Disclaimer: I am NOT planning on committing suicide. If I were, I’d tell you. You’re my reader, I tell you everything.
I remember being about 12 or 13. We didn’t have cable and our house phone was usually shut off as well. This was before newborns had smartphones. It seems like an endless scene when I look back on this particular memory. I would come home from school, which I hated, to a mom, who at the time I hated, and would sit in my quiet room in a neighborhood that I hated. I just stared, blankly, out of the window for hours. That’s the first time I can say that I truly began to experience depression. Just staring blankly into a backyard connected to a world that I felt like I had no place in.
A few years later, my aunt, who was one of the very few glimmers in my life that gave me hope and joy, had died. Cancer, that son of a bitch, took her. There were a few times I held a knife to my wrists, thinking that this would be what could reunite me with the one person that brought me hope. I never made a single motion with the knife, but I held it there for a while. Warm tears streaming down my face.
Since those times I’ve done a lot of work on myself through counseling sessions, medications, reading, and praying. Though there have still been days that seem so dark and hopeless that those old thoughts of suicidal escape still creep in with their deception of relief.
“Uh-oh… did he just say thoughts still creep in like those he had when he held the knife to his wrist?” … I did say that, but I also said their “deception of relief.” It takes a lot of work to get to a place where you realize those thoughts bring only destruction and never relief. In fact, it’s destruction multiplied manyfold. Sometimes that pain of depression gets so great, I wouldn’t wish it on an enemy. Not even someone I hate (I’m working on not hating people too, by the way.) Why would I actually bring the pain of depression to life for those I love by ending my own life? Most of the pain that leads people down this grim path is because they’ve lost focus on all and everything except themselves. Their gaze is FIXED on what they lack, what they have that they wish they didn’t have, and the great things they’ll never accomplish. They skim over what they have accomplished, the impact they’re making on lives they care about, and the surrounding beating hearts that rely on theirs to keep beating.
If I try to hide what’s in my heart, it only worsens, darkens and decays. Eventually I can’t take its stench any longer and then I’ve made a decision that’s torn apart people I love. That’s the place people get to when they’ve let those terrible thoughts remain unchecked for too long. Hope eventually bleeds out of their minds entirely and the only thing left to do is escape.
I think there is the potential that if a truly depressed person really sat down and meditated on and thought about how important their life is, even to a single person outside of themselves, they could not logically bring themselves to end it. But maybe many of these folks have lost all connectedness to logic. The word logical is “characterized by or capable of clear, sound reasoning.” Suicide is an unreasonable thought-path to achieve resolve. Which must mean, the one walking this path has lost their capacity somewhere along the way to reason. Somewhere, somehow that which is illogical becomes logical in the mind of the one planning suicide.
Many people get angry at the victims of suicide saying that their actions were selfish. I can see that to a point, but it depends on your definition of selfish and how far you want that to go as being the only culprit. If your definition is how I described before of losing focus on all things but those bad things about oneself, then yes but I believe it’s only an aspect of the whole that brings one to make such a final decision. More is related to the loss of the ability to reason. Most is related to the refusal to disclose their true thoughts, possibly for fear of being made outcast or being 302’d. And obviously we have mental illnesses that lie beyond just talking about it, but those are not what I’m focused on here. Maybe the next blog.
Suicidal thoughts, depressive thoughts, anxious thoughts hold and maintain their greatest power in secrecy. Solitude. Every other faculty of reasoning has left the realm of the victim’s mind, except maintaining the facade that they are ok. Has societal pressure to be perfect reached such height that it creates an inhuman pressure within someone that has come to a place where they see suicide as reasonable and just the next step yet they can’t bear the shame of openly talking about their imperfect feelings of loneliness?
I’m a mental health advocate through and through. Therapy… necessary. Medicine… necessary. Along with those, getting into a relationship with my man J.C. is what truly brought me hope and healing. (J.C. is short for Jesus Christ… I know, I just said a bad word. It’s ok. You’ll get over it.)
People fear sharing things like this. But look at all those who were great that have fallen to this deceit. Robin Williams, Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell, Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, Ernest Hemingway… People who have accomplished almost insurmountable feats with their lives and have left an indelible mark on this planet and it’s inhabitants. And even with all that hugeness behind and within them, they felt that ceasing to exist would bring the relief they so painfully sought. It’s a sad list that goes on and on that also includes not only the famous but brothers, sisters, moms, dads, daughters, sons, best friends, long lost loves, and many many more.
I wonder how many lives might have been saved if the fear of speaking out was trampled.
We can’t be afraid to talk about it. That’s its power. Bring your thoughts to the open. They can’t survive in the open. They won’t survive in the open. They refuse to survive in the open.
And remember, if people weren’t thinking about this, it wouldn’t be a growing epidemic.
By the way, it’s the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. with almost 45,000 deaths per year.
“Purpose takes you outside of yourself. It’s what you do for other people.” This was a quote from a good friend of mine that was recently on my podcast. We are all in an extreme search for purpose. If most, or maybe all, of my purpose lies within what I do for others, I truly can’t imagine shattering the hearts that I would shatter if I believed in a lie like suicide.
The thought of this is not to diminish the pain that the sufferers have endured or are enduring. Not to diminish the very real fact that there are mental health illnesses that will never be resolved simply by talking about them. This is just a small piece adding to the whole that can begin to bring some peace through such a battle. This is intended to lift the gates and encourage conversation of the very real feelings and emotions that can rip lives in half just because they weren’t talked about. This is written to encourage a realness to come alive in our conversations. Opening up about these dark and gray clouds that sometime, or all the time, fill our minds can begin to lead us to the help we truly need. This blog is not the answer to suicide. It’s only an answer to a small piece that can have very large impact.