Did you self-care?
Today I walked into another nightmare. It felt dark, a dark day like the black days I’d seen before. Those countless days before. The cup of coffee I drank sparked my motivation. I used this to launch into my work, ignoring a sensation creeping over me like a spill. Work filled the emptiness but in the back of my mind the voices were mumbling. Not good enough. I focused on what I needed to do. Worthless. When my work was through the wave of despair hit like a tsunami. Isolated, alone, friendless, hopeless, hapless, moron.
My body felt like a sandbag. I sat motionless, enduring the flood of negative thoughts, all the self-hate that ruled my mind for three decades had returned in a single day. I looked across the room at the time. It was now 2:00 pm. Did I take my meds? Guess not. I went for the familiar orange bottle, the big one. I felt a heaviness on me like a lead vest in the x-ray room. The anguish of sorrow and grief and loneliness weighed on me so deeply I knew that taking an anti-depressant wouldn’t do anything for me today. Maybe I should get out and go somewhere? But where? I did not know where.
Today I got one mile from my house and pulled off the road. I could go no further. The pain in me was just too much. Others cars drove slowly past as I sat there trying to figure out what I was doing, what I was going to do, where I was going. Everything seemed so meaningless. So bad. So cutting. I turned around and went back home. Alone.
It stinks to wake up feeling like I’m trapped in an Alice in Chains Song. Today's experience sent chills through me, not because of the despair itself but because that emotion followed so close behind me. I’d missed one, perhaps one and a half days. And the downward spiral was right there, following me like a shadow. The world snapped to black and everything distorted. I felt just like I did before I sought help three years ago. Today was like one day time travel back to 1992 or 2002 or 2012. It’s frightening how close those thoughts follow me despite the years of therapy and medication and support groups and self-care. It’s not over. It may never be over for me.
I endured my pain knowing it wasn’t forever and I did so with the realization that I’d brought this upon myself. I wasn’t practicing self-care, the basics of doing what you need to do to be a functioning human being suffering emotional setbacks. Sometimes I feel guilty because from the outside self-care seems indulgent. Like I am loafing or something. But part of my self-care means being very mindful of my medication. Other things I do are daily walks through the evergreen forest near me. Self-care is what keeps people like me alive. One or two days without being careful might lead me to my death and I want to get past that feeling of wanting to die.
I want to stay up all night to get lucky!