I was neuro-divergent before there was a word for it. Well, the word might have been weird, quirky, whatever. Everything was extreme for me, from exuberance to disconsolation.
Suicidal ideation possessed me relentlessly through years of despondency, destitution, PTSD, exhaustion, grief and chronic pain. I tend to catastrophize when in persistent overwhelm. Events culminated with several police and psych-ward interventions in the last few years of mom care.
So, I have many stories about what it’s like to live day-to-day with such a mindset. Over the next few months, I will collect them on this page. (This storyline was just started September 2023)
“I’m in pain everyday and I don’t want to live anymore.”
I repeated that phrase to myself throughout the day for years as if it were my mantra or life affirmation. I meant is as a simple recognition of how I was feeling, however it amplified that I was in pain everyday and I didn’t want to live anymore. Last year, 2022, I took on a new mantra, a healing mantra, to acknowledge and invite the fleeting times when I was without much pain. This year, 2023, I discarded my destructive affirmation and replaced it with a constructive affirmation.
It’s been a years long journey. For much of 2021, I sobbed out to my brother over the phone or in person, over and over again, “I don’t want to live anymore.” It was heartbreakingly difficult for him to hear, but he hung in there. He deserves complete credit for me being here. I didn’t want to break my brother’s heart even more. I didn’t want to disgrace the memory of my dear departed mom, so I never once took any actions toward that ugly end.
I didn’t take the actions, but I was consumed by the thoughts of doing so. Think of the recovering alcoholic, no longer drinking, but constantly consumed by the desire to do so. That’s a hell of a way to go through life.
I thought of joking to my (very concerned) friends and family: “Don’t worry about me obsessively wanting to kill myself; for years I obsessively wanted to be a success and that didn’t happen either.” Humor has helped me weather all but the darkest days, that and loving support and compassion (and prayer) from so many friends and family. Creative expression and making art sustained me greatly as well. (I intend to feature that art on this site soon.)
Art Piece Depicting States of Mind
This illustration was taken from my journal entry for November 27, 2020. On that day, I photographed the river-rock wall of Pacific Market, right around the corner, and used the visuals to illustrate how depression has degrees.
On that same journal entry, I followed up the rock wall photos with this subtext:
Over these last years, I have resided largely in the depressed or suicidal regions, all too rarely in the healthier frames of mind. I couldn’t tell anyone, ANYONE, how bleakly I truly felt. If I had, I feared it would result in my being medically incarcerated against my will. I couldn’t let that happen, I wouldn’t be able to take care of mom.
There were some close calls, here is an email from a year earlier where I describe an impromptu psyche evaluation when I had my yearly physical. I deftly eluded an involuntary psychiatric hold.
email message from Ned
Sent: September 28, 2019
Kaiser has been nagging me to go in and get checked by my doctor, so I went Monday, and they kept me there for a few hours. My medical examination went pretty well. Other than my blood pressure and glucose being a little bit high, I’m in very good health … physically.
Emotionally, well, they had a mental health crew come and check me out. That’s because the intake nurse and I both ended up crying when I was telling her how hard it has been with Mom. However, my emotionally distraught state triggered a mental-health evaluation and a several page questionnaire, with, on a zero to three scale, questions like, Suicidal Thoughts, feelings of worthlessness, sleep disruption, propensity for self-harm, etc.
I told them, “I’m not filling that thing out, on every one of these, I’m off the scale, I’m at five and I have been for months. That’s just the way it is, Doc, I deal with it because I got to take care of Mom.”
Well, that commentary had them bring in more psyche staff for interviews and evaluations and, long story short, at the end, they all agreed, “How you have managed with all the stressors you have had, you’re amazing!” My doctor said, “Well, you know, we have meds and treatments and counseling all available to help you.”
Nah, I said, I know I’m broken and I know I have a lot of recovery and healing in front of me. I just can’t spare the time to do that now. I declined the vaccinations too. You know what, they let me go. I looked in their eyes, I was calm and cogent, but decidedly emphatic. I have been through a heartbreaking hell and I wasn’t going to sugarcoat it for them. I wasn’t going to let them take me either.
Stories in this storyline:
Seven days of reflective journaling from the week I buried mom. Originally posted at my Autoblogography.me site, now archived on this page at NedBuratovich.com.More ...
Expressing gratitude for my favorite places in the park which helped me heal.More ...
Recorded on New Year’s Day, reaffirming my dedication to self-expression as a means of self-preservation.More ...