Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sometimes It's The Only Thing There Is

Content warning: More stuff about depression.

Internet, I have been ill.

I started feeling sick about July 10th. I went to a job seminar thingy, and I was feeling iffy about it, but I had a good time going home, got into a great conversation with a nice person, which helped. I didn't think I was going to take the job offer. I didn't think it was a good idea financially. I came to that conclusion confidently.

I woke up the next morning struggling to breath. I had two panic attacks before lunch. That's pretty normal in the last few months. I breath my way through it and keep going. But then it just didn't stop. My Kobo died. Another panic attack. I can't afford another one right now because I don't have a job yet. One more panic attack. Had to go out and get groceries. One panic attack while waiting for the bus. I went back inside and didn't get groceries. And it kept going. I chalked it up to a bad day, and went to sleep. I slept through the night, and, having had panic attacks all day, I had no nightmares.

The next day I couldn't get out of bed. Not "I was scared to get out of bed." I wasn't having panic attacks at all. My whole body was drained of all energy. I slept the whole day, and assumed it was illness. Day three, I could get out of bed for an hour at a time, then panic and cry until I had to go back to sleep. Day four, I accidentally cut myself during a panic attack, and was too afraid to go to hospital because I was sure if they found out I had done this during four days of panic attacks they would hospitalize me, assuming it was intentional. Day five, I had the injury treated, and fought my way awake to get some writing and homework done, in increments. I could still only stay upright for an hour at a time.

By day ten, my chest hurt every time I sat up, my face was raw, and my eyes hurt because I'd been crying so often I was dehydrated. I kept waiting for it to break, like a fever. A person cannot withstand that sort of misery for any length of time. And yet, withstand it I did. For three straight weeks, my days were forcing finger food down my throat, struggling not to vomit it up, crying myself to sleep every hour on the hour, and calling crisis, my mother, and anyone else I could to be told they couldn't help me. And while I did that, I thought about dying.

About week two, I got tired of the struggle. I had been doing so well with writing, and so I took twenty minutes out of my incredibly short day, and wrote words. I tried writing what was in my head, but honestly, that just made my throat close up and my stomach heave. So for a while, I was writing current WiP. And then I would get stuck. And because it's the only thing I know for sure to keep the wolves back, I came up with new things.

When I was little, and I was afraid of the stuff inside me, before I had a diagnosis, and when I was left alone to deal with the fact that I was more something for other people to deal with than a person in my own right, I used to tell myself stories. A lot of the stuff I write about now is largely about dealing with the darkness that lives inside every person, the ugly person inside the person that you're trying to be, which is inside the person that you are. Between the depression and the constant battle between hating myself and hating the way I was seen by everyone else, I have a lot of that dark and ugly stuff. I started writing out one of those stories. And two paragraphs in, I realized how much more there was to write. And then, two pages after that, I realized there was even more. And then I kept going.

It's odd, because this time nothing much changed. Normally, I get an idea and it feels like something huge. Which happened. And then I run at the thing full-tilt and imagine that I can make this work, and I hurry myself along and I think it's amazing, and then I hate every second of writing the first draft, and if I make it to the second draft, then I'm happy again. It's a whole roller coaster, very involved. That didn't happen here.

There was the initial jolt. The awarness that I had been writing a story without knowing it for years, the knowledge that it was a good story, that in fact, it was the thing I'd always been trying to write. And after that- nothing. I was out of feelings. I got up, every day, same as I had been, and thought, "Do I still wish I was dead?" and the answer was always yes. And then I would jot out a page or two and go back to sleep. Until eventually, I was answering, "Yes. But I don't want people to only ever read the first draft of this."

It was a slow, uncomfortable trek. Four days ago I could leave the house without crying. Two days ago I laughed for the first time in three weeks. And all the while, I kept going.

I'm not going to jump the gun here. I don't know if it's ready for a first draft to be finished. There have been a lot of those moments in my journey. But I do feel that this, whatever it is, is important to me. And in the middle of the claustrophobic misery that has made up my life lately, it's nice to still have something that is mine.