In light of recent conversations on mental health, I thought it might be appropriate to reflect on a period of my life when I questioned that life. Even though I had everything going for me, I, like so many others, struggled with the mental and physical realities of my worth. What difference could I make? What impact could I have? Whether I lived or not, the Earth would keep revolving. I didn’t think things could get better. I also didn’t think they could get worse. This was two years before I met diabetes.
June 16, 2007
The most recent typed edition of my second working novel is scattered across the blue carpet of my bedroom floor. I write today’s date on a folded piece of looseleaf paper and set it aside. I just took eight over-the-counter IB Profen pills. They’re the most potent pills I could find in the medicine cabinet. Unfortunately, my parents do not take prescription sleeping pills (that I’m aware of).
I have no idea what overdosing on anti-inflammatory medication will do to me, but I can’t imagine it’s good. I think I’m playing with my life. But I am determined to finish my second working novel before the medicine kicks in. I only have two more chapters to write.
I look at myself in the shattered mirror of my closet door. My parents are in their bedroom across from mine. I’ve locked my door. They know about my depression, and they’ve supported me in the past two years as I made the transition from home to college and old and new friends. They know that I started taking anti-depressants. They know I was seeing a therapist at the university health center. They know I’ve run out of anti-depressants.
I contemplate killing off my main character in the novel I’m working on. It was my plan all along. She has no family. She’s just living the same routine for no purpose. She’s tired and empty, struggling from paycheck to paycheck. She’s been betrayed by everyone she knows. She’s only seventeen, but what has she to aspire to?
I write for another two hours and then at 2 a.m. fall asleep across the dispersed remains of my work.
I wake to the smell of bacon. I look at the page I fell asleep on. It is her suicide letter.
I am off the deep end, someone else completely, looking at life so unnaturally, untraditionally. I feel like two different people right now. One is fighting to save my life, struggling to make me find other alternatives. And the other is saying just give in, be free at last from this misery, this unworthy existence. And that side is actually the logical side whereas the other part of me is the emotional one, struggling to save me. Funny I never would have imagined it like that but that’s how it is. Just so you know. I loved my family, my friends, my God, and I once loved life. But it stopped loving me, and I was angry for a while, confused, but now I don’t worry. I don’t know why it stopped loving me, but in return I stopped loving it.
I look at the bottle sitting on my desk and start laughing. Apparently, overdosing on IB Profen has no effect, at least not short-term. I cover my tank top with a jacket and walk down the black and white tile hallway to the kitchen. My dad looks up from the frying pan and smiles.
“Good morning sunshine!” he says. “Hope you’re hungry. I’m cooking up some bacon and eggs.”
He wears that goofy grin I cannot resist, surrounded by gray stubble, remnants of a mustache he just shaved. His receding hairline shows his age, but his big brown eyes, so unlike the blue eyes my brothers and I inherited from our mother, reflect a youthful excitement.
“Started some coffee for you,” he adds. I look down at the beagle-greyhound mix sitting at his feet and curl my toes around the gray carpet, an odd choice for a kitchen, but comforting. I think I may let my main character live, after all.
“How would you like your eggs?” he asks, flipping the bacon.
“Scrambled,” I say. The coffee pot starts brewing.