It is a fairly commonly held belief that our brains are wired with a certain “fight or flight” mechanism designed to aid in our self-preservation. I was even reading today the additional opinion that a third “f” can be added to the list: flight, flight or freeze.
There are those that will go even further. They will suggest that our minds actually have the ability to kick into an almost auto-pilot state whereby they are attempting to override our thinking in order to help keep us safe. To protect us from harm. Or in my case, to guard against a driving momentum towards death. Towards suicide.
I don’t know all of the science…or really any of the science behind all of this. What I do know is that at some point Wednesday morning my mind began to operate on two seperate tracks. On one there were decisions, actions, and steps being taken that I either don’t remember directing or were completely contrary to the will of my intentions at the time. On the other, the track towards my death. In fact, what would ensue over the next 24 hours would be a battle between these two fronts. Phrased another way, a psychological and mental tug-of-war.
I would consciously make decisions that were harmful, destructive, and heading down a path that could not be turned back from at a fairly high-speed only to subsequently and almost subconsciously make decisions that slowed everything down. Bought time so to speak. In some intangible way, decisions that kept me alive in spite of the desires at the forefront of my thinking.
I was roughly 75% through my work morning when I simply walked off the job. I don’t remember why it was then. Nothing unique happened at that moment. Things had not grown progressively worse than they had already been in my mind for the past 48 hours. But this will forever be the moment that I will know as when things snapped. When actions and decisions no longer seemed to be made through the mass of gray matter that resides between my ears.
I left where I was working, drove back to the hotel I had holed up in since finishing work the day prior, packed up my belongings, and began to run. To run from myself. Nevermind that accomplishing such a thing is a logically impossible presupposition. I intended to get far enough away from myself to escape my self-preservation mechanism and kill myself. It was that simple. Were it not so complicated.
You see, despite more than four decades of at times endless suicide ideation, I have never been able to reconcile my desire to be dead with a local suicide. The horror of loved ones finding me. The images impressed on their minds for the rest of their lives. The mess that would haunt the location.
Therefore, these were my two challenges. First, get away from ever being found dead by anyone that mattered to me. Second, find a way to separate myself from this part of my mind that would not leave me alone long enough to let me die.
So I got in my truck. And I ran.