my heart, my opus




here is a hint: you already know most of the story.
most of the story is about me being sad, miserable, depressed, long depreciative fugues, blahrghblarghblaargh etc.  from the very root of my root i have felt worthless and ugly and miserable and awful.  that is something that rings more true than anything else to me and it always has.
but this is a happy story.
it's a story mostly about a song.  incidentally, the song is called salve regina, and it was written by ramona luenguen. but that doesn't matter much.

chapter one: once upon a time i was in toronto and i had this horrible wave of suicidal thoughts and tendencies that just absolutely completely washed over me and everything that i am.  i wrote this poem at a cafe called the world is not meant for me and i meant every word of it:

the world is not meant for me
beauty might be everywhere
and stars might fall and trees might
reach to the sky that might be blue
that might have sun
and light,
and glory

but light burns
and stars fall anyways
and glory is for
heroes
and i am out of love and out of
life
and the world is not meant for me.

when i came back i was sad.  i went through one of the saddest months of my life.  and this was my reality.

(farewell to anger - leonid afremov)


chapter two: i decided i could go to argentina with my choir, lady cove.
i had already paid and i learned all of the songs and said i was going and so i was ready and i was on a plane and i was there.  i was sad but i was there.  and i was surrounded by love and loving people.
and then the most marvelous thing happened.

we were in a church singing this song, salve regina, and there was one chord that rang so perfectly true that all of a sudden i had value.  i had value because i was part of this fantastic chord that was ringing everywhere and i was singing and i immediately burst in to tears because never, not ever, have i felt like i am of value besides that little moment and i remember that and remember that things like that are possible and even if i don't feel them now i have felt it before because somethings can just transcend sadness and it is worth your life to go looking to find them.  that is what i did and what i am doing.  trying to find more of these snippets of life that keep me breathing.  anyways, i wrote a poem about it, and at the end of the poem i decide to stay alive, so i figured i would share it.

my heart my opus
my swollen soul
my secret
soaked in heavy darkness
i am alone.
i drain the sea of all its life and dark waters swirl through me
but secretly
secretly.

here i hold the dark blue heart of fire
the melancholy hue that takes light
from light and swallows the bellows of a smothered lonely heart.

but even in the sadness
and the madness of sweet solitude
music holds me and rocks me-
and notes flow through sorrow 
like it is nothing-
songs swell too
and the world is true
(it takes me back.)
so choirs sing my soul to ease
and i can sit on hands and knees
while billowing chords cry love like
suns still shining
when the world bows away 
this world will have me
i can stay.

this is our story



this is not my story.

i have never really written my story - at least not in story format.  you have read great detailed scenes of my life, but i have never shared 'my story'.  there are a lot of reasons for this.  the first reason is that the narrative structure of my life story is thoroughly unimpressive.  instead of having a magnificent aristotilean arc, it has this horrible parabolic frenzy way about it that makes it hard enough to write, let alone read.  the second reason is simply that i don't feel real ownership over my story.  it doesn't feel like it belongs to me.  this feels like the story of a lot of people.
this feels like a story of friends, family, and bystanders.
it feels like a story of my little newfoundland life and my great province and the beer i drink and the bread i make.  it also feels like the story of people who i have never met but who share simple parts of my life.  it feels like telling this story as my story would be pulling at the thread of a spider's web, only to destroy it.

this is our story because i am alive. this is our story.  and i'm deciding to share it now, in it's whole terrible format, because today is world suicide prevention day.  and if you know me, you know that until about yesterday i considered my eventual suicide inevitable.  i couldn't imagine a scenario where i would live past the age of 25.  and if you know the literature, you'll know there isn't really all that much we know about preventing suicide.  and so here is our story.  for the anecdotal record of stories of prevented suicides.

anyways.  i'm not sure where this story starts, but for now it will start in 2008 because that is when the notes of my mental health care professionals start.

in grade 12 i was diagnosed with depression.  i was surrounded by very supportive friends (few of whom knew of my diagnosis at the time), a very unsupportive boyfriend, and a particularly foolish amount of school work.  i had a tremendous doctor who gently led me through my diagnosis and soothed my abundant worries and misperceptions about anti-depressants, and soon i was left with a slightly tamed sadness.

i made a few mistakes.

the first thing i did wrong was lie to my doctor.  at that time, i didn't tell her why there were scars on my arms and i did not tell her how often i was making myself throw up and i certainly didn't tell her how little i wanted to be alive.  i also didn't break up with my boyfriend, which i probably should have done.  but all in all, this is not the worst i have ever felt. it took me about a year to recover from my heinous little year with small little tears in my heart.  but at the same time, my friends held me.  they held the part of me that i forgot and still forget sometimes.  that part is loud and slightly rambunctious, a la fintan, slightly obnoxious but only with the best intentions.  that part of me that would roar with laughter with john follett and erin and slowly eroded in this tragic slow motion mayhem that was the onset of my depression.  people noticed sometimes that i was sad, and some teachers wrote home to say hey what is up with meaggy but for the most part i was under control.  i was still much sadder than i should have been, and i was certainly still dysthymic.  but i was functional.  and i functioned like that for about three years, moping along in my little life not at 100% but somewhere close enough to happiness that i could see light.

this is also when the little suicidal seeds started to sprout in my psyche.  even though i wasn't particularly miserable at the time, suicidal ideation always had this magnificently awful power.  it was a false relief, that ultimately complicates everything more, but it just functioned as this idea that festered because of that power.  i want to be very careful not to glorify suicide in any way that triggers anything for anyone, and so for that reason i want to say: this relief comes with a lot of invisible ropes that end up binding you even tighter than before.  but it has this terrible power that makes it grow and grow and eventually you can feel relief for just about anything.  i remember something as small as getting a bad mark on a test would send me into suicidal fits.  this is dangerous.  this is dangerous and it is also not very healthy.  and also, it is a bit sad.  the point is, this is a dark power.  the real relief comes in smaller, palatable pieces.  it comes in the smiles of strangers, the monthly check-ups with erin heys, the long drives with shauna and long walks with liz and the songs of choirs and etcetera.  the most important thing i have learned is that this is where light is.  suicidal thoughts are darkness within a darkness

all in all though, for about three years i was of mediocre health.  i would have my bad days but for the most part wellbutrin was keeping me afloat.




the summer after third year i went to toronto for a conference.  i arrived a week before i should have and was much more alone than i intended to be.  i have never really explained my major depressive episode in toronto, mostly because i barely understand it.  this is one of the times i have been closest to suicide in my life.  i had vivid flashes of suicidal maybes and to be that close to death left me feeling haunted.  a lot of my sadness came from my romantic delusions of a friendship, but the trigger was much more than that.  the problem was that in toronto i became suddenly completely alone.  there were small respites from this, like when andrew fitzgerald (sent by gods, i'm sure) came romping through town.  but for the most part, for the first time in years my friends weren't there to hold me, or show the part of me that glows, and without that i was left to grieve the person i was once.  it was hard to imagine continuing life without myself.

but i did.  mostly grounded by heavy anchors of love and concern (text messages, mostly) sent to me by friends and family.  eventually the conference came around and i was still broken and crying constantly but there were smiles around me and bright laughs and eyes that were happy to see me that slowly dragged me back into the real world.  soon enough i was on a flight to montreal and hurled into the arms of family while i recovered.  i wailed and bellowed on the way home, while overwhelmed flight attendants tried to pacify me with cookies and juice, and i spent the next month catatonic and weeping.  eventually another boy came bouncing along, who i describe as either evil or magnificent, depending on the day.  i spent the next few months growing into my sadness.  i was completely disoriented.  i spent day after day in bed and sometimes i would try to get up and would fall to the floor and etcetera.  i've been through most of this.  i spent an entire year in the catacomb of suicidal ideation.  i had days where it was the only thing i would think about.  on my worst day in history, i summoned the person who probably has the most right to hate me, and he walked with me through the hardest hours of my life, mostly just by being there, and also not completely hating me.

and now i am a girl of relative stability who goes to work every day and comes home and cooks supper and writes a bit and watches some mad men.

that is the story.
but my point isn't in the story.
my point is this: this is our story.
this is a simple story about sadness.  this is the kind of entry that can make me cry and cringe at the thought of posting it but i decided to do it because people need to know when they are heroes.  i remember crying for days after telling my (ex)boyfriend i was suicidal because i knew he would never want to be with me. the point is, i was wrong.  whenever i thought this story was about me, it wasn't.  because i am alive.  so this is our story.  this is the story of how the world conspired to save the life of a young little 23 year old girl.  it's pretty simple, in the end.  it's just about love i guess.

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