I skipped a day last week. I did not want to survive. I did not know how to survive.
I find it hard to describe the particular pain that is intense suicidality — the kind of suicidality that is so powerful, if somebody weren’t watching you you would definitely take your life. For me, it’s a heavy sack of tears inside my chest. It starts just below my throat and fills my entire chest and my upper stomach. I have called it a boulder of tears. The tears are so heavy. Letting them out doesn’t help.
I have moments that are very painful. I am not talking of the heavy sack of tears but of moments in which I feel acute emotional pain. It may happen when I am waking up, maybe as a result of a memory, often as a body memory. I feel as if a charge of a particular kind of electricity were running through my body, head to toe. This particular kind of electricity is a combination of terrible sorrow and terrible discomfort. I used to bolt awake; now I try to relax my body while the electricity traverses my body and stay quiet and still in the aftermath, till all the residue is gone. Sometimes it works. It mostly works if I am going to sleep rather than waking up because there is sleep on the other side and I can count on it — typically.
There are also moments of intense sadness. They don’t reach the level of “I want to die now” but they are still sad. I want to try something. I want to experience them like punches in the stomach. No one has ever punched me in the stomach so I’ll think of the pain of menstrual cramps. When you get punched in the stomach, or have bad menstrual cramps, there is an acute phase that can last even hours (hopefully less, with modern medicine). Then the pain ebbs and at some point it’s gone. When it’s gone it’s gone. With menstrual cramps the pain is blameless, no one has caused it, so you have no residual resentment, though you may feel under the weather for a few days. Regardless, it’s pain located in time.
This is how I want to think of the emotional pain I am experiencing these days. As pain located in time. In the thick of it, you are in agony. Maybe modern medicine can help. Maybe blander things like a cup of tea, or broth, or milk may help too. Maybe, if the pain is not too bad, distraction can help. Music, social media, tv. Sometimes, if things are bad, nothing helps. Except time. However agonizing, the pain will pass. You may be under the weather for a few days but the acute pain will pass. It may return, of course, but its return will pass, too.
This is something I want to try. To locate my pain in time.