Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Poetic Asides Wednesday Poem

If I Could Just Explain

So tired, I was just so tired
But no – I didn’t take them
Accidentally – the pills
The overdose – it would
Be wrong to speculate
If I might be that careless

You know me better
Although now you feel
You knew me not at all
As understandable
I suppose, as that may be
It saddens me greatly

Would it help if I could
Tell you all that led me
To the point where I no
Longer felt that living could
Be borne or would you then
Find reasons of your own

To take the final steps
That would end your life
As well – I do not think that I
Could bear that, even now
It makes no sense to me that
You might not want to live

So – here – listen – then
Decide if I had just cause
I know you have wondered
If I lost patients in the week
Leading up to my suicide
Oh – I can hear you snorting

Intolerant of the euphemism
Did any of my patients
Kill themselves before I too
Decided to take my own life
Quite simply, yes, several;
Two of them- left notes

For me; as unprofessional
As it sounds, that got to me
They were forgiving notes
Absolving me of an wrong-doing
And thanking me for all
My wonderful doctor help

And then, they went ahead
And committed suicide
And just like anyone else
I found myself crying aloud
“Why?” not understanding
It was beyond comprehension

But – deadness I knew
From depressions past was
Beginning to uncoil its lethal
Self, letting pain like acid
Begin to eat away at my core
And comprehension paled

As did the need to understand
I do not have to tell you
How unreasonable the darkness
Can be – how relentless
No matter how diligently
You try to battle back the beast

Did I arm myself with meds?
Yes – did I see my doctor? No
The psychiatric community is tiny
Really and gossips worse or at least
As badly as any other – who needs
That? Especially as I was in a fight

You remember – I needed
Someone to take over
My department and had been trying
Literally for years to facilitate
That eventuality – from within,and
From outside,  our community

Most especially, I tried to groom
One or two of the new med students
Residents in particular to make that lab
Their specialty – compel them to want
To head it up or at least become
My assistant- head of ECT

You were right to suspect
That my worry over what was
Happening with my department
Was partly what caused me
To despair to the point where
I could no longer see the use

What no-one knew, or maybe
Some did, I have no way to tell,
Was that one student who
Seemed ready and enthused
To take over the reins
Was one of the suicides

Oh, not one of the ones
That left a note – that would have
Been too easy, I suppose
He just took the dive from
Our infamous bridge
And was found very quickly

That in itself seemed a message
Suicides from that structure
Often remain missing
For weeks, some for months
A few are never found
But he turned up immediately

The final blow for me
However came when the powers
That be announced via e-mail
E-mail! They were closing
My lab – ECT was shutting
Down – I was to finish up

The patients I had booked
Right then but not schedule
Any others; there was just
No reason for keeping
This particular department
Running, they informed me

Never mind the countless
People the treatments
Had helped when nothing else
Had worked, not psychotropic
Drugs, not talk therapy,
Nothing; even you for whom ECT
Did not work, championed it for me

To be truthful, I don’t remember
The sequence of events
After receiving that damned e-mail
You might think it was the proverbial
Straw that broke my back
And it certainly was one of them

I don’t recall driving home
But that’s probably because
I didn’t go right there – first I went
To St.Michael’s cemetery to visit
Barbara – oh, did I mention
One of the suicides was my
Daughter – another one
Who left no note ...

Of course, she wasn’t a patient
But she was a part of all
That went before, maybe
The largest part – you and I
Talked more than once about
Burying one’s children
The inability to recover

When I eventually got home
My wife was out and in my
Strange detached state of mind
I convinced myself she was out
With another man – I know
I told you I was a depressive
I don’t think I mentioned
My dark moods were often
Tinged with paranoia

With the irrational logic that is
No logic, I decided to fix them all
The patients and family
That had killed themselves
The colleagues who were
Damning my life’s work without
A second thought and my wife
Who was more loyal than I had any
Right to expect – but in this state
I projected her to be a harlot
And would show her too—

And just like that, I was pouring
Eighteen year old scotch
And downing it neat, with a handful
Of sleeping pills and another and
Another, until I slept and breathed
No more – as casually as that
I took my life, killed myself

So – those are the details
That you have needed
Or think you have needed
To help you move on
Do you wonder if I have regrets?
Yes – every unending day
If you take nothing else away
From what I’ve shared
Take that ...

(this poem is fictional and any resemblance to persons alive or dead is coincidental)

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