This is not a suicide note. In fact, I think it’s a sign that I’m relatively quite far off from that. But I have to warn you up front that I am unwell and have been that way for a long time. Also, in case you are easily triggered (and I mean that in the clinical sense of the term, not the “lol, I’m a troll top kek fuck ur feelings dur-hur-hur” sense,) the tl;dr is that I’m dealing with a wonderful cocktail of clinical depression, anxiety, uncategorized learning disability, and possible internet addiction.
I don’t know if you’ve picked up on it. One of the things I’ve learned about myself the past few months is that I’m very good at hiding when I’m in pain or need something. I’m what I call “the designated good kid.” I’ve been the DGK longer than I’ve had my other issues. I may or may elaborate on that, but right now, I need to talk about why I haven’t been putting out content as consistently as I used to.
You see, I have depression and anxiety. Those words are interesting ones in that have one or more definition person (like Feminism, Capitalism, Free Speech, etc.) and as such require me to define my terms.
From what I can tell, when most people encounter difficulties or have something good happen, they assign responsibility quickly and move on. There is a slight bias in their thinking in that they believe the majority of their good fortune is due to themselves and that the bad is the fault of Them. They also decide on a course of action and identify their feelings, usually very quickly, and usually move on. Or they can consciously move on. Sometimes, on good days, I am like this.
Other times, things most people (or maybe I’m just thinking of the mythical Normal Person) would think of as trivial annoyances or even good things, are existential terrors to me. I subconsciously bottle them up inside me, because I know that the mythical Normal Person wouldn’t even bother to laugh it off. I keep it inside until it manifests physically. Usually, I get coughing jags. Horrendous, hacking fits that can last for minutes and echoed up and down the school corridors during my middle and high school days. Most recently, at my awful, awful former job, it manifested as vomiting before I went to work, sometimes as many as seventeen times in under two hours, not even able to keep down small sips of Ginger Ale. Sometimes, as if by magic, these symptoms would calm down or even magically vanish when I called it in or got sent home.
Other times, I have debilitating panic attacks. The reason I checked myself into the hospital in January is that every time I tried to do something, my breathing would become ragged, like I had run a mile under heavy fire. I’d break down in tears and shake uncontrollably. My thoughts would race, somehow always circling back to one simple question: Wouldn’t it all be easier if you were dead? I was driving at the time, and eventually I had to pull the car over and have my mom and sister come pick me up because I was seriously considering crashing full-speed into a tree. Half my mind was focused on trying to stop these thoughts and come up with a plan to get out safely, the other half was plotting the best angle to hit to instantly kill myself but not inconvenience any of the other drivers on the road.
Almost constantly, even when the other situations are going on, I’ll feel stuck. I’ll blame myself for small mistakes or things that I rationally know are out of my control. Instead of asking for help or what some would say I deserve, I worry about inconveniencing others or overstepping my bounds. When I try to do things, I become convinced that it doesn’t matter. When I think of approaching people romantically, I become convinced that people will find my sexual tastes, appearance, and personality repugnant and, in my less lucid moments, wonder if all the evidence to the contrary is some sort of conspiracy.
As these thoughts increase, I sink deeper into this despair molasses. The deeper it increases, the more I believe nothing coming from me matters. Since I believe nothing matters, I just sit around and play computer games or screen suck… until I become too disgusted with myself to be relieved by that. I was going along this path.
Each one of these three paths always leads to one question. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if you were gone? Then I begin to think up ways to “go away” that won’t bother anyone. So far I’ve been realistic enough to know that there’s no way I can end myself without hurting the people who care about me. I just can’t. That’s stopped me many times before, but that excuse is wearing out, and it scares me.
Some of the more perceptive of may be saying “Wait, you said you went to the hospital. Why aren’t you cured?” Well, I have a learning/social disability. Some people say it’s an Autism spectrum disorder, with a few going as far as saying it’s Asperger’s. Some say it’s ADD or ADHD. My favorite is the one that says “Other, Unspecified.”
What does this mean? Well, apart from being bad at math and programming (yay for breaking stereotypes! Whooo!) it means I naturally favor a coping mechanism called isolating. In plain English, by default, I avoid people when I feel hurt, afraid, bored, overwhelmed, anything, nothing, etc. Sometimes that’s good. People are like big cats at a zoo. Viewed from behind a nice sturdy wall or on a screen, they’re cute and beautiful. In real life, they can seriously hurt you.
However, humans aren’t designed to live without contact with other humans. And my constant state of feeling awful is proof. I want to keep writing. That can be good for me. But I need human connection, and fixing myself might take a long time.