I take it you don’t understand how it works or how anyone could fall so low. Well, if this is the case, then please allow me to explain. See, no one asks to feel this way. No one signs up for this, and says, “Hey, I wonder what it feels like to live like that.”
I am not sure why some are immune to this sort of thing and others are less fortunate. There are lucky ones and those who seem to be without luck. There is a curse known as feeling completely and totally uninteresting. This is life in behind the barred doors of social awkwardness and the need to feel wanted.
Neither ugly nor handsome; neither charismatic nor boring—this is life when all seems unremarkable. . .
Of all things I ever wanted to feel above any of the feelings I ever had, I have always wanted to feel a word that I use often.
That word is enough—as in I always wanted to feel as if I were enough. I waned to feel a bit more than ordinary or just significant. I want to feel as if I have what it takes and that I am enough to cause a smile, or create a tear.
I wanted to feel enough to be valued,and more than anything; I wanted to feel enough to be beautiful. And by feeling beautiful, I do not mean beauty as it appears to someone else. Beyond any standard, I have come to the realization that no other standard is more important than my own. And so by my own standards, I wanted to feel as if I am enough without the need for any other source of authentication. I want to feel authentic enough that without the validation from anyone else, I would have the strength to validate myself. If this is the case, then it would be enough for me to stand on my own without the empty feeling of loneliness.
These are the feelings, which tie me to the symptoms I have. These are pieces of that thing which is otherwise or more commonly known as depression.
Back when I was young, I had no words to describe my feelings, nor did I have the ability to understand or define them. It was only after living through years with a distorted view of myself and after speaking with others, who like me, had this thing—this unmistakable, indescribable thing, which otherwise could not be appreciated without the actual experience—and had it not been for this experience and the experience of others, who in their own way, found themselves sitting alone, looking from the outside in, or deep down, lying about their life, and imposing their importance by involving themselves in everything without knowing the compliment of being invited—and had it not been for my own, social disasters, which led to my own destruction, perhaps, I might still be as I was—alone, and still unable to express myself.
I had no understanding that aside from me, there were others that knew about this thing I have—this thin—this unexplainable, indescribable thing that drains me of energy because my mind was always locked in a heightened sense of alert.
In this case, life is impossible. Love is also because the value of my love seemed less than or insufficient. This was me—frightened and feeling unworthy, sitting alone in a crowd of so many; afraid to laugh, cry, or react because of the lingering question, “What if I show something about me and everyone around me just laughs.”
I have learned after years of living this way that my ability to see myself is often linked to the inability to see myself accurately. I have learned that at my core, there is emotion, and unaddressed emotions create a sense of imbalance, which is why I sought to balance myself through chemical methods. I tried to balance, physically numb, and mentally enlighten myself.
I have learned that one of the seeds of addiction is the need to settle the absence of inner balance. It is within the body and mind to naturally seek compensation; whereas, in the case of pain, the mind seeks a way to satisfy that pain.
We become drawn towards methods that while unhealthy, the temporary cure is enough to fix the moment. Hence, the word, “fix,” which I believe is the reason why a junkie considers their high, “a fix.”
The high is intended to balance the scales and straighten the mind to a perfectly untouchable state. Otherwise, considered as weightlessness, euphoria steps in as a wonderful episode of relief.
Suddenly, the smile is not so awkward. The thought machine is able to change gears and the machine slows the production process to an unimportant crawl. All else is forgotten. The stress is nearly gone by the time the second hit comes. This here is the trade. In exchange for the chemical process, or indulgence, the mind dwindles down like an autumn leaf, falling in a soft wind, and drifting through the air. Albeit brief; this is the fix, and this is enough to pasteurize the mind into a soft swarm of excess.
I looked to fix my mental weight and balance the scales; however, in my quest for internal balance, I chased after anything I could to satisfy the uneasy feelings of imbalance. These feelings are brought on by a simple mix of social and personal anxiety. Imbalance comes with insecurity. It comes with feeling insufficient and insignificant. As a result, the scale tipped too far down—as a result, my depression gained weight, and as a result, I tried to find some way to compensate the scale.
The problem with this math is the backlash, or means of reversion. I went from feeling low to high and back again. Only, the lows became worse. I went from one extreme to another and with the means being average, or balanced ground, the reversion affect was like that of a slingshot or rubber band. The depths of my low were equivalent to the loft of my high.While trying to balance the scales, the fix I chose would fall short and weigh me down further. In this case, the only remedy is to do more. There is no other choice. There is nothing else but the illusion of MORE!
And more I tired meant the more weight that gained the other side. This means I needed to do more to balance the scales, and more of a fix to settle the imbalance.
This is it. So it begins, the endless cycle of addiction, and we follow or tails like rabid dogs, spiraling out of control until at last, we crash and burn in one form or another.
As far as the crash is considered, I have seen this build to an anxious fear. I was in fear of the sickness that comes with withdrawal; I was afraid of the crash, afraid of the imbalance feeling, the angst, and the overwhelming swarm of thoughts that never stop and dovetail into something more drastic and crucially debilitating. It becomes so that the drug or the drink acts like a vest to make us bulletproof.Without it, I felt vulnerable and naked.
I have spoken to others, who like me; understand what it means to reach out to feel something better than mediocre. They understood what it meant to reach with everything they have, only to always seem short of touching their dreams. I have spoken with people like me, who were afraid to laugh because they were either too frightened to find out the joke was on them, or too frightened to laugh because laughter always seemed so momentary.
Truly, I openly admit this was painful for me . . .
And pain—the pain was always anticipated. Pain was more the norm. I expected it, which is why I tried to acclimate myself.
This does not suggest that pain does not hurt; however, this is a testament which proves that pain, such as mental anguish, is in need of a way to materialize or manifest in a clear understandable way.
Since I lacked the words to express this pain, I learned to tolerate physical pain. I put myself through physical burden to express the inner, mental spasms that ached and amplified my sickness.
I cut myself to watch the blood seep from my skin. I felt the burning sting from the corner of the blade as it traced a slice into my flesh. There was a strange warmth to this—it felt like a cat scratch on a sunburn. I slowly dragged the blade across my arm or wrist (to dare the edge) and watched as the blood appeared in bubbles behind the slice. This was not pain-free. I remember the sting very well; however, this gave a voice to the internal turmoil. This was a way to explain the unexplainable—slicing my skin, and daring the cut to drag deeper and deeper. This was how I screamed without saying a word. And as I bled, I saw my pain materialize into something I could actually see and understand.
I would train myself to accept pain. This way, I would not be afraid of it anymore. I figured if I could train myself to accept pain, I would build up a tolerance. And with tolerance, I could find ways to bury the burdens that kept me in my mental prison.
Of all things I ever wanted to feel, above any other feeling, I always wanted to feel as if I were enough. I saw myself this way, distorted and inaccurate. I believed I was lacking and lost.
The world gained momentum, and no matter how I tried, I could never seem to keep up. I could never reach whatever it was I was reaching for. Laughter was momentary and the thought machine spun too quickly.
Of everything I tried, and I tried nearly everything, there was no other way to balance the scales. I took this into account. I took into account that I never felt as if I could fit. I was like a child, frustrated and mad, trying as hard as I could to shove myself through spaces like a square peg through a round hole. Eventually, the thought machine overwhelmed the rational ones. My emotions overthrew my intellect, and then suddenly, I began to consider the unthinkable.
This is what happens when the seeds of depression are either misdiagnosed or ignored. Next, the seeds grown into weeds and weeds grow into vines. Then the vines cut the flow of oxygen—constricting until it seems impossible to breathe. Then come the thoughts of hopelessness. Then the different ideas spring up, and before long, the crazy ideas made sense. The next thing I knew—I was standing beneath a sprinkler pipe in the bathroom of a rehabilitation center with one leg from a pair of pants tied around my neck and the other leg tied around the sprinkler line.
I was not thinking about dying so much. I was only thinking, “I just need all of this to stop!” I wasn’t considering the fact that I was about to take my own life. I wasn’t thinking about the pain of those I left behind, like my family.
No, I was thinking this is the only way to make the world stop moving and keep the thought machine from spinning out of control.
I have no memory of what happened before losing consciousness. I was not sure what happened when I woke up, convulsing on the floor, and dazed. I looked up and saw the pant leg still tied to the sprinkler pipe. The other knot slipped from around my neck. Perhaps this was because my body shook violently. Perhaps this was because I did not tie the knot tight enough, or, perhaps one could argue this was an act of divine intervention.
All I know is it didn’t work . . .
I have survived many things. I have survived my addiction. I have endured sobriety and life on life’s terms with all of its good and bad. I have survived loss and seen hard financial times. I have fallen more times than many and learned to stand again. In spite of myself, I have remained and refused to give in to the statistics, which plague addicts, alcoholics, and the depressed. Moreover, I refused to prove any f the votes against me right. I refuse to ever find myself on the end of a noose. But more, I refuse to stand by and watch people die from an otherwise, lonesome sickness.
It would be dishonest of me to explain that the madness has lifted. It would be dishonest to say that I do not struggle or have those same feelings. The thought machine is in better condition now. I see myself more clearly and deserving of a better, happy life. I see these things and I realize that I am grateful. I am living on borrowed time. And borrowing comes with interest. This is why I feel the need to pay back. Besides, I would rather pay what I owe now than be hit with the bill as I stand before my maker on the day of my judgment.
One of the hardest things about living life is being there at the end of someone else’s. Yes, this is painful. However, it is also a reminder that life is truly precious. The best thing anyone can ever do for themselves is live it to the fullest!