I am fighting a war for my life

war 3
Photo mine.

I am fighting a war for my life.

I know it’s a common enough line. I suspect most, if not all, of those who suffer with depression, bipolar, and other affective and mental disorders have said it — or at least though it — at some point in their lives. Perhaps, like me, they think it nearly every day of their lives. It is common because it is true, it is universal for us. We understand that no life is perfect, that everyone has troubles and struggles, that many people have days when curling up and dying seems like the better option. But for some of us those “bad days” ever end, and even on “good days” the battle continues quietly in the background, or holds a tenuous ceasefire — a moment, a day, a week, perhaps a month, of fragile, anxious, always-temporary quiet.

And so I repeat: I am fighting a war for my life. Every single moment of every single day is a potential enemy combatant in disguise. My mind is under siege, and my body is a battlefield smeared in blood and scars. The battles are endless. Every breath is a struggle, and a kind of victory. But I am losing ground. Every second I am losing ground. And I cannot defend against myself.

When every footstep is torture.
When your own hands hold the weapon.
When your own mind is calling for surrender and defeat and death.
How can you possibly win?

And what if there is no winning?

Winning is the battle simply means beginning all over again, every day, every night, every second. Winning simply means momentary stalemate. Winning simply means “until we meet again.” There is no final conflict, no peace accord, that will assure my victory or even my safety. The only possible outcome is surrender, is pain, is death.

I think, absurdly, of the 80s movie War Games, when Matthew Broderick teaches a renegade war computer that all possible moves in Tic-Tac-Toe (and war) lead only to defeat. The only way to win is not to play. Or, an episode of Stargate: SG-1, in which Daniel tries and fails to contain an evil power, finally concluding that “the only way to win is to deny it battle.”

The only way to win is to deny it battle.

Some things can never be categorically defeated.

I wonder about that a lot. Denying it battle. Unfortunately, in this case I cannot simply walk away from the fight and live. I cannot deny it battle without simply surrendering. Stopping.

It is such a tempting impulse. The desire to simply stop. No longer be. Relinquish the war into other hands. And finally rest.

Let me be blunt. This is not my suicide note.

But the thought is tempting. And grows more so with each passing day.

I am fighting a war for my life.

And I am losing. I am losing. I am losing.


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