Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Delving Deep

It's rare for me to feel ashamed or embarrassed and I'm mostly an open book, but there are some things that are just too horrible to articulate.  On the 21st, I alluded to some dark thoughts that I had been having.  I'd be content to keep those thoughts locked away forever because I am ashamed for entertaining this line of thinking for even a moment.  I'm only exposing this because I hope my confession might help anyone reading this who has suffered or is currently suffering with grief.

* * *

I slept poorly the night before (on the 20th) and, as a bonus, I also had a migraine for several sleepless hours.  I started the day exhausted and drained.  I made the bad decision to not follow my schedule and flaked out on going to my son's pre-preschool.  This gave me the opportunity to languish about and it was my excuse for moping around the house.

I was weeping openly as I was doing the breakfast dishes that morning, mourning the loss of my only brother, and I accidentally cut myself with a butter knife.  Yeouch!  I had no idea that a butter knife would slice flesh, but it sure did.  I dropped the knife back in the sink and tightly gripped my finger.

Do it again.

I gasped at the thought and looked around the kitchen.  My tears stopped flowing as my blood dripped into the basin.  I stared at those drops of blood, no longer feeling the numbing pain of grief.  I was only aware of the pain from my cut.  It was something that I could feel.

Do it.  You know you want to.

"No. . ." I whispered quietly to myself.  I was very aware of my heartbeat and the sound of the Wonder Pets playing on the television in the front room.  I stared out my kitchen window without seeing anything.  Time began to slow.  My finger throbbed and I pushed old memories from my head.

Don't you want to feel alive?  Do it!

"Stop it!  You're starting to sound crazy!" I picked up the butter knife and, for the briefest of moments, turned out my forearm and studied the network of blue veins.

Up and across. . .it's easy.  You have better knives. . .

I threw the butter knife back to the sink and fled the kitchen for the safety of my son and the Wonder Pets in the living room.  My son was dancing and clapping his hands.  Everything looked remarkably normal and comfortable.

I flung myself onto the couch.  My chest was tight and my breathing was rough.  I covered my face with my hands and I shook with violent sobs though no tears fell.

"I can't do this.  Help me.  Please!  Oh God, please help me!" 

I don't know how long I cried out.  It might have been five minutes, it might have been five hours.  But I felt totally spent afterward.  Limp.  The rest of my day was filled with quiet contemplation while my son enjoyed a rare day filled with cartoons on the television.

Was my horrible thought process telling me to simply cut?  Or to kill?  I don't know and I don't really care.  Neither are acceptable to me.  I would never intentionally hurt my family so why would I have such  thoughts?  Why would I entertain them at all?  How could I possibly consider such a selfish act?  Was I really going crazy?

And then that evil little voice came back.  To accuse. 

Hasn't your family suffered enough without your selfishness?  What's the matter with you?  No one could ever forgive you or understand.  You better straighten up, girl, or else.  Look at you; crying and weeping.  You should be ashamed of yourself!

Yes, my thoughts took me to suicide and I suffered these terrible accusations all day long.  All day long.

* * *

I wish I could say that it was the first time I've ever had those types of thoughts, but it wasn't.  I came dangerously close on two different occasions a long time ago during my first marriage.  My love and concern for my family is the only reason I am still here today.  I kept living through the agony so that I didn't hurt my family.  It was such a horribly miserable period and I don't care to share any more on those memories at this time.

I had one very dark day in the last month, but rest assured that I haven't had those kinds of thoughts since.  I pray that they don't return and I'm trying hard to keep myself surrounded by loved ones. . .I have found that quiet moments are when you can hear that horrible little voice.  So I've been trying to stay busy.

Self-destructive thoughts are not unusual while suffering grief, but you can expect them to pass somewhat quickly.  If, however, your self-destructive thoughts persist or you find yourself taking steps to make it happen - get professional help NOW!  Call 911 if necessary, do whatever it takes to take care of yourself and keep yourself safe.

I hope that sharing this has been helpful if you've ever suffered crushing grief or are currently suffering.  Sometimes we go to deep and dark places when we're grieving. . .let's crawl out together and enjoy a little sunshine.

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