Content Warning: Suicide
With the recent sadness of Robin Williams suicide. There’s been a lot of talk of suicide/mental health. A lot of it unsavory, but a lot of what I’ve seen is starting real conversations about suicide and mental health. Which is such a overdue and needed conversation we need to have.
But I thought I’d take this note to share my own struggles and feelings on the matter.
The first time I contemplated suicide I was six/seven years old. I remember it quite clearly, I was standing on the balcony looking down. Thinking how easy it would be to just fall. I thought, like Rapunzel, if I didn’t have anyone to save me, it would be best to fall than to live a day longer.
Thankfully, I didn’t do it. And things turned around later on. To be perfectly honest, I’ve dealt a lot with my feelings and life with sense of humor. This is a coping mechanism that works for me. But it often is the way I deflect from my own feelings. Sometimes, I’m really struggling and the thing that keeps me going is knowing I can somehow make someone else laugh. I desperately want to make sure no one else around me is feeling just as horribly. To do the very best I can do, to make sure they aren’t feeling as alone and scared as I am. It’s why I do my best to also let those around me know how valuable they are. To tell them good things, I don’t know if they are being told that. So I will make that effort to let them know.
But throughout my own life, I’ve still struggled with suicidal thoughts.
In fact, I’ve long had a suicide note I’ve worked on for years. I keep revising it. On some absurd morbid level, that note helps me through my very bad days. All that editing, reminds me how life keeps changing. The one constant is how much I have loved and how insanely grateful I am for those in my life. How the very last thing, I wish is to hurt them. But when it comes down to it, i hope they realize it is not their fault. And that my own demons were too big for me to battle.
So far, I’ve managed it. But there are times, I have zero clue how. A lot of it was surviving from moment to moment.
Dealing with my mind is a constant battle. It’s often a bigger battle than my chronic/physical illnesses. It’s fair to say, they both depend on each other heavily. If I’m not doing well mentally, chances are neither is my physical health. If my physical health isn’t doing great, neither is my mental health. All the things are connected.
When I think about suicide, it’s not that I’m ungrateful for life. Quite the opposite, actually. It’s that I cannot think of why on earth I exist. I see my personal existence as a bad thing. That by just existing, I am wasting space/energy, I think about how someone is more deserving of life than me. I truly believe far too often than I would like to admit, that those around me would be better off without me in their lives.
On some level, I know this is silly. But it’s hard to rationalize with a brain that doesn’t want to be rational or a chemical imbalance. I sometimes compare it to being on dialysis. I can’t just wish and rationalize my kidneys into working and not needing dialysis/transplant (given, I don’t have any native kidneys. But if you did!) You can’t just WISH or PRAY into things working. There’s some amount of effort involved.
For me, that’s reminding myself almost daily I have a right to exist. That I am indeed important in this universe and that my existence matters. Sometimes, I really need those around me to remind me of this, when my brain is being a total jerk. And very fortunately, I have those people. Even with all that love, it’s really hard to see through all the awful things my depression is telling me. That voice can be louder than anyone else’s.
It is a constant battle and upkeep to keep myself safe. If you think about it, I have spent the last 19 years of my life maintaining my safety.
But let me say something here: Depression is like having your worst enemy constantly whispering nasty evil things to you. It makes you believe those things, believe that you are indeed worthless and no one actually cares about you.
Now, compound that with the fact that we as a society shame those who have mental illness and depression. We tell them they are weak for not fighting back, that it’s our fault we don’t think positively enough! We tell them they are cowards. Do you realize how much we already tell ourselves that? At some point, a person hears something enough, we start believing it. Or we simply give into this idea that we are horrible awful people, that don’t deserve to be alive. That only those who truly understand how valuable life is, deserve it.
So, it is no surprise to me why people who do commit suicide don’t always think of others. They already believe the things our brains tell us. And really, there is nothing that anyone has said, that I haven’t said worse to my own self.
I would be lying if I said I still don’t think about suicide. Yes, I’m confident, happily married. My life is pretty great. And yet, I still can’t stop my mind from turning inward and dark. If I could prevent it, I would. And I’m still here. I’m still fighting.
But I still struggle really hard to accept my body at times. It’s really hard to accept the pain my body inflicts. I’m the one who has to live within my body, no one else. No one else is feeling the pain I do, has to look at my body and feel so incredibly displaced from it. But again, I’m working on this. I realize it’s not very fun living with those feelings. So, I talk about them, I face them head on. I don’t allow more hatred enter my life than already seems to exist. (Why have more enemies when you do a fine job on your own!?)
It’s not just that; It’s knowing one day I very well might have to make a hard choice about my life. That very well, one day my kidney may/will fail. (They aren’t forever. It is a treatment, not cure) and we are uncertain if dialysis will be an option. I hope dearly medicine advances. But I also want to die on my own terms when they time comes.
Yes, I said that. After a lifetime spent in a hospital, I want to be able to choose how I exit this world. If the possibility presents itself, I wish it to be on my terms. For me, the most selfish thing is not allowing me the human decency to exist the way I wish. I’m not going to be the hypocrite that says which situation is okay and not okay.
‘Til that times comes, I will fight like hell. I’m far too stubborn to just give up. I’m too curious to see what will happen next. Be it good or bad. I’m willing to face whatever life throws at me. I know, if I’m capable of surviving my own mind, I can survive a hell a lot more.
But I want to finish this post this this:
If you’re reading this. Realize you are important. Your existence matters, you matter. There is nothing anyone can say that makes this untrue. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out. I’m providing some helpful link below.
Suicide Prevention Hotline