"You can do this"

From October 10, 2006:

carI’m tempted to go crash my car.

Again, the boy cried wolf.

Except I’m a girl.


Right now, I’m going through what my old pastor used to say is a “spiritual winter.” I just fall into moments when I just cease praying and reading my Bible for whatever reason. I’m not mad at God or anything; I still struggle with believing in a God that I’ve never seen with my own two eyes. But then I think about the specific events that have taken place in my life and I know He exists.

With that being said, I sat in my car this morning with the ignition turned on, ready to drive my car over the bridge into the Schuylkill River. I was ready to run home, make the stupid “goodbye world” post on this blog, text my husband “I love you. Goodbye” and then ram my car into a divider on I-76. It’s the worst suicidal thought I’ve had since I ended up in the hospital in October 2006.

I’d been struggling with suicidal thoughts for a good bit of last week. I always entertain the thought of getting my hands on a loaded gun–not to shoot anyone else but to shoot myself. It’s a morbid obsession. I partially wish I could find out where I can get my hands on the illegal guns that are used to kill innocent people in Philadelphia. When I lived in New York, I would wander the streets at odd hours of the night in the hopes that I’d get mugged, raped, and killed. At that point, it wouldn’t have been suicide; it would have been an unfortunate homicide.

I live just outside of Philly in the suburbs where the police have nothing else to do than to dole out tickets to speeders going 5 mph over the limit. The only crime that would affect me at 2 am is the crime of not being at home and sleeping in bed.

Here’s the thing about bipolar disorder that gets me: I woke up fine this morning. I was scheduled to stand at the front door and greet people who walked into our church with a church bulletin. Most times I’m antisocial when the day comes but today I was pretty positive and upbeat. I was joking and laughing with many of the members that came up to me and even kept my cool as some little kid tried to steal 50 bulletins from behind my back. Then church began. So I went and sat down next to my husband who reminded me that I had a meeting with women of my church for the upcoming fall retreat.

I went into panic mode. I’d forgotten all about it. It was in my planner–how could I have forgotten? Oh shit, I was supposed to bring a salad. Could I run to the nearest supermarket and get it now? I was supposed to ride with Carrie over to the meeting place after church and wouldn’t be able to do it then. What a fuck up I am.

Then an unusual wave of calm washed over me. It’s okay, Marissa. You don’t need to deal with this. Why endure a life of constant disappointments? It’s not like you can do anything right. You can’t sing anymore; your voice sucks. You’re nothing special. There’s no point for you to be alive. You have nothing to offer anymore. Just calmly ask Bob for the keys and go to the car. You can get in there, drive the car onto the road and off into the Schuylkill River. Yeah, it’ll suck that you died but he’ll get over it.

So I did. In the most controlled voice I could muster, I asked Bob for the keys to the car and told him I was going to run out during church to get a salad. He didn’t seem suspicious and readily handed over the keys. I got up from my seat and held my head down as I walked toward the front doors, clutching the keys in my hand.

I can do this.

I walked outside into the sun and quickly strode to the car door, trying to open the door by the car handle. It wouldn’t open.

Duh, Marissa. It would help if you unlocked the car first.

Oh, right.

I unlocked the car door, sat in the driver’s seat and turned on the ignition. I automatically put my seat belt on and wrapped my fingers tightly around the steering wheel. Then I sat there as the Great Debate raged within me.

Okay, it’s time to do this, Marissa. You can do this. You’ve got a variety of options. Go home, let everyone who reads your blog know that you’ve decided to kill yourself, and then actually go do it. It’s not like you’ve got to make it look like an accident for the sake of life insurance. (I don’t have any.) You can even text your husband “I love you and goodbye” so he has something to hold on to.

Maybe you should go back inside and tell your husband that you love him.

It would have been better if you told him I love you before you left. Too late for that now. Let’s go. How about we forgo the blog post thing and just head on over to the Schuylkill River? It’s less than a block away. You could crash your car into the walkway there and your car could plunge over. You can’t swim so that’s instant death for you. Voila!

No, no, you don’t want to do that. You’re too scared. You’re too afraid. You don’t really want to die. You just want to end this pain.

I just want to end this pain.

So I sat in my car with the engine running and cried aloud, “God, WHY DO YOU LET THIS HAPPEN TO ME? WHY DO YOU LET ME SUFFER LIKE THIS?”

The tears and crying came in spurts. They started and stopped. Like hiccups, they were intermittent but consistent.

Then I began shaking. I wrapped my arms around myself despite the fact that it was above 70 degrees outside and the sun’s rays streaming into my car made it much warmer than that. I rocked myself back and forth just like the crazy people in the movies do.

God, why me? Why me?

My hiccup tears.

Enough with this nonsense, Marissa. You have nothing to live for. That part-time job? They don’t need you. They can find someone who’s better and smarter than you. You’re nothing special. You have nothing left to offer. That blog? You think people really care? There are a hundred and one blogs out there that can fill your void. You will not be missed. Remember that job you just left? They didn’t like you for a reason. It’s because you’re pathetic. You’re pathetic, Marissa. See how no one at church came out after you to see if you were okay? Even your husband didn’t care. It’s time to go. Time to get this done and over with once and for all.

Marissa, your husband loves you and thinks the world of you. Remember he just had a shitty week. You don’t want to add to that. Think about it: the embarrassment of dealing with Comcast cutting off the chiropractor’s Verizon line; your husband’s health insurance denying your doctor’s visit claim; the speeding ticket he got because he went out to pick dinner up for you; the car he needs to fix because of the deer he hit on Friday night–he’s got at least $1000 to spend on a car, he doesn’t need to add funeral costs to that too.

Hiccup cries emerge once again.

A bunch of other blogs are dying, die with them. Make it permanent this time. Make it irreversible.

Text your husband and tell him to come out to the car and help you.

Put the car into the drive and let’s get this thing going. Now! I’ll even allow you to go home and make a post. Just let’s go! Leave your husband here, he’ll find his way back.

Don’t leave your husband stranded! Don’t do this to Bob!

Who fucking cares? Let’s fucking go!

More shivers and hiccups. The war going on in my brain is driving me (seriously) insane.

And finally silence. All I heard was my heavy breathing–near gasping after my hiccup crying. I looked at my hand; it was trembling. I looked outside–there was no one around. No one to see me talking to myself, debating with myself, rocking myself, crying and wailing with myself. Maybe it was true… maybe no one really cared.

I picked up my Bible. I hadn’t gone to church for the past 2 weeks and the one time I get to church, I can’t even get to the point where I can hear the pastor preach. Was there some lesson that I was going to learn that Satan was trying to keep me from?

You know God is faithful. You just sang it: Great is thy faithfulness. Every day is new and different. He provides for you, He takes care of you. You know He’s faithful to you, Marissa.

I sigh and pick up the church bulletin and read the Old Testament reading, Nehemiah 9:23-38. Verses 30-33 jumped out at me:

Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.  Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God. “Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day.  Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly.

What a reminder that in spite of all my negative thinking and my willingness to take away the life that God has given to me, God is still gracious, merciful, great, mighty, awesome, righteous, and faithful. This is what keeps me going.

I glanced at the pastor’s text from the New Testament (Romans 10:14-21) and found myself thinking, Okay, I can miss that. I can catch his sermon on the podcast or something. Besides, I’m tired of going to church anyway. I don’t really want to go to church. My heart’s not in it. I’m awful at daily Bible reading, daily prayer–I suck as a Christian, it really doesn’t matter anyway.

And like a toddler, all this distraction of thinking about God and my relationship with Him derailed my strong suicidal impulse–not the thoughts–just the impulse. I finally sighed and turned off the ignition. I debated whether to go inside to Bob or text him from the car. I told myself that I could go in and get him. I walked back inside and asked him if we could leave. When he got up, tears began flowing down my face swiftly and steadily. I’m sure a few people saw me but even till now, my phone hasn’t once rung from anyone calling to check up on me.

We walked outside and I handed him the keys to my car while I sobbed uncontrollably. I was on the verge of a panic attack. All the back-and-forth-Angel-and-Devil talk in my head had since silenced and I was left sobbing over the pain and the hurt that had reentered my heart. The pain and hurt that I thought I had left behind a year and a half ago.

I don’t want to go back to the hospital, I pleaded in between sobs. Thoughts of the guy who snuck into my room after hours from my last hospital stay briefly haunted me. Bob promised me I wouldn’t go. He said he would take me home. Without thinking, I said no. Driving right then would have been a bad idea.

So we went and sat in the car and talked. I sobbed. He did his best to comfort me and work through all the “lies” in my head. After about an hour, I had calmed down to the point where he could drive home. To put his mind (and mine) at ease during the drive, I laid in the backseat of my 2-door sports car.

A few hours later, I was better. I wasn’t suicidal anymore (except for the hopes that I’ll stumble upon a loaded gun somehow) and I was able to crack a few jokes and smile. Wow, I thought to myself. I’m up and down. All in less than 24 hours. This really is bipolar, huh?

But even now, I still entertain thoughts of putting a gun to my head and pulling the trigger. I don’t know if I’m enough of a coward to pull it off or not (depending on how you look at it). And depending on who you are, you might hope never to find out.

So my question now: What is my medication for if not to fix these problems? (Somewhat tongue-in-cheek.)

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3 Comments

  1. Prester John said,

    April 21, 2008 at 6:53 am

    It’s strange. You’re much more accomplished than me. (Isn’t everybody?) But you have the same sense of low self-worth that I do.
    For years I tried to control the internal with the external. I wasn’t nearly as good at it as you, but I tried for years. I thought, or at least felt, that it was my fault and that if I just had the guts, brains, whatever, I’d be okay.
    Our brains are to blame Marissa. We must struggle for some fine line between acceptance and resignation. Between running or being brutally beaten. It’s not fair. As you know I literally hate God/Jesus when “I’m not right”. Then, when I’m less depressed, dare I say happy, I realize for the 10,000th time that without God none of this is worth it, at least for me. You’ve helped me re-realize it.
    Take care and I hope you’re feeling much better today. Should you ever want to discuss something off the record with an unemployed 46 year old man who lives with his mother, I’d love to get an email from you.

  2. April 22, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Oh my goodness, I feel like I could have written what you wrote when I had my huge meltdown last week.
    I found your blog from Prester John aka Greybeard’s blog.
    LOVE your writing… it is truly heartfelt. I will bookmark you so I can read more. :-)
    Warm regards,
    Michelle aka The Beartwinsmom

  3. Rick said,

    April 23, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Marissa, this is really the first thing I’ve ever read that has put me into the thinking and the emotions behind your disorder. Well written–extremely well done. I look forward to your posts and regularly look for them in my reader.


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