Fall Has Fallen And So Have I.

Holy man. Been a rough ride, hasn’t it? This blog has shifted and changed so much from what I had first anticipated. What began as a place to tell stories about my life working in coffee shops turned into a chronicle of my ups and downs and major life changes.

I’m still barely hanging on right now. I fill my days with whatever distractions I can so I don’t have to face the reality that I’m down. Way down. And I know I need help (which yes, I also know I’ve said before). There’s been a major change at work, though, so that help is closer than ever before.

Before, my employer only offered $500/year for mental health services. I didn’t see the point in seeking help because there’s no way in hell $500 would be enough and I certainly can’t afford a therapist on my own. Beginning Oct. 1, that coverage is increasing to $5000/year. You read that right. $5000. They have quite literally saved my life, because if I have to continue the way I have been, I don’t know that I would make it to my 29th birthday. Janelle died over a year ago but the ripple effect of her choice to end her life is still affecting me in a big way.

I still withdraw from people when I’m like this. I can’t bear to see pity in people’s eyes when they look at me. I can’t stand knowing I’m no fun to be around because all I can do is sit there staring into space. Most of us put on a show when we’re at work or out in public because we have to, but when I’m at home it’s a totally different story.

I had my first major panic attack a couple weeks ago. I was at work, everything was fine, and suddenly my hands started shaking hard. I felt like there were millions of bubbles inside my body and if I stopped moving they would all pop and kill me. I have plenty of tiny panic attacks at work and usually I just keep my head down and clean like a maniac until that bubble feeling passes. This time was VERY different.

I went to the back to pull some pastries from the freezer and started sobbing. I mean full-on sobbing to the point I couldn’t catch my breath. A coworker sat with me and tried to calm me down but I couldn’t get my breathing back to normal and I couldn’t stop the tears. I ended up being sent home, where I continued to be anxious for the next couple hours until I finally fell asleep. And since that day, I haven’t felt quite right. I’m angry. The slightest thing irritates me. That’s not the person I normally am, so this is weird.

I also found out some news that really upset me recently. There’s no reason it should’ve upset me, but it did. And I fixated on it. For some reason I felt like I was being cut out and fucked over but I knew if I said anything while I was feeling like that it would’ve come out completely wrong. So I’m still sitting here consumed by those emotions, because I don’t know how to articulate them without sounding like an asshole. I feel like the largest portions of my days are spent trying desperately to regulate my spiraling emotions but it’s a battle I’m beginning to lose.

September is almost over though. And then I can finally reach out and get some help. I can’t keep doing this. I’m so tired from the last couple of years. I should’ve known last October that it was getting worse because when I was hit by that car, I didn’t give a shit. I was honestly a little disappointed that I wasn’t hit harder. Because I want to be dead, but I’m too afraid to do it myself. It’s the same reason I still smoke and drink way too much caffeine. I’m a coward. It’s not bravery in the face of depression, it’s me being too chickenshit to do what Janelle did. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I know I want to live. I just need help finding my way back to that path. I can’t wait to look back on this one day and barely be able to remember what it was like to feel so terrible. I want this to be a distant memory.

I was diagnosed when I was around 15-16. I stopped taking my meds shortly after I started them. I’m now nearly 29, which means I’ve been walking around in constant emotional pain for almost thirteen years, and I’m fucking tired of it. I have two solutions: death or therapy. Since the first option seems awfully permanent, I think I should go with the second option first.

So that’s my explanation as to why I abandoned this blog in July 2015. I just couldn’t do it anymore. The noise in my head got to be too much.

I’m back now. I don’t know what the future has in store for me, but I’m going to do my best to be around to see it.

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Sorting out my life by writing about it.

4 thoughts on “Fall Has Fallen And So Have I.

  1. Speak freely? OK, I will.

    First, you will never see pity in my eyes. Sympathy, yes. But pity is for weak sucks and losers, and you are neither. You’re no coward, either.

    Second – were I physically there – I would not give a shit whether you’re fun to be around or not. We had a code – everyone comes home, or NO ONE does. ‘Fun’ doesn’t enter into it. Life is all about loyalty.

    Third, I think you are one of the bravest people I have ever met (and I won’t ‘filter’ the word meet with any meeting online, virtual reality crap…you’re real, and so am I, and as for the euphemisms, fuck ’em). You went to hell since last July, and now you’ve returned. I cannot tell you of the joy I felt when I saw you had come back. You’re a hero. And you’d damn well better want to live, because if I ever hear you’ve died I will follow you to wherever you’ve gone and drag your ass back to this life, because we NEED YOUR VOICE.

    It isn’t about stories from the frontlines of the coffeehouse wars. It’s about a dear and beloved brave woman who is facing demons that few of us have ever imagined, and facing them with grace and cigarettes and caffeine and humour and the occasional ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’. (I smoke too, so we’re in that together!) And did I mention that I can use extremely bad language? Well, shit, fuck me, guess I didn’t say that.)

    Jen, you are a remarkable person. You are brave and strong and kind and resilient, and you’re at your best when you think you’re at your worst.

    I’m not a hugger – and that’s a good thing, because since I’ve grown a beard I look like Gimli on an Extremely Bad Hair Day – but when one day we meet in person I will hug YOU. Be warned.

    1. I’m not a real big hugger myself but I would damn well accept a gigantic hug from you any day. I think I’m just frustrated more than anything. I know myself pretty damn well at this point in my life, and it pisses me off when I KNOW it’s just my depression sneaking in and whispering in my ear but I’m completely unable to stop it. And I’m frustrated that there are SO DAMN MANY of us all facing similar shit on a daily basis and all we really have is each other because people without mental illnesses don’t really know what to do with us. And there are millions of people in the world facing far worse shit and I’m over here all “WAAH MY LIFE HURTS” when I have electricity and internet and hot water and food… but I’m just so damn sad. Or empty. But I don’t have to tell you that — you already know what this is like. You’re wearing the same badge as I am. We’re all members of the “Life Fucked Me Up Real Good” club around here.

      I’m not going anywhere. I’ll talk about it a lot but I would never do it unless I had no one else left in the entire world. I’m trying so hard, like you’re trying hard and so many others are trying hard every single day. It’s an uphill climb up a mountain of shit and all we can do is hope the summit is worth it.

      Knowing you’re here helps. Knowing you’re not bullshitting me when you say you’re here helps. I have too many people who want to wear the mantle of “I Helped My Suicidal Friend” without actually being supportive in any way. Without letting me say things that make them uncomfortable. Without trying to cheer me up. When you leave comments like the one you just did, I believe them. And I AM going to try to get some professional help. I’d like to experience life without the lens of hopelessness clouding everything up.

      Thank you for commenting. Thank you for still being here, even when I abandoned you. Thank you for being real with me, always. I appreciate you more than you could ever know.

      1. Dear brave Jen, you never abandoned me. You had a dark passage. I simply waited for you.

        And yes, Jen, I do know what sad is like, but please…don’t compare. Others have less, some have more, but your heartache is unique to you. Don’t play it down. Pain hurts, no matter what.

        You will never have no one else in the whole world. I will be on your side to the end of my days, and after that I’m walking out of Heaven (or I’ll get kicked out of hell for bad behaviour) and I’ll be by your side. Your courage has roped you into the Team; a lot of guys who are dead now, and me. I talk to them regularly, and we’ve adopted you.

        And we ‘adoptees’ (including the guy who’s writing, who talks to dead dudes) are all a little whacko. Society didn’t understand us – the same society so many died to protect marginalized us for what we did and who we were. And you know what? It didn’t matter. We who had endured were driven half-mad, but in that madness was the answer to a secret that the rest of the world could never share. We saw the edge of the razor, and could step away with respect.

        ‘Suicidal’ is just a word; it doesn’t define anything except a period of time . For awhile, when the PTSD got too hard to deal with, I had the Suicide prevention Center on my cell phone’s speed-dial. Not pulling the trigger is ALL that matters.

        You’re such an inspiration, and such an example. My life would be infinitely poorer had we not met.

      2. I feel the same about you, my friend. You shine a light into the darkest corners and it gets easier to believe that better days are coming. I’m grateful to have been adopted by you guys, because dead or alive, we all know what’s what. That dance along the razor’s edge takes a hell of a lot of balance but we somehow manage to stay upright. The support I feel is incredible. It’s okay to be whacko — I think we’re in good company and so as long as we have each other, we can stay on the life side of the razor.

        I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to fight for your country and then come back broken and be abandoned by the society you saved, but you’re right — pain is pain and it sucks no matter where it comes from. In a perfect world, none of us would be experiencing this, but at least we can talk about it and be open and not sugar-coat everything and serve it up on a pretty platter. That space and permission to lay out all the ugly feelings just as they are is so important and helpful. It helps me function in the world outside my head.

        I’m right here by your side, too. Support is a two-way street around here. You’ve already done so much to remind me that I’m still connected to this world and I lack the words to properly thank you.

        You inspire me to keep on fighting. You remind me there are still an infinite number of reasons that I should stay and get through the bad times. Even if I can’t manage to do it for myself, I can do it for the Team.

Speak freely.

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