Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Singing for the Sake of the Song

       The gears are about to shift in this sordid tale I am telling, so it is probably a good time for a breather. It may feel like I am ignoring the internal struggle with suicidal urges to which I was engaged throughout this mess. It is not really a fair assumption, however. I was being pummeled by oakhaven to the point I did not have any peaceful moments to work through my frail emotions during this time. It is fair to assume my survival instinct reemerged as I was beset from all sides, but I would hate to credit such negative actions for my my eventual recovery. So I have to offer something positive to roll around in your mind before continuing the narrative.
       There will be plenty of time and space to waste on philosophical rantings about the meaning of life. I will simplify it here, however. I was extremely depressed over the prospect of spending the rest of my life in a nursing home. Blogs are full of comparisons to depression as feeling lost in an abyss or drowning or some such. Do not buy into those sort of descriptions. They are melodramatic crap. In reality, depression offers a special sense of clarity. Depression presents you with two choices. You can either keep going with the circumstances of your life, making the best of it, or you can end it. But continuing to stagnate while wallowing in sadness cannot be done. I initially made the latter choice. But I could not go through with it. So I wound up pursuing the former. I had to take an awful detour due to Oakhaven's gross incompetence, but I made it eventually.
       Here is a list of four points, ranked from least to most impact, which helped me overcome suicidal urges. This is not to dismiss the first points as insignificant as much as emphasize the importance of factors as the list goes on. They all had a significant impact.
       First, the antidepressants. I absolutely hate taking medication. I have to be on the verge of curling into a fetal position in pain before I will take a Tylenol. The fact I was willing to take medication specifically intended to alter my brain chemistry was a significant concession to oakhaven which should have been seen as a strong sign of good faith, especially since I had adamantly refused to take them six or so weeks prior to confessing my aborted suicide attempt. I guess it did not, since Oakhaven threatened to increase the dosage to stupor inducing levels. But I put the kibosh on that in order to keep a safe dosage level.
       I do, in all honesty, take the next to lowest dosage of Lexipro prescribed. The dosage is not a placebo by any means, but it is not much more than a boost. I am well aware since this boost has been effective, my depression must have been too bad. With that in mind, you may feel free to disregard my above description of depression as unsympathetic to “real” sufferers. I can only relay my experience. As yet, I have seen no need to increase my dosage. But I have not quit taking them, either.
       Second, therapy. There is no miracle cure to be had with therapy. It is a continued relationship in which one can vent without fear of the repercussions one might suffer in being completely honest with loved ones. There were difficulties in the early going with Dr. Hiatt. He believed I had a spiritual problem and so controlled the narrative for weeks worth of sessions. I felt like I needed to vent more, but was not allowed. So we sparred over spiritual and philosophical matters. It was not particularly constructive at te time. But when Oakhaven failed to have me involuntarily committed, everyone loosened their grip on me. Things would have gone much more constructively and at a better pace if they had done so from the beginning, but it is what it is.
       Third, social interaction. I am an INTJ personality type. Socializing ranks right down there with flossing on my list of priorities. After hving spent nine years in near solitary confinement while living with Denise, crawling out of my shell was a pleasant experience made better by a wonderful nursing staff and therapy crew who were happy to have a young resident with a personality with whom to care. I built friendships for the first time in years. Those friendships stood in stark contrast to the animosity I endured from management. But even that conflict afforded me something to feel righteous indignation over. Do not underestimate the healing power of a good white hats versus black hats scenario to chisel away at one's cynicism.
       Finally, the laptop. I alredy talked about this. The blessing was not the laptop itself, but what I did with it. Using it helped me regain my sense of self. I could be an internet junkie again. I could be a writer again. I began keeping a personal journal on top of my other writing projects. I still keep it up on a regular basis. My sense of individuality reemerged as I was able to reconnect with my old interests. These interests included movies, TV, and music. The lst one I extremely important. Music has always been an uplifting force for me. One of the first things I spent a significant amount of time doing online was searching for MP3. Jimmy Buffett's songs were first, of coure, but the Eagls came next. Early on, I downloaded eagles songs in bulk. Listening to them one night in succession with ear buds Jackie had given me, I heard “After the Thrill is Gone” for the first time in years. The following lyrics grabbed me:
       Time passes and you must move on
       Half the distance takes you twice as long.
       But you keep on singing for the sake of the song
       After the thrill is gone.
       Well, there it is. The reality laying beyond the moment your life is destroyed. You have to keep on singing for the sake of the song. I felt silly considering this an epiphany, but Dr. Hiatt assured me patients told him things like that all the time. Nothing which provokes an emotional response in a person can be considered insignificant. Things have different meanings for different people, and those lyrics were what I needed to hear at a pivotal moment. So there it is. The little things are the ones that help use through the major obstacles.      

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