Previously on Ceej: A Mental Breakdown.
Part XIV: The Trust Game…
Leaning forward restricted my air supply, making it hard to breathe, but my body fought for air and got it. I decided to lean farther forward with a little more force and, when I did, the pole fell out of the closet. All of my clothes on the floor and suddenly a knock at the door. A failure, a mess, and now I’ve been caught.
Quickly, I loosened the slipknot, taking the controller off my neck, and looked in the mirror. Yep. There was definitely a ring around my neck. There was no hiding what had just happened here. Or was there?
Buttoning the top button on my shirt, I hid the ring and answered the door. John knew what I had just done, but I denied it, and he had no evidence that I was lying, so he took my word for it.
In fact, in the month following this attempt, I think everyone knew what really happened that day. They didn’t have the evidence to prove it, but they knew it anyway. They probably even knew about all the times I attempted since then. They didn’t know, however, that I had talked my new MHC therapist, Cecelia Allison, into letting me receive my money directly. And what they certainly didn’t know is what I had planned to do with that money, come November 3rd.
Going through the mental health system had led me to fear the admission of these thoughts and feelings. My religion, on the other hand, led me to feel shame for having them in the first place. After all, my life was a gift from God, to be ended only by Him. So, when your loving father gives you a dirty diaper as a gift, you say thanks and keep it, until he decides you no longer need it.
For the next month, through every attempt, everyone knew how I was hurting inside. Everyone knew about at least the one attempt. And I kept lying out of fear and shame. But it would all be over next week. This morning, however, I had church to go to. I figured, if I was going to die next week, I’d better atone for my sins after the services this morning. The pastor would have to respect confidentiality, so I’d be safe. John was in my place that morning for reasons I’d rather not discuss, but he was going to leave after I got back from church.
The service didn’t move me, the sermon didn’t captivate me, and the walk didn’t calm me. They were all just things that were happening before I die. I would do it tonight if I had the money. After the service, I asked Pastor Brandon if I could speak with him in private, and he agreed.
* * *
“I can’t let you leave here after what you just said,” Pastor Brandon told me.
Feeling betrayed by my own church, in hindsight, this was a seed planted in the loss of my religion months before the event I previously thought was responsible for the beginning of the change.
“But,” I pleaded, “I only told you because I thought you could help.” This was a lie. I told him because I wanted to atone with the Lord in advance, but he was lying to me and I needed an out, so trust was not something I particularly cared much about right now.
“If you’re going to hurt yourself,” he told me, “it’s my civic duty to do anything in my power to prevent that.” He turned to the door where Mr. Myers was poking his head in, “Call an ambulance.”
“NO!!” I protested.