Until you have danced intimately with death in the way those of us who have faced suicide head on, you cannot fathom the thought processes, feelings, and utter lack of desperation that it entails, particularly as an adult.
Depression and suicidality are not demons. They are a way of life for many. When we decide to end this whole breathing thing, we’re following up on a plan that we’ve had in place for a while. And, no, we’re not going to tell you about it.
It’s been just over a year since I last tasted metal. It was a day I was done. Just fucking done. I’ve been there before. I first tried to kill myself when I was very young. I tried more than once as a child. Then, I was desperate. Desperate to get away, to leave what I knew just wasn’t right. To escape physical pain, to find some peace without fear, to be in a place where I was wanted or at least a place where it was clear I wasn’t. To not be afraid of the person I wasn’t supposed to be afraid of. To not feel abandoned by those who weren’t supposed to do that.
There was none of that desperation a year and a half ago. There was exhaustion, the kind that unless you know it, you can’t possibly understand it. The kind where you’re just. done. And, I told no one. I told my favorite tree and rock. They would have gracefully absorbed what I bled out–blood, body, blessed being and held them as long as necessary. But I didn’t share with a single human.
I told no one because when I’ve told in the past, I was punished for it, excoriated and then ignored.
I told no one because there isn’t anyone who could hear me or see me. There are those who see me as avatar and can’t understand the human-ness that actually is. There are those who don’t see me as avatar but can’t see me at all. They want to see me fit into their image of who and how I should be. And, well, there’s the belief I shouldn’t be in the state of wanting to die–actually not just wanting to die as if waiting for it but willing to complete the act that makes it happen.
I told no one because the need to respond to inappropriate responses sucks as much life out as does a Luger round. I told no one because ‘be here now’ really means be here as I want to see you and/or me.
I told no one because we denigrate the ‘cry for attention’ as if the desire for attention & connection is ‘just’ a ‘thing’, a mere thing without meaning or necessity. As a egoic tantrum, selfish fluff requiring responsibility–be it action or fucking inaction from us. We give little credence every day to what meaningful attention to others actually means but we’ll seek mindfulness of & for ourselves.
I told no one because as much as we want our lives to be like others, we really don’t. We can’t get there, even when we try to emulate bits. Whether that person is a neighbor, celebrity, or guru. And as much as we like to think we can understand most things, we truly can’t begin to grasp other things. There’s no one that can understand the toll it takes to move through the universe in this fashion except those who live within that came before. And we talk to each other all the time.
I told no one because if you won’t hear or listen me on a great day, you won’t on a shitawful one. I told no one because false attachments are easier than real relationships and, in the end, have no real meaning. I told no one because I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t being beset by demons or darkness. I was fully in me. In the shits. Thinking that I was just.done.
I’ve a very interesting relationship with death. It neither frightens nor interests me. It just is part of living, as inevitable as drawing breath until that moment you don’t. There isn’t an attachment or anticipation related to any particular outcome. I walk with and speak to those who no longer breathe every day. I know there is nothing final about death.
I’m not quite sure why I chose not to pull the trigger. I didn’t. I slept. I woke up with the Ruger right next to me. Kinda grinned. Put her away and started the day by deciding to make myself homeless. That’s how some of us do this living thing–we think about dying. We don’t need healing because there’s nothing fucking wrong with us. We don’t live with demons or in the dark. It’s just part of us. A part you can’t understand. It’s always there and sometimes some days were just.fucking.done. Some of us have the glorious capacity to take that knowing–at every level–and see into another’s heart and bring them to tomorrow.
I’ve danced this thing with death before. I’ll do it again, I’m sure. And, when someone makes their way to me and says “I want to die”, I can say, “I know. Let’s just get you to tomorrow.”
You can do the same thing. You can accept responsibility for another. You can knock on a neighbor’s door and say, “Hi. I’ve lived next to you a long time but I don’t know you. I’d like to do that.” You can volunteer for suicide hotlines or participate in NAMI. You can broaden your church’s reach from ministering to outreach. You can give the homeless guy on the corner some cash without judging what he might spend it on. You can mentor a child. You can read to others. You can hold a dying person’s hand. You can listen–truly listen–with an open heart and not an expectation of how another should appear to be to you. Don’t sit on your ass and send peace or love. Act it. Engage openly, honestly. Connect, communicate, relate. It may save your life and theirs.