Look, if they were actual voices, I might even enjoy the company. I talk to myself a lot (although in all fairness I seldom listen).
But they’re not.
They’re thoughts. Incessantly repetitive, extremely persuasive thoughts that will, unless I do something, literally (yes, I do actually mean literally, not metaphorically) pummel me to the ground, and incapacitate me.
But let me start at the beginning.
Foolish scars of broken dreams
I hardly even sleep any more. Well, I do, but the quality is horrendous.
I average 3-5 hours a night. I was used to 7-9, so that’s bad enough. But it’s not even the lack of sleep that is doing me in. It’s the dreams.
Without fail my dreams are about loss and redemption: every time I apparently let someone down in the most horrible (yet mostly undefined) way -clearly I am more of an abstract concept of evil than an actual bad person, which obviously is a massive relief – and I either spend the dream being confused and miserable or having a huge fight about the unfairness of it all. Sometimes I even try and save the someone(s) from weird catastrophes (last night they were shutting me out of their sticks-n-twigs house on stilts to gossip about me, but it collapsed and I ran in to rescue them. See? I’m a totally awesome good guy).
And then I enter this odd in-between state, where you’re neither entirely asleep, nor fully awake. Normally I’d easily drift off again. But then, always, there is a half-cocked realisation that, after the nightmare, I am back in reality now. And that it is not a relief.
This immediately causes all these thoughts, who are wide awake on double espressos and ready for action, to burst gleefully forth out of the suddenly wide open gates of my mind’s Pandora’s box.
A song of fire and lies
“Oh, you’re awake. Things are going to get so much worse now, boy-o. Because this is your reality. No more hiding!
“You are obviously no more than a broken shell. What do you bring to the table? What on earth would make you interesting, let alone stand out?”
“Your friends only think they like you, because you work so hard at it. Now that you can’t, they will see the real you. And scorn you, leave you, or worse: pity you.”
“You are and always will be alone”
“You lost all these years, because you are too much of a liar and a coward to take an honest decision”
“All you do is hurt people”
“You think you could ever connect with anyone? You miss even the most basic of interpersonal skills.”
“You know SHE left you because you did prove to be a pathetically insecure, boring, needy, communicatively stunted, incapable, and unattractive loser, right?”
“There is only one absolute certainty: you will fail. Always.”
“To be happy all you need to do is change every single thing about yourself: your body, your psyche, your thought patterns, your emotional reach, your dress sense. And you cannot, because you’re lazy and weak.”
“You still haven’t won one single Nobel prize yet, have you?”
“Oh, also: you ugly, fatso!”
And a million more. On repeat.
Listening to every single physical signal and instinct now I would simply not get up.
Every fibre of my being is convinced there simply is no point. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care.
The possibility that potentially someone else might care, which I am certain they do not (every single bit of evidence to the contrary), is simply immaterial.
I do not matter.
This feeling weighs so heavily it actually paralyses me.
For hours I won’t even move. I can’t. I am literally physically unable to. Not that it bothers me much. It feels kind of…right. It’s how it’s meant to be. It’s part known symptom, part familiar pattern, part well-deserved punishment.
Knowing me, knowing blue
A small interlude.
Those of you familiar with depression will in some way recognise the symptoms described above for sure.
Those who are not often marvel at the shamelessly indulgent display of Self Destructor, the Indolent Ingrate!
Wonder at the Lazy Lout!
Be amazed at his grasp of Nocent Nothingness! (only 25 cents entry. No touching. He cries easily.)
See, I have found it often not easy to explain to those (mercifully) unfamiliar with the effect of depression exactly how physically debilitating it can be. It’s not like a broken leg that you can see. It doesn’t bleed. To all intents and purposes it is invisible in anything but perceived negative and destructive behaviour.
The best analogy I have come up with so far is that you want to imagine the worst fever you have ever had.
You’re lying in bed, dazed, with this feeling of some kind of horrible “wrongness” pervading your entire being. You’re incapable of properly concentrating on anything but that horrible “wrong” feeling that constantly demands your complete attention. You don’t feel like doing, leave alone enjoying, anything else. And all the while your body just demands you need go back to sleep.
This comes close.
Basically there is a full system error, and a recuperation signal is constantly being transmitted.
Shout at the devil
So, yeah, mental and physical paralysis. I’ve been there.
A couple of times, in fact.
So I already know, from experience, that giving in only makes things so much worse. Nothing feels better. I seem to feel every pore of my body. Everything scrapes, itches, aches and chafes. And those fucking thoughts just
The weird thing is that I actually always have considered myself incredibly lazy. So I am kind of amazed at the insane amount of willpower I display now. And even weirder: it is fuelled by the very same sense of “it doesn’t matter” as my indolence normally would be!
I force myself to get up. Make coffee. I pretty much lost all of my appetite, so not bothering with breakfast (which is brilliant. I already lost four kilos!).
I check work mails and tasks (oh yes, I’m still working, albeit not full-time for now. I simply cannot bring the laser sharp 100% focus needed in my job. So it would be unfair to everyone, my team, my customer and myself, to suggest otherwise and disappoint.)
Then I start on Facebook, Meetup, EventsHere and every single other event planning option out there to check out what’s going on around town with which I can fill my days. I go to every concert. Attend every meeting. Meet up with new people. Hell, I have even set up profiles on several dating sites and am dating like crazy (well. Trying to anyway. But I’ll elaborate on that in future posts).
I tell myself it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters. So I might as well, right?
All the hyperactive planning, all the activities, all my zipping around like a coked up rubber ball with ADHD on steroids drowns out the other thoughts. And that is the goal.
I reach out to friends and family (insofar as they do not reach out to me, which they do, en masse) and set up visits. I go to personal physical training. I am now a language coach, a volunteer on three different causes (none of which I have any personal stake or vested interest in) simply because someone asked in a whatsapp group. I’ll pick up anything. I’ll join anywhere.
I have time. I’ll do it.
I spend the entirety of the day going around with myself by the scruff of the neck.
I have no choice.
Just to stop these thoughts. To not let them stop me.
But it is so incredibly exhausting.
I am so tired. So weary. I fall asleep in seconds when my head hits the pillow. But just before I drift off, hard as I try to push the thought away, there’s always the little straggler that just has to whisper in my ear before disappearing in its box again: “You do know it’ll all start again tomorrow, dont’t you, boy? (yeah, the sons of bitches are condescending as fuck). There is no relief.”
I am scared. There’s no denying that. Even while the nihilistic “nothing matters” mantra shields me from sinking into despair.
Knowing full well that it’s not true -but completely incapable to believe, leave alone incorporate it in any way, I feel so incredibly lonely.
And so, very, very tired.
I try. I honestly, seriously try. Very hard. But -and this is so hard to admit, as I despise coming up on my own limits and boundaries- I don’t bloody know how long I can keep this up.
Next post: Preparation! Preparation! Preparation!
Me pulling the plug -yes. Suicide. Let’s name it for what it is.- is an option as real and attainable as any other. Right now rather more so, to be honest. But, unlike M*A*S*H* would have you believe, it’s really NOT a painless process! More on that next time.
- Song for the day:
- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/0kEQwPz9SrMN8E5iL9cxQL?si=N9SFrgcGR4GmynvjtWO2Qg
“God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes
‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to sing the blues”