we are tethered by connections

trigger warning – references to suicidal behaviour

I am, like everyone else, tethered to this world through connections, made or in the blood. I have a place, I have a spot in the lives of the people in my circle and while I’m grateful and love my clan dearly, I must confess that at times, I deeply resent their existence.

I hold in my head a “get of jail free card”. I have attempted suicide three times in my life and doing so changes you. That final option is a little closer to the front of my mind than it may be in the minds of others. This is not a good thing, though I’m not sure it’s a bad thing, in and of itself. It’s just a thing. Just a personality quirk, a characteristic of my thinking patterns.

I am currently constrained from acting, however. Ideation is all there is. I’m not constrained, as one might hope, by any deep, personal connection to living life. It’s still hard, still a struggle. Depression and anxiety make day to day living difficult at times. I want what I can’t have. I want to crawl into my house, hideout, and be forever left alone. I want the absence of everything. I think sometimes that maybe if all the inputs from people and the world were removed, I wouldn’t spend so much time trying not to think about slamming my head through a wall.

I wouldn’t spend so much time thinking about all the must-haves and must-dos. I could simply give up and sink into the abyss and live there with no connection to the world or real life. I would escape into television and old books and never come up again.

I think about it a lot, more than I should, probably but I can’t pull the trigger on withdrawing completely because I’m not alone.

Not alone in my house, not alone in my world. There are friends and family who care about me, who rely on me, and the weight of those obligations bumps up against my desire to flee. It keeps me here, and while sometimes I’m grateful for their support and affections, other times I hate it. I hate the drag that their love and presence places on me. I hate that I’m constrained in my actions, nevermind that the end result of those constraints is for the good.

I hate the guilt that comes when I think about casting off this mortal coil. I resent the trapped feeling that my circle’s existence generates. I resent that I resent it, that I’m forced to consider others when I contemplate my options. Sometimes, I long to be an island.

I also spend time judging my feelings of resentment, concluding that I’m an awful human being. My feelings about my feelings become another stick I can use to beat myself up with, because what kind of person dislikes the connections that theoretically makes the world go ‘round?

The kind of person who is tired, I suppose.

I’m not all the way tired, but I am fatigued. Mental health struggles are fatiguing. They also get boring. The same fight, day after day. It gets old. It’s the fatigue that gets me in the end, every time. Sometimes, stepping back into the ring feels like an impossibility and yet it’s a requirement.

I think about quitting and leaving the fight but there’s always another image superimposed. I see my parents. I see my children. I see my friends. I imagine what my absence would do to them and I get guilt over the things I see. Death or withdrawal – either would be destructive. I would cause immense harm, and I don’t want to; I’ve spent most of my life trying not to hurt other people. Leaving my friends and family angry, hurt and devastated would not be the epitaph I’d choose.

And so, I stay.

Sometimes, I’m grateful for my tribe. Sometimes, I’m glad they’re here to keep me connected to the world. To make staying here pointy rather than pointless. Other times, not so much. When it’s hard day after hard day, my gratitude is less forthcoming.

I am hamstrung by my sense of obligation and I resent it, even when I know sometimes it’s the only thing making it possible for me to fight another day.

4 thoughts on “we are tethered by connections

  1. You describe it so well, once again, your understanding of the deep inner conflicts of living with mental illness, those parts and feelings that we don’t discuss. I often feel tied to the world simply not to hurt others. Yet, here I am. It’s a daily juggle atm between wanting to isolate and still be present for my family.

    Liked by 1 person

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