My son just came in to drop off some groceries he picked up for himself. He starts college next week, and wants to eat his normal healthy diet of fruits and veggies. His friend came in with him, and we three shared a funny chat about cursing, pizza, and sunglasses. Random and hilarious.
They left, and once I again I’m home alone. My daughter is with her dad and my hubz is at work. It’s Sunday, a time of sabbath and rest and spiritual renewal and lunch at Bob Evans and job ads + coupons in the newspaper. A better person would mow the lawn or plant a garden.
Instead, I’m sitting at my laptop, finishing off the last of this coleslaw, contemplating the topic of Suicide. Not for myself, mind you. #ImAskingForAFriend
Just kidding. It’s for this here bloggy-blog.
Because I don’t want to talk about suicide. It’s too closely related to Depression (a lying bitch) and giving up and loneliness and being moody and feeling lost or misunderstood. I already covered this shit — twice! First I lived it. Then, I wrote it. It’s supposed to be done and behind me.
I mentioned that I’m home alone.
What I didn’t say was this: I’m depressed and want to kill myself. I didn’t say it, because I’m not feeling it. But I have felt it before, and all it takes is an off week to put me back at the edge of that cliff. A couple weeks ago I went off my meds, and I was almost there again. Walking down that trail… but then I took a detour, got back on track, and threw my passport to la-la-land down the metaphorical garbage chute.
Some people aren’t. And numbering even larger than the amount of people who aren’t lucky, are those who are seriously stupid when it comes to comforting or offering assistance to someone in the throes of despair.
This is the kind of shit you might hear coming out of the mouths of those who are “with it”… meaning, they likely have the emotional depth of a rock. Otherwise they’d be a bit more understanding. Or empathetic. Or helpful.
“Grow up and get over it!”
As if having a flow of negative energy washing over me is (a) my own fault, (b) somehow a sign of immaturity, and (c) a physical object I can just decide to set down. Maybe, Mr. Smarty-Pants, I don’t even know what “it” is that I need to get over. And if being a rude dick about it is a sign of “growing up”, count me among the kids. I never want to be so mature that I’m lacking in human feelings.
“Be proactive! Do something to fix yourself.”
You utter fool, do you not realize that the mere act of admitting aloud that something isn’t right is a profound movement forward? Asking for a hand is, in fact, a positive step toward fixing oneself. Duh. Now it’s actually YOUR turn to be proactive: Prove you give a shit and help me up.
“You need to stop feeling so sorry for yourself!”
Yes, that’s it. More insults about how I’m doing this wrong. That will make everything all better. You yelling at me is surely the answer. I feel much better now that you’ve explained so succinctly exactly all the ways in which I suck. Hey, stupid-head, people suffering depression usually aren’t feeling sorry for themselves so much as feeling sorry for the world having to put up with them. As in, “Dear World, I apologize for sucking so much, and would gladly remove myself from your sphere, if I could only muster the energy and motivation to do even that. Shit. Sorry, again.”
“You’re just looking for attention!”
Actually, this one is correct. You absolutely nailed it. So, how about if you give me some, ass-hat? Love me enough to notice that I am going through something I can’t handle. Love me enough to see through my bullshit when I say, “I’m okay.” Love me enough to find a way to help me. Because in addition to looking for attention, that’s exactly what I’m looking for: Help.
“Everything with you is so dramatic!”
Yes, yes it is. And I fucking hate it. My emotions are all over the fucking board, which is obviously NOT RIGHT. So how about, instead of berating me and pointing out the obvious, you talk softly to me and help me work out a plan of action. Do you honestly think I ENJOY the drama? I’m fucking miserable and I want to die. I’m going to say the answer here is, “NO, I am not enjoying myself.”
“Happiness comes from within.”
Within what? A tub of ice cream? Let’s stop with the cryptic and just spell it out. I have zero energy for this code-breaking project you’ve inflicted upon me. Throw me a frickin’ bone.
“Why didn’t you TELL me something was wrong?”
Um. I just did. Right now. I told you and your first response was that I didn’t tell you in the correct time frame. Thereby perpetuating my funk, because obviously I’m fucking up again. Thanks for that, friend. Let’s turn this back around on you, since I’m in just the pissy mood for it: “Why didn’t you NOTICE something was wrong?” After all, you’re supposed to be the one who’s all fixed and in good, non-suicidal shape, right?
And there is so much more.
People never cease to amaze me with their incredible ability to kindle a fire of love. That’s sarcasm, in case you didn’t know. People ALWAYS amaze me with their incredible INABILITY to kindle a fire of love.
People also DO AMAZE me with their unexpected peace offerings, their branches and their sticks, their matches and fire starters. Out of no where comes amazing examples of friendship and kindness and generosity. It never comes from the places you expect. It’s not typically the “old” faces who’ve watched you fall. More often than not, it’s new faces who help pick you up.
So even though it’s been like a zillion years since I’ve felt suicidal (and yes, in case you missed it, I have definitely been there before), I do a few things to stay ready, just in case.
Think of it this way.
If you live in tornado alley, or on the edge of a tectonic plate like California, or if you are a business traveler who may need to leave at the drop of a dime, you keep a jump bag — something inside of which you pack some basic survival items which you can grab in an emergency.
I have a suicide-prevention jump bag.
I have my Happiness Project:My Place of (mental) Refuge, which kind of encompasses this whole jump bag. My Personal Commandments, the first of which states, “Happy is a choice.” This means being intentional. That’s why I have a jump bag packed.
I have my family — my hubz and my kids. And I tell them each how much I appreciate them every day. Much to their chagrin. But they know I mean it, and I’ve taught them to reciprocate. Not just to me — to everyone they meet. Everyone needs to know how to receive love, and everyone needs to know how to give love. The two are not mutually exclusive.
I have a play list in my iPod labeled “Go Mode”, because it’s all upbeat music which forces your foot to tap. I’m embarrassed, but only slightly, to admit that there is a LOT of Lady Gaga and Britney Spears in this mix. Also? A whole lot of Disney songs and a few soundtracks (Moulin Rouge, anyone?).
I have this blog, where I can work through issues, even when people urge me to stop doing so. I’ve gained so much personal insight since starting this online venture. I won’t stop now, even though it means some people are not happy with the directions I publicly move. This is *MY* jump bag. Get your own!
I have my novel, my book, my work-in-progress, my WIP, my wippy-doodle… which I’m writing to prove to myself, and to everyone else, that I CAN DO THIS.
I have my sense of humor. It’s quirky and not always appreciated by those outside my circle. That’s okay. Part of being mature is recognizing that it’s okay to be immature, and then acting on that impulse. I guess that means I’m EXTREMELY mature. Because I can be super silly.
I have my friends. A list which grows daily. People who understand me, appreciate what I have to offer, celebrate my voice, and challenge me to be better. People who notice if I’m missing. And people who are glad when I return.
OOPS. This post didn’t turn out to be about Suicide after all. And it didn’t turn out to be very controversial, either. You know what? I’m okay with that. Sometimes it’s good just to realize where I am versus where I used to be, and revel in it. I’m going to finish off this coleslaw, rub my full belly, and enjoy the moment. Hope you don’t mind.
PS. If you’re curious about my WIP, I’ve got a treat for you. Read my first two chapters HERE and be sure to give it a “thumbs up” on your StumbleUpon bar. Or a “thumbs down”. I’m hoping for “up” though.
Let me know your thoughts on my story, or on the topic of Suicide, or anything else that’s on your mind.
Throughout the money of August 2012, my dear friend Aaron @dadblunders and I are doing a dry run of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. This past April was my first official participation in such activity, and I had no idea what I was doing. No theme, no forethought, purely spur-of-the-moment. This time around, I have a plan. Join the fun!
For this event, I am engaging in a month of controversy. Consider yourself forewarned.