This is a story about quick fixes...
January is traditionally jinxed for me. I haven't had a problem-free January for many years. I seem to be stuck in a never-ending cycle of recovery and disaster. So far, this January has not been a complete disaster but we're only just over halfway through.
The thing that's causing me most distress at the moment is my job. I'm very lonely and isolated. I don't have anybody to talk to or any real reason to interact with anybody in the company. I've got my list of deliverables and I just have to sit down and churn out the results - easy, huh?
I really don't think my job is my problem. Although my job doesn't give me much of what I need except for money, it's not a bad job. My job is not aligned with my values or my personality and it provides no distraction from my crisis, but it's an OK job. My job doesn't motivate me to get up and go to work, but whose does? When I've thought that my job is causing me problems in the past, I quit, only to find that I didn't realise how good I had it until after I left.
I think the problem lies elsewhere.
I'm certainly unfulfilled at the moment. I have very little scope to influence my day, my week, my month or my year - it all looks like a solid unrewarding slog to get nowhere. All I'm doing is my easy job that I can do with my eyes closed, in order to get money to pay off debts. That's hardly a reason to jump for joy, is it?
So, is it that my expectations are unrealistic? We can't all be bouncy castle testers or cake tasters. We can't all be puppy dog strokers and lifestyle bloggers. Somebody's got to scrub the toilets and empty the bins.
2017 might have been unhealthy but it was certainly action-packed. There are no surprises in my day-to-day existence. If this year is going to be considered healthy and productive then I need to turn down the dial from 11 to somewhere around 3 or 4. Last year was off the charts insane. However, how am I supposed to find any motivation when 2018 is going to be one of the dullest on record? I thrive on adrenalin.
I thought about the two things that would get me out of bed today. The first was the complete self-sabotage of my life with a drug binge that would be likely to kill me and destroy everything I hold dear. The second was the purchase of a deadly poison with the intention of killing myself. They're pretty much the same thing, aren't they?
I've been signalling my suicidal intent for a long time now. I've written this blog since 2015. I've been sending up distress flares. I've been sounding the alarm. I've been yelling at the top of my lungs. What the hell am I playing at? Why don't I crack on and do it already?
When I made my most serious suicide attempt I was probably at my most unstable. I was taking a potent mix of benzodiazepines and sleeping pills in combination with copious amounts of alcohol and prescription painkillers. I had destabilised myself with sleep deprivation, recreational drugs and a toxic relationship, living in a city I'd never been to before, with no friends or family nearby, and working an incredibly stressful high-pressure job. I'd just escaped from certain homelessness, bankruptcy and being sued into oblivion by my landlord and creditors. It was an unstable time.
Now, I'm possibly at my most stable. I have the support of friends. I don't have the pressure of high monthly rent and bills. I have a job. I've quit all the medications and drugs, and cut my drinking right down. It's been months since I did something utterly insane.
So, why do I keep having suicidal thoughts? Why am I so depressed that I can't go to work?
I definitely feel very trapped. I'm trapped into making the smart choice, which is to travel hours away from my home to stay in depressingly shit AirBnBs in crap parts of London, and go to a job that pays fabulously well but is incredibly stressful and isolating. It's heaps of pressure on me with not a lot of excitement. I know exactly what I need to do and how I'm going to do it, but I know that it's going to bring unbearable levels of anxiety. I'm just counting down the hours, minutes and seconds until I'm free.
I feel like I'm holding my breath. I feel like my lungs are burning and my eyes are bulging and my throat is gulping, but I can't suck air into my lungs. I know that it makes sense, rationally, to hold my breath like this, but life must go on even though my situation is thoroughly incompatible with my mental health.
I'd love to quit my job and think about what's next, but I know I'll regret it. I know that my life is in danger by putting myself in such a horrible situation, but I know that the longer that I do it, the more glad I will be in future. Pain now for future gain. Pay now, benefit later.
So I vent: I whine and I whinge and I complain. I try to get out all the negative stuff that's threatening to sink me. If I sound bitter and cynical and hate-filled, it's because I'm trying to dump out all the emotions that could destroy me. It isn't working though.
I've had three days off work and I feel incredibly guilty. What the hell am I doing turning down well-paid work? What the hell am I doing bunking off?
What the hell am I doing putting myself in a situation that's exacerbating my suicidal thoughts to dangerous levels?
It seems patently obvious that I should go back home, to where I have the love and support of my friends and I plan to make a long-term life for myself. It seems absurd to put myself through so much suffering. It's plain to see that I need to find some work that's compatible with a liveable life, doesn't it?
I'm aware, however, that the combination of the stress of a new job and Christmas, combined with the depression and superstition that Jinxed January always brings, would drive me to suicidal depths. Everything looks awful when you're at the bottom of a very deep hole. I could so easily throw away a perfectly decent opportunity, just because I'm so sick that I want to curl up in a ball and die. I really don't think the job's the problem - it's my mental health, although the two are somewhat related.
Yes, I'd love to retrain as a juggler or an ice sculpter, but that'll bring a whole raft of other problems. Better to concentrate on problems I know I can solve.
I remain resolutely committed to my chosen path. When you're going through hell, keep going etc. etc.