Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Failure to Thrive

(1998, near Damascus, Syria) -- Today I began to die. I decided last night. I know exactly what the cause will be, although it's doubtful that it will be recorded correctly. I think only infants are listed this way, but it applies to me: failure to thrive.

That says a lot. First of all, I can't bring myself to do anything gruesome. In a totally twisted way, I can contemplate ending my life but not hurting my body. I must avoid at all costs the appearance of suicide because then all the people I care about will blame themselves. So how to you fake an accident? I don't know. I just think I will gradually quit living. I'll stop getting involved, making future plans, counting on things. Maybe even eating (except I don't want my teeth to fall out). I'll just gradually withdraw, and I figure one night, I will simply will my heart to stop beating. It took a beating last night with a 2- hour asthma attack. I'm no healthier now than I was 30 years ago. My life has been a waste of space and energy.

That's the 2nd meaning of my cause of death. For my whole live I've been one great big failure to thrive. I'm stooped over, wheezy, and averse to exercise -- exactly how I've been since kindergarten. I'm unable to procreate, and I feel I've been robbed of a future. I've got the marriage I always wanted but I'm too self-something to be happy in it. I can't find god in all this although all my supposed learning tells me there is no not-finding god. I can't let go of resentments and old pains even though I know holding on to them will only harm me physically. (Could I put this to use in my plan? Create a few fast-forming lung blockages made out of wadded up anger?)

I feel alone. I've tried to get over my dreams to have a family, and we've talked about some alternatives, but we don't seem to be able to pursue any. I've always been so past-oriented, because my future -- children being a huge part of it -- existed only in my vague imagination. Now, the future literally doesn't exist for me.

For now, I'm committed to leading the Debate team, but that will be over soon. Spring vacation doesn't grab me, nor does anything next year. Travel seems like just a lot of work. I'm terrified of going home. There would be so many expectations -- for me to get and keep a job, to be a caring family member and fulfill those obligations...it feels as though I'm expected to be somebody, but I'm not and don't know how to pretend any longer. There is no one in here. If there ever was, she failed to thrive.

I can talk to no one. Anyone back home would just feel bad about not being able to help. People here wouldn't understand. I don't want to cause a ruckus by doing something drastic like going home early (I picture getting on a medivac helicopter in a straitjacket). Odd, but it seems like dying wouldn't be as disruptive or look as bad as leaving in shame with my tail between my legs, like I did when I quit the scuba class. Normal people -- those who thrive -- are able to continue.

I only want to talk to someone else who is not normal in the way I'm not. But those people are either drowning or dead, too. No one else understands, and even the kindhearted ones hold contempt for those of us who are weak.

Give me an eraser, hit the delete key.

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Note: this is a 10 year old journal entry. Please do not be alarmed about my current mental health. I did manage to thrive, eventually. Thanks, Lori.

9 comments:

Beagle said...

My heart breaks for this woman. I understand how she feels. The pretending gets to be so much work, take up energy we don't have.

I am so glad that you are here today, writing, thriving, sharing.

Lori said...

Beagle -- your words soothe my heart when I am in that dark space.

I'm so glad I'm here, too, and that you are my friend.

inconceivablejourney said...

My goodness, the difference a lifetime makes! We are all so grateful that you made it through the fog. It's thick stuff, that life fog. I would imagine hell is this way, dense and inpenetruable, not hot like so many would imagine.
I'm so glad that you are not suffocating in those feelings anymore.

Lea Bee said...

you have such strength to read (much less post) your words from 10yrs ago.

The Town Criers said...

There is a part of me that can get right back to the space you were in 10 years ago. I think failure to thrive says it perfectly.

Lori said...

Jenna -- like pea soup.

Lea Bee and Mel -- hugs.

Becky said...

Your writing is very...affecting. I've felt this way myself, at times. I stumbled on your blog while surfing and, reading back, it looks like we have quite a bit in common. I'm adding you to my bloglines. :-)

ryanagi.blogspot.com

meg said...

It actually gives me hope to read how you felt back then. Maybe, just maybe...I will be o.k.

Failure to thrive, huh? That's sounds a lot like me, right about now.

Lori said...

Becky -- nice to meet you. Wonder what else we'll find in common?

Meg -- perhaps you are the reason I posted this.