Losin’ love is like a window in your heart

Everybody sees you’re blown apart

Everybody hears the wind blow

(Paul Simon)


Most people do not understand how any other person could take his own life because most people never become suicidally depressed.

I never understood it either, or even had any sympathy for it until one day when I was in my early forties, almost out of the blue, it happened to me.

The substrate had been a smoldering grief caused by the deaths of my two closest friends within a nine-month time frame in 1981. The final precipitating blows were delivered by the simultaneous end of a romantic relationship, the death of my dog, coupled with the sudden death of my office manager’s father-in law who had a massive pulmonary embolism after a successful gall bladder surgery.

Without warning I woke up one day with a sudden alteration in my psyche that felt as though my ego had been smothered, asphyxiated and then frozen; almost as if someone had snuck up behind me, put a cellophane bag over my head and then thrown my life energy into a sub-zero freezer. My limbs had become numb, my thoughts totally stifled, my empty words felt as if they were dry cotton balls passing though my lips as I went about life only performing perfunctory necessary motions.

The worst parameter was that although I knew it had happened and recognized it clinically for what it was, there was nothing I could do to change it. One day I was fine, then the next day I simply could not shake an overwhelming feeling that life was a hopeless situation no longer worth living.

Another thing I will never be able to explain is why I never pulled the trigger on the night I put a .38 caliber pistol in my mouth or even why, when the urge came over me to blow out my brains, I also felt there was no point whatsoever in leaving a note. All I knew was that I just wanted to be dead and that was it. If anything had stopped me, it was the realization that the woman who had just left me might go through the rest of her life believing she had incredible power and control, or possibly long term guilt ridden grief, without the full knowledge of the other mitigating circumstances. Knowing her, however, grief would not have been the preponderant lingering emotion.

The next day I made an urgent appointment to see a friend who was a psychiatrist, handed over my guns, and then reticently took a prescription for Prozac as well as promising to come for weekly follow up appointments. I did tell him I thought the depression was reactive, meaning that hopefully it would soon pass over, but even these words felt like dry cardboard as they were verbalized without any real personal conviction that they were actually true.

Prozac was horrible. Not only did it do nothing to make me feel better but instead only seemed to make me sweat profusely all night, a sweat that had a peculiar unsavory sickeningly-sweet metabolized drug odor. So I just stopped taking it.

The only peripheral ancillary benefit to the entire episode was that for about three months I no longer craved alcohol, and only ate Frosted Flakes with skimmed milk, which resulted in a 15 pound weight loss. I was miserably sad; but I looked good.

Eventually everything did get better; to the point that I now look back on it only from the perspective that the desperately empty feelings involved cannot be adequately described in words, along with a sincere hope being that they never come back as long as I live.

Yet somehow I just can’t ever shake the dread that those feelings might still be lurking under the surface; like hibernating fugal spores waiting for the right climactic conditions that will allow them to germinate, and come back to life with a second vengeful blossom that will be more ferociously unstoppable than the first.







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