Update and Excerpt

If you saw my post from last week, here’s an update: It hasn’t gotten any better. Basically, if it can go wrong, it has. On the flip side, a lot of things have also fallen into place. Don’t patronize me with, “Oh, good, look at the positive.” The only things that are falling into place are a direct result of things that have gone wrong. I’m not making any forward progress, actually, going in reverse lately. It is not exactly balancing out. The bad is outweighing the good to me this week. The low point was last Friday. It was the lowest I’ve been since my failed suicide attempt last year and many of the same thoughts about death ran through my head. I spent about 10 minutes on the side of the interstate with my broke down pickup truck debating life and death before I called for a tow truck.

I blew a tire. At 75 miles per hour. Front driver’s side tire. It messed up the wheel well, the bumper, the hard-plastic mud flap behind the tire. And surely messed up the front end alignment, as one tire was facing straight and the other tire was off at an angle. Somewhere around Tuesday I realized how lucky I was that I maintained control of my vehicle at that speed and didn’t get myself killed. It sounded like an explosion and felt like I had run over something. The weird thing is, it was just the steel belts that flew off. The tire still held air, but the truck was not drivable. The tow truck driver said he had never seen a tire do that before and still hold air.

Whatever. I’m alive. Moving on to other things. Last week I mentioned that I might do an excerpt from the book I’m writing. I think I’ll do that since I don’t much feel like writing more about my week. Let me set it up for you. First, this is fiction. Yes, I use my life experiences and those of others, but the characters are fiction, this is not an autobiography. The main character, James, is a young war vet trying to figure out life after he failed to kill himself. The story I am writing will take you through the process and days that follow his attempted suicide and him coming to terms with the fact that he is indeed still alive. This excerpt is from Chapter 3.


James laid down in his bed and stared at the ceiling. He was restless and rolled to his side. He saw the dresser and remembered thinking about what reason they would want him out of his room earlier. He jumped up and opened the top drawer. It was still empty. He proceeded to check the rest of the drawers. Nothing. He was still paranoid. He looked under his bed, around the sink, peeked inside the shower room. He looked around the other side of the room where a roommate would be if he had one. He found nothing to confirm his paranoia but also found nothing that would put him at rest. He laid back down and tried to figure out the dream from last night. Perhaps he was dreaming within his dream and all this was just still a dream. But he knew this was real. And he knew he was really losing his mind.

James went back to the bed and laid down. In his head, he recounted the story he told to Dr. Andersen. Every detail. Every word. Every moment from last night that he could remember, he told the doctor. He hated that he survived, that he was still alive. He wondered what he did wrong, it should have worked. Or at least he thought it should have. He was becoming upset that the doctor didn’t fix anything for him. All that talking James did and Dr. Andersen didn’t fix a thing. He pondered the motives of Dr. Andersen. Was her plan to get him to talk, tell his story, and admit that he wanted to die, just so they have a reason to keep him longer? He realized that he got suckered into talking. How could he not see that coming? It was a scam and he fell for it.  James was angry with the doctor, the cops that brought him in, the paramedic that checked him out, and everyone he encountered since his incarceration to the psych ward. But most of all, James was angry with and hated himself. All James wanted to do was die. He couldn’t even do that right. And since his best effort had failed, he was now stuck in the psych ward.

James did not trust anyone in the psych ward, except maybe Nurse Angie. But even his trust in her was conditional and almost nil. He was paranoid of everyone and their motives. To make matters worse, he was now becoming paranoid of his own mind and thoughts. He wasn’t sure he could trust what his own mind was thinking or if it was even real. The dream he had was all too real. What if he did in fact venture to some other hidden place in the mind and that’s where his truth was hidden. What if he had become immortal and could not kill himself? Just thinking about these things, James felt crazy. He felt he had no control over his thoughts. And he certainly wasn’t free to have control of leaving where he was. He was trapped in his mind and in the hospital.

A nurse he hadn’t seen before showed up in the doorway to his room. She scanned the clipboard she was holding. “Hello,” she said, looking up “you must be James. How are you feeling?”

“I feel like I want to get the hell out of here,” he said in a dry monotone.   “Where’s the other nurse that was here earlier? From when I woke up?”

The new nurse looked down at her clipboard for a moment then asked, “Was it Angie? If that’s who it was, she’s checking on some patients in the other ward. But we’re all here if you need something and we’ll all be checking on you.”

“Great,” James said, showing no interest.

“Did you get shown around? Did you see the daily schedule? Were you shown how to use the phones when they’re on between group sessions?”

“I’m not going to group sessions,” James said. “I already told the other one. Ok? I really don’t want to be around anyone, thanks.”

“Well,” she started, “going to group sessions will be a way to show that you can function around other people so that you can get out of here. I highly recommend going. The better you do in groups and the more you go to, the quicker you get out. Why don’t you go down the hall and at least be around the other patients and get comfortable. There’s a group session starting in 10 minutes. You can make a good start on the road to getting better and out of here by going to it. It’s not as bad as you think. Let me know if you need anything, I’m Sue. I’ll be here until y’all go to dinner.” Sue smiled at him and left the room to continue her rounds that required all patients be check on every 10 minutes.

James laid there thinking about life and about how much easier it would be had he succeeded in his suicide attempt. He had no desire whatsoever to go to a group session. He also had no desire to be stuck in the hospital. He had no desire to be alive. How did he get in this situation? Could he find a way to escape or would he have to wait until they decided to release him? And how long would that be? He was frustrated and hated his life. He tried hard to figure out how he went from being a warrior to the sorry excuse for a man he was now. He didn’t even recognize himself anymore. He was a Soldier, or at least used to be. And he was good at it. He never feared anything and now he was scared of himself. “Who am I anymore?” he asked out loud as if someone or something could magically give him the answer he wanted.


It’s a work in progress. I know it needs some work, but it’s coming along. Thanks for reading. Good day, God bless.

Dave

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18 thoughts on “Update and Excerpt

  1. I feel like I am going in reverse too! Just have to keep telling myself to remember what a friend posted this morning on fb….On particularly rough days, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that’s pretty good.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How amazing as I was just wondering where your Saturday post was and voila! I’m sorry you’re still in a rut and patronizing is the last thing I’d do as I despise when I’m the recipient. I’ve also been in a funk; not a complete depressed state but not a particularly happy one either. Sat around having a self pity party for a day or two then I channeled my frustrations into launching social media diatribes about the alarming increase in K9 deaths because their human partner “forgot” about them. It helps me feel somewhat constructive plus is an avenue to release frustration I guess.
    Your writing is excellent and perhaps that could be an outlet of sorts? Sometimes I’ve used writing as an outlet, even if it never leaves my laptop. Life’s a bitch ~ hard to figure out so we just put one foot in front of the other and hope it’s the right path.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dave,
    Thank you for visiting my blog. I am heartbroken to read of your struggles with depression, PTSD, and suicide. I get where you are at. One thing I, a complete stranger, ask is that you make yourself a promise to never entertain suicide beyond the fleeting thought again. There is so much I’d like to share with you but not on a public forum. One thing I can say is that it won’t solve anything for you. And it will forever torment your friends and family. You are loved and have been “given” these challenges for a reason. Your purpose may not be clear yet, but you definitely have a greater purpose. Sending love and healing…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do tend to agree here with Stacie. I am sorry that you’ve had all those problems, but going the suicide path is not one of them. Upon being a Medic years ago, I have seen what suicide can do, and what it looks like. It’s not pretty. It does nothing but leave more trouble behind, let alone the dispair and grief. As a fellow Vet, but from a different War, I wish you well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • One of the good things about blogging weekly is that I can look back and see where I’ve been. I assure you, I’m not in that place today. And I know what you’re saying. As a chaplain assistant I’ve has front row seats to the issues of suicide with more soldiers than I care to think about.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I got a new to me truck last year and had the same thing happen to the tire. I was lucky I was by myself and not on the highway. I had just dropped my friend off and headed home we been up and down 95 all day and had just maid the 60 mile trip up it to her house. I was so glad it didn’t blow why we were out there. But it tore the truck all up and ripped everything up like yours did. My finder was even messed up from it.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I couldn’t do anything about it just patch it up so I could drive it then a few months later I wrecked it smashed the front in up all the way back to the grill support. I had to replace the front end both finders at that point were totaled. I searched ebay and got parts had the finders painted. they are same color but they are darer because the paint job on the rest of the truck is 15 years old. but it runs great and does what we need it to do.

        Liked by 1 person

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