Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Not-So-Funny Happening in the News

I haven't made it a secret that I struggle with depression [18 years and counting], but I found some articles that made me think about how messed up things can get for people...some with unintentionally humorous consequences.

- I have a feeling that this is something that would happen to me: a person tries to die by being run over by a train, but they lay on the wrong tracks. Everything was planned; they even got the timing of the train right, but they just were laying right next to the track the train was actually on. It's not all that funny, but when you've "been there" you can chuckle and know where they're coming from.

- This is not something I can relate to, however: A couple of brothers try to die by driving off a cliff, but when that failed they tried to kill themselves with the broken glass surrounding them. They were both also on drugs, but they have a past history of mental illness and were pushed over the edge by the death of their father. This makes me glad that I never got into drugs; they don't do good things for otherwise mentally healthy people, so I'd hate to think what they could've done to me.

- This is an old story, but I only just found out about it. A couple called their son before killing themselves to say goodbye. I'm not sure I could do this to my child, but since I've put so many friends through this I can't say it wouldn't cross my mind to call before ending it all. I know they wanted to say goodbye to him before making this decision, but it's a very difficult call to make. Is it better that they called before they did this, or should they have let someone eventually find their bodies? I don't know what the right answer is (other than not killing yourself; but that's an answer that makes sense cerebrally, but doesn't seem so obvious when you're at that point), but it makes me want to be far more careful about my mental health than I have been of late.

It's not the kind of stuff that people want to talk about, but bringing attention to stories like this is something I do because I want to show that suicide is not trivial, nor is it an easy choice to make. I had to battle my worst moments without my family supporting me because I wouldn't tell them anything (and they still don't know how bad it was), and the specter of it is still part of my reality. It's why I get upset about cyber-bullying because I know I could've been one of those kids you read about on abcnews.com. I've been to websites where people think that those who kill themselves are selfish for doing so, and that life will get better if you live. It doesn't seem all that selfish to the person contemplating it (I have even reasoned out why my death would be better for everyone around me), and it took a very, very long time before I could see any light at the end of my tunnel. My very survival is attributed more to wanting to take care of my family than wanting to actually exist. I live for others because it's a way to distract myself from myself.

My hope is that I can reach one person and get them to understand the issue from the sufferer's point of view. Not all suicidal people are trying to get away from crimes they're ashamed of; some of us are just in a hell that feels very real and, at times, almost inescapable. My depression feels like someone is sitting on my back and my head gets foggy. The really bad days are when it feels like I'm drowning and I just want to not feel that way anymore. The worst is when the decision is made and your mind shuts down; everything you do is a matter of reflex [and I wear that reminder] and...it's hard to describe why some succeed at it and others fail time and time again. Okay, so I can explain why my last attempt failed: I suffer from being incredibly honest and when my boyfriend called to see how I was doing on my Organic Chemistry studies, all I could think to say was "There's blood everywhere". If he hadn't called, I wouldn't be here.

I still don't know why that nut married me, though.

Anyway, public service message over. This may not reach anyone, but I can always hope that it helps someone to understand this side of the insanity.

I can't promise it, but I will be going back to the more fun side of my zaniness (keeping these maudlin posts to a minimum). And I meant it when I talked about Stephen Colbert. I want to meet this guy, and want to find a way to do it that doesn't come off as really bat-poop crazy (or really, really sad).

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