life

What lies beyond fear

I’m 44 years old. The only thing that’s stopped me from committing suicide is the fear of the unknown. No one has come back from the dead to tell me what lies beyond. What punishment, if any, lies in wait.

On the other hand, it is fear of the unknown that prevents me from living. And I mean really living, not just existing. Embracing life. Instead, I seclude myself from the world and all participation in its activities. Because I don’t know what will happen next. I can’t predict the outcome. The result of my action. And that scares me. It frightens me to the point that I don’t engage in life. Except for the bare necessities of the daily grind. And then I am left alone. With my thoughts of living and not actually living, and dying and not actually dying.

Fear of the unknown. Such irony. It stops me from killing myself as much as it stops me from living. So what lies beyond this fear? Life. Or death?

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No, Bipolar, I said no!

*trigger warning – suicidal ideation, but it has a happy-ish ending*

I’m rapid cycling at a fast pace. Over the weekend I was in good spirits and had plenty of rest to ease the sciatica pain. Then came Tuesday when I made another nose dive into suicidal ideation again.

My boss had pointed out a mistake I’d made. My kind of mistakes cost the company BIG money and I’m well aware of how much my bad memory and confusion is affecting my work. But so far I haven’t made any irreversible errors. But this time I have, and combined with Thursday’s diagnosis of ‘decline in cognitive ability’, I felt worthless, incapable and frightened for my future. I decided then and there I was going to kill myself that night.

I went to the bathroom and cried. I cried because I’ve lost the ability to do my job seamlessly. A job I’ve been doing for years. A repetitive job that I used to know how to do with my eyes closed. But I can’t anymore because I can’t remember, from one click of the mouse to the next, how to do my job.

And then I cried because I didn’t want to live anymore. It’s too tiring – the stress, the struggle. Fear, uncertainty. It’s a scary place to be when you’ve set a date, time and method. Its desolate. I cried most of the day. When I got home I lay on my bed looking out the window at the bright blue sky and thought – I’ll never see a blue sky again.

My mind began to wander – I’ll never see my home renovations to fruition, or a yellow daisy, an ant carrying a crumb of bread, another sunrise. I’ll never feel warm, soft beach sand under my feet. I’ll never get to enjoy a crescent-shaped moon, or a chocolate milkshake; music, stroking a cat’s silky fur, or playing fetch with a dog. No more swimming in the sea, diving under the foamy waves. Never again the warmth of a hug, a laugh with a friend, the smell of vanilla incense, freshly shampooed hair, a roasting chicken, sea breezes, or a man’s cologne. No pizza. Ever. I’ll never write another word or take another photo; never cook, eat, clean, iron, smoke a cigarette or have sex. Ever again.

And so I changed my mind. And as if to confirm my choice, the very next day I read this post by fellow blogger, Scott Williams – clinical therapist, life learner, storyteller. You must follow, he’s a gem of insight.

There is so much more I want out of life than the misery I live in at this present moment. I always try to tell myself – nothing ever stays the same, change is one of the constants in life. I’m not going to let bipolar be a thief in the night and steal my life. I’m going to keep grinding through this episode, with one eye on the crescent moon, sipping on a chocolate milkshake and laughing with a friend.