Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Broken Pieces of Yesterday's Life

 I am a goal oriented person.  I need something to work towards, some kind of finishing line, to work towards.  An end point is necessary even when life is stagnant.  Maybe even more so.  As a fan of irony, setting an end point for the end point was bitterly amusing.  The day after my birthday felt like a good choice.  Either I would enjoy my birthday and go out on a high note, or I would feel as morose as on Thanksgiving, which would reinforce my decision as the right one.  So December 12th it was to be. 
The decision left me with fifteen days with which to wrap life up.  It turned out to be a period of reflection.  If I had one regret, it was lacking the ability to write my thoughts down so I could have kept working through them during the time period.  If I had done that, my writer’s instincts, such as they are, might have improved my spirits enough to change my mind.  As it was, memories flooded back of times good ande bad, but who could possibly hold onto all those when the mind if full of thoughts of ending everything? 
I thought of my mother.  How she had died, alone in an empty house.  Dead for days before anyone even knew.  I thought of how many times it seemed like it was only the two of us against the world.  The world was going to finally win.  We would both wind up alone, asphyxiated on the floor of what barely counted as home.  I thought of old friends and girlfriends who had long since moved on down the line.  What might have been if I had made stronger bonds as opposed to being my usual reclusive self?    Would anything be different?  Would anything be better?    Probably not.  Whatever will be, will be.  The ebb and flow of happy versus sad caused me to waiver, but never change my mind about my choice.  I was overwhelmed with too many burdens to carry into a rapidly diminishing future.
More than ever, I needed to be quietly alone in order to reflect.  I alternated between sitting outside under the carport watching traffic go by when the late fall weather cooperated and sitting in the chair between the two beds in my room.  In both instances, the Rollator with my suicide kit was right there.  Either I was sitting on it outside, or using it as a footstool in my room.  It was my personal in case of emergency, break glass escape route.  I never got too far away from it.
Mr. Cagle’s cancer treatments ended successfully at the beginning of December.  He was one of the fortunate few who get to leave nursing homes in order to resume their lives.  I liked him, and I was happy he could leave, but I am human.   It was not jealousy, per se.  Or maybe I am rationalizing.   I just wished I had somewhere to go, too.  But there were no options, and I did not feel in good enough shape to rebuild  my life if there were any.    Not that I did not bitterly joke about the prospect.   The day mr. Cagle was to leave, Ashley, the unit supervisor, came to wish him well.
“You ready to get out of here?” she asked him. 

He readily affirmed he was.  Interjected, sitting in my chair with my feet up on the Rollator, protecting my exit plan.
“If you can get Reese Witherspoon to marry me, I will leave, too.”
“If I could, I would,” Ashley laughed.
My darker demeanor attracted attention.  Most conspicuously was Caroline, a nursing assistant who looked after me two or three nights a week.  She would often poke her hwad in the door to ask if I was all right.  I would assure her I was fine, but she was not asking about me physically.  She wanted to know what was eating at me.  I assured her there was nothing, and she would leave me alone.  There were others, but they were wary of attempting to break through the barriers I had long put up to keep people out. 
I am not certain whether I was brought were brought to Paulette’s attention, or if she took the initiative herself, but she finally confronted me on December 6th about my obvious depression.  I was guarded during our conversation.  I did not need interference in the home stretch.  But I did allow I was depressed.  Denying such would have compelled Paulette to call in reinforcements.  I need not need the increased attention.    She asked me to consider talking to Michelle, the nurse practitioner, about taking antidepressants. 
Oh, dear.
I agreed to do so, but I had no intentions of taking them.  I have known people who have.  Foremost in my mind at the time was Neil, a guy I knew in college who suffered from cerebral palsy.  He took antidepressants to deal with the pain of watching everyone else enjoy the college lifestyle.  His situation was not too far removed from mine at the time.  The drugs made him act strangely.  More than mellow.  Almost ambivalent to life around him.  His results reinforced in my mind that antidepressants are more for the comfort of everyone around the user rather than the user himself.  I was not having them even if I was not planning to off myself in less than a week.
 I managed to weasel my way out of taking them when I talked to Michelle.  I convinced her I was simply an introvert with strong, but silent coping skills.  She accepted it, offered to help find someway of getting me a computer and even came by the next day with some very nice clothes her son had outgrown.  Denise would have said I was being manipulative, with an emotionally shallow charm bordering on the sociopath.  You may make up your own mind whether she has me pegged.  Regardless,  I avoided further interference in my plans while discovering a few good things remained.  But I cannot say the latter was enough to stop me.

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