Wife was going out of town to see Daughter, leaving me alone for a long weekend. I call it a weekend because it’s just like every other day of the week, but there are more people around. This depressive episode is not the first, obviously, because after all, I’m a professional depressive. The people I meet who are on their first go around frustrate me almost as much as people living their lives happily. Smiling, walking, laughing. Wife didn’t seem too concerned. Mentioned calling her for help if I needed it, and hugged me a little bit longer than usual. I talked about the movies I would watch, that I would get out of the house, that I would walk with friends at some point.
After PHP that day I ran some errands. Went to the grocery store and got food for the whole weekend. I hadn’t been seeing next week for a few days now, but I still bought the food. In my mind my calendar is always there, planning and reminding me of things coming up. But this week that went away. I didn’t see next week or any time after that. I was continuing faster and faster toward that wall.
I stopped at the liquor store and found, after some time, a single malt scotch that was “heavily peated” — it’s the flavor of peat fires, like smoke and rich ground. My favorite Irish single malt had that flavor, and I wanted something good, but not something I normally drank. If things didn’t go according to plan, I didn’t want to associate my favorite with failure. It was a bit more expensive, but I figured it would be the last one, so why not get something really nice?
Nobody stopped me, it was just an errand. Maybe if I had been wearing a Scarlet D, someone would have called me out. But they didn’t. It felt like a normal day, except I was picking up 50% of my demise. I was astounded at how mundane it all was. I wondered if everyone felt like this before a major destructive event. The fact that right up to the event, everything seemed normal and routine. I didn’t want anyone to call me out on it, and that helped my anxiety a bit.
Watched a movie, ordered some food from my favorite restaurant, and settled in for a quiet evening. Watching movies and drinking some scotch. I had a headache though, so I didn’t want to drink too much. And for some reason it felt like Saturday was a better day than Friday. By this point I had forgotten Saturday was 9/11.
Before I went to bed I wrote my first suicide note. My Therapist said it was so much harder for those left behind without a note. That without one, there was just too much unknown. I didn’t think I would die overnight, but also knew I might not be able to sleep, might get up and drink some more, might decide to take the pills. But I didn’t want to be hungover for my music lesson on Saturday afternoon. It’s funny that I’m actually thinking about my music lesson but not able to see next week?
I had never written a suicide note, and wasn’t exactly sure what to say. Essentially just goodbye, I’m removing the burden, and everyone will eventually grieve me and move on. No matter how bad it gets it can still get worse so it’s not selfish, it’s survival. That this weekend is going to happen so many more times for the rest of my life until I do it. Finally, don’t let this final act of horribleness color everything that I have taught you, everything that I’ve shown you, everything that I have loved you for.
I set the message to send on Monday morning, so I could delete it if it wasn’t needed. As I went to bed I saw a friend was still awake, online. I just dropped them a “Hey.” They called me and we talked for a long time. It wasn’t a cry for help, but I knew they had been through some of the things I had been through. We talked about depression, suicide, cookies, and the feelings we had in common. It didn’t make me feel different, but it was just nice to talk to someone for a bit. The house had been pretty lonely even after just half a day.
When it came down to it, I just couldn’t do this forever. I knew that things can get better, but things will eventually get bad again. You don’t cure depression, you manage it. Finally, I felt like I had been living with future ghosts. Every scenario I’m in, all I can think is “Is this the last time I do this? How will this be next time when I’m not there? Will I have ruined this for you by being gone? Will you remember the happy times from the days and weeks before I died? I hoped so.