Friday, December 11, 2015

The darkness pads softly as on cat's paws, quietly hugging the wall staying in the shadows. Till it settles it's enormous weight in your lap and everything becomes more difficult as if you are carrying a ball and chain.

With daylight dwindling to less than 10 hours and much of that grey skies, I expect my seasonal affective disorder to kick in, so when the melancholy feelings arrived and my insomnia made sleep a premium, there was no surprise. I've struggled with depression since high school and was hospitalized when I first arrived in Paris for depression and anxiety. The anxiety was unique, but depression is an old friend that I've learned to cope with. For the last several years it has been mild, to the point where I feel "cured," but it came back with a vengeance.

As we ran from the restaurant on the night of the murders, I looked back toward Le Petit Cambodge and Carillon, I saw a body in the street along with the flash of gunfire. At least I think I did, but I didn't remember that evening or the next day. It came to me as I lay in bed the following Tuesday and then the memory was vibrant, though I couldn't tell if the victim was a man or woman.

That night the nightmares began as I relived that evening in my dreams. Mostly I was staying in, going out only for essentials and to walk Wags, and even those outings were as brief as possible. I spent my time sitting cross legged on the couch, a throw across my lap staring out the window, often rocking and crying. I managed to keep it together through Thanksgiving. As usual I made dinner for my Parisian family and that task and it's preparations kept me going.

My nightmares escalated. Instead of running, I walked toward shooting, as I got closer, I could see that the body was a woman with dark hair. A terrorist looked at me and pulled the trigger to no effect and I kept walking closer till I was kneeling next to the body. I turned her over and my face, my dead face, looked back at me. I awoke screaming, loudly enough that my neighbors were banging on the door to see if I was alright.

The nightmare repeated, and then an addition, as I looked at my face, I heard a voice call my name, it was my mother's voice. "This should have been you," she said, "then you would be with me and I wouldn't be alone."

My mother committed suicide shortly before I moved to Paris and since that time, when I have experienced my own thoughts of suicide, she is my temptress. "Come sit with me," she crooned, "come sit with me so I can have you all to myself." When I was little she would say that to me with a hug, rousing me from the pout brought on by my siblings going off to do big kid things. We'd sit on the couch and she'd brush my hair and tell story about her childhood or how she met my father. We'd play a game, or she'd read to me and till this day those are some of the most treasured memories I have about my mother. Now she was calling me again…

My friends have been with me on this path before and when and when Anne Marie noticed at my condition at Thanksgiving, she activated the Kim Watch and several times a day a friend would call or text, checking in on me.

Wednesday, a week ago in the evening, I was sitting on my bed staring at the window, when AM called. She asked what I was doing that evening and I told her through the tears that I was going to kill myself. She asked about my plan and I told her that I was just about to open the bedroom window when she called. I live on the sixth floor with an alley below. She made me promise not to do anything and I said I wouldn't.

I waited, not sure what I was waiting for and then a banging on my door and Wags barking and then my friend Nathalie and her partner Beth, were sitting on the bed beside me. We talked for a bit and they suggested we go to the hospital and I agreed. only if they would take care of Wags.

I was released Tuesday, the medications masking the illness, so I'm better. The feelings of failure and inadequacy that I felt after my first hospitalization have returned and though I conquered them to have a successful life, there is a nagging doubt that I can do it again. I fear that my life now will be like my mother's following her hospitalization, never being normal.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear of this. Depression sucks. That the attack should trigger such a reaction from one so close is understandable, but still sucks. I am so glad you have friends nearby to help. That you have them is a testimony to your worth and the reasons for not giving in to the demon. Listen to those friends and let them help you beat it again.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous David said...

My best wishes from Madrid, Kim. After more than a decade following your blog, witnessing how you cope (so well) with such complex feelings, I only wish your readers can give you a good excuse to keep your living/writing going.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Kim -

Does any of your friends know about this blog and can update? If something happens to you, we would like to know.

11:22 PM  
Blogger jo said...

I'm so sorry to hear the dog barking again, but it sounds like you have a tight group of friends, and it also sounds like you are wise enough to let others know. I hope the fog lifts soon.

11:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My only bits of wisdom are:

1. The "thing" mutates to find your current weakness as a way to pry itself into your being. While it (sometimes) feels like the same despair/angst/horror, it has adapted to your strengths so it can expose your weakness to yourself. I find being aware of this subtle process helps. It's not always a struggle because it relies on subterfuge and on oozing through cracks.
2. Recognize that when your defenses are strong is when the worst infiltration can occur. It plays on your inattention and glides gently into place so even if you've seen the hints you have no way of preventing it from getting in. This can make the experience more overwhelming: you feel like you should have seen it coming, feel like you could have done something when you felt the tingles and it's oh so hard to accept that you couldn't prevent it.
3. My most important self-lesson is this: it is alive and it is in a contest with you. It is powerful. It makes you feel as though you've lost; it fills you with that heavy sense of realization that the game is over. That is its essential trick.
4. Most of the experience is recovery from the assault. The game goes on.
5. On a personal note, I think it wants "you" to win, that it doesn't see victory the way we do, for to it our little lives are meaningless, but that it wants and needs and is this game. I think it's a form of eternity fighting through to our encapsulated human selves, bringing you to it in the only way it can: the realization of nothingness is so absolutely true. There has never been a doubt in my being about that. So why does it come? We all have flaws/damages/inabilities/limitations/etc. I can't easily put this into words, but I feel it is a caress from the beyond, not of death but of all that is beyond this world, and it touches you, reaches for you, pushes through whatever human walls you construct. It sometimes comes as flashes of insight, sometimes as a sense of extraordinary peace and sometimes as the ultimate despair. When I realized this, I began to see it as my most intimate friend.

- M

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

echoing what everyone else is saying about your worth, and about staying vigilant. you are not destined to be your mother, you are so much more than your mother. big hugs, praying for and thinking of you. xo ebk

3:09 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Thank you for your thoughts and best wishes. I appreciate them.


12:16 PM  

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