I haven’t written in a while. Nothing pulled me to metaphorical pen and paper and begged to be articulated. The stories I had now felt shallow and superficial or more of the same.
Really, as I just caught myself tracking my thoughts as they slowly became darker and twistier, things were not the same. They were worse.
Finishing my PhD was a gargantuan task for me. It would be fair to say that it was a “collapse at the finish line” kind of victory. Almost immediately after graduation my anxiety got bad. In describing it to my treatment team–therapist, PCP, psychiatrist–I told them it was like the anxiety was waiting on me to be done and now the floodgates were open. May 21, the day the levies broke. I celebrated the accomplishment of becoming a doctor and simultaneously wanted to sleep in a very dark and quiet room for about a month. Being in my own skin hurt like the worst sunburn imaginable. That kind of pain that never is quelled because everytime you move you are reminded of it. It is persistent and it is consuming.
From there the number of anxiety and panic attacks I had increased in frequency but also in severity. I was having three to four before lunch and they left my body so constricted and sore that it hurt to move. Their severity scared me so much I went to the doctor because I was sure something was medically physically wrong with me. There wasn’t.
Do you know what it’s like to feel like you are going to die every single day? I do. My attacks feel like drowning. I am frantic on the inside searching aimlessly for a way to escape this ocean of my own pontifications. But the waves keep crashing down on me. I’m wet, not from the water but from the sweat. I work tirelessly to catch my breath, which remains evasive…at least mentally. PLEASE I always end up begging to the Neptune of my nightmares Either let me go or just kill me. Eventually the pain of the attack ends. But the pain of my life is there waiting.
The friend who is angry I have not called or committed enough attention to our relationship. The supervisor who is wondering where I am, why I’m late to work or why I’m requesting leave at the beginning of the school year. The lack of money because my disability insurance doesn’t pay what my salary pays and because it’s from the state, it is never on time. The stress of borrowing money from loved ones but not knowing exactly when I can pay them back. Every disability check that does come, being allocated to clearing debts. The damage to my credit for not paying my debts on time or in full because of the personal debts and the lack of a paycheck. The Partner’s who get pushed away because I don’t have the emotional energy to invest in someone else. The words unwritten that just live inside me because when I go to tell my story all I can do is cry.
Who do I ask for help when I don’t know what I need?
Am I ever going to get out of this sadness? How? When?
What am I missing?
I thought I had a higher purpose and a higher calling. Was I wrong?
They’re the thoughts that precede the thought that nobody wants to admit they have or had: Is any of this worth it or should I just…quit?
I don’t think of killing myself. I think of floating in the middle of the ocean at peace. My body my own little island surrounded by water, needing nothing and no one except sunshine. There is no debt. There are no angry friends or exes. There’s just peace. I think that’s what true suicidal ideation is. It’s when you hurt so badly for so long that you would do ANYTHING to find that peace.
I am not there. I have been there before. I know I am not here again. But, it’s getting closer and that scares me. It scares me to recognize that I am hurting so badly and I am so desperate for healing that I’m remember my island. I can smell the air. It’s sweet and smells of plumeria. I wish I never knew that smell. I wish it’s aroma didn’t bring such bittersweet memories. I wish I were a woman who never Struggled with depression and anxiety. I, however, am not.
I am a woman who, despite having weaning faith, still believes in myself and in a higher calling for my life. And so I’m fighting to outlast pain. To say to hurt and fear that they have not and will not defeat me. To declare to the world that I am an unconquerable soul. I just…today, I can’t be her. Today I am the girl who is giving in to the overwhelming tightness in my chest and crying until my ducts are dry. Today I’m dreaming of the island. Tomorrow, I hope, will be better.