By Ti Mahoney Blair
It’s a lovely Sunday morning. I’m PMS’ed, pissy, lack energy, wobbly and feel like my legs are going to buckle out from under me, unmotivated, uninspired, cranky, sluggish and frankly annoyed. This is good news. I’m having feelings.
The subject of suicide has come up on Facebook. And it’s just fascinating and gross to watch how society recoils at the mention of it. Suicide. Those posts are obviously akin to a societal leper. Nobody wants to touch them. There’s only a select few of us who have either been affected by suicide with family and friends, or who have thought about, attempted it, wanted it ourselves.
My body feels like shit. I feel like one giant slug. The muscle spasms are back. All I want to do is lay down and sleep, yet I sleep…and I still feel exhausted. I feel like a fat blob. I know, fat is not a feeling. But it is. It’s a common “fallback feeling” I use when what I really feel is muted or misunderstood.
I’m in a slump physically and emotionally. And no amount of lying or faking smiles is going to make it go away. At least, not for me…
I find it disgusting when people say things like, “The narrative doesn’t fit the photos” or “Well, she looks good, so she must be doing well!“ Seriously, what the fuck? Are we done? Do we really, really (really?) still believe that today? Do we need to look at all the suicides, hundreds happening per day and how probably 95% of them were guilty of smiling?
So, it’s become clear to me today in a weird way, that there are different rooms of suicide. Different Rooms inside the dungeon of depression. We are the rooms and we can occupy more than one. There are the ones who actually ask for help, who don’t get it…and then feel like they have no other choice. There are those of us who never say a word… Not even to ourselves that we want to die. And we just disappear one day and leave all the shrapnel, pain and horror to those we left behind. Then there are those of us who are alive long enough to remember the days when we tried to kill ourselves, or fantasized about it. Does it ever go away?
My answer is fully, “No.”
It never goes away. Just like alcoholism, just like eating disorders, just like suicidal depression… At least for me, this person writing, all of the accomplishments, all of the awards, all of the straight A’s, all of the friends, all of the jobs, all of the success, all of the prettiness, all of the attention or good in the world that I’ve been able to do… None of it matters. None of it. At least not to me, when I am deep in the rooms of the dungeon.
The dungeon is the place I go when I feel like I want to die. I’ve been writing about it for a long time, so it’s time to bring it to light. I know that I might scare some people in my life. And I know I might set off some alarm bells. And I have to be brave and not care, because I can no longer be afraid of what you think of me. In fact, I hate you. You… Who will only look and see the smiling pictures of me. I hate you for looking away when there is pain in my eyes. I hate you for ignoring me during the times that I’m obviously struggling…and only paying attention to me once I’ve come out for air with a lipstick smile. Fuck you. That’s what I have to say.
So does this mean I’m gonna kill myself? No! But, why not?
I have seen the horror that it leaves behind for those of us who love you. I have seen the questioning, the bitterness, and the anger that comes up in your wake after you’re gone. I have seen the denial, the jokes, the looking away that happens when something is just too painful to fathom or make sense of. Even worse, is when no sense whatsoever can be made of it at all.
Who are we then? The ones who stay behind and survive? The ones who happen to make it long enough to grab the flimsy reed and keep breathing despite perpetually living underwater? The only thing that keeps me alive most days, is knowing how much it would kill you.
Knowing that it wouldn’t make any sense. Knowing that you would be torn apart. Knowing that you would question everything you know and understand to be true. Knowing that your gut and your heart would be ripped out forever. That’s what keeps me alive when I am in the darkest rooms of the dungeon. I know I have the key, I know that someday I can walk up the stairs, I know that I can open that door and walk out into the light. But it’s not always the choice that I want or can make. Until it’s time. Otherwise all I am doing is acting for you.
Why do I stay alive? Is it to accomplish more, to earn more, to get better grades, to get prettier? No. It’s to keep you from having to suffer the loss.
So the next time you see an ad, article, post or a blurb on the news… “Another suicide…” Which one will get to you? Which one will you actually stop and hear? Take into your heart and soul? Which one will require that you listen beyond ears? And which one will dare you to be brave enough to face the sadness, the pain, the loss, and the unanswered questions?
Suicide isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s growing. It’s touching the lives of those who thought they’d never see such a thing. And it tickles the throat of those of us that want to be able to talk about it. But our lips are sealed. There’s a fear, that even to utter its name… That we might infect ourselves and each other with it. So instead, we choose to ignore the monster who is doing pushups in the closets of the dungeon.
I’m choosing to stand up. I’m choosing to be wobbly and unsure, yet to hang on. I’m choosing to look at it, eyes open, heart braced for the impact of the uncomfortable glances that will avert away from me. For the heads that will turn to look in the other direction until the storm has passed. For the rugs that will be lifted and the crud that will blindly be swept under. I have to brace for impact of the silence. The chirps. And that little moment where the rest of the world is waiting for me to be funny again.
Fuck you. I still love you. I just want you to know I know. I see your fear.
I can be funny, I can smile, I can laugh… But I will still always be suicidal. And the only thing that keeps me here sometimes, is you. So, wake up. And keep going. All of us. No matter what. Wake up! Please be brave. While you’re at it, let the good secrets out, too.
I’ll be down here, in the living room…the in-between place, where I’ve learned I am capable of being exactly myself, but still able to reach those on the outside and those who are still deep within.
Sent with instructions: Breathe In, Breathe Out. (Repeat.)™
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