**BEFORE WE START: This post will contain sensitive topics like suicide. If you are not comfortable with this, please read no further. I share this because it is important to me, but this has nothing to do with my normal blog posts, nothing to do with reading, reviewing, or writing. Also, there are resources at the end of this post for suicide prevention, so if you need those, please mosey on down to the very bottom.**
I don’t know if you’re aware, but it’s suicide prevention month (you go, September!). I’ve seen several posts floating around about it (Luke & Christine, respectively), for which I’m glad. Personally, I’ve been trying to come up with something myself and haven’t had a lick of luck.
Finally, I decided to just wing it.
Depression is when you feel like crawling into a dark hole to sleep. Maybe not forever, but for as long as you can. Because you don’t want to do the things you like anymore. You don’t want to really see the people you love anymore. And the only thing you take comfort in is curling up somewhere, hiding, filling up that space between your knees, your chest, and your arms with a pillow, because space is a problem. There’s too damn much of it. Maybe you’ll sleep in that little hole for a day. Maybe a month. Maybe not at all. Maybe you’ll need meds to come out of it; maybe you’ll just need a little sunshine. And maybe nothing quite seems to fix it, that little black hole shimmering over your shoulder, waiting to swallow you again. If you haven’t felt it, you probably don’t really know what it is. It’s like drugs, swallowing you up so that even when you know other things should be and are important, they can’t be as important as the addiction. I don’t know; I haven’t struggled there. But I know a little something about doing things that are bad for you, knowing they’re bad for you, and being unable to stop. Because they keep that little black hole at bay – and maybe something more than that. If I talked to a group of twenty people about addiction, about needing something so desperately that I forgot the importance of everything else, I’d get mostly nods of support or at least understanding coupled with several looks of compete and utter confusion. Why? Because everyone gets drugs. Even if you haven’t been there, you can grasp at the straws of understanding. Drugs change your brain chemistry. It’s not your fault you’re addicted. Do you know what happens when you talk to a group of ten people about something like suicide? They get mad. They tell you that a suicidal person is weak. They lack the will to survive in a harsh world. They are whiny and self-absorbed and selfish. Don’t they know there are people out there really suffering? Don’t they know that there are people with real problems? First, let me tell you, yes, they fucking know that. Second, it doesn’t change a damn thing. Suicide is a strange, convoluted thing. People are ate up by it and you can say it’s because of depression – but do you know that when you’re depressed you rarely have the drive to commit suicide? Depression isn’t the catch all for it, it’s just part –
That’s the post I started with. And I didn’t like it. So I’ll try again.
Suicide doesn’t mean you’re weak anymore than crying when something terrible happens makes you weak. It’s beyond your control. That doesn’t mean you can’t fight it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fight it. It just means that everyone who sneers and tells you that you’re selfish or inconsiderate for considering such things doesn’t know jack about it. Don’t let people put you down for something that wormed its way into your head without your permission. But it’s not just about the stigma surrounding suicide, though that’s part of it. (Putting pressure on people who have these thoughts just makes them feel worse and exacerbates the problem. Negative reinforcement rarely works, people.) It’s about knowing that most of the time, if you can just make it until tomorrow, you’ll get a little slice of peace. Tomorrow will be kinder. It won’t fix everything, seeing that sun come up the next day. It won’t mean that you’ll be forever free of the ideation. But it will mean that you’ve made it one more day, a powerful day where you’re living and breathing and bringing just a little more light to a strange and often terrifying world. A day where you have the chance to do amazing things. A day where the people you love get to see you one more time. I know how hard it is to make it to that ever elusive, often terrifying Next Day. But you can do it. You can –
And that’s where I stopped on take two. I mean, blowhard much? What the hell do I know? So I’ll try one more time and hope that I get something out of it.
I have tried to kill myself twice, with purpose.
I have mutilated my body to take away the ache that drives this thought like daggers into my skull.
I have listened to gunshots ring in my ears without earplugs, knowing it’s causing damage, because for just a moment the silence was so perfect.
I have hidden in my closet, too small for my body, and shut the door to block out the rest of the world.
I have cried until I shook, because I couldn’t stop the things in my head.
I have tattooed my body in an effort to make it something tolerable to look at.
I have starved myself in a drowning effort for control.
And I have listened, with horror, to my own thoughts as the niggle and wiggle at my brain whispering like bugs to do things that I can never take back.
But you know what? I’m still here. It’s not because I’m stronger than you – or anyone. It’s because I tell myself that “tomorrow will be kinder” even when I don’t believe it. I tell myself, “one more day.” I tell myself, “watch a movie; read a book; paint, shout, cry, do anything” because anything is better than an absolute nothing.
I remind myself of the people in my life that I love. I remind myself of the people that need me. I remind myself that I have had such unbelievable happiness in my life that I should give myself one more day, one more opportunity to feel it again.
You can’t be happy every day of your life, but you can give yourself the potential to be happy every day, because you just might.
Sometimes life sucks. But when it stops sucking, you notice how awesome it is. Sometimes, things just have to suck first.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- National Institute of Mental Health
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention