Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Edge of Death

This post was copied from an old blog that I no longer keep up. It was originally published on November 6, 2008 and originally titled, “Dying is Easy, Living is Hard”.

I was 27 the last time I tried to commit suicide. It was my first night home from the hospital after giving birth and giving my child up for adoption. I'd gotten home to discover my roommate, Alex, had moved out while I was in the hospital. At the time I thought the child was his. I later found out through DNA testing(paid for by the adopting couple) that the father was a friend of his that we'd had a three way with. I didn't have any other friends at the time. I've never had very many friends, but at that point all the supposed friends that I'd had, had disappeared as the pregnancy progressed. I was completely alone. I called Alex and begged him to talk to me, but he couldn't be bothered. He'd stayed with me long enough to drive me to the hospital when I went into labor. As far as he was concerned, his responsibility to me was over. I told him I couldn't survive without someone to help me. He just said, "goodbye".

I took an overdose of the pain pills that the doctors had sent me home with. It hadn't been an easy birth. Twenty-seven hours of labor, severe tearing from the vulva to the rectum and my right hip was partially dislocated because of the size of the baby's head. I was in a lot of physical pain as well as emotional pain. After I took the pills, it was so peaceful. I lay on my bed feeling the pain fade and my thoughts float away. My cats, KC and Arafel, jumped up on the bed and curled up next to me like they did whenever I went to sleep. Their presence was very comforting. But it reminded me that if I died, they would be stuck in the house with no one to care for them for who knows how long. It could be weeks or months before anyone discovered that I was dead, and they could die without water or food. So I called an ex-roommate (just a roommate, not a relationship) to ask him to take care of the cats. My brain was already pretty messed up by the pain pills, and I guess I wasn't very coherent. The ex-roommate somehow figured out what was happening and called 911.

I lay there in bed and gradually everything just faded away. By the time the paramedics showed up, I couldn't feel or see anything anymore. I could still hear though. And I could hear them talking about me. I know they checked my eyes, but I couldn't see the light that they shone in them. I could tell from the sounds that they had put me on a gurney and rolled me out to the ambulance, but I couldn't feel any of it happening. I could only hear. At one point I heard a female voice yell,"We're losing her! We're losing her!" I could somehow sense my life force leave my extremities and gather in my chest in a very specific spot between my heart and my throat. I felt warm and peaceful. Like being held in the arms of someone who loves you. And something told me I had to make a choice. That if I wanted to, I could let go and I would die. But that if I didn't really want to die, then I had to accept the pain in order to remain in the world of the living. I didn't want to accept the pain, but I didn't really want to die either. I just wanted the pain to stop.

I don't know why in that moment, I made the choice I made. I think part of me must have still had hope that I could find some happiness in life. And I have had happy moments since then. But there are times when I wonder what it would have been like to have made the other choice. I remember how warm and peaceful it felt on the edge of death. And, at times, I long to feel that warmth and peace again.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

An Irrational Body

I can feel my shoulders trying to curl inward and downward. I can feel my back muscles pulling against my spine, twisting it sideways. My body knows that it is in pain and doesn't understand why I am moving around and doing chores. It just wants me to stop. But sitting down just makes things worse as my body tries to avoid putting pressure on my broken tailbone or dislocated ribs. And even laying down, my muscles twist and turn and attempt to find some position where nothing aches. But it doesn't work. There is no position where there is no pain, and my body's attempts to find that elusive pain-free zone merely cause muscle ache and fatigue and pull my body out of alignment. I wake up in pain, I move in pain, I sit in pain, I live in pain. And about half of this pain is caused by my body's attempts to escape the pain.

I know that allowing my body to twist itself into a pretzel doesn't really help, but my body insists that it will. I have to constantly monitor my body and consciously straighten my back and pull my shoulders up and out and try to keep everything in its proper alignment. When I stop paying attention, my muscles surreptitiously contract and pull until I am twisted and hunched. Sooner or later I realize what has happened, usually when the muscles that have worked so hard to get me into this distorted position begin to realize their own pain. Then I have to convince my tired body to straighten itself out, to try and pull itself back into its proper alignment.

I carefully stretch and move about, persuading my muscles to loosen and relax. The tightness and cramps gradually release, and the muscle pain diminishes. Then I can go back to what I was doing. But even though the muscle pain has been relieved there is the still the pain of the broken and dislocated bones. And so, as soon as I stop paying attention, my body again starts to try to escape its pain. My muscles contract. My body twists and distorts. And soon I am in more pain than I was before.

It's a brutal cycle that makes no sense. And it leaves me feeling exhausted and helpless, trapped within an irrational body.

Addendum:  In case you were wondering.  I was injured by falling off of my horse.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Passive Madness

I suffer from a passive madness. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have a more active madness. Would it be more interesting?