Wednesday, August 27, 2014

on the edge

Mark has drunk so much, taken so many tablets – Tramadol, Quetiapine – it’s incredible he’s able to stay upright, let alone talk. He’s like some powerful animal that can’t be brought down no matter how many darts you fire into it. He should be flat on his back, but instead he’s sitting on the edge of the bath, wavering backwards, circling the vertical, poised on the lip of a bottomless pit; from his exhausted demeanour, I would guess that if he did start to fall, he would stretch out his arms and let himself drop forever.
‘I’ll be honest with you,’ he says, his eyes closed, his words fat and fuzzy. ‘I’ll tell you what it is. I’ve just had enough. I’ve had enough of feeling like this. I just want to be normal. I just want to live a normal life, with my wife and kids, and not keep fucking up. I don’t expect you to understand. You look around. What’s he going on about? Nice house. Beautiful wife and kids. But there’s this monster inside me and it won’t leave me alone. It comes sliming out every few weeks, and it doesn’t matter how much help I get, it doesn’t matter what anyone says or does, it gets its head right into me and I just can’t fight it off any more. I’m tired. And before you say it, no, I’m not going to hospital. I appreciate you coming out and everything. I don’t mean to be rude. I just want to be left alone to sleep.’
He sinks to his knees and rests his head against the edge of the bath.
Judith his wife is out in the hallway. It’s a new house. They’ve only just moved there and still haven’t completely unpacked. It has a warm but tentative feel, a well-lit space waiting for something to happen.
‘Mark,’ she says. ‘Please. You’ve got to go in.’
He pushes the door shut with his foot.


Sabine said...

Painful, what are his chances? It's a nasty illness.

Cassandra said...

I know that feeling, all too well. Recurrent Brief Depression… it's like clinical depression, but it is cyclical. Lets up for a bit, hits you hard for a bit, around and around like the merry go round from hell.

There IS help, but it's so exhausting to deal with that it's hard to get help. And it's not that you want to DIE, you just… don't want to live. Not like that. It's too tiring. Just want to sleep, forever. Peaceful. Rest.

I've been there. Sometimes I still end up there. I hope he gets help somewhere, I really do.

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Those for whom the monster is still an unknown, understanding can come hard; when you've been where's he's hanging and can see how he's pinned, the scene is far different. My hope is that the work being done in the mental health field show fruition and actually help those among us who are so desperate and unhappy.

Spence Kennedy said...

Sabine - I have a feeling his chances are pretty good. Despite the extremity of his position, he was still able to describe how he was feeling and accept help when we offered it. So I'm quite hopeful.

Cass & Lynda- Chronic depression is a real curse - so debilitating and destructive. I've suffered myself off and on for many years, and often it's a struggle to stay above water. I completely understand the incredible draw of sleep and other, less beneficial methods of anaesthesia. It's helped me to write and force myself to look outwards, but the whole scenario is terrifying and anyone who suffers will always have my sympathy.

Thx for the comments! x

jacksofbuxton said...

You'd just hope he's finally hit the bottom to come back up again.But knowing that nasty,black cloud isn't too far away must be very hard for all concerned Spence.

Spence Kennedy said...

Incredibly hard & disruptive. But you're right - maybe this is the worst manifestation, it'll trigger a new look at his treatment and they'll all find a better way of managing it. Hope so.

I think ultimately (and this sounds pessimistic), some chronic conditions are just that - you'll suffer with them the rest of your life, and it's a question of how you structure your life accordingly. But there are loads of examples of people who've come to terms with the illness, difficult though it is, so there definitely is hope!