The Frenemy in the Passenger Seat.

30 May 2017

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It seems to happen most when I'm driving. Just recently at the traffic lights, by my daughter's school. I'm sitting there, watching the red light, aware of my left indicator ticking, the trees coming into leaf on the other side of the junction...

"Wouldn't it be nice to end it all?"

I turned in shock to the figure next to me.

"Hey! I thought the drugs had got rid of you!"

He smiles, showing every tooth. "Think again."

The lights turn green and I turn left, driving at a moderate thirty miles per hour towards home, conscious of the chill emanating from the nebulous figure in rusty black beside me. He hums, and his white phalanges move in a sedate sarabande on one bony knee.

It was a fleeting visit this time. He was gone, without taking formal leave, by the time I reached home. But it had been a nasty shock. Surely, if I'm no longer depressed, I should not be troubled by thoughts of suicide.

He turned up again, a few days later, at a family barbeque, and again yesterday.

The medication has not banished my friendly enemy.

The mania and depression are still there, just as they have always been, but now I have the counterweight to those extremes, or perhaps a padded cocoon in which to endure that nightmare fun ride. I have my steady 40watt bulb to cast a soft golden glow, but the alternate flashing strobes and pitch darkness are still there, beyond that small radius of light. I'm still bipolar; but now the drugs ameliorate the worst of it.

My companion lacks much of the power he used to have. When he first visited me at seventeen, he was a passionate and importunate lover, urgently pleading me to leave all and come away with him. I desperately wanted to go, but just didn't know how. I'm clear that if the internet had been around in 1980, I would not be here now.

Over the years I have grown stronger, and can resist his blandishments. Less frequently now, does he suggest ways in which the thing might be done. Most of the time it's easy to laugh at him; dismiss him. But the very fact he's there at all, worries me.

I don't have any moral objection to suicide, despite my faith. The violence of it, the presumed pain, is off-putting of course, but if one could, as Thomas Hardy puts it, pass into "some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm", how desirable would that be?

I won't. Love and duty keep me here. Love for family, for friends. Duty to that family, those friends, and to you whom I serve.

I'm not depressed. I'm enjoying life. That life is rich and full. I have everything.

But I want nothing. Nothing; nothing at all.

Am I alone in feeling this way?

I don't want any of you to suffer this too, but - please tell me I'm not alone.


A Moodscope member.

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