Content note: suicidal ideation
Friday was the start of a frigid winter weekend, and as the stress and trauma of the day had grown, my brain had started whispering to me that freezing to death seemed like a pretty mild way to go. Either you went to sleep or you went crazy, but either way you weren’t aware of dying by the time you were dying. I could drive out to some lonely field that night and not have to worry about any of this anymore.
I pulled up a tab on my phone’s browser with the suicide hotline, just in case. This didn’t feel as intense as my episodes in 2019, or even the episode on January 1st, but there was no point in taking chances. Mostly it was annoying to have this piled on top of everything else because fighting your brain’s self-harm impulses takes a lot of energy that could be spent elsewhere.
Later that night the episode subsided. I still felt sad and emotionally bruised, but stronger again. My husband had gone out to play Magic: the Gathering with the boys and the girls remained behind with me, drifting back and forth between cuddling with me while using their iPads, or watching TV or playing computer games in the living area. We’d all gone to bed by the time my husband and the boys got back home. It was the weekend and I hadn’t done anything to change my sleeping arrangements, but my husband made no move to force me out of my room.
Saturday morning we had a therapist appointment for the kids. I got up, showered, made coffee and otherwise prepared for my morning, though I couldn’t stomach the thought of eating breakfast and left without it. I planned to go to the appointment and wait in the lobby as usual but there was no way I was going to be stuck in the van with my husband and having to rely on him for transportation. I’d told my husband I was driving separately and took N with me, since she’d seemed to be having a rough morning and I thought she could use a little time with her mom away from her siblings.
It became apparent that I shouldn’t have skipped breakfast, and I considered leaving to get food, but was caught in that place of not having the energy to want to put in that effort. Besides, if I waited, we’d be going to lunch afterward and my husband would have to buy me food. I’m not a saint and will indulge in these tiny petty moments when I can do so safely.
It became obvious that the assumption was that I had somewhere else to go after the appointment and that was why I had driven separately. I was confused for a moment and then realized what was going on and told them it was because I intended to go home instead of going with them to the laser tag place, which my husband had scheduled for that afternoon. My husband was quick to assure me he’d planned for enough time to take me home, first. I wouldn’t have put it past him to force me to spend more time in his company, but what he was saying did seem to be true. I wasn’t going to say in front of the kids that I definitely didn’t want to be dependent on him for transportation or trapped in a vehicle with him. The more distance between us, the better.
We went to Steak & Shake for lunch, and I enjoyed my food. Afterward I left for home and the rest of the crew went with their dad to play laser tag.
I did okay getting through the rest of Saturday, doing bits of research into the whole lawyer problem and what it would take to represent myself in court and discovering that looked incredibly daunting. I’d found out about provisional hearings from my friend C, though – she lives in Indiana and had gone through a divorce a year or two before I moved here. In a provisional hearing I could request (and should be granted) restored access to funds, which I could then use to pay a lawyer. The problem, of course, was paying for a lawyer that could get me safely to and through a provisional hearing. Still, I had some hope again.
And then I made the mistake of looking up how much I’d be likely to pay in child support for 4 kids right before I’d been planning to try and sleep.
It looked like my future might be roommates and taking the bus for the next 10 years. I was devastated again – and ended up opening that tab for the suicide hotline, again. 3 times in less than 3 weeks of 2020. I made a post on FB, on my second, restricted account that I would literally rather die than remain in my marriage and that it amazed me that I’d been accused of doing this to have ‘the life I want’ as if any of this was a life I wanted. It took a long time but eventually I managed to fall asleep for a few hours.
The next morning I woke up early and continued thinking about my predicament. I pictured myself as crawling through muck on my belly, still moving forward to the best of my ability. And then it hit me – in 2015, I’d felt like I was in the middle of an ocean at night, too deep to touch the bottom, no land in sight, no energy to swim to land if by some miracle land were to be found. That feeling had continued off and on up through a portion of 2018.
This – this was evidence I was still doing better than I had been. This was still better than 2015. I was out of the ocean, no longer drifting over an abyss. Even if it was muck under me it was land. I had made it and I would keep going. It might take me 10 years to reach a time in my life when I didn’t feel like I was on my belly dragging myself through muck, but at least now I had a destination and a way to reach it.