Gaping Maw


I am a gaping maw – a wide open gaping maw of unending unquenchable need. I feel as if I ever opened that maw, if I ever asked for help, if I ever showed my true self, my need, my pain, it is so great that I would scare off others, so great that no one could deal with it, so great that no one could love me. 

If I let others, even my husband, see my true need, my true pain, my true self, they would run off in terror. So I protect myself with a shield, a facade of strength. I don’t let people close, not really. I just seem to. Actually, I hold everyone at arms length. I let no one, not even myself, access to my true self, to my deepest pain, to my longing, to not feeling lovable, to not feeling truly able to love. I hold back always. 

I may appear one way and feel quite another. I appear capable and loving, but feel like a failure, never quite measuring up, never earning something that always should have been offered unconditionally.

Do We Have the Right to Die?

Right to Die

Upon reading Try Harder with Your Mental Illness by Henrietta M Ross of The Triumphant Weed, I remembered a topic that has been on my mind lately—whether we have the right to die.

Though I preach hope and advocate that people try treatment instead of taking their lives, I wonder whether it is reasonable to decide to die when the pain is too great to bear and does not respond to any treatment.

I often feel disingenuous telling people that there is hope, for that is not always true. Some of us living with mental illness respond more effectively to medication, psychotherapy, support, exercise, good nutrition, meditation and so on. Some do not.

No one chooses to have “treatment resistant” mental illness. We cannot will mental illness away. Treatment does not always work. Still, sometimes there are options we have not considered, options supported by science, that just may work.

My friend Dyane Harwood chose ECT when medication failed her. ECT saved her life when she suffered deep bipolar depression. With the help of an astute psychiatrist, she eventually found that adding an “old school” MAOI to her medication mix helped.

I assume I will get some fire, and perhaps some concern, for this post.

Further Thoughts on the Issue…

People With Mental Illness Deserve To Die With Dignity Too, Arthur Gallant, Mental-health advocate

Assisted Suicide for Mental Illness Gaining Ground, Nancy A. Melville

“A first-of-its-kind report offers insights into the characteristics and outcomes of requests for euthanasia on the grounds of suffering related to psychiatric illness in Belgium, where it is legal in that country.”

“We found that when considering patients’ demands seriously, most do find a way to continue with their life,” Dr Thienpont said.

Euthanasia requests, procedures and outcomes for 100 Belgian patients suffering from psychiatric disorders: a retrospective, descriptive study (Thienpont, 2015, BMJ Open 2015;5:e007454 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-007454)

“In Europe, psychological suffering stemming from either a somatic or mental disorder is acknowledged as a valid legal basis for euthanasia only in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.”

Finally, I Cry

  
Monday, I joined my mother for music therapy after which I told her I had to take my son to school. I had a few hours before his class began, but I needed a break. Tuesday, I didn’t visit either of my parents. I cared only for my son and myself. Today I sit in the car as my son takes his one hour class, and I allow myself to cry. 

Grief, Anxiety, and Hypomania

So what brought on this flurry of activity, this bout of defensive hypomania, the birth of this blog at this point in time? Two things: one, I forgot to take valproic acid Thursday night, and, two, my grief in facing my father-in-law’s health crisis. Writing is one way I can deal with my grief, the pain I am feeling, and the compassion and empathy I feel for my husband, his mother, and everyone else in our extended clan who are hoping and praying that my father-in-law will recover from sepsis.