Monday, January 15, 2018

Sometimes when you think you're helpful, you're being lazy.

I'll start this by saying that my feelings about this are no way indicative of every person who is or has been in my position. I'll also put out there that I used to do all of these things, be that person, but I genuinely thought I was doing good.

I used to be one of those people who heard about suicide and immediately thought, "That is incredibly selfish. You're surrounded by people who want to help you and you don't even care enough to let them help." I was that person, no question. Full stop.

Then I became suicidal and I realize what an asshole I was. I wasn't helping by pointing any of this out, but what I was doing was trying to guilt the person into staying here. Guilt is not a reason to stay on Earth. Nobody should stay here because of what they can do for you, whether that's supporting you or just being the person under a title in your life (mother, father, friend, spouse, etc), or because you have fond memories and you like that person: that is not a good enough reason for them to stay alive because what that is is YOU being selfish. You're thinking about what you would be feeling with them gone instead of what it feels like for them to be alive every single day.

Sure, some depression is passing. We all have days where we think, "fuck it all, I'm done" and we have them in varying degrees. Some of us say it, don't mean it, and that's that. Some say it and maybe think about it in passing but it's enough to convince them it's just a bad day. Some people think about it hard, really weigh it out, but ultimately it passes and they are able to move on and be OK. Then there are some people where it is like a continuous loop of negative in our head. It's a cassette tape that never ends, it's on repeat, and you never shut it off. At best you can turn the volume down a bit but out of nowhere it gets cranked up and you suddenly feel like you have no control over it. If you hear something enough times, you agree with it. It's making valid point and it starts sounding like a better idea every day.

One of the resources available to all of us are suicide hotlines. I have called it one time in the last year and it was the worst 12 minutes of my life. I got a young sounding guy, sounded like a young boy, and he was reading of a terribly written script and when I detailed why I felt the way I do, he gave me silence. He had no answers for me, didn't have any information about where I should go for help, and I hung up that phone feeling worse than ever. I don't remember how I got through that night but it was hard. While I laid in my bed, with tears streaming down my face and my husband asleep next to me, I remember countless friends telling me to "reach out" if I need help.

So I did.

I made a lot of phone calls. Maybe because it was the middle of the night, but I got no answers. No returned texts. Nobody even returned the missed call they had to have seen on their phones. I can't fault them because we're all busy with our lives and I get it. I hate talking on the phone, so I understand about anxiety. I also know that nobody wants to be the last person someone talks to, it's a lot of pressure. What if they kill themselves, is it because of something you said? Did you motivate them to jump off the bridge?

I get it.

I could go on and on, but I won't. I will say this though, if you know someone who needs help, who is maybe on the fringe, do something. If they matter to you, do something. Call around and find the mental health resources in the area, sit with them, bring them food and hugs, let them cry no matter how uncomfortable it makes you, listen to them, don't tell them to be grateful or think of everyone who has it worse because in those moments? This is worse than cancer. It's worse than babies with cancer. I'm not kidding. In those dark moments the tape is so loud and it says every negative thing. It overpowers everything good in your life and you just want it to stop. If ending your life makes it stop, it is worth it, in those moments.

I won't pretend to tell you I've beaten it because I very much haven't. While my medications quiet the noise, I still hear it. The medication numbs my ability to plan but I still want to die each and every day. The medication slows me down and makes me tired, and I don't think I'd have the energy to do anything even if I had a solid plan. I'm also not begrudging anyone around me. I think you all genuinely think you've done everything you could or are comfortable doing. I get it. I'm with you, I don't know what I would do if the tables were turned. But I ask you, I beg you, please don't tell me to call a hotline, to reach out, to be grateful, to look at all of the good around me, because none of it helps and none of it matters. Give me an actual solution.


amotheradaughterandlife said...

I am not sure there is a solution. I have thought of suicide before but always as a last resort to whatever it was that was happening at the time. Years of therapy have me in a good place and I pray I stay here. Blessings for your journey.

Kim {Hope Whispers} said...

I have been here. One time in high school at one of the lowest points in my life, I told a friend I wanted to end my life. She laughed and threw out suggestions. I will NEVER EVER joke about suicide. I have talked to my boys about it. A lot. My oldest is constantly bullied and he knows it is my biggest fear for him therefor we have to be able to talk about things like this. I am so sorry that no one picked up the phone for you. I pray you find people who will support you and be there for you no matter the time or day!

Unknown said...

Oh, momma. I'm so sorry to read this :( And I understand, too. I've been struggling with anxiety and depression for so long, that it almost just seamlessly blends in with the background noise... and you're right--saying that "someone has it worse" is horribly insensitive to someone who is dealing with these demons.

I feel as though there needs to be SO MUCH more mental health awareness and compassion in this country. That young kid who was on the receiving end of your phone call? He never should have been there in the first place. That should be a devoted and dedicated hotline for people with real mental health counseling and who can help in moments of true need.

Sending so much love. I know that now it seems the fog is too much, but keep writing and reaching out and sharing and talking out loud. It helps so much. <3 <3 <3

Ruth said...

Lon is always talking about his demons and the noise never stops. I know there is nothing I can do. I try to be happy or make him smile. I make sure he knows that he can talk to me, but I also know one of these days might turn very dark for him and he'll be gone. Suicide is not really about death. No one wants to die. They just want the pain to go away.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I wish there was a solution, or an answer. I really do. And I hate when people say suicide is selfish. It's not. And your answer is perfect as to why it's NOT selfish.

And people that say there are people going through worse, again, not helpful. Whenever I hear that, I always think of this quote from Perks of Being a Wallflower:

“I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won't tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn't change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have.”

I hope that, next time, someone answers the phone. <3 But always keep calling.


The Flynnigans said...

Oh momma. I’ve been so close before, so close and felt so fucking helpless. People try to help but you’re right, none of it matters. That darkness is still there and it can be paralyzing... debilitating. I used to cut my arms to feel something other than sadness.... I never wanted to be gone because I feel that’s so final, but I’ve wanted to slowly crawl into myself and die several times. It’s such a shitty feeling and by no means compares to your truth and your life.

Always here and always thinking of you. xoxoxo

Shann Eva said...

I'm so sorry that no one answered the phone or returned your texts. I'm not going to pretend I know what you're going through, but I do know that loop. My anxiety is dulled by medication, but that loop is always in the background. I wish I had some encouragement, and I'm not sure if it will mean anything, but I'm so happy that you're here and that you write.

Anonymous said...

Friend, I feel for you. I have been in this exact place before and it's no fun. I'm unable to take any mood-stabilizing medication because it interacts with other meds I'm on, so I've had to "tough it out" and find other methods of getting by. It is not easy and there were several days when I wasn't sure I'd see tomorrow. You always have a friend here if you need to talk. <3

Unknown said...

Big, warm, comforting hugs to you. I love your analogy of the cassette tape that is always playing, sometimes softly and sometimes blaring so loudly that's the only thing you can think about. I'm not pretending to have the answers, but here are some things that work for me: 1) write it out. For me writing can get me through rough moments and help me get insights on trends with my emotions. 2) If depression and suicidal thoughts are the cassette tape that is always playing in the background, find the emotion that negates that noise. For me it's adrenaline and the sense of awe, so I started running and hiking and climbing. When I do these activities it drowns out the cassette tape for a little while and gives me clarity. See if there are any activities that completely absorb your attention and then focus on those, and know you're not alone.

San said...

I wish I had an actual solution. I know that it's definitely as easy as to point out all the good things in your life, because maybe rationally you know all that, but when the way you feel doesn't align, it won't matter.... I just keep hope that things will get better and that you'll pull out of this hole that you're in.
It makes me so sad to know so many people who are suffering like you.

thotlady said...

One thing that helps me with depression, is changing up my routine. I know it sounds simple, and easy, but it isn't always. But it does help. It helps me 'change the record'.

Some people think routines are good. They help them organize their lives, for me routines are the catalysts that put me over the edge.

Take care.

middlechild said...

Thank-you for writing this. It helps me understand my daughter better. I have the depression/anxiety thing and I understand how the feelings just come up without reason. But that is different than how you.and my daughter feel. I also know -sadly- that there isn't anything I can do to help you. But....I am a good listener and I am awake anytime you need to be.

middlechild said...

* awake anytime you need me to be. *

middlechild said...

Ps. This is Karen Andraski from facebook.

middlechild said...

Well put Ruth.