Have you ever been suicidal?
I went so far, the time it frightened even me, as to put the baby down, after having fed him to sleep, and measure the time that my husband was gone against when I knew he would be home. I would have had ten or fifteen minutes. More than enough time to bleed out, and a very safe amount of time for my son to nap, needing nothing until his next feeding, which could come from a bottle as easily as a breast.
Even then, despite shocking myself, suicide was an abstract thought. But it was a thought and it did what all good thoughts do in my head: it took root. It took root, wound ’round Depression, and grew like a noxious weed. Because the thing about the urge to kill yourself? It doesn’t go away. It festers. Some days are easier, you almost don’t notice, but it’s always there. These days, I can see the path. I know my route. I know what suicide looks like for me and it gets easier every time I inch a little bit closer.
I grew up in a house that condemned people who take their own lives as “selfish cowards.” Having lived a life that was innocently blind to the lies of depression, I can understand where they’re coming from with that line of thinking. I vehemently disagree, but I can follow the tracks that train of thought takes. As I grew up, I began to learn how to view the world through my own eyes and draw my own conclusions. When I think about people who kill themselves, I feel sad. I’m sad because they’re not here anymore. I feel sad because they were so beyond sad and so empty and felt so alone, and that scares me. It scares me because I’ve felt something akin to that. I know the prologue to that story and it’s awful. There is no feeling more lonely than that. But to pile on the shame and guilt of entertaining taboo thoughts of ending your own life? It’s too much. It’s just too fucking much.
People who kill themselves are not weak. They’re not selfish. They’re certainly not cowards. (What instinct is more strong than our instinct to survive?) They’re drowning in darkness and cold, and they’re tired of trying to hold on and breathe.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.
I feel like a hypocrit asking you to live, but I’m going to do it anyway. I’m going to do it because I want you to live. You’re important and wonderful and you don’t see it right now, but you’re a world changer, kid. Please take another step. And another. One at a time. Please reach out if you feel yourself stumble and you just want to stop. I’m here. I’ll hold your hand. We can just sit here for as long as you need. Just don’t leave.
I’m going to ask you to live, because I want you to do the same for me. I don’t know how you feel, but I know how you feel. I know that if I think you’re important and wonderful, I probably am, too. I know that I want you to take my hand and sit with me. I know that we can just be, in the darkness, together. I know that you won’t judge me, just as I won’t judge you. I know that we can just be. Together. One moment after another.
If you’re truly considering taking your life and you don’t have anyone to talk to, call 911. It’s the easiest number to remember, and they’re there to help you. (I’ve been on the answering end of that telephone and I’ve received the “I just can’t anymore” calls. I’ve kept people on the telephone while I’ve sent emergency help to them and waited for them to arrive.) Because you’re important. And you’re wonderful. And you’re a world changer.
Until next time.
I love you. I miss you. I still think of you often.
You know, but I need to write it anyway. I’ve never been mad at you. I’ve always been sad. Gut-wrenchingly sad. I’m sad because I didn’t know how dark it got for you. I’m sad because I know there was nothing I could have done, but I wish I had known to try. I’m sad because I will never get to hug you and I so desperately wanted to hug you.
But I’m also happy. In life and in death, you’ve taught me so much. You’ll still teach me a lot, I think. I see things differently, and I know you’re a part of that. I love how I feel, how I think, and how I treat the world. I think you’d be proud of me and that’s a damn fine thing to think. It’s my legacy for you. I want to be a person you would be proud of.
You’re always at the front of the line, honey.
I love you so very much.