More light : breaking clear of the grip of suicidal ideation

I honestly feel so very blessed to be a part of this WordPress community. The love I have been shown here by people I have never met has saved me more times than I could ever really say and yesterday was one of those days which are luckily far rarer now, when I go into the dark pit of suicidal despair.

I remember the year my older sister died. I had been invited to start a blog by a fellow blogger who shared a poem I wrote on the pain of my past narcissistic relationship on her site. That was back in December 2013 and the following year was a very heavy winter following the death of my oldest sister Judith in the early hours of Easter Sunday 20 April 2014. As a family we had to make the painful decision to take her off life support on Easter Saturday.

Jude is very much on my mind today as I am just starting to read a memoire on manic depression written by Kay Refield Jamison and she was born the same year as my sis, 1946. Judith was diagnosed with what was called manic depression then (during the 1980s) and is now known as bi polar following her cerebral bleed. Two years later she was abandoned by her husband who absconded and sent her home (from New Zealand – which my a stroke of ancestral synchronicity was the place our descendants immigrated to in 1874) to Mum and Dad with a one way ticket and a small battered brown suitcase with minimal possessions. Shortly after her illness her husband took her overseas and then dumped her in an asylum as he had another woman over there and this woman would not even allow my nephews to sleep in the house she and my brother in law shared, they had to live in the garage.

Just a few short years after I nearly died in a serious MVA I watched as my sister melted down in the aftermath and tried to take her life. I also saw how my Mother tried to keep her pain silent and how in the end whenever in an episode of deep or vocal emotional suffering the care staff would shove some kind of medication down her throat. Fair enough maybe she needed to be calmed some times but my experience was whenever I was present with her in that blind fury animal state her emotions would rise and crest and fall like a dark wave after some time, being absorbed back into the ocean of herself in the light of loving unconditional presence. The pain she carried was immense and in the end, it and the drugs and her emotional abandonment killer her. I had hours where I sat by her beside just holding her hand in the 3 final years we had together. Not one of her children lived close. Mum and my other sister and I were her only visitors but she was adopted by some beautiful ladies from the nearby Anglican church where we eventually had her funeral service in 2014.

I myself was 21 that year (the year that my sister tried to take her life in 1982) and really struggling, forced to go to secretarial college I had abandoned my studies as my Dad was upset I had shifted degrees (and cities) two times in the confusing aftermath of all the trauma. The riot act was read to me. NO MORE UNIVERSITY WHICH WAS A WASTE OF TIME. I would go to a fucking college to type in triplicate for 5 days of the week and learn shorthand. THAT IS WHAT WOMEN WERE GOOD FOR.

Do I seem angry? Yeah I kept it under wraps for the next 11 years in my active addiction to alcohol and drugs. I buried the truth of how I really felt for even longer. Now I can feel the anger. I can feel the burning in my chest. I can feel the fucking squashing off of life and no I didn’t have the ‘guts’ nor financial resources to go against my father at that stage.

Even though I feel angry at my Dad still, I can say he was absolutely doing the best with what he knew (and as a product of his time) but that does not bely the pain or hurt at not feeling heard, or full seen, or supported, or that I had a voice!!! I can forgive him now to a point. But I also know forgiveness is often not enough without the right to full knowledge of the emotional truth and my sense of protest which I am lucky to have finally found a good enough therapist to validate. In the absence of this as an active or recovering addict I always internalised or turned the pain in upon myself.)

For some reason all of this is coming up today after a day a I spent ferrying my older sister to a needed pedicure appointment on Sunday. I look at my living sister now and I see so much of my older sister in the way she holds her mouth. At times she wrings her hands, HER SENSE OF TRUE SELF AND POWER SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN ALMOST TOTALLY STOLEN BY DRUGS AND THE BELIEF SHE IS NOT WELL OR A COMPETENT PERSON. and the hardest thing was that as we sat side by side in those massage chairs at the Asian nail place on Sunday I finally accepted how sick my sister really really is AND THIS PAINFUL TRUTH BREAKS MY HEART APART AND MAKES ME BURN WITH PAIN. Sorry I cant be all detached and stoical about it. I am carrying and trying to express what she cannot, what has been silenced in her for the past 15 or 16 years of medicating on the back of a hysterectomy she under went in 2003 or 2004 and the abandonment by her own husband who left her for a woman 20 or more years younger.

I shared in a recent post written after I got home late on Sunday how after I dropped her back to the ‘hospital” I felt like I was being released from a vice. This is what she said to me just as she was about to get out of the car. “its good you could take me to the pedicurist because if I had to get a taxi I would have to explain where I was going and why!” Yeah I know staff need to keep tabs on the ‘patients’ but it just made me feel like my sister is in prison. The truth is that I am probably exaggerating here and being overly emotional but I just wish for something so far better for my sister. I wish for her to be in a far different place, she is not and I have to accept it, but it did cause me amidst other factors to feel suicidal yesterday.

At least I can share about this today. Its no accident as the Moon moves closer and closer to meet Pluto by transit and oppose the Sun in Cancer over key placements in my sisters chart (born in 1954 people born this year will be triggered by the eclipse tomorrow) that all of this is coming to a head today. I had to tell Scott to back off today too because I am under more pressure to send money to ‘rescue’ him and I HAVE HAD A GUT FULL. I AM NOT THE WORLD’S SAVIOUR. I REALLY DONT CARE IF IT SOUND SELFISH BUT THE ONLY LIFE I WANT TO SAVE OR CAN SAVE IS MY OWN.

This I know for sure even if I make unconscious choices they are still my choices and I have to own them and live with the consequences. I have as an adult to do the painful work to become conscious of the ways I get put to death or make unwise choices out of my damaged or damaging past. This does take some work, to get free of the F.O.G. FEAR OBLIGATION AND UNEARNED GUILT I swallowed day in day out at Catholic School. The only life I can save is my own and when I get pulled in to think I can save someone else’s I get into trouble.

I will never abandon Scott or my sister, but I must with this full moon which is all about setting healthy boundaries make categorical decisions over how much I can give and help others, my priority in this life MUST BE SELF CARE. WITHOUT THIS I WILL BE BACK IN THAT DEEP DARK PLACE OF SUICIDAL DEPRESSION AND BY GOD I HAVE WORKED SO HARD TO BE FREE OF IT. IT REALLY IS TIME TO SAY NO MORE TO THE PATTERNS THAT TEND TO DRAG ME BACK TO THAT LOVELESS JOYLESS PLACE OF FEAR, GUILT AND OVER RESPONSIBILITY.

If you have made it this far with my post, thanks so much. And for everyone who reached out to me over the past 24 hours, thank you so so so much, just to know you were there means so much to me and made me feel so much less alone, in the end we all have to do our own work to deal with emotional stress and suicidal feelings but at the very least just to know that we are not alone does help. Thanks for being there to support me, from the bottom of my heart.

Pulled backwards

I am so appreciative to so many kind friends and followers here for reaching out to me today. I wondered today why the weight of the world seemed so heavy on me and I felt that yesterday taking my sister out I got pulled back into the very dark pit of my family history. I don’t want to say too much. I believe in astrology and full moon because if you think about it the moon exerts a gravitational pull on the tides and our bodies originate in single cell that is mainly fluid and we are composed of 70 percent water too. Also if you know a little astrology with Full moon in Capricorn moving up to oppose or shine light on The Sun in Cancer we have the sun in the moon’s sign which has to do with emotions, mothers, ancestral inheritance and the Moon in the sign of hard slog, and depression and despair, Saturn ruled Capricorn. On the positive side though Saturn rules the pruning of dead wood in order to encourage newer healthier growth in a plant and is the custodian or overseer of healthy boundaries.

In symbolism the mountain goat climbs a very harsh cold and stony mountain, often alone. Having a natal Moon Saturn conjunction I know that lonely stony (scapegoat) ground oh so well. My Mars is part of this combination and Saturn can rule blockages and suppression too. At times I have felt crushed by this force in life and many of you know I nearly lost my life in a very intense motor vehicle crash in the summer of 79. (a decade on from the year Brain Adam’s sang about so notoriously!) That repeated in a head injury in 2005 when I was breaking out of a fairly repressive marriage too and over the past week or so I have been holding onto my aching head in therapy sessions as experiences and deeply buried emotional truths and feelings in response to decades of repressive conditioning hammer away.

Today I also experienced a white cold rage towards a person who has played a huge part in diminishing me since my mother died. Its not easy to feel this level of rage which was like a wild fire but I do believe the freedom from our depression lies in acknowledging the painful emotion of anger that seems to be just so problematic in our society at large. Who amongst us growing up got help to deal with anger, self assertion, protests and boundary definitions in skilful, clean, clear, direct assertive way? Answer for the generations born prior to the 1970 probably not many of us.

I was doing a bit of a google search last night when I was feeling angry/sad and came across this excellent article on the role supressed anger can play in depression. I thought I would share it today in this blog.

I am a bit wrung out now and there is more I would like to write in this post but for now I just wanted to also say thanks to those who are on the exact same journey as me. I know so many of us undergo so much and suffer very very painfully at times, but there is light. For me at the moment that light is somewhat obscured, but I trust it will come back in time. As a lovely fellow blogger just shared in comments this journey is like riding an ocean and sometimes we do get over powered with the waves and find it difficult to ride the swell without getting totally sucked under or knocked over by a deluge, that is where I am today but I know if I hang in there it will pass. That said thanks to those who were here for me today. I really really appreciate you for reaching out to me.

Despair

Ground down under the weight of this

I struggle for air

People tell me not to care

About things that break my heart

Believe me

I do know there is a way out

A way to see sometimes

The possibility of life

But sometimes I just fall into

The deepest place of despair

I wish there was a way somehow

To feel the light

When all goes dark

To find the spark again

But today all I see

Are ancestral corpses littered all around

Sensing how the weight of that

So easily drags me down

Are these all just phantoms in my mind

Convincing me there is no way

To be kind to myself?

Who is it that blocks this light

From entering my soul

During these times of dark dark night

When there is no respite anywhere

From being smothered

Under the suffocating blanket

Of despair

Sick of trying : feeling suicidal today

I just emerged from one of the worst panic attacks I’ve had, Jasper must have known something was up because the garage door roller door was open and he ran up to my neighbour’s place and brought her back to the front door, I was coiling around on the carpet in a mid attack when she knocked and managed to stumble to the door holding my heart and struggling to breathe she just supported me to the chair and then my attacks turned into sobs. She started asking about doctors which is not easy for me, I do not have a GP that I trust and I told her this, it may all be meant to be as she and her husband see a very good GP at the University practice and she told me she will give me his details, but despite all of this what is emerging for me is this crushing loneliness, I just do not see myself being able to keep on living with this absence of heart felt connections in my life, my heart is what is suffering in the panic attacks.

The bigger issue is that the last lot of money I sent to Scott has been blocked again, powers that be don’t seem to want me to be connected to the person who I am most felt by and connected to. In therapy today when I read a poem I wrote yesterday about my emotionally absence disconnected father I just found myself crying to the depths of my soul with my longing to be seen and related to by my father. I also sensed the deep disconnect and wound in him covered by silence.

Then I started to think that maybe I need to move away from here, maybe I need to go up and be closer to my dead sister’s family, at least they love and care for me, apart from this I see no one unless I reach out and that gets tiring. I try to reach out to my sister but she is struggling too. I was sad too as I asked my cousin out on the weekend for a coffee and she told me the only time she had was Sunday at 10 am, when her son turned up today to walk Jasper it turned out they had time to go to the Lifeline book fair across three days, but only a brief window of opportunity to meet with me at a time that was hard for me, that really hurt my heart, I am not going to hold a resentment but it did put a squeeze on my chest.

I know this might sound like a whinging post but I just cannot sustain this level of loneliness any more, living with this absence of connections is not doable for my heart and soul. And it really burns me that my brother who had the ability to help Scott and I a while ago would not help us when we asked, he would also not help my now dead sister’s second son move back to be closer to his mother, either in the 2 years before she died. I know if he and his wife and family were allowed to be closer, my sister would be alive now. She died of a broken heart and could not breathe any more, just like me. I know this because I know on the anniversary of Dad’s death they called me at about 7 pm at night to tell me my sister had been zoned out and unresponsive all day and asked me to go over, as soon as I sat by her bed and held her hand she came back. I think of how she was laid up there, drugged, thwarted and effectively abandoned for so many years, I think of how women have been judged ‘mad’ too for years if they were too full of life, angry or rebellious, its something that figured a lot in therapy today. And I am starting to read the book An Unquiet Mind, a memoir of living with bi polar and emotional repression figures as a huge theme throughout the book.

I drove to therapy today honestly contemplating a way to take my own life. I have not been this far down for quite some time. Something about seeing my sister yesterday and knowing she is being taken in a taxi today backwards and forwards from radiotherapy breaks my heart, something about contemplating the prospect of more years in a town where is so hard to get connected makes me feel there is no point, but I know that this is also depressive thinking. My therapist tells me I can always turn it around. I don’t know if its the build up to the full Moon at the moment but I am seeing what a lonely straight jacket I have lived in for a lot of my life. My inability to trust in life and the goodness of others plays a huge part of it, my angry rebellious go it alone character at times alienates others, but my therapist assures me I have needed this kind of ‘protest’ to stay alive and that those who know I am a truly good person will never choose totally sideline me for it, like that friend of my mothers. It still makes me angry to be so misjudged. It makes me feel like killing myself. That is how it affects me. Today is a hard hard day but maybe the full moon shining onto the sign of Cancer is just showing the emotional disconnection theme in our family write large. I don’t know but I know when I am feeling suicidal the best thing to do is to own it and write about it. At the moment I don’t see the point of being alive, I truly hope I can change this point of view soon. Maybe with the Sun and Venus in Cancer I need to call on the Good Mother for healing but at the moment I just wish to be mothered by someone, there I said it. I spoke the (for me) unsayable.

Echoes

Echoes of you

Reverberating out

Across the stratosphere

Remind me that the experiences we shared

Always linger on

In the lilt of a memory

Or the bars of a song

I feel the veil between now and then

Thinning

As all of these memories

Bleed through

I am six again

At the fair

Riding the cha cha

By your side

I know the magic of this moment

With you so close to me

Sharing fun

Will not last for long

And soon you will be gone

Again

Moments of togetherness

Ever so fleeting

Are all that I can hold close to my heart now

And maybe this is the reason

No man will ever find his way to me

Or ever be able to stay

Close by my side

I wish : accepting the reality

I thought my body would explode with the pressure today, I went to visit my sister and ended up taking her to the nearby shopping complex to have 3 months worth of old Shellac nail polish taken off her toes. I needed to have my own toenails cut so I decided to accompany her there and we sat side by side while the somewhat rough Asian women who worked at the nail bar did their pedicure. As we were sitting there I cried silently for some of the time and even more after we went to have a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. There is a sense that the family we knew now is dissolving and that is just life, but seeing my sister so wan and pale and with so little energy of vital life force inside her was very very hard. I don’t really know how to articulate all of the feelings in this blog. I just saw today and felt so deeply the repression in my sister and I also saw so much helplessness. I am always looking for deeper meaning and sublayers too, though and I thought so much of my two parents who worked so hard all of their lives and never had much time for peace or rest. I thought of my father who died of stomach cancer and I thought of our remaining family all so divided and far away from us. I thought of my brother who never reaches out and shed a tear over that, and I just could not escape this deep deep feeling that our entire family history has a very tragic cast to it.

I must have spent about 3 hours with my sister but I was very conscious of the time getting later, that I had not walked Jasper yet and that the night closes in early, so I dropped my sister back to the hospital at about 3.45 pm and then made my way back. But the grief that broke open in saying good bye. It was as if I had been in a vice for the past 3 hours and when I left the person screwing the vice had stopped screwing it and my body was needing to unravel. I have been very conscious for some time now that of how much I supress my own life urges and energy, (all par for course with Mars, Saturn Moon) at times I am not conscious, for example that I need to go to the toilet but then I realise with a start I have just naturally dissociated. Also around my sister I just experience such a desire to give something or help in some way, but I am also aware of so much fear.

Anyway I got home and had pretty intense panic attack but I managed to bundle Jasper and I up into the car and get us out for a very late freezing walk by the lake, Jazzie ran around madly having been cooped up for most of the day inside, something I never feel that good about (that said he always has access to the outside of my place.)

I got some healthy vegetables to make a bake for dinner on the way home so I will go and prepare that now. I am glad I was able to be there for my sister today. I so often wish our history was so very very different to what it is, I think it is that wish and a kind of deep internal resistance to the ‘way things are’ (a sister who has been medicated for years and years and not allow to ex-press anything much – there is no personal or group therapy at all where she is right now, just ‘lectures’ which infuriates me) has kept me away from my sister. That said it is hard on these days to face the truth of how hard things are for my sister. She defers to everyone and doesn’t seem to have much power of her own, that said she is at least being supported at a time she has to undergo 6 weeks of radiotherapy and if she was at home alone she would not have people there caring and making sure she is supported by being transported there every day and the burden may fall to me.

I don’t truly know why I am writing this but as usual I come home to a dog and an person empty house, the thoughts about it all will then revolve in my mind and sometimes it helps just to get them out there. I am counting my blessings tonight, I have a roof over my head, money for a meal and in the more silent times I feel the support of the unseen. There are other dramas going on with regards to money I have to stay silent about that have made the last 3 days a living hell, but at the moment I am just trying to accept the Universe has decided the person who wants to support me cannot be here with me… its getting blocked each and every single time. So all I can do is battle on alone. All I can do is do the next right thing and try my very best to support and love my sister while also taking care of myself and my dog.

Close to the unseen

I will seek my comfort from the wild elements

By the cosiness of an open fire

I will feel the touch of love

In the wild tumult of the wind

Embraced by the rapture of nature

Golden afternoon sunlight on the stream

I will feel you draw close to me

Some say that this life is a prison

A place where deeper truths and realities

Remain obscured

And that our truest deepest roots

Lay hidden within the eternal

But only this I know

There is a peace here

Found in living close to the nature and the elements

A sense of my soul held safely in silence

That never appears

From worldly things

And much as I love the world of mortals

There is a nurture that my deepest soul

Can only find

When I feel that sense of coming so deeply alive

Here held quietly and oh so tenderly

Within the healing embrace

Of the unseen

Pay attention

Open your heart to this

A fleeting breath of wind

Birdsong on the wing

The glory stretching before you

Beheld in tufts of clouds

That pepper an azure sky

Bring this into your heart too

Cold nights of mid winter

Where wild winds blow

And branches in their fury

Scatter broken pieces

All around

Stay close to this

The precious aliveness of the present moment

Even though thoughts will capture you

So often

Do not forget

Even if just for an instant

To pause

And notice exactly where you are

And what is surrounding you

Just waiting for you

To open up

And pay attention

Inner Guidance : my morning of following my inner voice

Sometimes we need to get really still and quiet to hear inner guidance, sometimes for me a message just comes through as an impulse to go somewhere or do something or open a book at a certain page. It has happened to me more times than I can count and today was one of those days, deeply wintery, gusty and cold, my dog Jasper was resisting all cues to go out for a walk so I got in the car to take myself out for a coffee and then I got some guidance to go to the bookshop and browse in the poetry section.

Well when I opened one of the books a small piece of paper the size of a post it note fell out and on it was a piece of writing about Being Still, I had collected about 6 different poetry books off the shelf to have browse through as well and at the same time came across a stunning collection of poems from a young aboriginal writer, Kirli Saunders, called Kindred. It was the front cover of the collection that first jumped out at me, on a turquoise blue background it shows two vibrant crimson wattle flowers over the top of which the title is written in white block capital letters.

I loved the poems I read, so I bought the book, then I went to get my lunch and read the first poem. It bought tears to my eyes as it was on the subject of mothers and is called Matriachs written about mothers who continue to pour out their love to children, often ending up being drained but always with the realisation they are giving to something far larger than themselves.

Reading the poems marked some poignant feelings for me too because I often feel in older age, mothers are not taken care of in the ways they often need to be and so many years of caring for others can empty them out. At the moment in Australia we have a Royal Commission underway into the practices and maltreatment in aged care and it is being found there is so much neglect of the elderly due to overstaffing that older people are suffering, there (often alone, but not always) abandoned by family who are just unable to care for them at home.

Anyway the other poem from the collection I really loved was this one :

UNBIND

Unbind your

seeking heart

cup it in open palms

turned to Father sky,

as offering

to Grandfather Sun

in gratitude with grace

to Grandmother Moon

with faith

allow spirit to guide you

with time worn map

of ancient passage

passed down

in spoken story

and walk softly here,

for you are an ear

to our ancestors,

and a mouth

to carry their song

they have readied you

guiding you all along.

I often feel I would fit in better to the aboriginal culture even though I am a whitey because I often feel such a strong connection to my ancestors and I love the personifications of Father Sky and Grandfather Sun . I was remembering recently a powerful dream I had in one of my earliest years of active sobriety, I happened upon an ancient dusty place where a circle of aboriginal women were performing a sacred ritual/dance. I was accepted into the centre of their circle of healing and I recall feeling in the dream a profound sense of homecoming and spiritual connection. So it is interesting to me that all the ancestral history would open up to me in later years of sobriety and often I do feel my ancestors speaking to me.

I recently had someone in a Facebook group tell me the ancestors can bind me down or hold me back, but I don’t always feel that way. I feel that it is important for us to become aware of our ancestral stories and it seems sad to me that so many of the elderly die with their stories all locked up or hidden under wraps inside of them. Maybe some of them lose their way to their stories in a modern world that has not one clue of what they have lived through.

Mum and Dad started to tell me their stories when I was quiet young. I used to love nights the projector would come out with showing of old slides of years gone by before the cosiness of our family ruptured and fractured in Dad’s quest for upward mobility. Sadly Dad died before he could tell me of much he endured throughout the war and as an airman freeing POWs from Indonesia in the aftermath, although I know he was held at gun point in the hangar one night by a Japanese soldier who ended up letting him go for some reason. In later years his best friend, my Godfather Piet Hos told me some of these stories. But in later years I often asked Mum for her retelling of her life and family stories and I feel sad now that I never honoured her request to one day write her story down. I often think it would make a gripping movie.

Anyway I am so glad I followed my inner guidance to the poetry section at the bookstore today. It was a lovely use of a stormy Friday. Winter winds have been wild and full of fury today and its very fresh presently but I will get my recalcitrant dog out soon for a walk and blow off some of the cobwebs. I will write out below some of the quote on Being Still that I found in that book today to finish this post. It really seemed to hold a powerful message for me today.

Just for a moment. Listen to the world around you. Feel your breath coming in and out. Listen to your thoughts. Be at peace with being still. In this modern world, activity and movement are the default modes, if not in our bodies, at least in our minds. We rush around all day, doing, doing, incessantly. We are always on, always connected, always thinking, always talking. There is no time for stillness. This comes at a cost…. try doing less each day. Breathe when you feel yourself moving too fast. Slow down. Be present. Find happiness now, in this moment, instead of waiting for it. Savour the stillness. It’s a treasure. It is always available to you. It is always within you.

Dear Mum

Even though you hurt me at times, I also remember all the ways you loved me. I remember at one of my lowest times the little book you gave me entitled You’ve Got What It Takes, I was foundering in my addiction then and you felt my pain and were trying to encourage me, but I had a lot of wounds I had not yet addressed.

I remember that you told me once of all your children you were most proud of me but that you also gave me all of your insecurity while your other children got more successful parts of you. I felt your pain so much and I still remember all of your stories, I loved our outings to have a cup of tea, but I was also aware at times there were entire levels on which we could never connect. I remember how it broke your heart when I left Jonathan all alone and how you secretly hoped I would have the ability to embrace a new life away from you, but Mum I was so worried that year you fell and fractured your wrist and Judy was also undergoing a lot, at that stage overseas just felt too far away and so I came back to be some support but struggled with that decision too.

I loved our outings to the movies, I know how much you worried about me. Some of my happiest times were just us two together with me holding your hand, especially in the later years when you suffered so much pain over your botched knee replacement operation.

I hold close to my heart often precious things that you had close to you, your pink cashmere sweater, a birthday calendar, a pair of rose coral earrings, the little cushion which was one of the only things you took from Judith’s care home when we cleared it out over those two Thursdays in the weeks following her death embroidered with the words, Live, Laugh, Love.

I remember arriving at your apartment while hearing Frank Sinatra blaring out from your stereo and I remember your favourite movie starring Sidney Pointier, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

Mum I miss you, I accept you are gone, I often hear you speaking to me. I wonder at times if you are really watching over me, or if that is just wishful thinking, but one thing I know for sure I carry part of you forever deep inside of me, for I am the continuation of both your’s and my father’s journey and even though at times my life is lonely and living without you is difficult I am grateful to you both for the gift of life.