You can't kill yourself with Klonipin - Part III
September 24, 2022 Journal Entry
Sometimes I try to remember how many times I’ve taken too many Klonipin. I don’t mean the four or six or eight I’d sometimes take over the course of an evening to deal with mom. I’m talking about more than 10, more than 20. The answer? Many many times. I can think of at least seven times I've actually been to the ER. But I’ve taken too many Klonipin at least three times that many. I’ve lived with suicidal ideation my entire life. I mean my entire life, starting as a child. It’s more natural for me to have suicide as a ready topic for rumination than to not.
It’s more of a fantasy than anything. A fantasy of escape. We all have our favorite escapes of the mind. Second to suicide is fantasizing about going back in time and making different choices. I realized long ago, however, if I could go back and change the course of my life by circumventing the bad choices I made, I’d find all new ways to fuck it up. And who’s to say I’d be better, wiser, more resilient, more emotionally healthy? The fact is, I probably wouldn’t. Without those experiences, I wouldn’t be who I am now.
I’m on Hinge right now, and there are recorded prompts on the profiles. I listened to one last night and it really hit me hard. The question was, “What kind of life would you be living if you could choose any life you wanted?” I was shocked by my response. Once again, the inner me is hard at work, and she’s doing pretty goddamn good.
“I’d live the life I’m living.”
I wouldn’t trade my particular set of challenges for any other. I chose this particular set of challenges before I was born. I’ve had many lifetimes to experience other challenges and will have many more.
When you’re doing soul work, and all of us are doing it all the time, you want to create a set of circumstances for each lifetime that runs the full spectrum of human experiences. That means I’ve chosen to live as a psychopath, a murderer, a quadriplegic, a rapist, and a priest. That’s only a few of the lives I’ve imagined living. There are an indeterminate number of permutations. Infinite.
I’d like to believe as we accomplish specific things, as we grow and evolve, we get to pick a better set of circumstances for our next lifetime. Yet realistically, we don’t have to progress in a consistent upward linear fashion. I can put myself back and live the life of a seriously developmentally disabled person. And who is to say that’s not an existence that is a reflection of the soul work I’ve accomplished in this lifetime?
So, all that new agey stuff may sound rather bizarre. And that’s OK. This philosophy is still writing itself out in my consciousness. It doesn’t really matter if I’m right or wrong, or how much I’m right or wrong. What matters is that I develop a philosophy, a way of looking at myself and my place in the universe, which makes it possible for me to achieve my highest potential in this lifetime.
Actively engaging in soul work is akin to “living in the moment”, which I find incredibly difficult to do. I am often stuck in the past. I haven’t mastered the skill of not reliving all the emotions of past experiences. I haven’t the ability to revisit painful experiences with any level of protective detachment. I torture myself remembering. Conversely, I also re-experience the joyful times. So, I’m not even sure I’d want to change the fact I re-experience past pain as deeply as past joy.
I think it’s important to look at all the events which led up to my recent hospitalization. It wasn’t just Don. Him meeting someone more suited happened to be the last straw, but he was in no way the central component of what caused my breakdown.
It’s my mom, taking care of my mom.
She has vascular dementia. She’s not someone I know anymore. I don’t like who she is, this person she is at this moment. She’s difficult, resentful, angry, frustrated, anxious, and verbally abusive. She takes ample opportunity to tell me I’m a bad daughter, lazy, dirty, selfish, angry, and a “lousy caregiver”.
The biggest truth, there, is that I am angry. I’m overwhelmingly resentful. So how does that fit with the fact I believe living this set of circumstances is better than any other? Good question. Even though I’m suffering greatly during this season caring for her, I wouldn’t change it. I was going to say, “I wouldn’t change it for anything,” but of that I'm not certain. It’s all speculation, it’s all fantasy anyway. I don’t have the option of changing it.
I wish I could find within some speck of compassion for her. But that seems vastly out of reach at this time. I knew going into this self-harming episode it would solve nothing, nothing would change. If I want this season to be easier, if I want to develop more resilience, if I want to stop feeling resentful, those adaptations must occur within me. Nothing about my external existence is going to magically change. Yes, over time, there will be much change. But right now, I’m in a holding pattern. I have to figure out how to ensure this set of challenges doesn’t take me down so hard ever again. And I haven’t figured that out yet. I’m in incredible pain.
Apart from self-sabotage, I don’t want to stack up years of regret in how I manage my behavior and my emotions during this season caring for her. I know it’s temporary, but I don’t know if temporary means the next five minutes or the next five years.
I fantasize what it will be like when she goes, how I will feel. I don’t see myself feeling any regret. So perhaps it is not true I will be sorry for how I’ve handled myself as her caregiver after she is gone. But just in case, I’d really like to stop being angry and resentful. It hurts me more than anyone, but it also hurts her.
This is not a singular experience; she and I are walking this time out together. We are enmeshed. There is no place where she ends and I begin. We are one. We decided we’d have this role in one another’s lives before we were born. I don’t know what we were thinking! But it was all laid out, deliberately laid out, before either of us ended up in this place.
I’ll keep digging deep for empathy and compassion. I’ve lost touch with it, but I know it lives inside. I’m just temporarily blinded to it; I can’t tap into it. I don’t know if that will always be the case or not. But if it is, it’s another “bad thing” about me I simply need to acknowledge, accept, and forgive. Maybe this whole experience is designed to teach me self-forgiveness. If it is, I sure wish I’d get the lesson already. For fuck’s sake. I’m in incredible pain. And I’m the one that’s holding me here. I just don’t seem to be able to figure a way out.
Yet at the same time, I recognize my situation is not at all unique. All of us experience this kind of existential angst. It’s part of the human condition.
I Persevere. And life goes on.
“It’s a little-known secret, and it should probably stay that way: attempting suicide usually jump-starts your brain chemistry. There must be something about taking all those pills that either floods the brain sufficiently or depletes it so completely that balance is restored. Whatever the mechanism, the result is that you emerge on the other side of the attempt with an awareness of what it means to be alive. Simple acts seem miraculous: you can stand transfixed for hours just watching the wind ruffle the tiny hairs along the top of your arm. And always, with every sensation, is the knowledge that you must have survived for a reason. You just can’t doubt it anymore. You must have a purpose, or you would have died. You have the rest of your life to discover what that purpose is. And you can’t wait to start looking.” -Terri Cheney, Manic: A Memoir