The Bleak Hours

Fog
The hours, days, months, and even years of living in despair – the bleak hours.

Despair creeps in like a slow rolling fog. An insidious cloud at the edge of my peripheral vision. There are always signs that the bleak hours are coming; the flu-like symptoms, lack of interest, lack of energy and denial.

So, I sleep more, I do less, and I watch my self-esteem crumble. I can’t stay on top of my life, my simple, uncomplicated life. Most people work full-time, take care of a home, raise kids, hang out with friends and spend time indulging hobbies. I don’t work, live alone with 4 dogs, and can live my life any way I choose, and I still can’t make it happen. I have a pity-party, I feel worthless and I sleep to escape my dark thoughts.

Yesterday, I cried off and on, for no reason. I think the pain wells up deep inside of me and spills out of my eyes. I tell myself that if I don’t get a handle on the crying I will have to go to the hospital. I can feel myself breaking apart inside. I’ve been there before and when I get to the breaking point, I scare the hell out of people.

If I’m going to the hospital, I have a few things to take care of first. As I make a mental note of what I need to do I find the dark thoughts lifting. Preparing for a breakdown is too much work, so I start tidying up to distract myself. It works, and I find my internal drama quiets, allowing me to have a pleasant evening.

After a fitful night’s sleep, I wake exhausted and stumble to let the dogs out. I go back to bed for a couple of hours before I decide to get up and head for the dog park. There are other people there and we chat, but I feel detached and heavy in my body and my spirit. I can’t wait to get home.

I pick up a coffee and muffin on the way home and here I sit, browsing facebook and feeling restless. I’ll have a nap soon and sleep away the afternoon, quieting all the noise in my head. Napping is my favorite escape from mental anguish. When I wake up I will feel refreshed and in a better position to fight the chaos in my mind and body. I’ve been here before and I know this will pass, after all, God is with me and He will carry me to the other side.

The bleak hours are always there, hovering on the outskirts waiting for an opportunity to settle in my spirit. This is my reality. Time spent during the bleak hours serves to make me stronger and more appreciative of the beautiful, joyful moments. Moments that fill me with hope for a better day and a better life without the bleak hours.

 

Fear, Self-loathing and Suicide

DarknessI knew you were back, your whispers stirring up anxiety and self-doubt. I make plans with every intention of following through, and I look forward to my plans with trepidation and excitement. But then you show up whispering doubts in my ear. All the what-ifs and the questions about my ability to cope.

Your name is Fear, you are relentless in your pursuit to bring me down, and you almost always win. By the time you leave me I’m sick with worry, wondering why I made plans in the first place.

I wish it stopped there but you can only do so much, so you hand me over to Self-loathing. Self-loathing and I go back a long way, so far back I don’t remember a life without her. She shows up after I realize that I will cancel, I will disappoint and then I will retreat from the world.

Self-loathing is ruthless, scornful and condescending. She knew I couldn’t do it, she knew I would give up. She tells me I am weak and stupid and worthless. I will never amount to anything because I’m too lazy, I don’t have the drive and I’m a failure. Yea, I’m a failure alright, a big one. My life is proof of that, my marriage ruined and my children growing up with a mother whom was barely present. Self-loathing always leaves me broken, at the edge of the abyss, a bottomless, dark hole of despair.

Suicide has impeccable timing, waiting and watching to step in. She likes to come to me when I have nothing left, so I’m an easy target for her taunts. Her voice is hypnotic almost soothing as she asks me if life is really worth living. After all I’ve destroyed, wouldn’t it be a better world without me in it?

My children won’t have to worry about me anymore, they could get on with their lives. Seriously, it’s not like I was a good mother, I caused them so much heartache. Am I doing anything important with my life? Am I making the world a better place? Hardly. My kids, my friends and family will miss me but there’s a lot they won’t miss. Suicide lulls me with her promise of peace, but somehow I manage to allude her.

I can pull myself back from the abyss, lick my wounds and wait to heal. Mental illness is sly, never revealing more than it has to In one afternoon my three tormentors can visit me and leave me for dead, without anyone knowing they stopped by to see me. When I feel strong again, I’ll show my face, and no one will be the wiser. I’ll be back to the happy, smiling me, the face I show to the world.

Life goes on and so do I, like so many others in my mental club. We carry our scars on the inside and we carry on the best way we know how.  I have a lot of time to make up for, but first I have to make amends.

Note to my loved ones: I am OK and not in danger of hurting myself. Today, I only had to deal with fear and self-loathing.