Thursday 15 June 2006
I am sitting in a hotel room in London. I have a minibar full of alcohol, and 80 Lorazepam tablets (2 milligrams each) and 100 friends within a mile radius.
In the past months friends might have noticed that I have been really down. There are a few reasons for that, and I’m going to reveal those here because despite being one of the most blessed people on earth when it comes to friends, there are some battles that I have not been able to strategize my way out of, and I’m thinking that the time has come for me to finally rest.
- Since 1999 I have battled a drinking problem. I have sought treatment, and failed at it terribly. I think I turned to alcohol because I battled cancer in my 20s and a resulting chronic illness from the treatment for 25 years, and nothing has helped the pain, nor the sense that I am at the whim of a disease that is relentless and unweilding. Alcohol has helped me escape that. It has also helped me pretend for a moment here and there that I have some control over the way I feel. At least if I feel shitty after a good hard binge, I can blame only myself.
- I have had bleeding discharge from my right nipple for some time now. I hardly eat, yet I am gaining weight and weigh more than I ever have in my life. My sense of myself is nothing, I believe I am nothing, despite whatever accomplishments anyone reading this might think.
- I am depressed beyond my own ability to express, despite 20 years of therapy, medication, and so forth. I don’t know where to turn for support. Friends can only take so much, you know? And I know that my “much” is quite extreme.
- I sometimes think I might have taken up more oxygen than a person deserves to take. I had some of life’s most profound experiences, great experiences, and the love of many. But I have always wound up on my own, because I’m an abject failure at receiving love in kind.
- The grand irony is that I have missed my period for over two months. Over the counter pregnancy tests are useless because I produce large amounts of progesterone and testosterone, which make for false positives. I don’t know what it is inside my growing belly – a baby or the cancer back – but either way I know that at 43, after countless miscarriages and with my medical and psychiatric history, along with the status of my financial and personal life, even if I could physically sustain that pregnancy, the risk is unbelievably high. I am frightened, and deeply sorry, because maybe had I been a mother, and a wife, instead of pursuing some misguided dream called a career, I wouldn’t be marking each harm.
- I have no medical insurance and cannot find anyone to insure me. I am a U.S. citizen, so there is no health care for me whatsoever unless I become completely impoverished. But I’m in the middle class, unmarried, and have no access to regular medical care. This problem has gone on for years now, and I believe at the core of my soul that my challenge of this moment, on this day, has everything to do with my nation’s inability to care for its own.
- I have no hope, no faith, no joy in these dark days of the world. I wanted for so long to rekindle my natural optimism and joy. The other day I flew over New York City, and cried. City of my birth, whom I loved, and a representative of the wound that is in my soul as it cries for all people of this planet who are being killed, harmed, enslaved and abused by the true terrorist nation, which I believe is my own.
I am counting coup, telling the true. If you see me tomorrow, it’s because maybe I can figure out how to help myself instead of destroying myself. But I’m not sure that will happen, and I have only myself to blame. I have waited too long pretending. I believed I was stronger, and I didn’t tell this truth, here, the one place I know, where friends and strangers could share their challenges and strengthen me with their triumphs. I should have spoken up sooner, I know.
Please understand, no matter what was said
Your pen was dipped in blood I never shed
– Counting Coup by Matthew Skala