“In the depths of hell, I learned who I was. It takes a strong soul to endure so much pain and heartache and still make it out alive; to not get stuck in the deep burning pit of misery. It takes a resilient creature to claw their way back up out of the darkness and back into a reality where your
nightmarescan finally turn into dreams.“
-Jordan Sarah Weatherhead
This is another post that for me has me completely unsure as to what I’m even going to say. I try and at least have an idea what I’m wanting to say before I start writing, but this entry is going to be 100% written as I go. I apologize in advance if my ramblings don’t make sense…but I’l do my best. So, here goes…
Suicide…is there a darker place in all of existence than standing at the doors of death, feeling so much hurt and pain and conflict and confusion that you’re not fighting to get away from those doors, but you are actually pushing those doors open and willingly walking through. Avoiding death is the most natural aspect of human nature. Our bodies are literally designed to avoid dying. Just try and stop breathing… your body won’t let you. We are wired to fight death, everything in us longs to live. So how can anyone possibly get to the point where not only do they willingly die, but they take the course of action to carry out that will. Mental Health is an uncomfortable topic to discuss. Self-harm takes that discomfort to the next level. Suicide… well that takes discomfort to a level few are willing to tread. I don’t care who you are, there is no easy conversation on suicide… there never has been, and there never will be. It’s another one of those “if you’ve never been there, you just won’t get it” things. And you can’t get it. But, what I am going to try and do is help you understand, from my experience, what the attraction of suicide is. Again, this is my opinions based on my experience…
I read a book on suicide that referred to it as “an illicit lover“. And that, at least for me, is about the most accurate description. Suicide… thinking of it as a forbidden love affair is actually very accurate. I am suicidal. I would even say I’m very suicidal. I’m not ready to share publicly yet details, but I have had two extremely close calls over the past six months. “How can someone in they’re right mind commit suicide?” To me, that’s an easy answer. They can’t. For someone to stand on a stool, putting their head through a noose for the sole intent of ending their life… the only thing for certain is that they’re not in their right mind. Instead of asking “why?” or “how could they?”, focus more on “what is hurting this person so much, that DEATH is more desirable than life?” Just think about it for a second. Life, in the mind of someone contemplating suicide, is so bad that cutting it off seems and feels desirable. Not seeing another day is actually seen as a relief. It’s awful. It’s sad. It’s true.
With my BPD, I suffer both extreme anxiety and depression. When I get depressed, the thoughts of suicide come in. Every. Single. Time. And I’m depressed a lot. I literally contemplate, rationalize, and justify ending my life every day. Sometimes multiple times. I beat myself up when I’m depressed. I carve into my mind how worthless I am. How I do nothing but hurt and destroy peoples lives. That every single person would be better off if I no longer was here. I know that this isn’t true, of course. My family loves me. My kids idolize me. For sure I’d be missed… I get that. But when I get down, none of that matters. I think of dying. I dream of dying. I pray to die. But the depression, and my thoughts and desires when I’m depressed are not what scares me. When I’m depressed, I know I’m not going to kill myself, no matter how much I want to. When I’m depressed I’m definitely not thinking straight… but I am rational. “What if it doesn’t work?” for me is usually more than enough to prevent thoughts from “going into action”. “What if it hurts?” or “what if my kids find me?” Basically, when I’m depressed I’m having a big, massive, “my life sucks – poor me” pity-party. It’s my anxiety that scares the shit out of me… especially when it piggybacks my depression. My anxiety is not rational… not at all, not even a little, not even close. My brain operates in split-second reactions. I described yesterday the “noise” in my head that often leads to cutting. That absolute inability to focus on anything…anything at all. Then when I finally grab something to focus on it’s something extremely negative. I beat myself up over it… feel the need to punish myself. This is where the anxiety ramps up again, only this time it has a focus… and that focus is me!! How bad a father I am, how selfish I am, how terrible I treat my wife, how incompetent I am at my job, how my friends only are my friends because they’re my wife’s friends, how I can do absolutely nothing right. This often leads to me texting Sherry and going off to her about how much I suck… getting angry at her for anything she says… being a complete asshole. I’ve gone off on friends before. I’ve gotten so worked up at work I can do nothing but sit in the corner pulling my hair and sobbing (Note: the me sobbing part is strictly between me and you). This is when I cut to punish, rather than cut to relieve chaos. This is the deserved cutting, the angry cutting. And this is when I’m at extreme high risk for suicide. I’m seeing red… It’s fight or Flight.
A comment I hear quite regularly is how well I present myself. I am very smart. I definitely know how to manipulate situations. I am a liar, although my wife and my mother-in-law hate me describing myself that way. When I got admitted into the Dubé Centre, I told the psych nurse “I’m going to lie my way out of here…” and I did. I warned my counsellors and psychiatrist that I lie and manipulate situations to avoid discomfort. But the reality is that life is full of discomfort. All the lying and manipulating I can throw at the world will not change that. Life hurts… for me, the easiest way to describe it is that emotionally, life simply hurts. I’m used to it. I’ve had years of living with it. Putting on a smile and pretending it’s ok. Now don’t get me wrong… I do this very willingly. Pretending things are good and that I’m happy makes the people around me happy, which is far more enjoyable, even for a depressed guy like me. But it is EXHAUSTING!! When I come home after spending a day in social settings, I just want to lay down and be left alone… for the rest of my life. And after a couple days of this, that exhaustion puts me into a state of complete shut down.
How many times have you heard, after a suicide, “I had know idea… he/she seemed so happy.” or “I just don’t get it… they had so much going for them.” Here are my responses to those comments. “Seeming happy” is not hard to do. I’m sure you’ve gone to a work meeting, or a dinner party you didn’t want to be at, but “acted happy”. We all have. I put so much hate and guilt on myself for “ruining peoples lives”, that I make pretty damn sure to be happy most places I go. And lots of times I am. But aside from my wife, I can pretty much guarantee that no one knows when I’m not. And hey… I’m suicidal. “They had so much going for them” Hello… I’m just going to base this on me again. I’m a blessed man. I have an amazing, hot and sexy wife… the two best kids on planet earth. A job that I love, more supportive family than you can imagine. I’ve got more than I need. But guess what? I’m suicidal.
Suicide does not make sense. If it did, we could likely do a lot better at preventing it from happening. For those of you that are suicidal, please-please-please get professional help. Counselling makes such a huge difference, and this is coming from someone who up until this summer was anti-therapy. Come up with a safety plan, and have the people close to you familiar with that plan. Find a network where you can safely and comfortably share and learn. It’s a long, difficult journey… so make it worth it. Suicidal is what I am… but it’s not who I am, and it’s not how it has to end.