Lots of poets and novelists kill themselves. As someone with bipolar disorder, I take extra care. It’s obvious, but to write, you have to stay alive.
I meditate– that’s no surprise. I’ve gone back to a form of meditation that I gave up about a year ago. But I found concentrating on my breath didn’t produce the results that lectio gave me. Lectio mean “holy reading.”
The result– I was able to turn a suicidal mood around quickly– and write a few short poems early this morning.
First, about lectio, the way I meditate: I read slowly, something usually from the Bible, and try to think about it slowly. I also let my mind soar around it too. Today the verse was “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” That’s from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. (4:16)
The reason it is important to me is that I’ve been depressed about my current situation. I am very slowly recovering from surgery, money is extremely tight, I might have diabetes, I hope the surgery is healing but I have no guarantee. Also, it turns out that battered children have poorer health as adults and live nine years less than others. Bipolar people also live, on the whole, nine years less than others. I don’t think I am going to live 18 years less than other people. In Oregon the life expectancy for men is 76.34. Subtract 18 and I died 11 years ago.
However, the point is that even if everything goes to hell quickly, I am being renewed inwardly day by day. Yesterday, I started cycling down with extremely pessimistic thoughts. I stopped myself and decided to just feel the despair and skip the soundtrack. The despair lasted about 60 seconds and ended. Later I was able to write the words down and realized it was not internal at all. It was the voice of my abusive older brother who reminded me I screw everything up. In life, he committed suicide at 49. He was a child molester that scammed two states for disability payments. He had few, if any, friends. He lived alone, in Jersey City, empty scotch bottles, pill cases and cat shit littered the one-bedroom apartment. I realized his voice and his ancient opinions mean nothing. End of problem.
The rest of my critical family didn’t do well either. My mother drank herself to death when she was several years younger than I am today.
And I am getting inside into my migraines, now that I’ve had a break from them. I realize that my favorite teacher had them, something I hadn’t not remembered. I thought I inherited them from my mother, but my intuition says “no.” It’s also self-punishment for my celibacy. Quite a surprise and I have to explore this more deeply. And with both, there was a shift.
Suicide is an occupational hazard for poets. Had ended the lives of many novelists, too. It is a lousy way to go and one I intend to avoid. So I keep on making progress, one day at a time. Lectio divina helps me push the process along, with Divine help.