A Post About Suicide
I try to keep my posts here light but sometimes, the darker things must be talked about. My Facebook wall is blowing up with opinions and thoughts about Robin Williams. Some are profoundly thoughtful, others are misguided and condemning. People have a lot to say about suicide and a lot of those people have never experienced the level of shame and depression that comes along with having those thoughts. I cannot speak about Robin Williams pain, but I can share my own. Typically, I have poor boundaries and therefore will tell anyone anything about my life. But this story, before today, was something I'd only told to a couple of people.
I have always struggled with depression. My adopted parents were mentally ill, and I was subject to emotional and physical abuse, and all the trauma that comes with it. Despite everything, though, I convinced myself that I was fine. I had a handle on it. Everyone told me that I was so well-adjusted and lord knows, I wanted to be. But, when people who claim to love you hurt you in ways they wouldn't do to their worst enemy, and you don't truly deal with it, there is no well-adjusted. You can't brush aside a parent who nearly chokes you to death. Or one who routinely tells you that they wished your mother had aborted you. Or the night terrors, hinting at acts that make you grateful for all the things you can't remember.
I lived mostly in a state of emotional disconnect, removed from all those things I had brushed aside. And then, one evening, I fell headlong into a pit of pain. My breakdown came on fast. I couldn't stop sobbing as I gathered pills and contemplated taking my life. The person I loved most in the world was sleeping just down the hall and it had absolutely nothing to do with him. My pain was mine.
The very considering of it was the most terrifying thing I've ever done. It scared me so badly that I called a suicide hotline which was...not helpful for me. The woman kept repeating everything I said and wasn't the least bit sympathetic. She actually made me so angry, I hung up on her and I found a website that asked me to stop and consider calling someone. So I called some friends, who came to my house at 2am and talked me down, because I was too ashamed to wake up the person I loved and tell him what I'd been about to do. For two weeks after, I felt like I was in the bottom of that pit with no way out. It was dark down there. Cold. Life was meaningless and I could barely get up in the morning. I kept thinking, I should end it. I should end it. Who would even care?
Lucky for me, whatever triggered it, just up and left. It was like I woke up, wiped off my glasses and could see again. To this day, I cannot even tell you WHAT triggered it. But I can tell you that it wasn't selfishness.
That's the thing I see written the most about suicide. How selfish it is. How they should have reached out for help. I can't speak for other people who've been through the fire and I KNOW that some people do it out of spite or out of rage.I know some people do it because of physical pain. But for me, it was the inevitable outcome of a life of shame. I felt unworthy of love, unworthy of life. That everything I did was not only useless but that my very presence ruined other people's lives. Asking for help felt like burdening the people I cared about. It didn't feel like selfishness because I didn't value myself.
So please stop shaming people who already feel ashamed. How can you tell someone who already feels like a piece of trash that if they do this act, everyone will think they're a piece of trash? What logic is that? Wouldn't it be better to tell people that they have value? To try to understand that their pain is no less real than the pain you'd feel if you stepped on a rusty nail? I can't understand why do we treat emotional pain as though it were imaginary. We've all felt some kind of emotional pain whether its a breakup or the loss of a job or the myriad of other crap-storms that life spins our way. We all know how real and devastating that pain can be. The pain of someone who considers or completes suicide is no less real.
Yes, suicide hurts lots of people. It has far-reaching consequences and the belief that you are unworthy of life IS a false belief. But you should know, you were born worthy of this life. If you are considering suicide, I understand your pain, your heartache. The pain is real and it must be addressed. You are not a bad person. You are not pathetic or selfish for having these thoughts. Please consider reaching out. Try waiting five minutes. Then ten. Then an hour. Then a day. Give yourself some time. Not because other people will have to clean up after your body, but because you are VALUABLE, even if you don't feel like you are. It doesn't matter your flaws. It doesn't matter what horrible things you've done or thought. You are more than those things.
Click here to go to the website that saved my life. If all the current suicide talk has triggered you, like it has hit me, please click. "Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain."