spring comes soon

It happened with a quickness that is still a little puzzling to me, and makes me think that it was some extended practical joke that was broadcast live somewhere in a European country where smoking is still considered sexy. Things were rough, for a bit—a crazy man and threats of having my dog put down, and money woes, always the money woes, and endless, neverending, eternal fucking winter—but there was Mexico! Sunshine! Sunshine in Mexico! I will be cured! And for a week I was the happiest thing in the land.

And then I came back to a happy cat and my clean apartment and was glad to be home, except that things started to feel inexplicably bad, and badder, and the worst, until a week or so later I was up out of my bed and googling “painless suicide” in my underwear.

Googling “painless suicide” will make you feel a little bit like a dipshit; it will also, probably usefully but not in the way that you hope at three in the morning in your underwear, not provide you with the answers you’re looking for. Which will also make you feel Even More Alone and really totally unclear about what to do next.

I’ve been depressed before, terribly so, can’t-get-out-of-bed depressed, wishing-it-would-all-go-away depressed, endless-fits-of-utterly-prone-and-snotty-weeping depressed, but I have never hit that sweet spot before, where you’re depressed to the very specific degree that you want to die, and can also still function adequately enough to make that magic happen.

Usually I am far too weighted down with woe to do anything about it. This active, go-getter kind of despair was a new one on me, and having the possibility, the option of a way out, was, luckily, flummoxing enough that I wasn’t entirely clear what to do with it. You mean I really could just, you know—stop? Quit? Flip over the board and storm off? Take my ball and go home?

(No one would miss me, and no one would care, and people would probably even be better off and why shouldn’t I? What’s stopping me? I was talking myself into it, even if it would hurt. It would hurt for just a second, right? Unless I fucked that up, too. Oh, look, a rabbit hole, back around the way we came, and two, and three, and four.)

The idea was appealing, and the appealingness of the idea was terrifying, and I spent a lot of time terrified of myself and what I could end up doing, if that makes any sense. I’ve done stupid shit before, in fits of impulsiveness. I could do the ultimate stupid thing from which there is no handy Ctrl-Z.

Luckily I am no good under pressure, froze up, and waited it out quietly. A flurry of wretchedness, of isolation, of something that felt like perfect clarity but was as muddled as simple arithmetic after a jug of vodka. Keeping a secret, keeping it all secret because I felt like a ridiculous teenager.

Eventually confessing to E. I am alone, and lonely, and isolated, and scared of what I could do. And the look on his face was like a punch in the gut. Sometimes you need the punch in the gut.

Clawing my way back, every step careful, conscious, calculated. Add in: vitamins. A walk. More water. A protein shake. Start answering the email that’s piled up. Send out a short story. Finish my book proposal, send it out; start writing again, even just the tiniest bit. And think oh, hey. That’s what hope feels like. Interesting.

Enough measured, deliberate mimicry of human behaviors, and eventually you become a human being again. Eventually you feel human enough to count, to take up space in the world and not feel like you’re wasting it. Eventually you’re the person you think of as you, again, and not the heaped-up pile of mistakes and errors and trash you started to feel like, instead. I can hang on for a little while longer. Especially if spring comes soon.

photo by Kruggg6.

19 Replies to “spring comes soon”

  1. So glad you’re back to blogging! And thanks for sharing your story. It’s a brave thing that will no doubt help so many. Keep feeling better.

  2. No suicide is painless, at least for those left behind. Glad you found your way back. We would have missed you and the world would have been a much less wonderful place without you here. I hope you’re talking to someone professional about this stuff too.

  3. I don’t know what to day. But I do remember telling my best friend when I was feeling suicidal, and the look on his face, especially when I told him that I didn’t wan to tell him because I didn’t want to be too needy. I remember. I’m glad you got what you needed.

  4. Have definitely missed you and glad you’re working your way back. Don’t know what else to say other than I’m cheering for you.

  5. i get this more than i like. truly. more than i would admit to anyone i know. ((((jen)))) glad you came through the dark place. I hope you always do. and after reading you EVERY day for over two years i missed your voice. very much. love xxoo

  6. I don’t know you, but reading your blog has been meaningful to me and I’d miss you if you weren’t here. Please do whatever you need to do to find your inner light again. I’ve been there before, fortunately not for a few years, and the fight back is well worth the effort. All my best to you.

  7. Oh, sweetheart. That’s so hard. Take care of yourself and don’t be afraid to seek more help if you need it. It’s worth it. You’re worth it.

  8. Having just found you and your blog, I’d hate to lose you.
    Be strong and blieve in Spring. Your spirit just needs a spring clean.

  9. I am so glad you have started to make your way back. Climbing back out is hard, but you can make it.

  10. Oh, honey. I can’t tell you how glad I am you found your way back. I only know you from the Internet, but nevertheless would have felt a profound loss if you’d gone through with it. And if all these faceless strangers on the Internet would have missed you, how much more so your family and friends in real life? You are very loved. I hope you never forget that.

  11. I’m another loyal lurker who missed you while you were gone, and am so relieved that I won’t have to miss you much worse, if that makes sense. I have been where you were, far too recently for comfort; I’m just barely clawing my way back up the side of the cliff right now. But I can see cherry trees blooming at the top, and tulips, I swear it. Grab on, Jen…spring IS coming.

    Be well.

  12. I can’t think of anything pithy, interesting or helpful to say, but I will say I’m so glad you came through that unharmed. I hope you continue to get well; I have a feeling your voice and your words go far beyond what you realize.

  13. I just want to tell you that I love your honesty. Those dark places, they suck. I’ve been there. I too have learned that sometimes you need to just keep acting like a human being and eventually you become a human being again. I loved that line in this blog “Enough measured, deliberate mimicry of human behaviors, and eventually you become a human being again”. It’s very true. When I get down now I just try to remember that and I try to do one or two things each day that keep me feeling human. Eventually, the light comes back. I’m so glad that you found your way through and that you are feeling better!

  14. I am really glad you didn’t.You are real and cool and gifted and even in my lurkiness you make my world a better place…stay safe and take care of yourself.

  15. I really appreciate that you write so honestly about this. I don’t wish depression on anyone, and I’m so so so sorry you are going through this, but it is refreshing on some level to see the raw underside of it rather than a someone who is obviously hurting feeling like they have to pretend everything is okay.

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