Siddhartha’s River


****trigger warning: suicide****


I don’t know how to write about this without seeming really selfish and I’m not trying to invite people to worry sick about me; but it really has been my reality lately that I’ve been tempted to look death in the face.

Maybe this is a healing opportunity for me. Maybe I will be like the protagonist in the book Siddhartha by Herman Hesse; when he surrenders to the dark thoughts and internally commits himself to death, seconds from plunging himself into the depths of the river, only to have the eternal Om resonate through his mind.

In physicality, I am in a state of degeneration and exacerbation. The chronic illness I suffer from, whilst not life-threatening or with the potential to be truly degenerative, is causing me severe pain and discomfort. Normal tasks have me wincing in pain and questioning the value of an existence like this. The stigma attached to the illness also means I feel unable to inform anyone at work of my struggle.

So it’s lonely.

I actually phoned the Samaritans the other day, feeling desperate to let out all the dark thoughts that were on my mind. The man on the other end of the phone spent an alarming amount of time discussing the stigma attached to my physical illness and asking me intrusive questions more out of curiosity than compassion. “Do you feel any better?” he asked after 28 minutes of talking. “A little bit,” I replied then wound up staring at my bedroom walls again, still trapped inside my mind and feeling  disappointed by the whole exchange.

I know all the things that could help in theory. There’s thousands of options when it comes to self-care and self-help. I can write, I can sing, I can make a planner, I can manifest, I can meditate, I can relax, I can eat well, I can exercise, I can draw, I can talk to friends, watch a film, have gratitude and cherish those close to me. I will say that being around people that love me for who I am is absolutely priceless and I’m forever grateful to them, but all of these other things are inconsequential at the moment. It doesn’t matter. It won’t touch the sides. I’m not on that level at the moment. I’m on a different plane of existence where self-improvement is a foreign concept – a fuzzy memory, a pointless exercise.

The only idea which provides satiation or contentment at the moment is oblivion or nonexistence.

I value my life. I know I am worthy of happiness, love and success. My future has the potential to be enormously bright and I have much to offer but it’s as if I’ve found myself in a maze and fate has sealed off the exit. I sought help – multiple times. I saw my GP, I phoned up the emergency service at the local psychiatric hospital the other week and spoke to an amazing male nurse. He gave me details of a mindfulness app which I’ve been using regularly because I do want to get better.

I phoned the Samaritans and reached out to various counselling services. In the New Year, it looks promising that I’ll be able to start accessing long-term counselling which I’m very grateful for and I know I can hang on.

I think the disillusionment accompanying this particular bout of depression is what makes it uniquely painful. I spoke to the guy I’m seeing the other day about how invincible he felt when he eventually found his way out of depression – and how sure he felt that it couldn’t happen again. I remember that feeling. But this is now my fourth time suffering from a major episode of depression and that feeling of invincibility has truly faded away. I have become jaded and distrusting of recovery in general.

I’ve watched a few videos about depression and people’s recovery and self-care protocols. I get the sense from watching them that it has been their only real episode of depression and they are still in that post-depression elation. Feeling empowered, capable and healthy. Feeling as if these coping strategies will stand the test of time. My eyes have started to glaze over at these videos.

The whole “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “finding the light at the end of the tunnel” has lost a lot of its meaning for me. Is it really making you stronger if the only solace you find throughout the journey is the pain finally subsiding and getting the longed-after opportunity to have a sigh of relief? A cold and broken hallelujah?

I know things will get better. But from my track record of mental illness, the “getting better” is typically succeeded by a more painful, more intolerable and confusing depressive episode.

I have to say that the worst part of all of it is the pain it is causing my loved ones to see me this way. It makes my heart ache. And how could I have dragged another boy into the mix, made him care about me then let him be held witness to the darkest parts of me? God if I knew this was going to happen, I never would’ve let him get to know me. I would’ve stayed alone.

As irrational as it sounds, I won’t take meds. Deep down, I truly believe that the root cause of this depression can be identified and treated from within my mind and counselling is the only form of treatment that is acceptable to me. I might consider herbalist medicine like St. John’s wort as the idea of taking something natural sits better with me, but only really as a last resort to keep myself alive and functioning.

I feel some form of surrender coming, like a judgement day. An opportunity to really look at myself in the face and see something that makes sense. Whether that means facing Siddhartha’s river or allowing divine intervention to perform some sort of mental shift, I’m not sure. One thing I am sure of is that I will ultimately find the answers within myself, and all attempts to find the answers elsewhere are misguided.

As I said, I feel selfish for writing this because I don’t want people to worry about me but maybe some people who are also struggling can relate and feel less alone. Besides, I am unable to write about anything else right now, these thoughts and feelings are bleeding into all areas of my life.

I’ll be okay.

Thanks for reading.

– SMUT. ❤ xxxx

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