Let me start with by saying I apologize. I’m sorry. My father taught me the three part apology when I was kid and would fight with Ariel. First you say you’re sorry and truly mean it. Then you explain what you did. Finally, you promise to never do it again.
My psychologist recommended I write this letter. She said that I didn’t want to be 50, thinking of all the things I did to hurt people, and have lost the chance to apologize for them. As I get closer to the day my life changed, which might sound melodramatic, but it’s the truth in my case, I’m starting to ruminate on the life I led, the people I hurt, the choices I made and didn’t make, and how I have and can further change my life to never repeat them
I did something cruel to you. Unknowingly maybe, but cruel nonetheless. I was an unmedicated and unaware bipolar who was slipping further and further into depression. As I fell, I grasped onto whoever and whatever I could. I threw myself into producing. I spent late nights talking to Bryan. I spent all of my time trying to tie you down. I held on to you as your life was getting more and more stressful. I was jealous and controlling. I put enormous pressure on you and by holding you tighter, I was actually pushing you away. I made your life harder, which is exactly the opposite of what a healthy relationship should be. For all of that, I’m sorry.
What I did next is unquestionably the worst decision of my life. I attempted to take my own life. I was too selfish to think of what repercussions that would have in my life and the lives of all around me. Specifically, I did not think of what that would do to you. I can’t imagine the pain I must have caused you. I’ve tried to put all of that behind me. But there are some things that can’t be taken back. They can only be atoned for. I needed to apologize and ask for your forgiveness. And for the last year, I have lived the double life of someone with an unspeakable past, ignoring the wrongs I committed and acting like nothing had ever happened. I pretended that I never hurt you. For all of that, I’m sorry.
I know that you’ve moved on with your life, and I hope you’re happy and successful. I just want you to know that I have changed in the past year. I will never do to anyone else what I did to you. I hope that’s enough to earn your forgiveness. I can’t change the past or erase the wrongs, but I can promise that I will never do it-, them-, anything like that, ever again to anyone.
p.s. My psychologist told me to not expect a response. I wrote this for me, because it was the right thing to do, and because I would never forgive myself if I didn’t apologize and ask for forgiveness.
These are just my thoughts on taking a Medical Leave of Absence; I can’t say whether or not my experience is applicable to other people with different experiences.
First, I have to say that going on a leave of absence was not a voluntary choice. A year ago I would not have considered going on a leave of absence. I saw it as a personal sign of weakness, as if I had given up, as if I had failed. When I was in the hospital, I thought I was going back to school after two weeks. I thought that I had just taken a minor stumble and I was going get right back up on my feet. And then I was told by the Dean of Students that I was not allowed to come back for two quarters. I was told I could not come back until I had dealt with the issues I had developed. I was crushed. I took it on the chin and hung my head a little. I realized how major my transgression had been. I hadn’t wanted to deal with the fact everything wasn’t right with me. I was crushed.
But I was wrong. Taking three quarter off was the best thing to ever happen to me. Having been forced to admit I had a problem, I made it my job, my profession to deal with it and become healthy again. That was the beginnings of my personal life outlook: life has dealt me a bad hand and all I can do is play through. Muddle through. Deal with it and make the best of all the lemons in my hand. I threw myself into my work, studied harder than anyone else, and looked at myself under the harsh light of honest appraisal. And I’ve come out the other side a new man, refined by fire. I had lost everything that I thought I knew about myself. And from there I built myself back up truthfully. I could not have hoped for a better outcome than I got.
It was possible to take three quarters and come back no better than I left. It’s possible that a medical leave of absence does nothing good at all by itself. A vacation doesn’t make the problems away. But a break where I could actually address them made all the difference. I needed to do certain things for it to be as successful as it was. First, I needed to admit that I had a problem. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s a cliché because it’s true. If I hadn’t admitted that things were wrong and not going to fix themselves, then I was forced to stop hiding from them or covering them up. They became goals and attainable goals at that. They weren’t as scary then. Once I named them: Depression and an unsustainable lifestyle and an aimless life, I could deal with them, one by one. Second, I needed to find people to mentor me. This meant finding shrinks that made me work, teachers that challenged me, and parents that supported me and pushed me into the right direction. Mentors weren’t there just to tell me that I was doing a good job, because I hadn’t done a good job. I had failed them. But they were unwavering in their belief in me. Their advice guided my own explorations of who I was and how I could become better. They couldn’t replace the first person necessity, but they certainly helped. This was also the time I rediscovered my religion. Third, I found pillars. They gave me the strength to build my base again. Their strength made me strong.
Taking a leave of absence is not easy. It some ways it’s a lot harder than just ignoring the problems and hoping they go away. But when I did it, I became the man I am today. I am not the name boy that slit his wrists and hoped he would die. My life is not easy. But I can handle it. I can handle it because I went through fire to get here.
my eyes feel heavily and my back aches
i grip my fingers tight, but life just slips from me
i am strong I am good I am smart
I am a failure
please don’t rat me out, don’t ferret out, dig fox holes in, mouseholes, cheese grater, mousetrap
please dont pity or be pretty for me
be ugly, be stolen, be illicit, be whatever the fuck you like
just leave the rhino buried deep, trust the rhino
to leave the way her got in
through the front door or the back or the side or from just waiting for the ground
to pass away
like blades of grass or shards or glass
like grass blades and glass shards
like the ploughshares made to war tool
like grains of sand made next to water cool
like grains of sand in an hourglass
like the darkcloud of the powerless
i close my eyes and relax my shoulders and question the reason why it feels like I’ve sprouted steel on the sides of my heart.
oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god
I’m just so fucking tired. so fucking tired.
please don’t kiss my cheek and take your 30 silver
don’t salute me general Arnold
If you love me, don’t make a fuss, don’t cry out loud, don’t call the cops or pull out all the stops
send me an email if you must
but don’t worry, worry, worry
You know, I’m starting to think the whole world is a patchwork quilt of crazy little cults, all with their own secret spaces, their own records, their own rules.