How to Find (and take) an Emergency Exit from Hell (Trigger warning!)

2016 is almost up, 2017 around the corner. By then I will look back on ten years of personal hell. Really? Hell? Yes. Hell. Pretty much all personal worst case scenarios have manifested in that time except one: Living in the streets, which I averted by resorting to desperate last measure means of solving an existential situation so pressing, it would have sent me among those seeking shelter below urban underpassages, in doorways, under bridges or – in the U.S. – often deserted homes left to rot away. It doesn’t take much and it can – and does – happen very quickly for many of us even without personal issues and so in needing to find a solution quick I resorted to the questionable choice of seeking temporary shelter in the house I grew up in with immediate biological family still owning and inhabiting the place. To cut to the chase: Materially speaking, I get any help I need. So looking at this from the vantage point of an external looker on you might feel tempted to ask “So, what’s the problem? You’re good!”. Yes. And No.

But – *big sigh* – I won’t go into detail about the “No” part any longer. I think, it is safe to say that I’ve employed this blog to do this in great, if not too much detail anyway. I also think it is safe to say that I am now thoroughly familiar with my emotional landscape, the hills and valleys – the latter in particular and for reasons that will have become obvious to my inclined readers -, my fortés and my vulnerabilities, my strengths and weaknesses and my – unmet needs in particular. These still linger as – well, unmet, particularly in those areas where it matters the most (and the latter being a general observation again, meaning to say this would be true for most anyone. In other words: There is a kind of “gold standard” for the ideal environment a baby, a child, a young person growing up should find themselves in. And… there is any shade of deviation from that environment and taken together, mine felt – and to an extent still feels – devastating in that regard. But I guess, I was preaching to the choir with this here…).

So, after about some seven, going on eight years of running this blog, I guess I’m arriving at a – hopefully temporary – conclusion that I’m on my own again with my particular history and the particular “challenges” (to put it mildly) it produced for me. I don’t mean to be unfair, we’re never all alone and the fact that almost 200 subscribers have been following my random utterances on here should be proof enough for this (and there is more proof for me in real life). OK. But let’s just say that on the personal level of how it feels and what the particular personal experience of pain in substantial realms of the psyche feels like has a… well… deeply personal quality that might and does leave one feeling at times as if we were all alone in the entire cosmos. Recurring bouts of major depression coming from this place of being left behind, singled out, cast away and feeling completely hollow, empty, even ‘dead’ inside keep reminding me of that quality of emotional experience. And I now know for a fact that this must be true as I have recently reconnected with someone from the past, who have lost their 19 year old son to major depression and who committed suicide about two years ago despite the fact that he had lots and lots of emotional and other support from his immediate family and a good close friend and other friends. So, apparently, for whatever personal reason applies some of us can find themselves so far removed from the general mainstream with all things that concern our sentience that there just doesn’t seem to be a way to ever come back from this dark place. I’ve been there, done that, I know exactly what it feels like and I think I have a very good idea as to what this young man will have felt shortly before deciding to run his car into a tree and burn to death…. (I can only hope he had fallen unconscious or into a major shock from the impact, my heart goes way out for him… and now his family.)

Where am I going with this? I guess I’m trying to get to the place to where I need to understand and accept the experienced fact that there is only one person, who can get me out of a ditch so deep I had no idea how much more lost I could feel and then actually become in the process: That is me, myself and I. Only that person. (while I won’t rule out looking for help again in the process and hopefully finding someone who’ll assist me in navigating this often utterly brutal experience we call life… There are sweeter, lighter aspects to it, too, and luckily I’ve been lucky enough to experience them, if just for fleeting moments, but experience them nonetheless, so I know they’re “out there” and will be accessible for me again as well). The deck of cards I’m holding now looks pretty grim on the outside: Disability, incapacity, majorly impaired health and a condition that seems to have gone chronic (hyperuricemia with episodes of major inflammation at ever decreasing intervals), bankruptcy (still going on at least until next year and the publicly available records will reflect that for another three years, until 2020 to be exact), no place to live and no way of finding one in this situation (I’ve been trying for the past five going on six years and with lots of perseverance and grit and “elbow grease”…), a hiatus of several years from any kind of regular work, no income or more precisely: No way left of making a little extra other than needing to work fulltime again at a moment’s notice, no regular social interaction, not too great an idea any longer as to exactly what it is I know best and have good qualifications in… the list goes on. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a more destitute place in my life than this. Like I said in this entry’s title: It truly is my personal version of hell that I’m finding myself in and that I’ve been staggering through for the past ten years and finding things out as I went along. (Persevering won’t be my problem after this ever again…). At this point there are two choices (only two that I can think of and maybe that is already a part of the problem…): Throw the towel in and just “call it quits” (where I’ve already looked into specific ways of “quits” in the past and think, I have zeroed in on my personal “favorite”). Or: Look at my past life, my employments and milestones there from a much more benign vantage point, a self-compassionate one and a vantage point that moves accomplishments into the spotlight and elaborates on those and make myself aware of all the smaller and maybe not so small personal victories instead of the losses and issues and challenges and whatnot. I am trying hard to refrain from using platitudes like “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. Heeeeell, no, it doesn’t always!!! I know for a fact that many of my past experiences broke me and the only reason why I’m still here is that somehow time and again I seem to have found a way to get to the place in me where I’ve become tired of being broken and desolate and desperate and lost and got angry and used that anger to get back up no matter what! Was that a case of flattering myself? I don’t care. It’s what happened. Period.

And why was I sharing this? Those of you visiting here will know most of this and experienced it themselves – and in great detail, too, I’m aware. I guess I present my own musings here as the ultimate reality check. In using a statement Joni Mitchell once made in an interview: “You’re on your own, kid.” Yes and no. Hopefully not forever. After all, we’re still here, too, right? Nudging us along as best as we can. Why not. Does anyone know better? I’m not sure and I feel tempted to say: “No, they don’t. They only sell their own disorientation for something else.”

Anyway. Day job. Place to rent (far away from here). Settling the bankrucpty issue. Starting all over again. In this order, eyes firmly on “digging myself out from here”. Then… maybe… moving on to exploring deeper realms and that “unmet needs” area again…

(If you were interested in the context she said this in, find the video below if you feel safe from being triggered… another trigger warning then).

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3 thoughts on “How to Find (and take) an Emergency Exit from Hell (Trigger warning!)

  1. Werner: Your writing here is some of the most eloquent I have ever read before. Your story and mine are very similar. Your story BREAKS my heart because I, like you, have only myself when it comes to the serious matters of living.
    Yeah, there are the denizens “out there” who say they love me and would help me but alas, it is up to ME to find whatever it is that will stimulate a desire to go on living. I feel like your young friend. I can’t say how many times I have driven to the coast, only to drive off the highest cliff I can reach in my car, but to turn around and escape what would be a certain death. What the fu@@ is it in me that keeps me turning away from the abyss? I know not of such things only that I’m still alive, still alone, still suffering each day that passes. Frankly, I am sick of the whole mess. I think a quiet death in my sleep would be more my speed. A full script of Atavan and a nice bottle of Cognac to down them until my nervous system quietly shuts down and the light goes out.
    I wish there was something I could do for you my friend. I wish there was something more I could do for myself. Alas, I come up empty for both of us.
    I love you my friend. I do. I love myself but I feel so very very empty that I don’t feel any impact anymore from the trials of my own existence.

  2. “I wish there was something I could do for you my friend. I wish there was something more I could do for myself. Alas, I come up empty for both of us.
    I love you my friend. I do. I love myself but I feel so very very empty that I don’t feel any impact anymore from the trials of my own existence.”

    Of course I feel you, Rex. And of course I knew you’d be able to relate. Why are we still here? I guess, it’s because that’s all we got (maybe not, maybe there’s something else after this 3D domain, but for now, that’s all we know and have). And I’d say – and I think I see this going on in you as well and you even said it – it’s for reasons of love: Love for ourselves, loving our life, no matter what shitty background we may come from, no matter how toxic it may feel sometimes. After all when you drive up to that cliff, there still is the ocean spray tickling your face, there is the salty smell of that old water body down there, there still are memories of happier, sweeter times when all of this felt better than worthwhile, no? There was the sensation of flying faster than sound travels and all the physical sensations felt when those multiple G forces mangled your body and suddenly released it again, there were buddies to share these sensations with, even congratulating and applauding you when you returned from a mission, there was great food, romance, magic moments when experiencing intimacy together, deep conversations shared over a BBQ, hours and hours of swimming in the pool, gazing at the star spangled night sky… the list goes on almost endlessly, doesn’t it?

    I think it’s very simple: We love to live. All of us. It’s ingrained in this physical “machine” somehow. We almost can’t not love the whole thing. I guess the emptiness inside is from longing for all of the above in the exact same way we remember it. But then… the parameters have changed and we didn’t get a chance to prepare for this new realm of experience that is less eventful, less loaded with interaction, less of everything. Can we still grow to make this new realm our new home? I don’t have an answer. Like you, I’m in the process of finding out, my friend.

    Be safe. Know I’m thinking of you (along with many more who may not have come out saying it to your face). Blessings!

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