Today I have a therapy appointment. I get asked the same questions every time. Have I had any thoughts of harming myself. The answer is equivocal. “Not really.” “Nothing major.” “Not that I can think of.”
They’re not lies, but they don’t tell the whole story. That whole story is tough to explain to people. Yes, I occasionally have thoughts of ending my own life. No, putting me in a medical oubliette isn’t going to help. My life is a constant state of living on an edge. Everything can be going fine until a switch gets hit and my life is awful and beyond repair.
My fear is rooted in uncertainty. I don’t know how people will react to this information. Anything is possible. People can freak out. They can blink and put on a brave face while thinking of a way out of the room. Or anything else that comes to mind in that moment where they regret asking the question. So I avoid it all, sidestep the issue.
Is my life better or worse? It depends on how I measure it. My freedom is illusory. I’ve learned to better communicate my thoughts through writing. I’m not published. I am taking the time to work on improving the broken parts of me into a functional whole.
In that last vein, I have progress on writing, gardening, and baking. Today I will find time to add to my novel. I will go to therapy. I will bake a lemon drizzle cake that might not taste awful. I will spend an evening chatting with friends online.
My life, I’ve always viewed these as distractions to my underlying issues. It turns out that it’s another way for me to minimize anything decent. Yes, I do have distractions to my pain. But they’re not all distractions. Just like my education and prior work, they are milestones of growth on a perilous journey. I don’t always get things right.
I don’t always get things wrong.