How Blind Faith in Medicine Almost Made Me a Sacrifice

08/02/2016 05:25 pm ET Updated Aug 02, 2016


I almost killed myself two weeks ago.

Wait. No. That’s a terrible way to start.

Two weeks ago, I was kneeling in my kitchen with the business end of a butchers knife pressed against my Adams apple, screaming, pleading to the linoleum for the strength to not push the blade all of the way through to the promised land.

Ugh. So dramatic.

Let me start at the beginning.

If you have known me for any length of time, you have no doubt heard any one of my screeds against the pharmaceutical industry.

This tends to be aimed directly at a complicit cabal of psychiatrists who propagate a victimhood by diagnosis state of being amongst the ever more depressed and down trodden populace.

Instead of seeking out the roots of these issues, these snake oil salesman, adorned in golden thread, hand out candy coated poisons to eager peoples desperate for a moments reprieve from the absolute pain of living.

That it stifles the imagination, the purity of the soul, is just a convenient consequence.

This industry shifts the blame onto the person, not the system. That it is they who are flawed, not the machine that grinds them up like so much pulp in the snow and spits them out.

I know this, because I was a victim of this process for the majority of my formative years.

Starting when I was six, I was carted from doctor to doctor until one was found that would present a miracle to my mother, some way for the little shit to finally shut up. It started with Ritalin. Moved on to Depakote. Resorted to Lithium. Graduated to multiple hospitalizations, one of which was a direct result of my overdosing on Wellbutrin. Back to Lithium. Over to Zoloft. A stop to really appreciate the rose colored bullshit that is Prozac. All of this before the age of 16. 

Think, for a second, only a second, how it feels to grow up and never know what your actual state of mind is. What natural thoughts are. As one could surely imagine, I didn’t know who the hell I was. All I know is that I was never in control of anything.

 Which is what led to the 7 year diet pill addiction, the playful dancing with full blown anorexia, the rushing off to the shadows for illicit relations with the cheapest liters of vodka I could find. I was trying to die, because the people that gave me life had teamed up with some sociopathic college graduates to determine that my organic nature needed snuffing.   

It didn’t work. I kept on fracking living, miserably, yes, but still living. Still breathing. Still seething. Still reeling as I fell headlong into an adulthood that I had never been prepared for.

And some other entry can explain how I discovered pot, how it saved me, how it made life worth living, and then became a burden itself.

Some other time.

We’re here to talk about how I ended up with the point of a knife trying to taste my blood.

Now, the beginning of this tale. I promise. 

This year has been absolutely gobsmackingly terrible. It opened with a rather close associate of mine, the sound guy for a production that I have been a part of for going on six years, revealing himself to be a monster of a most vicious sort. He visited this monstrosity upon the love of my life, a woman I care for deeply, someone I have worked beside for those six years and come to appreciate as a true artist, a kind soul. He saw this kindness, this goodness, and it reflected his own burnt cinder soul back to him. So, like all creatures of the night, he aimed to snuff it out. He broke her. He broke us. He,for a brief seconds groan and grimace, facilitated the collapse of a part of my life that I had held close to my heart for half of a decade. He raped her, armed with a gun and with the knowledge that she wouldn’t fight back with her child in the next room. 

Add to this the fact that those involved in the production that was shuttered due to this horrible truth did nothing but shun the victim and utilize all of their resources to blanket themselves from culpability and what you have is a suddenly collapsed lung of a life, all desperate rasp and no oxygen.

I could not function. I could not move. I could not work. I could not see. I could not breathe.

I had become weak.

I asked my doctor if abandoning my ideology was right for me.

His suggestion was Strattera. He said it would cheer me up and help me get back to work. Would help me focus.

And I believed him. I needed to.

and how naive that turned out to be.

At first, I thought it was a boon. He was right. I was energetic. I was happier. I was able to cope with the feelings of betrayal and loss. I was able to be there, be present, be hopeful. I could remember things. I could grasp concepts that were confusing. What a fucking miracle.

So, I conveniently ignored all of the terrible side effects that were banging on my door all hours of the night.

I was energetic, yes, but only briefly, before falling into untenable stupors.

I was happy, sure, but at the expense of rationality.

I was coping, yes, but by ignoring, pretending, wearing this ersatz grin on my face, life’s perfectly posed idiot.

I was present, yes, but I was selfish. I couldn’t shut up. I couldn’t hold onto a thought for more than ten seconds without drastically changing courses.

I could remember things, yes, but they became major obsessions, things to ruminate over for hours on end.

I was becoming more paranoid as time went on. I was becoming anxious. Angry. Desperate.

In exchange for what passed as clarity, I began to regress into a form I haven’t taken since I was a child.

Every slight inconvenience because a life ending tragedy.

Every social encounter became a confirmation to me that the whole world was watching me and just waiting for me to die. Begging me. I walked into a show at my favorite venue, surrounded by my favorite people, and all I could perceive was that they were all staring at me, expecting me to explain myself, to justify why I had  the audacity to step foot in their sanctuary and stain it with my presence. So, I fled.

And collapsed. And sent scatterbrained messages. Alienated close friends.

And, still, I did not blame the drug. I needed it, right? It was for my own good, right? What I was going through was a natural response to the trauma that had been inflicted upon my life. Right?

And this is all before it really starts to cling onto my senses. It was one of those things you can say you didn’t see coming but you know damn well you felt the tremors in the soil.

Which is to say, the last month and half of my life was the most terrifying span of time I have encountered in my entire life.

Twice, I woke up in the middle of the night, stunned from vicious nightmares I had that couldn’t remember, scared for my life, crying uncontrollably. I couldn’t scream because people in my house were sleeping. I had to find an alternative.

So, I punched myself. In the face. In the chest. In the legs. Wherever there was exposed skin. At first, it provided relief. But, as with all things that do so, it was quickly not enough. It demanded escalation. I went into the silent streets and wandered for miles, screeching into the night, then hiding so the source of this awful noise couldn’t be pinned down. I laid down on rails and wished for a train to pass, to put this pathetic display to rest, finally, finality only a whistle and a rumble away.

Then, I would crawl back into bed, bruised, broken, spent, and try to sleep for as long as I could, which would amount to mere hours. Then, I would get up and go be normal for anyone who needed such a thing, which is most everyone.

The second time that it happened, I sent someone 161 text messages in 30 minutes span, none of which made any semblance of sense. The ramblings of a mad man, only humorous because it was via text and one only has to imagine someone furiously typing away on an Iphone 5 for a mild smile to cross their lips.

This was one week before where we started this little tale.

In the kitchen.

On the floor.

With the knife.

With my throat.

This one of those moments people always talk about in stories like these. The formative moments, when everything comes crashing down. When all of your assumptions about something go flying and you stop making excuses for the thing that’s killing you.

I couldn’t keep telling myself that what was happening was okay. I couldn’t keep pretending that it was a natural reaction to circumstances. I had to remove the one constant.

That goddamned pill.

I dropped the knife. I cried liked I’ve never fucking cried before. And I never took another fucking one of them.

It took about 5 days for it to finally leave my system. I still have aftershocks of overwhelming emotion, but I just brush my shoulders off and move on, shake it off, as it were, though I doubt T-Swift was talking about almost offing yourself with the blade that your roommate cuts up his vegetables with.

And, as it has been foretold, time passes.

All I am left with is the stories pouring in that describe the wild ire in my eyes, the unbridled and uncharacteristic anger that was coming off of me like a steam. The journal entries that I don’t remember writing that are me pleading with me to stop, please stop, please don’t let it go any further. These spots in my memory are mostly blank. I only remember them from the bruises, brief flashes, and tales told. I almost lost everything in an attempt to save myself.

For what?

I have no animus left, except maybe towards an industry that sees people like me as convenient guinea pigs for their creations. For the rapist, no benefit of an allegedly, who acted as a catalyst for the decision to seek solace. No sadness, save for the fallout of my swift and violent descent into the gaping maw of absolute madness. If I  have regret, that I let myself be so felled by circumstance that I would abandon my ideals just to feel good, even if artificially so.

There is supposed to be some lesson here. Some theme to tie it all together. Some positive outcome to share. I have but one conclusion. For as far and wide as we search, there is no cure for the human condition. There are respites of beauty and wonder amidst the chaos and it would behoove each and every one of us to sit back and let the majesty of creation soak our bones. I do not look on my sadness as a curse. It is a reasonable response. It informs my life, from the grand to minuscule. To chase it away is to turn my back on change. To turn my back on change is to become a stagnant scarecrow, a cautionary tale. Truth be told, sadness is wonder and, personally, I would rather be sad than dead. 
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