playing chicken with the black dog

I done went and played with my meds again.

I know. I know.

I’ve already slapped my own wrist 18 times from Sunday and, when the black dog howled, I went right back on the meds. So let’s just get that out of the way.

Thing is, I felt REALLY, REALLY good while I was off them. I was employing coping strategies on a dime. I was motivated and getting shit done. I was feeling optimistic and faithful in my ability to roll with the punches and still come out relatively unscathed as I’ve done time and time again. I EVEN PMSed THROUGH IT.

And then a few things happened and everything was shaken. On top of things happening, I neglected to build things I could really look forward to into my days. I neglected to remember that this month marks the anniversaries of a couple-few losses in my life. I neglected to set aside time to honour those people I’ve lost (I’m not a terribly religious person, but this is a really big deal to me, my friends). I lost another friend this month. To suicide, no less. I’ve never been one to see suicide as any more or less tragic than any other kind of death, and tend to hold the rather unpopular opinion that all of our lives are our choice, including our deaths. I certainly do not, as many do, see it as the coward’s way out because…um…have you lived life? It’s not exactly easy for most, no matter how cushy many have it.

Though I’ve never felt suicidal myself, the suicides of those in my circles over the last few years have scared me. I’ve born witness all too often to how those in the inner circles of those who have taken their own lives attempt to make sense of it and all of the gut-wrenching, heart-breaking turmoil that causes. Many people have never been to that brink of wanting relief from their own brains so badly that they would cut or dope or (gods forfend) take their own lives just to escape that betrayal of everything that we’re told makes us human. Regardless of the bits of me that scream “THEY’LL NEVER UNDERSTAND!!!”, that turmoil is not something I wish upon any family. Especially (if selfishly) not my own.

Anyways, the day Tyler died was the day I went back on the meds.

And then I had a five day whiskey bender.

I don’t know what it is about me and death and whiskey, but we are awfully good (if toxic) bedfellows.

Coming down (or up, as the case may be) from that bender, my memory whisked me back to my initial appointment with my doc when I sat in his office, relating all that I was going through and all that I’d done to make myself better and, with the promise of a lovely chemical security blanket right within my grasp, explaining “of course I’ll drink responsibly. Anything…ANYTHING to make this (and I gesticulated dramatically at the slobbering mess that I was at the time) not me anymore.”

Thing is that it took me a year and a bit, a bunch of purging of icky relationships, some therapy, a couple-few health scares and a whole lot of “well, this is a whole other kind of suicide, isn’t it?” self-talk before I managed to manage “drinking responsibly”. I have a metric shit-ton of stories to tell about all that I learned about myself and the world at large in that time, but those are other tales for other times (hmmm…they also seem like good art prompts). But that was the part that scared me about my friend’s suicide: there are so many kinds, ya know? Some of them are very quick and others are slow, either way; it’s a choice. I don’t begrudge anyone either. I certainly know how it feels to want to escape. I don’t want that for myself.

Don’t get me wrong: I still imbibe. Probably more than many of you do and definitely more than is recommended by the surgeon general. I still self-medicate. I also take breaks from alcohol. I monitor myself and how I’m feeling, both physically and mentally in terms of self-check-ups as well as the science-y ones because I want to be there when the sprogs get hitched (should they choose to) and when they have babies (should they choose to) and maybe grow old with someone I consider friend enough to trust in my elderliness, or maybe just to grow into a white-haired cat lady with a purple hat and rad orange streaks in her hair and any number of awesome life events you get to bear witness to when you live to a ripe old age.

So, all of that to say “this is how I spent my vacation from pharmaceuticals and it kinda sucked” with a lot more personal than I really needed to get into, but feels kinda ok to share. In spite of my neuroses (and I could get into a shit ton of reasons why I’m not *actually* neurotic, but that’s also another tale for another time) I consider myself to be a pretty healthy, happy, self-aware, whole, and incredibly fallible human being and I further consider all of that to be share-worthy.

I’m going to spend the rest of the eve in my wee arting room, honouring loved ones lost (particularly my uncle/god-father, as today is his birthday) and probably making a concerted, if futile, effort to find my key card for work.

Blessings, kittens.

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One Comment on “playing chicken with the black dog”

  1. Carl Gutbrod says:

    Wow. I’m sorry i only just found this post now ( i thought i was subscribed to it all!), but i can only think of one thing to say – *hug*


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