TW: Self harm
It has been well over a year since I last posted - two calendar years, in fact.
On my last post, I suffered what I felt was an attack from an "anonymous" poster. I had been recently hospitalized within the prior year for suicide, and because it was clear that it had been someone close to the situation and my life, I took it quite personally. They were most likely right about a lot of it and I probably deserved it (I deleted it immediately so I unfortunately can’t remember); however, I felt that it was a very hurtful thing to do to a recovering person, and it ultimately staggered my self confidence and my return to health over the next year.
It triggered me deeply, as my father had recently passed away, with whom I had a really trying relationship - or lack thereof – and I was dealing with this and the new knowledge that I was not the only child he had sired and abandoned. I felt victimized because I felt a general lack of concern for my happiness and well-being from those that were close to me, which was a very large part of what drove me to destruction in the first place, and perhaps the worst part was that I was still so ashamed of my weakness that I didn’t feel that I could defend myself publicly.
However, I kept it with me. I ruminated on it. They were right, after all - I had victimized myself this whole time. I had become nothing but a jester, a commodity to expend, and a stranger to everyone I knew, and it was because I had actually become a stranger to myself. The mask I wore to succeed became inseparable from what my true identity was, and I imploded, which truly was no one else's fault but my own.
This is when it dawned on me. Mental health is not your fault but it is your responsibility.
I had always felt that I had good intentions, but as we know, the path to hell is paved with those. What was now clear was that in all this time I had spent victimizing myself, I had been affecting others the same way – and such an epiphany had never set upon me in such a way before or since. I had been drunk with philosophy and insecurity and vanity and whatever else I could get my hands on, chemical or otherwise. I had acted so selfishly and been in denial about it. I had lied to myself. I had outlived all my heroes, yet I claimed that heroes didn’t exist. I became afraid of growing old. I started feeling the cold pangs of failure paralyzing me at the precipice of the eternal abyss before me, penetrating my bones, invading my soul. I slouched toward oblivion. I whispered a prayer into the earth, to every god, to the Great Nihil, to no one in particular. I confessed to myself my sins, became contrite with anxiety. I began to hold myself accountable. I began to grow up.
So my redemption began. I made it my philosophy to control my mood and to engage in conviction and mindfulness with everything I did from thence-forth. I learned that you can’t engage in anyone else’s healing if you aren’t actively engaged in your own, and vice-versa. I called up my exes and apologized for being an antagonist. I found a great woman to love, to whom I devoted the next year, to showing love and healing with – of whom I am mourning the amicable end of my first healthy relationship with. I paid my personal debts, however dubious and ill-deserved I might have felt, just because pride is foolish and I had been wrong before, after all. I reconnected with my old bandmates and many friends, and I apologized for who I was when I was manic and depressed, when the abandoned child in my heart that is now no longer alone was speaking for me. I've definitely had slip-ups; I have taken an ugly, unbecoming and scornful tone with some, and have since apologized profusely for the venom of my scorpion tongue. I continued my spiritual practice of anonymously doing random acts of kindness for those in need and not telling anyone (though I guess this counts). I began therapy and medication, eventually settling on lithium for a year before being done with it. And best of all, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and taking myself so damned seriously.
A year and some months later, I am here at my keyboard reflecting on the time between my last entry and now, finally able to return to it without chagrin or fear, with a feeling of renewal and freedom, ready to allow myself to be vulnerable again, with the understanding that I am owed nothing and the ability to accept myself as imperfect. I still experience ups and downs, but they are not anything like they were before.
To any who read this and have put up with me until now, I just want to say thank you for bearing with me – I am a work in progress and your support has been what has brought me back from the brink of oblivion, where I have sworn never to tread again.
And last but not least, if you or anyone you know is going through a hard time with their existence, by all means please come back with us and talk to someone. Here is the hotline in case no one happens to be available, but feel free to drop me a message as well if you should feel so taken.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Reverend Stephan Sams