I deal with depression, which at times gets pretty severe. And today, I’m having one of those moments. I feel fatigued, no motivation, and really wish today would go away.
I’m currently on 40 mg of Prozac and today it’s not doing its job. So my therapy is going to be sharing with you. I deal with suicidal thoughts. And when I see something about a suicide on the news or in the paper, it makes me question myself that much more. Why don’t I go through with it?
My last suicide attempt was September 1, 1996. My last suicidal thought was moments ago. I think about it daily, even if it’s just a fleeting thought. Without the Prozac, the fleeting thought of suicide will turn into days and weeks of dwelling on it every waking moment. A cloud of darkness appears over me and won’t leave. It’s not just that this lousy miserable cage has me like this. I’ve had these thoughts for as long as I can remember. The only difference is that I used to use drugs and alcohol to escape. I used to do LSD. Now, I never had a good trip. Every one was like a friggin’ nightmare! People would ask, “Why do you do it?” My answer was, “I enjoy life the next day.” I was glad to be alive at least for the next day or two, and glad to have survived that nightmare. It’s twisted and I know that, but my thoughts are twisted. I often tell people that I have more faults and flaws than any ten men combined and I am unable to forgive myself for a lot of what I’ve done. I often ponder over moments from the past, thinking to myself, “If only I had done this differently.” Not only would it have possibly made my life better, but also it would have spared other people the pain I inflicted on them. We’re all responsible not only for ourselves, but for those around us. For every action, there’s a reaction. So if you take positive action, it can break the chain of negativity.
And they weigh so heavily on my heart, the should have’s, would have’s and could have’s. I have more regrets and guilt than you can ever imagine. Almost every decision that I’ve made in life has been the wrong one. So what is one to do?
If I was in a game of poker, I’d fold the hand and get out of the game. And that’s the way I see this life, this mere existence that I’m surviving. Fold and cash it in. People with better hands than mine are folding. That 20-something year old golfer. That beautiful 19-year-old college student. Tony Dungy’s son. Our military men and women. What am I still doing, holding on to a hand that is far worse than these people’s hands? Do you see how my mind works? It’s not good. I don’t think it’s normal. But who the hell knows why we are the way we are? Are we products of our environment? Of our experiences? Of our decisions? Or is it destiny? A predetermined fate? I often question myself, “Why did you do this? How can you be such a friggin’ idiot all the time? Every time!”
When you can’t answer the question why, it makes you question everything you do and everything you’ve done. You're reminded of a child who touches something and their parent grabs their hand and shakes it and says, “Why did you do that?” And the child says, “I don’t know.” It is often said that children give the most truthful answers. And they often do things without knowing why. And that’s my life. I sit here asking myself over and over and over again: “Why?” I’m a walking disaster. I know this.
This is why I have said that this cage is different of reach and every individual who steps into it (Letter to a Future Death Row Inmate). Some of us experience more pain, guilt and suffering than others. We each deal with problems differently. I bottle them up, relive them and inflict more pain upon myself. I’ve been told I am my own worst enemy, and I believe that. Yes, I’m a mess, and I can’t figure out how to clean myself up. I often think of my life in terms of Murphy’s Law: anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
I don’t know why I keep holding on. I’m 42 years old, and over half these years have been spent in a cage due to my own stupidity. A cage that had become a living nightmare. Where peace, joy and tranquility can only be found for brief moments of time.
What are we to take from this life? What is life about? We’re all clueless, running around like chickens with our heads cut off. Some religious fanatic will suggest they have the answers, when deep in their hearts they doubt their own faith. They just need something to grab onto. Their faith is an empty milk jug, filled with air that they’re using as a life preserver in a thousand miles of sea. The difference between them and me is that I know it’s straight placebo effect. They make it real because it’s their only way of surviving this life. But as for me, I have my Prozac, and it’s just as good as any religious faith. Sure, Prozac has its share of suicides, but religious faiths do too. We’ve seen preachers and priests of all faiths cash in and fold their hands. So no matter what your life style, beliefs, or financial situation, we all teeter right there on the edge of suffering, heartache and pain. And we all search for ways to deal with it.
I long for the love and companionship of a woman more than anything. And this cage only reminds me of the loneliness that I endure each and every day. I also feel that having a woman in my life would be very selfish. While it would give me great joy and comfort to have someone to love and be loved by, I’d be pulling that person into a hellish existence, one filled with fear, dread and stress. So I want it, yet at the same time, I feel guilty for wanting it. I therefore find myself talking her out of it. See, with me, not only does she have to deal with the life of a death row inmate, but one who creates a lot of problems and drama. I’m what they call a writ writer, so I’m constantly filing grievances, doing hunger strikes, etc… and like I’ve been told, I’m my own worst enemy. I fight any and every battle, instead of picking and choosing winnable battles. You’re thinking right now, “If you know that, then why do you do it?” I ask myself the same question, and I haven’t come up with an answer. I continue to teeter on the edge of stupidity. What more can I say…. It hurts to say that and to know that. But I’m just calling it like it is. I try really hard to think before I react, but I still end up second-guessing every decision I make. I’m a mess, a walking disaster. So what do I do? I just try to exist and make it through today. If I’m unfortunate enough to wake up in the morning, which I’m sure I will be, then I’ll deal with that then. But for now, I deal with this moment.
I escape by keeping my mind busy and not allowing it the time to dwell in the past, or look to the future. I must stay in the moment, which is easier said than done, just as surviving a day is easier said than done. We all travel down our own roads. Some are easier to navigate than others. Like that beautiful intelligent 19-year-old student or that young golfer, both suicides who appeared to have magnificent futures ahead of them. But I didn’t walk a mile in their shoes, so who am I to judge them for folding their hands and cashing in their chips? I do know the dreadful loneliness that life brings and the dark cloud of gloom that is depression. Alas I know that convenience outweighs the life and safety of the inmates in the FDOC. For although my medical records show an inmate that is suicidal, instead of passing out medicine daily, Medical keep provides us with “keep on person” (kop) meds. So at any given time, I could have up to 90 Prozac 20 mg capsules, up to 90 Tylenol 500 mg tablets, up to 60 goldline chlorpheniramine sinus pills, and up to 120 Ranitidine (Zantac) tablets. This, in my humble opinion, is very foolish. Would I OD? No! But they don’t know what I’m thinking! Convenience always outweighs not only the safety and health of the inmates, but the security of the institution, which I’m going to bring to your attention in another entry in the near future. Thank you for spending this time with me and taking the time to learn about my world. Blissful wishes to all