I’ve just finished watching Sunday’s episode of Treme and apparently, ole Creighton has committed suicide.
Depression around that time was hitting just about everyone… whether your home was damaged or not. Add to that, the fact that Creighton could no longer do what he loved which was to write. I guess the pain was just too much. He just wanted the pain to end.
Better yet, he just wanted the NUMBNESS to end.
That’s what PTSD does…makes you feel numb.
My hubby says that, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. That everyone goes through a “rough patch” at some point and time. The thing about clinical depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome is this…
It feels like you’ve fallen into an abyss….and everyday…you fall deeper into it.
It doesn’t FEEL temporary ..and you just want it to end.
When I came home after the storm, I was already sad because I was away from my kids. I was sad because my home was destroyed. I was sad because my life was turned completely upside down.
The depression came later.
The post-traumatic stress syndrome symptoms hit me after that.
And it creeps up on you…one day you’re sad and the next day…you can’t go to work anymore.
It’s deeper than the crying that most people were doing in the city at the time.
I couldn’t sleep. If I got three hours of sleep time in…I’d dream of flood waters.
I couldn’t concentrate…couldn’t read.
Couldn’t remember shit.
Couldn’t speak correctly….had trouble forming my words.
It got so bad that, my husband and I call it “katrina tongue.”
I felt numb.
All the things I love to do like crocheting, reading, taking non-credit courses to learn new stuff (hey, I’m a nerd so sue me), I could not do.
I was paralyzed.
And I get that, his wife and his daughter missed it because…you put up a front to fool the people closest to you so that they THINK you’re alright.
You’re walking around as if everything is fine but, really all you want to do is be left alone.
Because, your mind has gone somewhere that, you just can’t quite put your finger on…
and it has taken your spirit to that same place.
The city was empty, they needed nurses everywhere at that time…6 months after the storm.
I remember saying to myself , “I’m about to make a killing here…the kids aren’t here, hubby working 12 hr shifts….no one to worry about, I can work until I drop!”
The problem came when I tried to walk out of the door…I couldn’t.
Jan. 2006,I went to Del.gado to take a sign language course. I went through registration and everything.
The first day of class, I couldn’t leave the house.
I never went to the class…I COULDN’T.
I wanted to…I COULD NOT GO.
I wanted to go out there on mardi gras day…I could not go.
I remember driving down Franklin Ave near the lake and saying to myself,” if I just keep driving straight, I’ll end up in the lake.”
Clinical depression + post traumatic stress = suicidal thoughts.
That’s why so many people were committing suicide around that time.
It had nothing to do with them not feeling fabulous or not loving themselves or their families.
It’s that damned abyss they fell into.
So, how did I climb out?
There was a big-ass billboard on Gentilly Blvd. that said something about call this number if you needed someone to talk to.
I didn’t think I needed someone to talk to at the time but, I knew that I wasn’t feeling my normal self…so, I called.
Turns out, I had all of the symptoms of PTSD and clinical depression.
I spoke to a physician I know and after telling him some stuff, he suggested that I get on some medication to “even out my mood.”
HELL NAW! That was my reaction.
I just wasn’t ready to concede to being medicated…not yet.
I found a counselor and started talking it out…that helped a lot.
But, what really pulled me out of my abyss…and I know this is going to sound weird to a lot of people but, hey…it happens.
One day, I ended up watching Frasier on television. I had never seen this series before…and I laughed until I could not breathe! That shit was sooo damned funny. I couldn’t remember the last time that, I had laughed like that.
That laughter, made me feel as if I was alive…not just living and going through the motions…ALIVE.
It made me FEEL something.
My husband I would watch Frasier every time it came on the television and every, single time I laughed so hard, I literally had to hold my stomach.
Needless to say, I purchased all 11 seasons of Frasier and laughed my way back to my “semi-sane” self.
I make sure that I FEEL my life (don’t know if that makes sense to all of you.)
Sometimes, we’re living but we aren’t feeling that life.
That’s what the PSTD does…among other things, it makes you feel numb.
I get that Creighton’s mind went there, even though his house was spared the flood waters.
Everyone was affected by the storm in some form or fashion.
I get that his family couldn’t see the suicide coming.
I get that he fell into the abyss.
I’m just glad that…I got out.