe it was her crisis prevention training. Maybe it was that I already debated walking back to the car, myself. Whatever the reason, she managed to talk me into going back to the car. She kept me on the line while getting a hold of the police or my parents (who were at my other sister’s for a New Years party). Eventually, my parents arrived, followed by the police. I was taken to the hospital, then shortly released because they didn’t feel I was in danger. Maybe because I ranted about how I’d done this song and dance so many times, it became meaningless to me. The same questions. The same discussions. None of it fixes anything in the long term. Eventually, I’d wind up back at the hospital again, like I’d been multiple times in the past.
Since then, I’ve honestly struggled to stay “sane.” My family doctor added another anti-depressant. I saw a counselor at the local mental health clinic. They signed me up for group therapy (that starts next month). And…that’s about it. I’ve barely tried looking for a job. I rarely leave the house because outside of hanging out with my best friend, I don’t really have a social life or anywhere to go. And I feel like I’ve fallen way behind in the yoga teacher training I started last September.
And I guess it all comes back to the things that got me depressed in the first place:
1) I’m unemployed. I don’t really have any skills or experience to get anything more than a menial minimum wage job. Which means I can’t make enough money to support myself and move out of my parents place. I’m at a point now where I don’t believe having a stable career is even a viable future.
2) I’m lonely. I’ve been single for over a year now and no one I’ve met has gone beyond a first date. I blame the depression, the unemployment, and living with my parents. Maybe a combination of the three.
3) I gave up on my writing. This could be its own post (and I might write that), but it boils down to feeling like a failure as a writer. I feel like I lost the “spark” that made me enjoy writing at all. My two published novels are a financial failure. I don’t even like those books anymore. Worse, I don’t like anything I’ve written since.
4) I’m turning 40 this year. And all I see in my past is failure. All I see in my future is…nothing. I don’t see a future for me. I don’t see having a stable career. I don’t see myself meeting anyone to have a life with. I certainly don’t see myself having kids; certainly not at this age.
And even on days when I feel better, I still feel these things. I truly don’t believe I have a future. I don’t know why I keep going.
I realized what’s different about this suicide attempt: my spirit is broken. I don’t think it can be fixed. I don’t think it’ll ever be fixed. I think I’ve wasted too much of my life for it to be worth anything anymore.