Death and depression
Fair warning, today’s post is heavier than usual. There will be discussion about suicide, death, depression, mental health, etc. If you’re not in a good place, this probably isn’t for you. Never fear, there’s help (suicide prevention hotline for one), you’re not alone, despite what it feels like. For everyone else, welcome to my brain once again, but the content is probably not suitable for anyone, including myself.
First, I’m okay, nothing bad is going to happen to me, well at least not by my hand. That said, as usual if the feelings in my brain don’t have an outlet, well then there’s nowhere else for them to go besides stewing in their own brain juices. Since I believe others can benefit from possibly seeing someone else suffering the same way they are. I try to commit days like this to the archives. Maybe I should learn to stop oversharing, but I once thought I was alone in my own little world of never getting better, so I want to be sure I do my part to make sure others don’t feel so alone.
I made a horrible mistake yesterday. It was bad. I didn’t even mean to do it, but it was one of those things where I knew it was a mistake far too late into the mistake. The week has been hard for me, probably harder than anything I’ve had to deal with recently. A random war getting kicked off for no reason (not that there’s ever a reason for war) didn’t help anything.
Heeding some great advice from a trusted friend I stepped away from the news and decided to watch a movie instead. Something light, fun, and relaxing. Something to take my mind off the events that occured. I found something that looked like an amazon funded B-movie that, from the trailer, promised military dad stops aliens with the help of his kids and just having an adventure while saving the world. Light, dumb, and not serious, I thought it was exactly what I needed. Everything started off good and slowly spiraled out of control into one of the most depressing movies I’ve ever seen. I won’t give it away, not that I even remember the name of the movie, but it was about a Marine who turns out to be an unreliable narrator and was far more serious than I had anticipated.
By the end of the movie, which ended abruptly because there was honestly no less traumatic way to end the movie, it was already late and time for sleep (at least in a perfect world). Sleep has never been an easy friend, so I was once again awake dealing with the things that come at night, which I don’t enjoy particularly talking about even with my overly-honest policy here.
Which brings me to the topic of suicide. I had that previous sentence worded without “the topic of” at first and it sounded a bit dramatic. I’m a fan of death with dignity, I think that because we have no control over the world around us, control of ourselves should be ours and ours alone. I think living has its advantages, don’t get me wrong, I plan to do it for a long time. However, I was stuck thinking about how people argue that suicide is selfish and that line of reasoning always pissed me off.
When I tried to kill myself, for a long time before and to this day, living hurt. I’m making the best of it, but even the best sucks. I’m doing it because I have hope for the future and find small comforts in the present, but when I decided I was done I wasn’t being selfish, I think it was more akin to self care. It’s a tough thing to admit and I’m fighting very hard not to delete that sentence, but once again, overly-honest. To call suicide selfish centers you, not the person who wants to die, so it makes me angry, because if someone wants to die that badly, maybe it’s not about you right now as much as it may feel like it. Get me?
The other phrase I hate about suicide is that it’s a “permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Yes, sometimes people want to kill themselves due to a very temporary problem that doesn’t feel very temporary to them. Acute feelings of suicide and more insidious thoughts of suicide (insidious in the long and progressing sense) are very different animals. I’m more referring to the later here, but I would like to believe that people who kill themselves didn’t do it on a whim. I believe that most people give it serious thought because it’s a serious choice, especially as we age and our brains become fully formed so that we can reason and perform somewhat appropriate risk/reward assessments.
At the beginning of this post, I linked to the suicide hotline, as a veteran we have our own veterans hotline and I’ve used it so often that I still have it saved to my phone on speed dial because over the span of a few years while I was getting long-term care established I called probably several times a month. Reopening the recent wounds left me in a perpetual state of bleeding and I really needed established care, but you need time for that sort of thing and I was already bleeding out, so what’s one more wound in the name of short-term stability? That short-term care was a life saver (literally) for me, but it was also incredibly painful and I was already in a delicate state.
I’m not trying to glorify or promote suicide, just the opposite. I am simply trying to point out that people who chose to kill themselves aren’t doing it to be selfish, they are doing it because it’s less painful than living. It’s a reminder that if a loved one has decided to kill themselves, then you are allowed to have your feelings about it. You can be angry/sad/frustrated/etc. but also keep in mind how the person was feeling and how hopeless you would have to feel to kill yourself. I say this as someone who’s tried, that time was very surreal as it was, but it was nothing but pain for a very long time before I made that choice.
I’m glad it didn’t take and that I’m still around. I’m glad that I had friends who, for whatever reason — by luck or by my reaching out, I’m honestly I’m not sure — intervened when I needed it. But life still hurts, it’s still incredibly painful and sometimes I cry for no apparent reason, sometimes my body physically hurts, in the literal sense, like it’s pain to move anything. Sometimes it’s painful just to breathe, again literally pain, not figuratively. I can understand why people decide that it’s not worth it and I don’t understand why we (in certain cases) agree that elderly should be able to commit suicide while it’s taboo for those of us not at the very tip of the end of our natural lives.
These are just a few of the things I struggle with on a regular basis in my head. I have to contend with the thoughts that I would be better off just killing myself and every day I have to tell myself, maybe tomorrow because saying never feels like far too much work. I say these things because my uncle killed himself and while I miss him and wish he hadn’t, I get it, I do. Still every morning I continue and I will continue.
The point of this isn’t to glamorize suicide or give someone permission to kill themselves. Instead, if you did not heed the warning at the top of this post and are in a bad place like I was and am, I would suggest before you decide to go down that path, try to find reasons to wait. At least until tomorrow. I won’t say it gets better, because I’ve been putting it off until tomorrow for over a decade and it hasn’t gotten better. I don’t honestly think it ever will. Yet, here I am.
That’s because while it doesn’t get better, it does get easier. It’s like weight lifting, if you keep at it the weight feels lighter, it’s not less weight, you’re just a little stronger than you were when you started. It’s work and it sucks, but it can be done. I won’t judge you if tomorrow comes and that’s the last tomorrow you put it off for. Frankly, I’m not in the position to judge you or shame you if you are in that place. Instead I am trying to say is that all or nothing doesn’t work for me and I suspect it doesn’t work for a lot of people. I honestly can’t say I WILL NEVER KILL MYSELF, but I can somewhat comfortably and (mostly) honestly say, not today.
Maybe it’s stupid, but that’s been my secret and somehow I’m here. I’m not exactly happy, but I’m happy adjacent and that is enough, at least for today.