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May


The Frenemy in the Passenger Seat. Wednesday May 31, 2017

[To listen to an audio version of this blog, please click here: http://bit.ly/2qCPKiu]

It seems to happen most when I'm driving. Just recently at the traffic lights, by my daughter's school. I'm sitting there, watching the red light, aware of my left indicator ticking, the trees coming into leaf on the other side of the junction...

"Wouldn't it be nice to end it all?"

I turned in shock to the figure next to me.

"Hey! I thought the drugs had got rid of you!"

He smiles, showing every tooth. "Think again."

The lights turn green and I turn left, driving at a moderate thirty miles per hour towards home, conscious of the chill emanating from the nebulous figure in rusty black beside me. He hums, and his white phalanges move in a sedate sarabande on one bony knee.

It was a fleeting visit this time. He was gone, without taking formal leave, by the time I reached home. But it had been a nasty shock. Surely, if I'm no longer depressed, I should not be troubled by thoughts of suicide.

He turned up again, a few days later, at a family barbeque, and again yesterday.

The medication has not banished my friendly enemy.

The mania and depression are still there, just as they have always been, but now I have the counterweight to those extremes, or perhaps a padded cocoon in which to endure that nightmare fun ride. I have my steady 40watt bulb to cast a soft golden glow, but the alternate flashing strobes and pitch darkness are still there, beyond that small radius of light. I'm still bipolar; but now the drugs ameliorate the worst of it.

My companion lacks much of the power he used to have. When he first visited me at seventeen, he was a passionate and importunate lover, urgently pleading me to leave all and come away with him. I desperately wanted to go, but just didn't know how. I'm clear that if the internet had been around in 1980, I would not be here now.

Over the years I have grown stronger, and can resist his blandishments. Less frequently now, does he suggest ways in which the thing might be done. Most of the time it's easy to laugh at him; dismiss him. But the very fact he's there at all, worries me.

I don't have any moral objection to suicide, despite my faith. The violence of it, the presumed pain, is off-putting of course, but if one could, as Thomas Hardy puts it, pass into "some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm", how desirable would that be?

I won't. Love and duty keep me here. Love for family, for friends. Duty to that family, those friends, and to you whom I serve.

I'm not depressed. I'm enjoying life. That life is rich and full. I have everything.

But I want nothing. Nothing; nothing at all.

Am I alone in feeling this way?

I don't want any of you to suffer this too, but - please tell me I'm not alone.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


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Comments

Molly Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 12:23am

Hi Mary. I do find that I have 'waves' of these feelings, one moment I will feel ok and then I get a 'wave' of real discomfort. I first of all wanted to say that you must be depressed to be experiencing these feelings, even though you say you are not depressed. I then changed my mind. I came out of depression and still get these feelings.

Rest assured, you are not alone xx

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:23am

Thank you Molly. You have given me comfort.

Tychi's Mum Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 4:34am

Good morning Mary Wednesday...a brilliant and well-written blog as always.
You are definitely not alone. In my periods of severe illness I think of a "nocturnal blackness" continually. I differ from you though, in the fact that in my "well" periods I can honestly say that it doesn't cross my mind at all.
It must be very scary indeed for the frenemy to descend so randomly and when you consider yourself to be well. I'm certain that it won't be uncommon amongst other Moodscopers.
I love your acceptance in calling your depression/illness a frenemy. I'm only 4 years into the journey and there's certainly no room for fr...in my description. It's still an enemy of the worst and most evil kind. You have made me think though....is there a way that I can be more accepting? I'm sure that would be healthier for me. Hmmmm, food for thought.
Thanks again for a fantastic blog.
Wishing all Moodcopers a frenemy free day x

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:26am

I think I use the "fr" because he has been with me so long I have become used to him. He is almost a comfort in a macabre way: "if it all gets too bad, I have him..." I hope it never gets that bad.

Smudge Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 6:14am

The quote at the end of this blog makes me so mad. "Depression is not the situation but what you make of it". This is so very wrong. It's the old 'snap out of it' attitude

Molly Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 7:02am

Hi smudge, I can't see the quote you refer to ?

Leah Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 7:27am

Molly. it is at the bottom of your email, not on the website.

Molly Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 5:40pm

Thank you for clarifying Leah. I can understand why Smudge was offended by the quote. Unhappiness is not always about a situation and even if it is, it is hard to have happy thoughts ! Although I do see where the quoter was coming from, I don't think some of these quotes are directed at people with depression. Hope you are ok Smudge xx

Orangeblossom Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 7:31am

Hi Mary, thanks for your very honest blog. Frenemy probably doesn't like to be ignored so he may occasionally like to make his presence felt perhaps to try and scare you that he isn't very far away. I have never been formally diagnosed with bi-polar but I do indicate some of those symptoms. Yes, and I have felt that way sometimes. Please hang on. Frenemy may drift away. I hope so!

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:27am

I hope so too!

Charlie Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 7:56am

Beautifully crafted, what a wordsmith you are Mary. Now 61, "diagnosed" 20 years ago, disbelieving at the time and still reluctant to accept the bi-polar diagnosis, except it's the only thing that explains the turbulence since I was a teenager, the horrible 40's and still covers the current issues. I thought by now that Frenemy ( better description than Black Dog for the insidious interweaving of the beast into one's whole being) would be a thing of the past, but sadly not - as you describe, Frenemy pops up with well-formulated and practical ways out of the pain when you're not actually aware that you're "suffering". Which I find a bit of a shocker, but am able to manage it by piling the good stuff on the top of Frenemy, in effect saying, ok, I can see your argument but let's wait awhile until things get bad shall we? Sorry not to be the bearer of good tidings in the form of an answer, but I guess all the time one is practicing the argument it's positive stuff.

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:29am

Sounds like you and I are in the same boat, Charlie. It's not a great boat, but it *is* good to have company. Thanks for replying.

Charlie Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:55am

Hi Mary, if it's any comfort in some bizarre way, my Frenemy has more tools at his disposal than perhaps "the man / woman in the street" - as I'm a farmer with access to poisons, shotguns, reservoirs, heavy machinery etc, etc, you can imagine he finds it fertile ground for practical suggestions - which makes it even more alarming when the latest suggestion comes up!

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 4:13pm

I understand all too well, Charlie. All my family are in farming. It's a lonely job and the isolation inherent in the lifestyle makes it even harder to deal with depression

Anonymous Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 7:57am

Hello Mary,
Your blogs are such a rock for me. Thank you.
It may sound silly, and it's no doubt a strategy you may have tried, but have you thought about, on the days that you have the strength reserves to do so, showing Frenemy the door? "Oh hello old friend-I appreciate you popping in but I'm rather busy right now getting stronger and living. So, if you don't mind...?" And mentally wave him off. I know you said he slopes off anyway but that sounds like it's on his terms. I love the thought of you stopping your car, turning to him, facing him down, unclipping his seat belt, opening his door, firmly shutting it behind him and leaving him scuffing his toes in the roadside verge as you drive away singing along to Gloria Gaynor/another powerful, fun uplifting tune. Then, in your rear view mirror, 'poofff'' he is gone in a cloud of smoke...and, although that may not be the last you see of him, he knows he's losing his grip on you!

Eva Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 8:08am

I will survive, yeyhay... :)

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:32am

Knowing I am a rock to someone is deeply humbling and a great privilege. Thank you for saying that. I am more grateful than you could know. Another reason to stick around.

Molly Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 5:48pm

I really like that Anonymous, it is kind of like a form of meditation isn't it. I do believe that these things can help. Although on the other hand, I have read about 'making friends' with it and then it cannot harm you, so I guess it depends whichever works for the individual but a good comment xx

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 8:13pm

Another reply, Anonymous. Yes - what a good idea, stopping and inviting him to just jump out and leave. I think I did say that to him at the Barbecue (at least, I wandered off by myself and took lots of pictures of my Aunt's magnificent gardens and lost myself in the creative flow). I shall certainly try to remember your wise words when next he pays his call.

Eva Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 8:04am

Hi Mary, I currently have very mild depression as I am in a period of recovery, I have to say that I still default on occasion (for seconds or minutes) to it would be easier not to be alive. However it's been a long time since I gave credence to the thought. I think I accept it as a thought and nothing more, which is not even to say that I haven't thought of how, but I don't allow myself to dwell on the how, as soon as I am aware I set it aside. Mindfulness has helped me immensely here as I understand that my thoughts are not me, I have millions of thoughts a day, if I were everyone of them I would have to be superhuman (or some kind of supervillan). I am my (generally) considered actions.

I believe that brains automatically take shortcuts if they can, so for me if I start to dip into a grey state, for whatever reason, my brain automatically wants to go to it would be easier not to be alive rather than the more likely, I am tired, I need sleep and a time out. Maybe one day when I've retrained my brain enough it will shortcut to maybe I need a nap instead. You are not alone sweet Mary.

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:34am

Thank you. And Yes, mindfulness is helpful.

Kelly Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 9:21pm

I have that struggle too. Dipping into a depressive episode is usually followed pretty fast by thinking it would just be easier and better if I were no longer alive.

Eva Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 8:05am

I should say that in this last year of time off recovering from fatigue, I have made good positive steps in retraining my brain :) I nap a lot now!

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 8:14pm

Oooh - naps. Yes - most helpful.

Miles Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 8:12am

Hi Mary, Thank you for the blog. I always look forward to Wednesday and yours in particular as I enjoy your writing and you're often writing on an issue that I'm also grappling with. I also enjoy that it can be listened to as well as the accompanying music which is always a bonus. I made a decision a long time ago never to give in to such thoughts for the sake of my kids. There's so much research out there which describes very clearly the impact on them in respect to significantly increased risk to both mental illness and suicide themselves that it makes it a no go area for me. This chimes loudly on my overly conscientious nature and no matter how bad things get I have to resist which at times makes me feel resentful and unhappy about not having that "choice" anymore. However, that's my choice but i wanted to explain it wasn't an easy or at times a remotely comfortable one.

My thoughts despite or maybe in part because of my decision couldn't give a flying hoot to whatever I've decided! I've been particularly Depressed since December. I'm often severely Depressed according to all clinical barometers such as a Beck Depression Inventory and my daily Moodscope scores remind me and my long suffering wife of that fact daily. However, this current Depression has been particularly savage and aggressive and Its been bombarding me with thoughts around not being here to very often being unable to think of anything other than killing myself-I sometimes describe it as one of the worst personal soundtracks you could wish for. I usually work through my Depressions but I've been off work since January which is both necessary, wise and extremely guilt inducing. I work as a Therapist and I feel desperately for my clients (the NHS doesn't replace staff like me when we're off) and my personal self worth is too closely bound to working than is helpful at times such as this.I've developed a sense of guilt that the younger me would NEVER had recognised! Guilt for being alive and burdening my beautiful family (how much better a life they would have had had I never met my Wife and how differently life could have been). I could go on but you catch my drift and many of you will be all too familiar with similar thoughts and feelings. And so Mary who I look forward to reading and listening to every Wednesday :) you are certainly not alone. Many of us are here going through very similarly awful and challenging times but if it wasn't for you and others who blog and contribute by commenting to this brilliant and beautiful site (which I heartily recommend to ALL my clients btw) we would al be so much the poorer and that little bit more isolated, frightened and alone. So thank you x

Sal Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:08am

Beautifully put Miles : " this brilliant and beautiful site .... we would al be so much the poorer and that little bit more isolated, frightened and alone." I couldn't agree more.

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:41am

Miles, my darling! Thank you so much for baring your heart and emotions to us. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it. Oh Yes - guilt! I may blog about that next week. My father killed himself when I was 4, and I saw it. Therapists such as you have helped me enormously through the years. So, like you, I will stick around for my children. We must constantly remind ourselves, when suicide calls most insistently, that our children would *not* be better off without us. Neither would our spouse. This condition *will* lift, if only we can hang on. Wishing you powerful fingers for hanging on, Miles. And thank you again.

Tutti Frutti Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:55am

Miles Just to say that I am sorry you are having such a horrible time at the moment. I am thinking of you and the others in your situation who haven't managed to comment. Sending hugs. Love TF xoxo

Kelly Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 12:55pm

That is all too familiar to me Miles...I feel that way sometimes about my husband. I feel that guilt too. Then I also feel guilty for just wanting to leave him and everyone who loves me...those feelings are lessening thanks to medication and therapy but damn if they aren't still there...I had a particularly severe episode start developing for me this February and it really doesn't seem to want to budge as much as I'd like it to.

Molly Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 6:01pm

A great reply Miles, it seems wrong to say 'great' when you are suffering but I believe alot of people will 'get' something out of what you have said. I also feel terrible guilt and can relate to alot that you say. I hope you get through this and can get back to some 'normality' Molly xx

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 8:18pm

And Kelly - wishing strength for your fingers too. You know I have been there, hanging onto the side of the abyss, so I can tell you with authority that it can and does get better. I wish I could hold all of you in a supportive embrace, and help you in that desperate struggle to cling on. Please accept my thoughts and prayers. the mind can be a dark and scary place. I hope you have at least the candle flame of hope.

LP Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 7:08pm

Hi Miles, I also felt worse in many ways when I had to take time out from work. I was not believed and treated appallingly. The guilt and feeling of "letting others down" the obligation, are all familiar. It doesn't help that the time out of work is so much needed, yet allows for time with less to distract the mind and less routine. Thinking of you and wishing you well. LP xx

Kelly Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 9:13pm

Thank you Mary. It isn't easy. I finally am seeing some flickers of hope and I'm doing everything I can to keep it alive. It's the hopeless times that scare me the most...both of myself acting on impulses (which I have done before) and asking for the help I need at that time and letting myself receive it. I really do intend to try the next time an impulse grabs on to me to call my psychiatrist or therapist (as they've stated over and over that I can and should) or go to the ER (sometimes I forget having suicidal impulses is an emergency but I've been reminded several times...and that the ER staff knows what to do and can take care of me....I've been there before too).

Miles Fri, Jun 2nd 2017 @ 9:01am

Thank you all for your kind words, observations and thoughts. I wish you all peace, ease and calm x

The Gardener Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 8:33am

There is as big a queue to answer this as to try and get on to French Samaritans. I am struggling dreadfully, and today's blog has nearly finished me. A few months ago, in acute despair, I ran for the river - alerts went out, and I was 'rescued' in a kind and tactful manner. My reasons for clinging to life are almost nil. I know he can't help it, but Mr G's nightly shouting at me that I am unhelpful, an awful wife, are getting to me. I am trying to deal with an Amazon scam, ditto for the house sale. My gardening is a life-saver, but all the other problems are reducing my physical energy. When I went down to the river - serious intents or not, I kept saying to myself 'I can't do this to my children'. Now, I have one super son (has his own problems) and his wife, who put up with anything. I have NO contact with any of the rest of the family - they don't care about me, why should I stay alive for them? Somehow, like winding up a doll, I have to resurrect my inner 'Spring' which has kept me going. An aside, Moodscope attitude to suicide seems to have changed. Quite a while ago I wrote a like blog - Caroline said that the 'S' word is avoided.

Leah Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 8:53am

Gardener, I just want to hug you. I am so touched by your post. Please resurrect your inner spring. I wish some health care worker could see how much you are struggling and how much you need help. I think so many people would miss you more than you will ever know. Take care.

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:44am

Gardener, you are a constant light to us. Like Leah I want to take you in my arms and hug you. I pray for courage and strength for you. You are being tested to the limit indeed.

Kelly Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 1:05pm

I'm sorry you're dealing with that too. I am definitely doing better than I was but my mind is still defaulting back to that to some extent. I know suicide isn't a nice topic but it's something a lot of us deal with on a regular basis.

Molly Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 6:23pm

I was sad to read your comment Gardener. You are doing so well under very difficult circumstances and families ay ! It makes me rather annoyed that you do not have more support from them but glad to hear you have one 'super'son and I hope he makes up for the rest. You will know that Mr G does not mean to be horrible, it is that wretched illness. Sending love to you xx

LP Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 7:15pm

Hi TG, Hang in there, try to hold on to knowing that your life will be different in the future, so there IS a reason. Big warm hugsxxx

LP Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 7:22pm

Oh and also yes, the discussion about suicide has been opened more recently on here. It seems a good thing to me that Mary and others feet that they can bring it up and it's a shame that it wasn't as comfortable when you have broached it in the past. It fits well with the current media attention on mental health in general being spoken about more. Xx

Jul Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 8:52am

I feel too that suicide is more frequently referred to on Moodscope and personally I don't like to read about it. However I do realise that it helps many to write about their own experiences on the subject and therefore I wouldn't want to stop anyone writing about it. However I might stop using Moodscope if ever it got too much. That's my choice. I used to work in prisons where there were many copycat suicides especially amongst women prisoners. I'll never forget that. Since then I have this fear that even reading about it might encourage the reader to go for it. Not me as I just know I couldn't and don't feel that bad anyway. I hope people who have written about this subject in the past and today Mary don't take my comment the wrong way. I am voicing only my opinion and feelings which are very personal. Julxx

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:54am

We didn't write about it for a long time, Jul. I know that the first post I wrote on the subject is still lurking in Caroline's store-cupboard. It may never be the right time to publish that one: it is very raw. But I felt we had to get real. This an illness that can be fatal. I gelt we needed to recognise that. It is unfortunate that this blog follows so closely on the heels of a recent one dealing with the same subject. It is important to know we are not alone, and not to shy away from the worst. We are here, still fighting. Moodscope is one of things that keeps me still here. I hope it does that for many others too. Having said that, I do understand your point of view and your concerns. No copycats here, I hope. Nothing to copy except the valiant fight.

LP Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 8:03pm

Hi Jul and Mary, I have experienced both views. I've always had some concern about saying anything that might affect a reader's wellbeing too Jules. The responsibility of that job must have been huge. To a far lesser degree, teachers and I'm sure people in other caring professions carry the added sense responsibility for others outside of work. I think it is a valid concern. I'm hoping that by speaking about it, we take some of the "dreadful fear of what people dare not mention" from it. Take some of the "power" from it. Similarly, I've mentioned on here in the past that I began to avoid language such as "demons" etc however effectively descriptive of feelings and mental experiences, because for me, it unneccesarily adds to the power and fear, fight or flight thing. Talking about it might give people more strength in numbers and of course, ways of managing it, or lessening the feelings of powerlessness. I would love to hear from anyone for whom these thoughts are a thing of the past. LP xxx

Kelly Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 9:19pm

Very true Mary. I've talked about this is therapy before. We need to remember as a society how very serious mental illnesses are...and that they can prove fatal. I've almost lost my life to mine a few times myself.

The librarian Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 8:54am

Dear Mary,

Thank you for your blog - a beautiful and entertaining way to put something very difficult into words.

You are not alone; if I could find a way of disappearing, of leaving this earth without anyone having to find my body or deal with my stuff, I would do it today.

I don't have any dependents, nobody needs me on a daily basis - I wish they did. It's finishing my novel that keeps me here (although I have reached saturation point again and have nothing creative left in me), which is perhaps why it's taking so long to write!

The thoughts do come and go, and they've only ever been thoughts, and when they're at their most persistent I seek help.

Wishing you all the best with your Frenemy.

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:55am

It's my characters who help me stay too, Librarian - and they comfort me. Hoping your creativity is soon restored.

LP Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:00am

Hi Mary,

I don't personally have experience of this, but am sure you're not alone.
Some thoughts I had reading your blog were:

Will you be having a medication review and could these thoughts continuing be discussed then?

Hardy's description experiencing "nothing" as a warm nocturnal blackness, seems to suggest a desire to consciously experience it. Like being in a floatation tank with no sensory stimulation and the ability to meditate. To be alive, aware and conscious to experience the undisturbed, warm peace and safety. His description is of a positive desire for that experience.

Is the description of when these thoughts occur to you, not a desire to actively experience nothingness, but to stop experiencing anything and stop being? If you are religious, absolutely no judgement here at all just simply and genuinely, what is your belief about what happens next?

Maybe by questioning the thoughts, perhaps with guidance, they will deminish further?. I'm glad that as part of your condition, they have lessened with your current precription and that you want them to go completely, along with the mania and depression, bipolar. By wanting them to go, maybe there's also a desire to be free.
I also wonder about that 17 year old girl and what might have been if things had been different, or if she had access to the wisdom you have now.
Not wishing anyone else to suffer it, again, is a rejection of the thoughts. Not something that you want.
I wasn't sure whether the frenemy was your amazingly descriptive and creative writing about when the thoughts take you by surprise, or your experience is as if the suggestion is being made to you.

I'm not trying to fix anything Mary and do hear what your saying about wanting nothing at all. I hope that others who can speak from experience can reassure you that you're not alone better than I.
I guess that my lack of complete understanding may present a different perspective if you feel stuck with one way of thinking.

Thinking is tiring! You can see why I'm here! I'm going to have one of ratgs mind holidays in the shower!
A daily rest from thinking for a few minutes is supposed to have equivalent benefits to a good nights sleep.
I'm glad you feel so much better these days Mary and may that familiarenemy
be gone for good!
Thanks for sharing your superb writing, sending love and light to you and all. LP xxx

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:57am

L.P.. I will reply later to this. You make some very good points. I am in London for the day and will next be free this evening. B4n.

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 8:56pm

Oh, L.P. I had just spent half an hour composing a detailed reply to your considered comment when my cat walked across my keyboard and deleted the lot. He is now purring by my side, such that I cannot be cross with him. I will start again.... bear with me....

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:39pm

So - to start again (and I hate rewriting what I had already written once - brilliantly - if I say so myself... I had even got most of the way through editing it (well - you didn't think I let anything go out half-baked, did you? Even if i looks raw - it's meant to be that way, don't 'cha know?) So..... 1) Medication review. I have only just signed myself off from my wonderful psychiatrist, because I am now so stable. (And I am - honest), so I feel I should wait at least a year before referring myself back. As I have a brilliant relationship with my GP, I could either book an appointment with her to discuss this or just send her an email. Good point, anyway, and I will consider it. 2) Hardy's poem. Hmm - I am guilty, if not of dissimulation, at least of non-disclosure. This poem is all about death, and romanticises dreadfully the whole thing. I find Hardy full of self-aggrandisement; he writes with melodrama rather than from the genuine anguish which characterises the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Let me copy the poem out in full for you here. Afterward When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay, And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings, Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the neighbours say, "He was a man who used to notice such things"? If it be in the dusk when, like an eyelid's soundless blink, The dewfall-hawk comes crossing the shades to alight Upon the wind-warped upland thorn, a gazer may think, "To him this must have been a familiar sight." If I pass during some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm, When the hedgehog travels furtively over the lawn, One may say, "He strove that such innocent creatures should come to no harm, But he could do little for them; and now he is gone." If, when hearing that I have been stilled at last, they stand at the door, Watching the full-starred heavens that winter sees, Will this thought rise on those who will meet my face no more, "He was one who had an eye for such mysteries"? And will any say when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom, And a crossing breeze cuts a pause in its outrollings, Till they rise again, as they were a new bell's boom, "He hears it not now, but used to notice such things"? As you can see, Hardy has both eyes fixed on the thoughts which others have of him. Hopkins, on the other hand, is embroiled in his own struggle and his only external reference is that of his God. I do love Hardy's words, however, especially that "nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm". 3) You are quite right when you question the relationship of this desire for "nothing" to my religious belief in "what comes next." For me, the desire for suicide has nothing to do with the next stage of our journey as immortal (if non-physical) beings. Suicide is the desire to just - stop. When I think about the other side of death (in terms of my faith), I think about leaving behind our physicality, even our intellectual capacity, and taking forward only our souls; there to meet other souls. We will have known some of those souls intimately; others we have known only fleetingly - and we will embrace the Godhead together, however that Godhead appears (and with maturity I no longer believe that Godhead reflects "Mere Christianity"). Suicide is different; completely different in its desire for "nothing." I'm sure my darling friend Raz, with his understanding of the physical and metaphysical universe, will explain the concept of "nothingness" to me. And, indeed, I will ask him, just as soon as he is not working so hard he has time to send me more than just an emoticon to any of my questions... (rueful smile emoticon!) 4) Yes indeed, I do believe we mature every day and will have different answers a year, a month, a day from now. If I could go back to my 17 year old self I would embrace her. I would tell her that she will get through her A levels (with the best results in her year); that she will get through her degree; that she will make many mistakes but be the richer and more compassionate for it; that she will not have "success" in the eyes of the world, but will transform the lives of many and give hope and light and provide strength for many more. Oh, bless you, Lily-petal! Bu making me think, you have provided so much affirmation and such a strong anchor. You are such a blessing. I don't care whether or not you have a religious faith (and it really doesn't matter, does it?), I give such grateful thanks to you. So much love to you, my darling; you have made me see how valuable my life is to others: that is so precious.

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:39pm

And, no cat this time!

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 11:30pm

Although also - no paragraph breaks!

LP Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 6:43pm

Ahh Mary, thank you for your heartfelt reply. I am so glad that my thoughts were of value to you. Hardy! Thank you for sharing the whole piece, I've read it twice now and this second time didn't pay attention to the content really, just the exquisite combining of words and ideas. Stunning. I didn't know about what your 4 year old self experienced and now understand more. I have learnt so much from your blog, your reply and all the comments from others. Themes about parental influences, escape routes, self worth, guilt, duty. In divorce, children can mistakenly blame themselves. Not true,we know, but manifests in different ways and can influence future relationships. This has made me think about how self worth as an adult is influenced by past experiences. It's complex I know. Everyone's experiences different. What I understand a bit better is that the thought just appears. What I hear from you often Mary is that you don't matter to you. Only others matter. You have the type of self worth that knows your strengths and value to others. For a long time I didn't know what loving ones self meant. I only half get it now. I went via the route of I care about my being unwell, I care about how I am feeling. I care enough to stand up for myself, I care about the little girl who experienced so much pain. There are bits of me that I like, ( let's forget for now about the bits I don't! stay with me on this! :)) and I'd rather be me than anyone else. There must be more to it but it's not a bad start. Anyway.... It is possible for self worth, to change (just stating a fact!) even if the past can't. Love back to you Mary. LPxx

Sal Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:19am

Oh Mary, so much to say and yet so little. Many 'fix-it' thoughts come to my mind but I'm sure that's not what you want right now. I bless the fact that I am not visited by that frenemy at the moment, and I think my visits in the past were less seductive and much less articulate or explicit than yours. I do believe (so far!) that it is possible to leave the frenemy behind - but whether that is due to decades of hard self-healing graft, or just a lightening of circumstances, is hard to say.
Thinking of you with love and hope.
Sal xx

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:43pm

Sal, my dear - I don't know either. Please take comfort in the knowledge that I choose to share this spectre only because I hope it might help others. I never lie - please don't think I am anything but honest in my posts - but if I didn't think it would help anyone, I wouldn't write it.

The Gardener Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:20am

I know 'Pull yourself together' is useless - but, today, it's 'war'. Charlie says 'look for the good stuff'. I am mean, and I've been looking at all my plants gained for nothing - all 'romping'. Then 10 minutes in market, and I've manage a few laughs. Lady opposite sells old-fashioned linen - trying to persuade her portly husband (bit of a 'Del Boy' to wear Victorian bloomers - only a variation on the awful shorts just emerging.

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 11:31pm

Oh Gardener - love the Del- Boy Bloomers!

The Gardener Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:20am

I know 'Pull yourself together' is useless - but, today, it's 'war'. Charlie says 'look for the good stuff'. I am mean, and I've been looking at all my plants gained for nothing - all 'romping'. Then 10 minutes in market, and I've manage a few laughs. Lady opposite sells old-fashioned linen - trying to persuade her portly husband (bit of a 'Del Boy' to wear Victorian bloomers - only a variation on the awful shorts just emerging.

Molly Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 6:38pm

If you can keep your humour Gardener, you are at least half way there :-) :-)

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:52pm

Oh, Gardener, if only you could *feel* the warmth and affection coming your way from this site. I know it is only words; but, believe me, if we could transport ourselves over to France, we would embrace you (and I hope some of us would have resolution and experience enough to take Mr G away for a while too). I know you don't *feel* like a saint but... (and this is one Christian to another - so shut your eyes and block your ears, everyone else) ... just ask God to show you how He sees you. I hope and pray He shows you a vision. I am sure you will be dazzled, humbled and utterly blown away by the glory that is you. My darling Gardener, I so wish I could love and support you in a practical way. All I can say is that your "virtual" friends here are "real" friends. I do not think it is possible for me to get out to France to whisk Mr G away for a few days so you can attend your garden, but is there anything practical your online friends here can do? You have our love and prayers, always.

LP Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 8:07pm

Here, here! Beautifully said Mary, there is indeed a lot of love for you out here TG.xx

Salt Water Mum Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:29am

Dear Mary and Modscopers,

A beautifully written but uncomfortable blog to read. This is something I do not talk about and probably deny even feeling. But I do. I have. You are not alone.
I have had a stern talking with my daemon - I've told him I refuse to even entertain these thoughts while my children need me. I am their sole protector and that is my job. Until they are adults and able for the world.
I have found myself say - 'no, back off, I am having another twenty years on this planet at the least, we can talk then.' and I close it down.
Like you Mary, this daemon has arrived more times while I am driving alone than in other places.
But I again I bat him off - a little bit like Anonymous described in fact! And yes, I do sing, or try to - loudly and badly - afterwards!

Best wishes to all Moodscopers today,
SWM x


Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 10:11pm

Ah - you're another of the "next five/ten/twenty years brigade"! May I say, frankly, that I don't think we'll ever get away with that! I was just (this evening) talking to a very lovely lady who rang me about my next blood donation appointment (see 14th September 2016). Turns out she is a depressive too. Turns out, she has struggled with suicide too (please don't ask me how I can get into these conversations with people in telephone call centres). She says now that it is her Grandchildren who keep her here. She wants to teach them to cook; she wants to give them that secure emotional basis that their parents (with their concerns about providing a roof over the children's head and food on the table) cannot give; she wants to give them that bridge over the generations. She is a very lovely lady and I have told her about Moodscope. We have our current family and future family; we have our friends, we have our own bloody minded refusal to give in. So let us sing. Let us listen to music extremely loudly. Let us rant and rage and scream. All this is better than giving up and giving in. Let us refuse to give up and give in.

Freya Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:43am

Mary, you are not alone. I can promise you that you are not alone.

I can understand that people are uncomfortable discussing suicide, but to not do so gives it a secret hidden power that it isn't entitled to have. And suicide is not painless. Not to anyone, least of all the survivors.

I think this frenemy likes the element of surprise, to appear when not expected, it adds to his power.

But I would like to suggest an alternative view - when you are trying to retrain a behaviour in an animal, the animal always increases the behaviour initially; why wouldn't they, it has always worked in the past so they just scale it up if it isn't working now; and they do this until they see it isn't going to work any more. Maybe your frenemy's power is decreasing, and he doesn't like it so is making random appearances to remind you.

Go well, best wishes to you all xx

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 10:15pm

Brilliant idea - thank you. Also, I like to think, he only comes out if he can be helpful. He's a bit heavy-handed but I only let him loose if I think he might help.

Tutti Frutti Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:50am

Hi Mary I have only had those feelings once when I was a very long way from being well so I see them as an extreme part of the illness. Obviously you and others have a very different experience and I really respect the way you have decided not to give in for the sake of family and friends. Like LP I wondered? if you had discussed these feelings with your team. They may be able to help finally get rid of the frenemy -eg by adjusting meds slightly. Or they may be able to reassure you that it isn't unusual after the sorts of symptoms you have had in the past and have useful suggestions on how to cope.

My favourite suggestion on here today is singing "I will survive" at the frenemy, preferably with a group of ladies dancing round a pile of handbags for that authentic effect. Go on now go ...

Love TF x

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 10:16pm

Oh yes, as a handbag aficionado, I salute you!

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 9:59am

I will reply to everyone later. Train pulling into Kings Cross now. Thank you, one and all.

Kelly Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 12:29pm

I get those feelings sometimes out of the blue too. Right now I understand why they're cropping up for me, they're getting quieter and less frequent with the medication but I still get them. The hiss in my ear that promises "easier and better for everyone" is still definitely there. Like you I have everything...and want nothing. Like I said I do understand it right now because of the severity of the episode I'm trying to work my way out of....it really hit me in the face like a ton of bricks this year...but I don't get it when I'm really doing well and it still happens.

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 10:49pm

Kelly, my dear one,yes - we do understand; sending warm hugs. The medication only does so much. We need to understand that we are still ill, and the meds cope with so much, but not everything. We at Moodscope are here for you. This a great community on which you can lean on day by day: we are here for each other. No, it's not perfect: perfect would be a drug which would make us "normal", but that's not here yet. Fair well.

Kelly Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 9:30pm

Thank you Mary. So many folks who have never lived with a mental illness don't get that. The medication helps, therapy helps, when I was hospitalized that helped....but there's a difference between better and well. You can get better, make progress...without being well...and I have made progress. I'm sleeping through the night, eating ok, I've gone from suicidal thoughts overwhelming me on a daily basis and having intent to act on them to having them 3-4 days a week and having no intent to act on them. If you compare me to someone who is not experiencing a depressive episode I'd look very sick but I'm doing so much better than I was. Being even this stable feels like a miracle to me.

Poppy Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 12:55pm

I thank God we are able to talk about it. As a child, my first thoughts of suicide were when I was about 5. I was acting a typical youngster, refusing to help in the yard on a Saturday afternoon. I wanted to play. Goodness, my parents had only asked that I bag the weeds they had pulled. The scene turned ugly, and my father screamed, "Go to Hell!" and stormed away. I was devestated more by his abruptly leaving than his words. What I understood intuitively even then was that he was done with me. My father abandoned what he could not control.

When I told my mother I wanted to die, she said that was nonsense and refused to talk about it. Just don't create waves and your father won't say these things she advised.

I have such a different view of suicide than many people. At one month shy of age 80, my father committed suicide. He was living in a home because of the effects of hydrocephalus and willfully refused food and water. He told my mother he wanted to die. Because I finally had a permanent rift with him, I had not seen him in over 10 years (his abuse to me continued into adulthood and subsequently to my son), and my mother did not tell me until he was critical. She told me every other cruel thing he did, his violence with the nurses, his bed-wetting, and her weariness at caring for him, but in her usual game-playing manipulative way, she left this out. She dropped hints such as, "You just don't know everything I'm dealing with," but would coyly refuse to tell me.

Once I knew, I went to see him. I was able to say goodbye and although it didn't cure the past, it allowed me to create closure and see him as a man and not a monster. When he passed, I saw it as a blessing—he had been freed from the demons he lived with. He had been tormented his entire life.

Living with my own demons, and surprisingly little from my father-daughter relationship, I have prayed for similar release. I have an extremely strained relationship with my mother, a precarious relationship with my daughter, an infrequent relationship with my son and his family, and no friends. My husband is a rock and the sole foundation upon which I live, which I recognize as being very unhealthy. I fear ever losing him as I would be totally alone.

I fear my feelings of uselessness and lack of purpose. Yes, I've volunteered, I go to Photo Club, book club, and writing club meetings, but this I do not find fulfilling. I cannot work; my demons prevent me from properly functioning in polite society. And we travel. But I dare not share my pain or neediness. I have already been shunned, and I can tolerate the loneliness better than the rejection.

I fear my experience with suicide as a solution to a poorly-lived life.

Yes, I think of suicide occasionally. I've attempted twice. I ask myself why I haven't tried again, and I fear that I don't have an answer.

But I am successfully dealing with the mind-numbing pain and soul-crushing loneliness. I seek improvement in my life situation, and mostly have stopped "should-ing" myself. I'm in a place that I can honestly say I am taking each moment as it comes and allowing myself to just be. Surrender.

I appreciate reading the kind comments you have for each other here, and although I have none of that in my life, I vicariously feel comforted. I've been a member for years and am thankful for the dedication of the people here.

Thank you for bringing the subject out in the light and the willingness to share your feelings, thoughts, and wonderings.

Aloha from Texas.

LH Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 4:47pm

Hi Poppy, no need to feel vicariously comforted from reading others' kind comments Here's one for you! Life has dealt you some difficult experiences but you are still here and still growing in awareness -you are willing to change and grow-you have the love of one good man and life can always get better-even just a bit -by continuing to learn to love yourself -wishing you all the best LH x

Molly Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 6:54pm

Oh Poppy, no words really, what a story, you could have made it a blog. I can relate to you and I feel for you. I want to say so much but don't know what to say - just know you have support here and I'm sending love your way xxxx

Leah Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 10:59pm

Poppy Sending you a big hug and much love. Your reply will have touched many people and helped them. Many will be sending you their love and kind thoughts. If you feel up to it, write a blog as you write so well. I hope to read more of your words. Your honesty and raw emotion spoke to me. I can relate to much of what you write.

Mary Wednesday Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 12:41am

They have said all I could. Go well, my dear.

LP Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 10:59pm

Hi Poppy, Yes I'm glad you felt able to share what happened when you were a child. I can identify with the parent who was aware of what was happening colluding with it by keeping quiet and playing it down for an easier life. Neither aware of the damage being caused by how much bigger these things seem to young children. I raised a similation issue with my parents just last week. I'm glad to hear that you have moved forward and am glad you are with the Moodscopers Community. Sending love to Texas LP xx

The Gardener Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 1:19pm

I did not mean to come back again - had a lovely morning, my market pals and Brit pals for coffee, more due for drinks. I went on to the terrace for a spell in the sun - Mr G is swearing at me horribly for dereliction of duty. I said his behaviour was making me feel suicidal - he could not care less, he'll get looked after 'properly'. However much I'm told 'It's not him' I find being sworn at terribly hard to take. I am not a prayer, but find myself saying 'Please God, give me a break'.

Molly Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 6:56pm

Cannot imagine how hard this is Gardener. I'm not sure I could cope. Keep strong xx

Valerie Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 2:55pm

My mother made several suicide attempts when I was a child and teenager.The earlier ones were in the days when it was still a criminal act,but the family doctor used stomach pumps and treated her at home to avoid reporting it.I think this implanted the idea in my head that suicide was one serious option to consider when life became unbearable.However,it also made me feel that those who commit suicide are,in most instances,being cruel and punishing those they leave behind.I do not attempt to justify this,I know all too well that desperate hardship and mental illness will distort the reasoning of the most decent person.

That said,I have many times felt such a rush of pure misery and self-hatred that I have wanted to just cease to exist.I once got through a very bad patch by promising myself that I would put an end to it all if I felt no better the next day.I repeated this promise for many days.I think what you have could be considered
an intrusive distressing thought,but your reaction to it is that of a normal healthy person.You are very sensitive and intelligent,so may be more inclined to get these episodes.

The sheer number of responses you have had to this blog speaks volumes-you are not alone.xx

Molly Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 6:57pm

Valerie - sending a hug xx

Leah Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 11:02pm

Valerie Your honesty really moved me. I am sure it will help others as well. It must have been hard to share something so personal but thank you. Sending kind thoughts and a big hugxx

Mary Wednesday Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 12:44am

Valerie, you are not alone in promising yourself the next day - and the next. We are with you. Much love, Mary

Becky Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 12:48am

Oh Mary, I know him. So well. Even the 'rusty blackness' of him. He has been a recurrent visitor for years. My epistemology concerning him allows that he is real but also not experienced by those around me. Such people have challenged this epistemology by asking many questions, including why he is there sometimes and not others. I have often quipped, not entirely flippantly, that maybe I have him on timeshare. And, much as I always want him gone, I have sometimes felt a little bit guilty about sending him on his way in case I have co-hosts, so to speak, the other time-sharers of him. Seems like you may be one of them.

I have noticed over the years that he is very single-minded and doesn't have much conversational range. It does all tend to the destructive - of me: instructions, ways and means, as you say. Sometimes I can interrupt the flow by introducing a but of complexity into the conversation. He doesn't really know what do do with sophisticated debate and the like. Lots of long words confuse him. And he never would offer up a name.

In the end, for ease of reference, I decided to name him, and I think you may appreciate my choice of name. I called him Baal, after the ancient Near-Eastern gods, on the basis that, to the Israelites, the Baal gods were threatening but ultimately powerless. Seemed appropriate.

Anyone else in on this timeshare? Mary, do send him on his way, but not here if you can manage it, not for awhile at least.

Mary Wednesday Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 12:30pm

Becky, that's BRILLIANT! You and I can have Baal on Timeshare! And you're right - his conversational style is boring and repetitive. He turned up while I was swimming this morning and I was able to push him away with the water (after a couple of troubling lengths or two).And I shall try long words with him in an attempt to bamboozle and confusticate him! Bless you Becky - I shall try not to send him your way!

Emma Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 8:30am

Hi Mary, you are certainly not alone. I treat thoughts like this as just a thought- fanciful and odd - with no substance or meaning. I think mindfulness meditation has helped with this. To observe your thoughts as just passing through takes the sting out of some of the scarier ones. The other thing I'd do if I started having more frequent thoughts like this is just take a step back and look at what was going on in my life. Am I upset about something? Do I have a lot going on? Do I need to rest more, cancel plans or do something pleasurable? Do I need to ask for help with something? Sending love to everyone who struggles with this. X

Mary Wednesday Thu, Jun 1st 2017 @ 12:33pm

Thank you so much Emma - I so appreciate your comment. This morning in the pool I realised a few practical things I can do to banish him; one of those things is to get more sleep! I tend to be a bit of a night-owl and then wake at 5.30am regardless. Bed at 10pm would be much better

Jane SG Sat, Jun 3rd 2017 @ 8:11am

Sending love right back to you Emma xx

Jane SG Sat, Jun 3rd 2017 @ 8:10am

Dear Mary, I'm very late to this so not sure if you will see my comment. Sometimes at the tube station I think about jumping. Not very often. The thought comes out of the blue. I then push myself back away from the edge until the train comes in. Sending you a big hug dear Mary xxx

Sylvia Tue, Jun 6th 2017 @ 8:29am

Mary - again, apologies as I have only just read your brilliant blog.

This struck a strong chord for me as I am often greeted out of nowhere by a spectre in my passenger seat whilst driving. He is Dementor like, skeletal and grim-reaperish. He never says anything to me, he just sits there, staring. He also sometimes floats behind me when I'm walking somewhere. I call him Brian to make him less scary; he never acts threateningly towards me, but just seems to like to remind me, "I'm still here..."

Who I really need to be careful of is Mrs. Danvers. She appears in the shadows and silhouettes of night, stalking out of the darkness to whisper in my ear. She is exactly like her fictional self in Rebecca; seductive, solemn and so close to getting what she wants sometimes.

What I find hard to articulate to others is how I know these 'frenemies' aren't really there...but I do 'see' them in my minds eye, and I certainly feel their presence; as I am still going under a diagnosis, I have no idea if these are indicators of bipolar or a poorly mind - others would have me believe they are simply manifestations of my powerful and "overactive imagination". Hmmmm. Does it really matter either way? I have recently decided that whatever way I think is best is the way to deal with them is the way I get to choose.

Sending so much love, your words and sharing of experience is so helpful to a novice like me.

Xxxxxxxx

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