5 am and the alarm goes off. The first of six daily alarms I set for myself. I consciously know I won’t be able to sit up on the first three bells. Each snooze I click on my cell phone adds another ten minutes of despair. “Here we go again” I think. Tossing from side to side, I breathe heavy mournful sighs as the thoughts begin to race through my waking mind. By the sixth alarm, my cat Tricks climbs into bed and begins her complaining meows. She’s reminding me that I have responsibilities. “Here we go again” I think again. Simply being awake is a disappointment in itself. Two hours later and I manage to roll over one last time. With the least amount of energy, I roll off my bed and plant my feet on the floor.
I’m Wiccan so at this point I should be thinking of grounding myself and giving thanks for the day ahead, but the despairing thoughts are distractedly rushing through my mind. Quickly, I take the 10 short steps to the couch where I plop down, knees drawn to chest, and start lighting that first cigarette. I sit in the dark, the cat complaining about my laziness, and let the thoughts envelope me.
I check my phone to see if anyone has contacted me. Most days I have no messages this early and my mind reminds me that no one thinks of me. Ever. I check my calendar and see the usual work meetings, band gigs to promote, and that reminder to go to the gym that I always ignore. The thoughts rush back to remind that I have no plans because no one likes me. Never. At this point I have an hour to go before taking my first antidepressant/anti-anxiety pill. You know, the happy pill that makes these nasty thoughts go away. Until then, I cradle my knees and turn on the radio. Each song’s lyrics reminding me of a better time, a past lover, or the fact that I’ll die alone.
By now, I’m contemplating skipping work. I’ll probably be late anyway. Besides the sluggish depressing mood, my OCD and anxiety kick in each morning adding on an extra hour before heading out the door. Why bother going to work if I’m only going to be late? Would they even notice if I weren’t there? Unfortunately, these days I know I can’t push my limits at work. I’ve been in the hospital for a week at a time, each year I’ve worked there. It’s a miracle I haven’t been fired. Anxiety starts to kick in here, telling me I’m wasting time moping around, will ruin my career, and go into debt by running late.
8 am. Another alarm rings. It’s time to take that sweet little pill that erases the feeling of not wanting to go on. I grab whatever stale soda, beer, or juice that was sitting out on the coffee table from the night before. I ceremoniously take my pill, closing my eyes, and taking in the fact that I know I won’t hate my life – in about fifteen minutes.
I go about my morning routine feeding the ever-impatient Tricks, my turtle Scotty, and checking the weather. Some days I barely get past this point. I run back to the comfort of my den and begin to fight against the pill. Life is much too dark to let some doctor brainwash me with their medicine. I think of my family and friends. The ones I promised to continue fighting for my life. Shit, I know if I start thinking about suicide at all I’ll get locked up again.
Finally, having decided to face the day ahead, I get up and stretch. This time I do ground myself. I’m still not grateful, but I start the motions towards normalcy. Maybe the meds are kicking in around now. Either way, by the time I push start on my coffee maker I’ve decided to give this world one more shot. You see, it’s as if I’m addicted to death – my death. One year ago my friends and family held an intervention and had me admitted to a mental health facility (or loony bin as I prefer to call it). I made promises and took steps toward recovery. Recovering from wanting to die. Each day I wake up struggling to see the point in going on. The same way a drug addict wakes with shivering withdrawals. In fact, I even get the shivers too.
By the time I start walking to the subway station, I’ve managed to hush my hatred for this world. It’s probably the pills soaking into my empty stomach. I’m always in too much of a rush to eat. When life is going well (as in OK) I remember to pack a breakfast for work. On better days I get to work and catering leaves out extra mini muffins. These are the upsides to my life.
I sit on the E train heading down to the World Trade Center. By now I’ve accepted that I have to live this life and go about my daily routine. I’m off to work, to earn money, to pay my bills, and keep a roof over my head. With an hour commute full of grumpy New Yorkers ahead of me, I put on my glasses and crack open a book. Cliche as it may sound, I prefer to travel to another world and escape the reality around me. I’m bitter that I’m a loyal person. After promising doctors, friends, and family that I’d give living a real shot, I almost regret it. Each day I begin mopey, angry, depressed, and frustrated. I force myself to get through the day. To feed my pets, go to work, and make my commute. I rather be anywhere but here – or dead.
The time comes to check back into reality and climb the subway steps up out to the Manhattan sidewalks. The sun blinds me through the buildings. I’m sure it does it on purpose. Aiming right for my eyes because it knows I can’t stand the sun. I light another cigarette. Fuck it. I know it’s bad for me, but do I really care? The pills have probably dissolved completely by around now. “Maybe I should be grateful to be alive on such a beautiful day” I think to myself. I usually surprise myself with these thoughts. “Boy, have I changed” I chuckle lightly as I take the first drag of the freshly lit cancer stick. I never really had these positive thoughts before. I look over to my left and see the 911 construction site. Funny how life works. So many people lost their lives, yet here I am willing to give mine away. On such a beautifully sunny day…
This is how I start my day and live my life. Life as Sin.