On Wednesday night, I broke.

  December 4th, 2011 by porphyrous

I found this web site a couple days ago while puttering around, looking for answers, or support, or both, or neither.  I’ve written and spoken to a few people since then.  I wondered out loud if writing things down would help or not, and my mom thought it might be a good idea.

I’ve been dogged by clinical depression since my college years.  I’m now 43.  My wife, who attempted suicide three times in college, has also been depressed throughout her entire adult life.  In the ’90s living out west, it was scary frequently.  She was out of work because of her depression, and many times I didn’t know if she would be alive or dead when I got home.  But, we eventually made it through all that and moved back to the midwest about 10 years ago.  It was about this time we decided my wife had Asperger’s Syndrome.  Our son Eric was born about that time.  We found out a few years later that he had autism.  That has been a continual challenge for us, two people who are somewhat deficient in social skills to begin with.  Our daughter was born 4 years later, and she’s neurologically typical, but she’s had adjustment issues because of her big brother.

I work for an employer who has, over the last couple years, come under increasing scrutiny from Federal regulators.  (I teach at a for-profit college.)  It hasn’t affected me directly much yet, but we’re always being told of being more and more micromanaged, and it’s very stressful.  Besides which, I had a history of messing things up on the job, the worst of which was almost two years ago.  I had been an alcoholic, which never messed up my job but impaired my emotional stability, and was intervened on in September of 2005.  I was alcohol-free until January of this year, when I relapsed, and drank from January to April, when I got intervened on again.

So that’s the general setting…I’m the only relatively high-functioning person in the family, I have no meatspace support system other than my parents, and I don’t always trust my net friends to be there for me.  A long-term, continual grind that never ends.  My parents have stopped hosting Thanksgiving, pushing that onto me and my sister.  I hosted this year.  It was very stressful because I’m very self-conscious about our house, which is small and somewhat shabby compared to my sister’s spacious custom-built house.  But it went well.  We all got sick about the same time, and I was afraid if my sister found out, she would cancel out on us because she’s a germophobe.

I’ve had unhealthy interested in the mean time, though.  I had a fascination with death and gore, and especially suicide.  I frequented web sites that publish photos and videos of such things, especially women and hangings.  I collect images.  I want to make it clear, I have no desire to create such things, or harm other people, but it seemed to blunt my own anger and frustration in my life, sort of a catharsis.

I try to take care of myself as best I can, which involved seeing a psychiatrist, and monitoring other health issues as necessary. 15 years ago I had been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, and recently I’d been having chest pain, so I thought it might be time to have it looked at again.  I scheduled an upper GI endoscopy for Tuesday.  It required full anesthesia.  I had the day off from work and rested.

The next day, I felt sluggish and depressed.  I struggled through our quarterly in-service training at work, which ended on a real downer note by going over a laundry list of things the Feds would be imposing regulations on, which I found demoralizing.  I went home, and took a nap.  I got up later to attend this quarter’s commencement.  When I got home again, I surfed the net just browsing the news.  Through one of those “related stories” links you see on the right or at the bottom of news web sites, I saw a link to an article about a young man from Sweden who had hung himself live on the Internet, and they had a link to the video, which I watched.  On that web page was another “related stories” link that pointed to an old news article about Lucy Gordon, the British model and actress who had been in Spiderman 3, who had hung herself.  I felt deeply affected by the articles.

I got up and went to the garage, where there was an extension cord hanging from the ceiling.  I secured it, then wrapped it around my neck several times, just to see what it felt like.  I leaned into it just a bit, started feeling light-headed, and took it off, went back inside and just puttered on the computer a bit.  Later on, I started feeling concerned about my action.  Namely, I became scared that I did that and I didn’t feel scared about it.  Sorta “meta-scared” I guess.  As the night wore on, I felt worse about it.  Finally, late at night, I posted a cryptic message on Google+ asking for help and alluding to what I’d done.  I decided that tomorrow I would call a counselor. I went to bed.  Overnight, a couple of friends had responded.  One of them had forwarded it to my mother.

The next day, I was still feeling bad off and on.  I called around to places, including one that provided so-called “intensive outpatient” programs.  I thought that might be overkill.  I left a message with my psychiatrist as I called other places.  My psychiatrist called back, and I told her what I had done.  She wanted me to go to the hospital, but I said that wasn’t practical.  I have to work.  I can’t afford to jeopardize my job.  She told me, then, to call back the place with the “intensive outpatient” program.  I did so and left a message with her that I’d made the appointment.  What I didn’t tell her was that it was for Wednesday morning, six days from then.  That night, I went bowling with my family.  That night, I told the two friends on the net who had responded to me what I’d done, plus my mom.  Finally, late that night in bed, I told my wife.  I also told her that I’d registered for that “intensive outpatient” program, and she seemed satisfied with that.

The next day was bad.  I was depressed and grumpy at work and couldn’t concentrate, only managing to complete a little paperwork and two sets of lesson plans for next week.  I went home and took a nap.  After an hour, I got up and drank a bunch of mouthwash — it was 20 percent alcohol, but I knew the fluoride in it would upset my stomach, but I didn’t care because my digestive tract is a carnival anyway.  I went back to bed for another hour.   I got up  and started playing with belts and cords around my neck.  I went back to nap.  My wife checked on me.  When she left, the impulse hit me.  I knew she’d be gone for awhile.  There was a 20 foot length of cable TV coax in the bedroom, which I strung through the metal shelving in the closet, wrapped it several times around my neck, and slowly let myself down, until almost my entire weight was on it.  I got light-headed, then dizzy, then spacy.  Then I started dreaming.  I don’t know what about.  Then I had a sudden, abrupt feeling of falling.  It startled me awake, and I stood up and took it off.  I was feeling very rattled and shocky.  I felt like I had crossed a line.  I went to my wife in the living room, brought her back to the bedroom, told her what I had done, and showed her the coax.  She ordered me to not leave her sight.  We discussed what to do.  We still felt like the hospital was not practical, so the plan was to keep me on suicide watch at home 24/7.  My mother came up yesterday and today to help my wife.  I’ll go to work on Monday and Tuesday as normal, with my wife taking me to and from work and keeping watch otherwise.  My mother is staying here too.

So here I am, waiting, hoping that I can make it.  The thing is, what annoys me, is that I still really want to do it.  I don’t want to die, but I want to hang myself until I’m dead.  Nothing else is really a threat to me.  I don’t own a gun, I have no desire to cut myself, or to jump off anything.  Apparently my mind has settled on its preferred method of death.  Nearly every moment here, when I’m not completely immersed in some activity or whatnot, I’m thinking, trying to figure out how I can  slip down to the garage unnoticed long enough to finish the job.  I would miss my wife and my kids, and my parents, and my sister, and it breaks my heart to think how it would devastate them.  My daughter in particular, I feel so bad for.  Neither of them really knows what I’ve done.  My daughter is 7 and my autistic son is 11.  And yet, against all logic and sense, I want to go down there and kill myself.

The last five days have been miserable for all of us.  I’m tired, so tired.  I’m so tense and anxious and irritable.  My wife is performing above and beyond the call, much much better than I thought she could be.  Perhaps that’s because of her own experiences when she was younger.  I feel bad for having hurt, disturbed, and scared so many people, people I love.  But I can’t help myself.  After all of it, I still want to go and hang myself until my body is dead and my mind dissolves into oblivion.

I know I’d been under stress for a long time, but I never felt suicidal until Wednesday.  Now I feel like…I just….broke.  Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall.

Please, somebody respond, just to know that someone bothered to read my story.  At the moment, I don’t have a conclusion, or a moral to the story, or any sort of message.  But, at least at this instance in time, I’m still here.



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