I Give Up
formal title to this exercise is Surrender to Reality. When
I wrote something about it on a slip of paper and stuck it
in a drawer somewhere like I always do, and later found it,
it said: "I dare to ride out into the vast desert of
my lonely self, sit down, and wait for death." Someone
asked me once if I kept a writer's journal. I said no, that
I kept "writer's scraps." Another slip of paper
that turned up on the same subject said: "If your world
is truly empty, you will not be able to hide so easily from
your own soul." Here's one more scrap: " How odd
that the fear of a thing hurts but the reality of it never
does." That has been my experience: reality never hurts.
So if you are hurting, you are not in present reality, you
have slipped into the primal mind and are caught up in some
kind of fear, some kind of rote idea of past or future. All
of which is what lead me to the conclusion that feelings should
not be confused with objective reality.
remember once I felt terribly betrayed by a good friend. I
got so depressed I thought I was going to die. In the past,
things like this had bothered and depressed me for two or
three years at a time. I just decided that since it ends finally
in three years anyway, why couldn't I just do it all at once
and end it in three weeks instead so I don't "waste another
three years of my life?" So, resolutely, I lay down on
my bed and invited The Beast, "Okay. Give me all you've
got, right now. If it kills me I'll just die. Just give me
whatever you're going to throw at me for the next three years
and make my life miserable, give it to me now. I'm ready to
suffer." I concentrated as hard as I could on feeling
it all. I didn't want any pain to escape and come back to
I really had decided that I could escalate the whole thing
and just suffer for three weeks. I don't know why I gave it
that time period.
about twenty minutes, all the depression was pretty much gone.
In the next two weeks I would get waves of it, but I went
through the same surrender scene and, although quite ready
to suffer much longer, it usually only lasted about twenty
minutes, sometimes only two or three minutes. I was surprised.
As it turned out, after three weeks, I was totally over the
whole thing. I would feel around and see if I could come up
with any twinges, but it was finished. I'm not sure I could
call this courageous because I was so down at this point that
I really didn't care all that much if I died or not.
must be truthful, though. I have never once considered suicide.
I have often been so depressed I thought I would surely die
from the pain, but it never entered my mind to kill myself.
My father used to threaten suicide from time to time, and
so did my brother. At first I was terrified for them but after
a while I felt manipulated by them, as if they were trying
to draw me into this complex conspiracy they had going against
themselves. My father seemed to just want to shock me and
get my attention. I remember one time he drove me to college
for a final exam. When I got out I stood by the driver's window
to thank him he gave me a kiss and said, "Well, this
is the last time you'll see me because I'm going to drive
into a tree and kill myself." With this he raced off,
squealing the tires behind him. I took my exam with tears
streaming down my face.
brother's threats were usually preceded by his trying to get
me to lend him more money or do something for him "or
else I have no recourse except to blow my brains out, and
then it will be on your conscience." Perhaps this had
some influence on my own feelings of suicide. I don't know.
Now, of course, being a mother, I would not put that fearful,
painful burden on my children.
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