Ever get annoyed? Ever feel like someone needs to be told where the dog died? Or handed a crowbar and a tub of Elbow Grease to help them pry their head out of their arse? Congratulations--you've come to the right place.

And when I'm not commenting on the latest thing to piss me off, I'm trying to figure out my own twisted life. Because, hey, I'm like that.

On a gentler note: for anyone dealing with depression, anxiety, and other assorted bullshit: You are NOT alone.

And if you're looking for a laugh, search on the key word "fuckery." It's just my little thing (as the bishop said to the actress).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shooting the Black Dog, Part 2

In Queen of the Damned, the character of Khayman, one of the first vampires, experiences long years of forgetting who he is, and during that time, he experiences joy—pure joy of existence, a wandering fool, drinking blood when he needs it and enjoying his life. When he is reminded of who he is, it’s purest, utter agony and sends him into madness.

My mother likes to tell a story about when I was seven. There was an afghan on the back of the couch (ugly fucking thing, too—brown and orange, *gak*) and evidently, a thread got snipped causing a hole in the afghan. I was accused, I denied (because hey, I wasn’t the one knitting in that spot on the couch the day before with the really sharp scissors, SHE WAS), and then called a liar. I was furious and stormed out of the apartment—no way was I going to my room or being punished for something I hadn’t done. I sat under the front window, pissed as hell, muttering I was going to run away to my grandmother’s. Well, Ma came out, handed me a dime for the bus, and told me to go ahead, I thought things would be so much better. I took my ball and my doll, walked the block and a half to the bus stop, climbed on the bus, and went to my grandmother’s.
Who wasn’t home. Her best friend came walking by, saw me, and took me down to her house. Now, I was happy and relaxed—I was distracted from thinking about what had upset me. I was safe and having fun, and this lasted until my grandparents got home and brought my mother with them. That was when I burst in to tears.

Now, Ma’s version of this is that I was faking and trying to get sympathy. I explained to her a couple of years ago the facts—how I manage to put my head someplace else to forget when I’m really upset.

So, if you’re wondering why my memory is utter piss these days, there you have it. When I am a little too stressed, my brain puts up a shield and not a lot gets through. It's a good thing and a bad thing: good because it means I can escape the stress and live in the moment--I can enjoy the beauty of a moment, have little bites of joy despite all the shit. That is SUCH a gift! It's a bad thing because I forget too much: appointments, eating, meds, details... *shakes head*

I realize from reactions that yesterday’s post was a little intense, even for me. Allow me to assure folks, I’m OK right now. I’m taking my meds, monitoring my moods, and trying to keep everything balanced. I think I’m dealing with a little bit of S.A.D. with the season changed & DST ending; working on upping some nutrients to combat that. And yes, I’m keeping the Xanax handy for the bad hormone days.

There comes a point, however, when the meds are a burden (and I’m not just talking financial). I have had days when I’ve wanted to flush the sodding things away, just take my chances, because it’s ridiculous that my existence depends on a small handful of pills every day. It’s annoying. Every now and then, I’ll have a day when I forget to take them, and I’m fabulous—productive, focused, great, totally up and happy… and then I get utterly manic and the world crashed, and I’m like OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG… and the manic hamster on the wheel in my brain goes into overdrive, racing until its miserable little rodent heart is going to burst…

Lot of rodent metaphors for depression in these posts, eh? That’s fine with me; with the exception of rabbits, I’m not partial to rodents—vermin, most of ‘em. Nasty things. Mobile cat toys that do not require batteries.

The suicidal episodes… people always say, “Why didn’t you call me?” How do you answer that question? Honestly, what the fuck do you say to someone when they ask you, why, in the middle of a shitstorm of pain, you didn’t think to pick up the phone and call. Um, because I could barely remember my own name at the time? Because I was too busy trying to die? Because in that moment, I really didn’t think anyone gave a shit or wanted me around? Because you don’t get what the fuck I’m going through and are going to use bullshit arguments on me that don’t help?
I have a dozen answers for that question, and none of them nice. The other part of it is that in that moment, I’m not in reality. There’s a three-foot-thick invisible wall between me and the world. I can’t hear properly. I can’t feel things properly. Nothing is real but The Pain. There’s a voice in my head talking to me, trying to get me to wake up, to come out of this state, but I can’t really hear it. I can’t register it. I know it’s making sense, but it’s not reaching me.

It’s check out time.

That’s the only coherent thought—check out time. Time to go, time to fly. Don’t mourn me, don’t miss me, this is for the best, it’s nobody’s fault but mine, I’m not strong enough to bear this pain anymore, I love you, forgive me, forgive me, forgive me because I can’t forgive myself.

I once tried to explain the Death Need to my analyst. He was trying to give me all kinds of reasons why I shouldn’t die, and why I should call him if I was feeling like dying, and when I told him that I wouldn’t call him, he tried to put the guilt on me that wouldn’t it be a bad reflection on him as a professional, as my analyst, that I had killed myself while under his care? (He was getting desperate at this point—I’m a stubborn bitch when I’m in that place. Then again, when am I not?)

My response to him was, “It’s not your fault. Why would you ever think that? If I check out, it’s my decision. It’s my responsibility—my life.” That was when I had the epiphany about why I needed to die—why, in those pitch black, horrific moments, I needed to end my existence: it was the ultimate act of control.

Yeah, you read that right: the ultimate act of control. Understand, most of the time when I have been in that place, on the brink of checking out, it’s because I’ve been triggered—my body chemistry is in chaos and my PTSD has been triggered at the same time, which means I’m deep in flashback and the world is spinning out of control and I am in The Bad Place, the Dark Place, the place where I am small and helpless and being hurt or seeing someone else being hurt and I am too small to help or stop them. Dying by my own hand means I have control over the one thing that is mine—my life. It’s telling the people who have hurt me that they may control everything else, but this, this is mine.

This has been especially true during the times when I've been in an abusive situation and during the aftermath of the miscarriage.

OK, it’s not the greatest feat of logic in the world, I’ll admit that. In the clear light of day in a place of calm and control and balance, I know that that logic doesn’t work. It makes sense in the moment, but not when the moment of pain has passed.

And it’s humiliating. HUMILIATING to feel this way. To be the person that I am—and I’ve earned the nickname Empress a hundred times over—and have a suicidal episode, a depressive episode that has me trying to die, is the ultimate humiliation. (Never mind the experience of being watched by my nearest and dearest--to have my friends on Suicide Alert is just horrible, guilt-inducing humiliation.) I have been through therapy, I take my meds, WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?! Why the fuck do I have to be on the lookout for this shit? Haven’t I been through enough? Haven’t I put my friends through enough? WHAT THE FUCK!?!? I know my life isn’t perfect, but hell, I have so many gifts, so much talent and ability, so many loving friends, WHY DO I STILL FEEL THIS WAY?!?!?

I think this is the reason I still believe in some kind of deity—I need someone to yell at who doesn’t yell back. It's also one of the reasons I'm convinced God is male. You yell at a woman, that bitch yells back.

Anyway, it’s quarter till seven on Sunday morning as I write this, I haven’t had any sleep. Insomnia has been kicking my ass, and despite a solid ten hours of shut-eye last night and a nap on top of it, my sleep schedule is still fucked up. Argh.

The final note—for anyone reading this, whether you’re one of my friends or a stranger—if you are ever in that place where you are ready to checkout, I am here. Reach out to me. I will not try to talk you out of it; I will not use spurious “you have everything to live for” arguments. I will be there for you, I will walk through the pain with you, and if I can throw you a lifeline, I will. I am NOT a mental health professional, I'm not a messiah--I'm just a stubborn bitch who's still alive thanks to a) my own thickness and b) the love of amazing friends. Twit me at EmpressRiz on Twitter—quickest way to get me. Don’t suffer alone.

We are all in this together. And none of us is alone. NONE OF US.

Much love and in need of sleep,
Your Empress


  1. Ummm, can I just say AMEN. Amen to it all...the depression, the irritation with the meds, feeling so alone and being unable to ask for help-EVERYTHING! One of my favorite posts, like you've read my mind at some point in the last few years. A big thank you for being so honest and sharing. And I hope you'll be feeling even better soon.

    (And btw, Queen of the Damned is one of my favorite Anne Rice books. Legend of the twins...reread it at least twice a year. The other favorite is Feast of All Saints. Done babbling now.)

  2. Honey, I'm cool. I am TOTALLY cool. Been writing like a fiend, editing and blogging, etc. and it's all good.
    Babble all you like--I LIKE comments. I feel like an idiot on a soapbox on the Boston Common some days.
    I reiterate: you ARE NOT alone. You're in the shit, reach out--I'm here. We are gonna get through this, dammit.