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.
Aw, no. I’m sorry you had to have a bad night on top of everything. Even fiction punches hard sometimes, doesn’t it.
I have a relative who used to repeat the “suicide is selfish” line now and then – it was one of the little soapboxes she would get onto on Facebook – and, yuck. It has rubbed me the wrong way for a long time. I guess I think of suicide as … a choice, but a choice associated with coercion, like giving out information under torture. Calling that “selfish” presupposes that people have infinite strength of will, that they even can resist that choice forever, and that may not always be the case. And as I think you were pointing out, calling it selfish also assumes that their suffering was less intense or less important than any suffering created by their death, and that they knew this. Which is quite a bit to assume.
If anyone I loved did kill themselves (so far it hasn’t happened to me), I think hearing others say “tut tut, how selfish” is the last thing I would want. Missing the lost individual would be hard enough; I wouldn’t need anybody else tarring their memory by trying to tell me they were a bad person too!
I’m sorry you lost your uncle, and that he hurt so badly that he gave up. You’ve been through so many things that I have no context for. Your trick to keep yourself alive obviously isn’t stupid if it works – and given that it works for at least one person (you), it’s worth more than a whole pile of casual platitudes from people with no experience.
I hope you can get things sorted out soon and have a better time in the coming weeks. Keep us updated (I’m sure you intend to). And good night.
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February 25, 2022 at 11:39 pm
The frustrating part was it was billed as scifi, when there was no scifi or even fiction really, it was more drama than anything and it wasn’t classified that way, the trailer didn’t have anything close to that in it, I assumed it was a family/semi-kid movie where the children had some gene or something that made them immune to the aliens, I don’t know what I thought, but it wasn’t what I got.
*** All the movie spoilers: ***
Just skip over this if you may ever want to watch the movie. No judgement, it just wasn’t my thing.
Movie starts with a guy we find out is a decorated Marine raider who did 10 tours in a hotel room. Bugs come out of a wall, we find out that an alien parasite has come and he has to save everyone. He gets his kids (because of course) who haven’t seen him in a long time because he was away on a secret mission. Cop almost immediately stops him, we see worms in his eyes so Marine realizes he’s an alien, fights back gets away. The twist is he’s just mentally ill, has abducted his kids, and had served time in prison for punching a captain (military trope if I’ve ever seen one). So the FBI and everyone is after him for the bulk of the movie and we’re left to wonder if he won’t snap and kill his kids because he thinks they are infected too. The movie ends how you may expect, guy gets surrounded by enough firepower to bring down a small country and at the scene right before we expect the cops to go full power trip on the guy and brutally kill/maim (because in the US and most of the world frankly mental illness is very much a crime) the movie ends. Which is literally the only way it could end any happier than where it was headed. There’s a few key points I’m skipping over, one of his kids was there, held a gun to the cops because why wouldn’t you try to protect your mentally ill father? and we see a cop getting ready to shoot the kid, dad talks him down and they hug, end movie.
*** End of spoilers ***
My uncle’s story was unique to say the least. He had lupus and a hard life, he lived with my grandma a lot when I was a kid so since I was mostly raised by her we saw each other often. When I talked to him a few months before he killed himself he had some serious back issues (family curse) and needed a triple bypass despite being the physically healthiest in the family (probably caused by the lupus). That isn’t what killed him in the end, there was a confrontation with the police and he killed himself because of it. I think I wrote about it once, but I don’t feel like digging it up right now. Maybe I’ll write about it again, the anniversary of his death is coming (Easter) so it wouldn’t hurt to reshare/revisit. It’s sad and I don’t blame him, it just hurt because he was the closest thing to a father I had growing up and I had that stupid dream all poor kids have of surprising him with a new car or something equally expensive to say thanks one day when I actually made something of myself (made a lot of money).
Things will settle down eventually I think. I spoke with school-PI yesterday and feel a bit better, but I won’t be fully at ease until I do my proposal defense, so now I’m rushing to get that ready.
As always, thank you!
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February 26, 2022 at 10:42 am
I did read your summary of the movie plot – since I don’t have a streaming service subscription and don’t even know the name of the film, there’s small chance I’ll end up watching it. And, yeah, that sounds dark. And maybe a little too close to the reality of life for some people.
Thank you for telling me about your uncle. That hurts. ❤
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February 26, 2022 at 12:36 pm
Yeah I assumed you probably wouldn’t see the movie, but I also wanted to give you the option. Spoilers don’t really ruin movies for me, but everyone is different. Anyway it was definitely not what I was expecting.
You’re welcome, it does hurt, but I imagine he would be happy with how I’m doing these days.
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February 27, 2022 at 11:18 am
I’m happy that you are here still, really. I know how hard it can be. I learned through my own searching after my stroke and attempt to not be a burden, that many patients that have TBI or head trauma have more instances of suicidal thoughts or actually dying by there own hand. I found a psychiatrist that specializes in TBIs and he helped back then, after my stroke. The thoughts are always going to be there, and it’s a struggle for me as well but know that it is something I will never do. My mom’s mom took her own life and after learning her story and having her genes run through me I now understand those thoughts and the conversations she may have had with herself. She had no place to go, I have many places to run toward., like an escape plan I have be working on for years.
See you tomorrow 😀 (your next post)
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February 26, 2022 at 6:52 am
Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry things had to be so difficult for you. I think the constant suicidal thoughts are more common than we know, but it’s taboo to talk about it. Even more so when you don’t have the classic “happy ending,” the one where you had depression but through mental superpowers you fought and overcame it. For me anyway, I only see those types of stories, which is why I try to share mine.
I’m glad you’re still around too. Thank you for sticking around! See you tomorrow! haha
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February 26, 2022 at 10:47 am
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February 26, 2022 at 12:07 pm