I’m Not Dying While I Live
I used to be afraid of death. As a child, I’d have night terrors wherein I’d be facing a huge black hole of nothingness that would swallow me up and I would think, “this is death. This must be what death is. All this nothing.” And I was scared. There was nothing there: no love, no warmth, and no comfort…just black silence. Enough to engulf you like dark water and drown you in its cold embrace. This was the image of death that I carried with me into adulthood and so while I danced with depression and suicidal ideation for many years, I was afraid to die because I was afraid of my own vision of death.
Then I tried Ketamine infusions and ‘slipped the surly bonds of Earth’ through disassociation. It must have been around my sixth or seventh treatment when I really felt that I traveled into the realm of the afterlife and knew to not be afraid of what came after life. I’m not saying that I experienced true death, but I certainly experienced a life altering sense of being returned to a wonderful state of being. In my experience I was returning to a sense of wholeness and belonging. There was warmth and comfort and love and all the things missing from my childhood nightmare. I emerged from the ‘trip’ unafraid of death and convinced that ‘heaven’ existed, just not as most of us envisioned it in popular religious culture.
And, as with all things that demand balance, ‘Hell’ existed as well. On another trip, I went there also. And it was dark and menacing and all the things we fear as human beings. And it dragged me down. And I didn’t fight it, but submitted to its depths. Here was my terror come alive in my mind. I wasn’t able to wake or walk away. I was strapped to an IV in a near comatose state and physically unable to stand. So I let go. And I fell down further and further into my fear. But the letting go made it manageable because I wasn’t struggling. I floated softly into my terror and knew that it would end. I knew that I could not be hurt because I belonged to a larger entity of love and peace. This was not my place. This was simply my own horror. This was not where I would go when I died. This was being shown to me so that I could accept the fear in my mind as easily as I accepted the tranquility.
And so in my waking state, in my everyday life, I refuse to die while I live. My greatest fear is no longer dying. I’m okay and at peace with that transition, whenever it comes. My greatest fear now is having a part of me die while I’m still alive. My creativity. My idealism. My motivation. My dreams. These are the elements of my spirit. If I fail to nurture them, then they will die and not return with me into the larger state of being. Then they will be truly lost forever. I must strive to keep them alive as I grow older, and more jaded and more hardened by life. For these qualities are the best parts of the child who still lives within me. And, if I am strong enough to face my terror, then I must also be strong enough to hold fast to my hope. The greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we still live. My greatest wish is to avoid that fate.
I have considered myself in remission from major depressive disorder for a little over a year now. It took me a while to come to that determination and it wasn’t easily arrived at. I certainly didn’t want to declare myself “cured” when there was still much work to be done. And depression has a way of making you feel less than confident anyway so it took a good while before I was ready to even state that I was definitely getting better.
And then suddenly, I was getting worse.
It’s hard to say what the catalyst was or how many events triggered the fall. But I had one. And there I was: prostrate in a muddy hole with my face in the dirt. I thought of driving my vehicle into an oncoming semi truck. I thought of dying to escape the pain much as I had done in the throes of my worst moments. I thought of how wrong I had been to think that I could have overcome this part of me. How stupid I had been to think I was winning over the darkness.
And then I had to stop and evaluate my hole in the ground. It wasn’t swallowing me up. It was like the shallow end of the pool. If I stood up, I wouldn’t drown. I could walk out. That wasn’t something that I was even capable of a few years ago. That, in and of itself, was a small triumph.
So I came to the sad conclusion that I’m still capable of those thoughts. Those dark and dastardly thoughts entwined me with my depression like a strand of DNA that cannot be unwound. That disappoints me. I had hoped that one day I’d be completely free of the darkness. But, I’ve made sense of it this way: I’m not cured and I probably won’t be. At least until I’m old and gray and accept that life wants me after all. Because once I get to that place, the holes that I might fall into will be mere dips in the landscape of my life. The ground is hard, but the fall is short. And, with work, getting shorter all the time.
Show Yourself Out of My Existence. Thank You.
My existence, my opinion and my declarations do not require your approval or acceptance.
My thoughts are my own, my body is my own, and my mind is my own. Don’t try to curtail my thoughts. Don’t touch my body without my permission. Don’t tell me what I should think.
I used to care what you thought of me. I used to care a lot. And it got me nowhere. It gave me nothing, except anxiety and an unstable sense of self.
I’m a good person. I know this about myself. I’m not perfect, and I don’t need to be. All I need to be is willing to grow, willing to learn and willing to apologize when I’m wrong. I can do all that. My dignity is not based on your understanding or misunderstanding of me.
I don’t need you to agree with me. I don’t need you to change your mind.
So if you don’t like what I have to say, go away. If you want to shame me, keep moving along. All you do is shame yourself by speaking your shame against my truth. Accept that we all aren’t the same and don’t feel the same and don’t have to think the same and that’s okay.
Exception to the rule: If what YOU have to say hurts others, I will stand up to protect them, their rights and their existence against your poison. If I were to do the same, I’d want someone to stop me. I never want to be a weapon against another living spirit. I never want to do harm, if I can avoid it. I will be a shield for others if I can be. I will protect and uplift. This is my goal.
So if you’re not here for the same, show yourself out. I don’t need you in my life. And I’m okay with that.
I am I
So, my husband asked if people still blog in 2020. Maybe they do, maybe not, but here I am so I guess I count. I’m the last one maybe? Maybe I’m the last one on the bloggy bandwagon, whilst others are far more advanced in their web presence. What can I say? I’m a late, LATE adopter. I mean, when I first heard Nirvana and Dr. Dre back in 1993 (’92?) I was like “Pfffft. Hate it.” But pretty soon I was jamming those cassettes (!) in my boyfriend’s ride non-stop. I didn’t have my own car yet.
I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed…and a bit scared. I’m trying to do this for all the right reasons. To have an outlet. A venting space. A place where maybe someone else could come and see what I’m about. In case they have the same issues, questions, problems. Whatever. I’m hoping this will give me a voice. Something I’ve been missing for a few years now. And perhaps, something that I contribute will help someone else. That is the hope.
So why do it this way?
- I’d like to reach a wider audience than just myself? I have ideas, experiences, etc. that I’d like to share in case they might be found useful by someone else.
- Because Facebook has its limitations. Though I belong to different pages and groups via that platform concerned with my topic, this is more personal and hopefully I will be able to focus it on the significant experiences that I think will help others.
- The topics I hope to stick to are my life experiences with long-term Major Depressive Disorder as well as anxiety, my drug treatments and their outcomes. I’ve tried so many things and I want to share what has worked and what hasn’t.
- My ultimate hope is that this medium provides an outlet for me and some information for someone else, be they far or near.