i forgot what a crisis felt like… then yesterday happened.

(Warning: This writing has mention of suicide and self-harm)

Not being able to name feelings didn’t make a lot of sense to me until yesterday. i mean, there’s lots of feelings i’ve experienced- joy, sadness, dread… So why would any other feeling not be named?

Now i understand.

i’ve had this dull, throbbing pain in my right leg since last night. i take it that she’s finally given into the long-term (for hours on end) phantom pain amputees experience, as opposed to the quick bursts i usually get. Maybe she’s feeling the wave of anxiety and crisis i’ve been feeling these past few days. i don’t like to be in anyone’s way, but “let me plug you into my world,” as the ‘ol lyrics say to the perfectly-titled song, The Unnamed Feeling:

Been here before couldn’t say I liked it
Do I start writing all this down?

i woke this morning and decided to write it down, because repeating what happened over and over to anyone who has an ear to lend, is traumatic. i decided to write it down because that’s the best way i know how to communicate. i decided to write it all down, so the next time i experience a crisis i remember what happens.

And i remembered that i definitely don’t like it.

And if I could I’d turn my eyes
To look inside to see what’s comin’

It comes alive, It comes alive, It comes alive
And I die a little more

i forgot what it was like to be alive in the world, but simultaneously feel dead. It hasn’t happened to me in so long. You do NOT see it coming, even though all the signs are there.

I cannot sleep with a head like this
I wanna cry, I
wanna scream

February 12- When i saw my broken legs after i got hit by that semi truck (while on my bicycle) i screamed and cried, but nothing came out. i remember nothing in between getting hit and being on the ground. This lack of memory was my saving grace. But i’m afraid all of this has caught up with me, nine and a half months later. All of the fear i hadn’t experienced was just gestating, and is now in the throes of giving birth. i thought i had surpassed the PTSD stage (despite everyone’s protest that it was something i was actually experiencing), and now… it comes alive.

November 29- i had gotten plenty of rest but woke up more tired than usual. This is not unusual; it does happen on occasion. i went through the usual tasks: ate some food, cleaned the house up a bit (which is NOT easy in a wheelchair), played some drums… but none of it felt enjoyable. The lack of enjoyment in anything is something i am usually able to handle. i live with depression, so when i see the signs i have a plan in how to deal with it. i cry a bit, and go to bed still feeling worn and not in the best mental state, but not in ‘crisis mode’.

November 30- i wake up with an increase in the tiredness. i don’t exactly force myself to eat or go to the bathroom, but it still seems like a chore as opposed to a necessity. My roommate hands me packages before he leaves, and i just don’t feel like opening them. i make a phone call in relation to arrangements to receive disability (which i have yet to receive), and that took up more energy than it needed to. i couldn’t even find enough joy or energy to even play the drums. i look for other ways to distract myself, but none of it seems to be working.

Around 4pm i wheel myself to the bathroom. i get on the toilet, and i start to cry. My brain snapped. i wiped my tears, and made the decision that i was going to end my life. i got back into the wheelchair and figured it would be one of two ways: exiting the apartment and throwing myself down the stairs, or stabbing myself in the stomach and chest, hoping to bleed out. As i was on the way to the kitchen i realized i was in crisis mode, and i needed to talk to someone.

If i was not able to reach anyone, i definitely would not be around to write this. Later that night, i found it incredibly hard to sleep, and i just curled up and cried hard. i tried to scream and nothing came out.

Been here before
Been here before

i absolutely forgot what that ‘brain snap’ felt like, but it all came back to me. i experienced it when i’d purposefully cross the street into oncoming traffic. The first time i experienced it was at the age of 14, when i put my head in an oven. The last time i experienced it was around 5 years ago, when i came in from my job and decided i was going to jump out of a window. i used to do a lot of self-injury, but much of that was to cope with the feelings of despair i had. The ‘brain snap’ is an entirely different feeling.

i cannot speak for everyone (and i haven’t checked the latest statistics), but i highly doubt that most people who experience this type of crisis actually want to die. It’s just that sometimes, life becomes too much.

Been here before
Been here before

When i was in the hospital- in the ICU, dealing with the pain of the skin grafts (and more), waiting for the amputation, being hooked up to the woundvac, not being able to shower most days, not being able to go to the bathroom some days, not having a solid sleep schedule… i was still (for the most part) able to stay optimistic. i was just grateful to be alive! Despite the immense pain i felt, i made extra care to be considerate to the staff who cared for me. Working in the midst of a pandemic, and being overworked (and not paid enough) i did not take that for granted.

The other thing i realized that kept me afloat was the routine. Even if i never properly got a good night’s rest, and even if i was reluctant to take the countless pills and meds i had to take; the schedule gave me something to look forward to. i knew i would have people to connect with, to laugh with. i ended up building relationships with some of the staff. They all knew that i needed ice cold water to counteract the horrible feeling of having morphine injected into me, without me having to ask for it. They would suggest some vegan restaurants for me to order from (since hospital menus are far from vegan-friendly). i had someone to talk to every day. When i left the hospital (after two months and six days) i entered a rehab facility (for two weeks). After this i stayed at my aunt’s house for two months, where my cousin was my primary caretaker.

As a person who is not opposed to spontaneity and who finds comfort in solitude, i didn’t realize how much i would be grateful for the gift of the routine.

I’ve found safety in this loneliness
But I can not stand it anymore

July 3- i return to the apartment i lived in; the last place i saw before the moment that physically altered me forever. i acknowledged the inevitability of this new life, and did not view it as negative. All of the things i did with two legs: cooking, cleaning, showering, getting groceries… all had to be modified. Anything like doing laundry or moving in and out of the apartment would require assistance.

Months pass… Around September or October, the reality of these limitations begin to set in. i do experience sadness, but for the most part it passes where it doesn’t affect my daily actions. In the month of November, i will have existed on this earth for 45 years. i find joy in growing older, but i also know how my goal of completing a triathlon (or at least a 10K) by the age of 50 has shifted a bit, in terms of how i am going to achieve that. My jujitsu practice, the pull-ups i was getting better at; the joy of bicycle riding… all of these things have now shifted.

(If i am gonna go out, at least i was doing what i loved when it happened)

December 1- i now have to figure out how to deal with this other shift. To start, i decided to write it all (or much of it) down.

let me plug you into my world

The world where nothing makes sense anymore. i have to acknowledge that i am lonely, here where i am separated from most everything and everyone i love, by either geographical or scheduling differences. i don’t have a community where i am. The world where i spend most days alone, communicating with most no one, due to those differences. The world where i’m pretty enthusiastic about some things, but the enthusiasm isn’t necessarily returned. The world where sometimes, all i have is the thoughts in my head. The world where i feel like i’m in people’s way most of the time. The world where i feel like i’m a burden just asking for help (which i struggled with asking for in the first place). The world where i sit here (and move around and exercise for a bit) but i can’t do any of the things i love to do right now. Because i physically can’t.

It is a world where i am not ungrateful and resentful for my limitations, but at the same time i feel beaten down by them. It is a world where i held on to the hope that those i knew who did not necessarily have the capacity to love or support me in the way i needed or wanted, and that hope was shot down. It is a world where i have yet to process the loss of a leg, despite seeing it every day. It is a world where i have yet to process and grieve in the ten years since a dear friend (who was my rock) passed. i still am not able to listen to him or look at him. It was this friend who was loved by, and popular to so many. i wasn’t even a huge factor in the crowd he hung out with, but he found value in our friendship, and he consistently took the time out of his busy schedule to call me up, and i knew i could depend on to comfort me into the late hours.

Ten years have passed.

i am still looking for Barry. i am still looking for that person who is able to sincerely check in with me every day, and i am able to check in with them. i am not stating this in order to guilt trip anyone into doing this. i have no desire for anyone to read this and check in with me under this ‘state of emergency’, only for the same cycle to happen again. Because i know it will. The reality is, people are being pulled in many places at once. Many people don’t necessarily feel the need to check in with someone every day. i don’t think that’s a bad thing. i am just writing about the things i need. i am writing this because again, i don’t want to continually repeat how i am.

i am simply writing this to remind myself of what happens when the brain snaps. i am writing this as an attempt at survival. i am writing this because these words describe the unnamed, and the unknown.

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