Things have been going in a dismal spiral that has been threatening to turn into a full-blown tailspin. For the last three days I have ruminated night and day about death: fervent wishes for a speedy natural death, and in the absence of that, turning to my old faithful suicide plan, painless, tidy, nothing to clean up and nobody’s trauma.
There is no good reason for this, if you discount the deep spell of depression. Here I am in the Holy City of Jerusalem at the holiest time of year, and especially now that it’s sukkot: the happiest time of the year for us Jews. So what’s the deal?
OK, so I have had to move twice in two months because of the bedbug plague that is sweeping the city. Bedbugs get me down. They give me more than the creeps, little bastards sucking your blood all night and hiding out in your underwear drawer during the day! Chutzpeh!
I had the second apartment exterminated three times, each time involving leaving for 10 hours, then scrubbing the floors and all the surfaces multiple times so as not to poison myself and my dog. Nevertheless I have had a nasty headache for weeks, which has gone away after moving to the third apartment which so far (please G-d) does not have bedbugs like the first two.
Along with all the other bedbug mitigation work, I have to wash and dry everything over and over. Right now everything I own is on the roof baking in the sun (they can’t stand heat and drying), which was fine until it rained the other night. I have not had the strength or ambition to climb back up on the roof and undertake damage control.
So circumstances are getting me down, yes. It’s an overlay on the bipolar depressive phase. But it could be deadly, because just a few hours ago I was planning when and where.
And then I broke my policy of strict isolation (because when I’m like this I am such a zombie, flat affect, flat voice, no reactions) that it freaks people out and is very unpleasant for me. And if they’re people I like, I might just burst out crying and that just makes things worse. So isolation it is, and yeah, I know, it’s not good.
So this evening a very special event was planned in my congregation in honor of this day being the passing of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, in the year 1810, who was a revered spiritual leader, and is the guiding spirit of many members of our congregation. I had to go. I wanted to see everybody, hear what the rabbi had to say (even though I only understand about every third word of his Hebrew) and generally be with my peeps. I did not set myself a time limit: if I got uncomfortable, I gave myself permission to leave at any time.
Not only that: since my Hebrew birthday falls out tomorrow, I booked myself a massage tonight. Yeah.
When I got to the party I was feeling pretty low and didn’t know if I would be able to handle it. But there was singing and someone was playing a djembe (African hand drum) badly, and I saw another djembe that didn’t have anyone playing it. Now, I happen to have studied djembe for four or five years, and played with an African dance troupe. I have stopped playing because of severe issues with my hands, but since I was planning to die I didn’t care if I fucked up my hands more so I picked up the free djembe and warmed up quietly, getting the feel, and then the old feeling came back and I popped right back into the common West African dance rhythm BADA bada BADA bam, working the bass and the slaps and tones and rim shots just like old times. And for some reason, I didn’t break blood vessels in my hands or hurt my two bad wrists or any of that. And feeling the groove of the people singing and getting underneath the inexperienced drummer and giving him a boost so he could ride my wave was intoxicating.
I forgot all about suicide.
Then I went and had a 90 minute massage.
Now I’ve taken my meds and am going to bed, with a lot to think about.
I’ll think about it in the morning. At Tara. Or maybe in the Old City.