Suicide: Recovering or Relapse? (Trigger Warning)

I wrote about what it means to actually be suicidal before, and I haven’t really touched on this topic since. Part of that was dealing with the depression. I want to talk about the recovery process and I also want you reader, to be aware that this can be triggering for people to read, or even think of. I also am not claiming to be recovered fully but I am recovered enough that I am no longer constantly looking at the things I own as weapons that could kill me.

TO be suicidal is to be in pain with no relief that can be imagined. To be suicidal is to be at the lowest place emotionally, no matter your standing. Often people think a person of a certain life style is immediately happy. It is percieved that someone who “has it all” or has children or a great job won’t be suicidal because they have things that other people want. This does not preclude anyone from depression or being suicidal.

My caregiver’s best friend killed herself this week and so we talked about being Suicidal. She was horrified to find out that I have been suicidal with her in the house and that I said nothing. I explained my view on suicide and she was surprised, and stated, “She had nothing to kill herself over, what about her baby!”

In her mind she could not see the pain her friend was in. A part of this is the grieving process, and with suicide there are always bigger challenges than with old age or illness. I suspect these challenges mirror those with murder to a degree, though they are far different. You see, right now she is angry, and wanting to blame someone. She wants to understand the why.

I see this and I realize I really have made a lot of progress. My progress on choosing to live has been slow, and there was no magic bullet. I secretly or not so secretly presumed I was only suicidal because I couldn’t get outside. I think this fed my depression but my wheelchair was not a magic anti suicide bullet. Instead for a few days I found myself more depressed than ever. It wasn’t when my gate was fixed… it wasn’t any time after the chair that I had started to recover myself but it was before. The exact moment when I crossed the line out of Suicidal for every minute of the day into about once a week is lost to me. It happened slowly.

The magic bullet of pain relief wasn’t my medication being returned, though having no medication did make it much harder to not want to die. The pain caused hallucinations of blood on my hands and yes at times the blood was my own. The pain ate at me, and still does with a hint of that fear. What if they do this again? What power do I have to stop the arbitrary torture? The answer that I have made it worse.

No power to stop others from hurting me. This is because I am not asking for people to hurt me.

This left me wondering what it was that made me want to die, and I went over the list of things in my life that are depressing and the list of things that are not depressing, that list of people I tried to make that had tried to kill me for example is depressing. Then I found for me the things that are sad don’t have as much weight as the things that make me happy. When I curl up at night and Sprite comes running to hold me? This fills me with joy and I can think of nothing better than the softness of her fur against my arms and hands. She sooths me. This discovery helped me rebalance myself mentally.

I began to mediate on the things that make me happy. All of them are simple joys, Sprite, melted cheese, my toys, sunshine, a rainy day, rainbows, and conversations with my friend. Writing even when it is sad and painful also falls into the realm of things that bring me joy. Each of these things can stack up against memories of rape and torture and they beat them.

Why? There is no sound reasoning except that this is what life is really made of. When you cut away the things in my life that you will not find in everyone else’s this is what is left. Good food, someone to love (even if they have four legs and a tail), the sunrising and setting. This is something that is very basic to the condition of all humanity. Not every human will have a pet but every human has a sunrise and a sunset.

Every single day that I am alive is a reason to live.

This revelation makes me cry. Every time I think it, I feel the urge to cry. For me feeling the urge is the equivalent of actual tears. My capacity for crying is very limited still. Being alive is my reason to live. It hangs there in the air around me, and I feel the crackle of energy that makes me want to run and play. I am merely living. I don’t think that everyone has this as a reason, and when I wanted to die more actively it was only for someone else I could live at first.

Always for Sprite, she has no one but me.

Then for my baby sister. IF she wants to be just like me, then I need to live so that she doesn’t think it is okay to die. She has such a great potential and now has chosen her path as an adult, therefore I cannot risk derailing her.

My mother, for the same reasons above. If I die, she’ll either kill herself or do something overly dramatic that cripples my baby sister.

My baby brother would take this as a sign that his father tells the truth. His father is a rapist. Therefore nope.

I chanted the list and added to it daily. The first day was sprite, the second day my sister, the third day my sister and my mother, and so on. I built up to realizing that life itself is why I live. I don’t live for some invisible goal. I don’t live because some invisible diety deems me worthy of life. I live because I can.

With this meditation I found that sense of inner balance again, that sense is always there when I am me. When I am not me it fades away and there is a significant increase in mental pain.

I wonder again on Laura’s friend, who died. She was dumped by the father of her child, I am certain that her child existing played into that pain. I do not know the why that she died, but I do know that there are times I feel that inner balance slipping. At least once a day I must actively choose to be balanced with life. I must actively choose to push that sad pain away or accept it, whichever will actually make it better. It varies on the cause.

My mind follows a trail of pain and death and I see the man that my father murdered. I smell his blood. The coppery tang makes me want to gag. I can feel how sticky it is on my hands and I am left to wonder if he regretted his statements, that Hitler was evil. I am left to wonder if I die will his sacrifice be forgotten?

I see this man as a human sacrifice, a personal sacrifice given to me to help me shape myself, so that I see that there is a choice. So that I know that Hitler is evil, before I reach high school and we study the man just enough to upset people. Not enough to know. Not soon enough to prevent the beliefs I could have had. I wonder if he knows that I fought against a very evil man because of good people like him.

I know he may have been bad in some ways, no human is perfect but I know based on my own experiences that saying something to someone else when they are lying to their children is frightening. I have done so several times. A good bit of that fear is knowing I could be murdered over it, but also the fear is that the child will not hear me. That this child will be left blinded to reality.

I know he was brave. I know he was innocent of the crimes that my father tried to attribute to him.

I often find thinking on this man that I feel more terror and pain too. At times I almost loose that grip on my resolve. This is the path I walk, this is the path I did not choose but I have lived my life on. I fight against it. I struggle. I scream in silent waves of misery. I know that no one will hear me scream because I choose to not let them. I know that when this aching fear hits and I want to cry, it is my choice to push the tears away, even if when I choose to cry the tears still do not come.

I know that the difference between relapse and recovery is not there. They are the same when dealing with being suicidal. They are part of the process. Once you have been suicidal, there is always a part of you that doubts your own resolve. I think this is universal because as a species humans have a great will to live, our survival instincts cause amazing feats. Therefore it is a betrayal for our mind to turn on us in this way, it is not something anyone would choose and it can crack the foundation of anyone’s confidence.

There is no real recovery but there is choice. Once you have met the darkness you must choose to be the light for yourself. No one else can make you live. No one. This is where mental hospitals fail. They think watching you will prevent you from dying. In the short term yes, but if a person is truly unable to breech that darkness they will find a way. This I have seen too.

I think on many things when struggling to live. I ask myself questions I cannot answer.

I wonder if when people look into my eyes, something that I rarely allow, do they see that I am not really a damsel in distress? Do they see instead that I have fought battles they can only have nightmares over trying to comprehend? I wonder if my scars which some show on my flesh but most are on my heart are that uncommon at other times. Does everyone know these demons? Does everyone have them? I look at the people I know, and I know that both answers are truly yes and truly no.

The people I feel connections with are like me, survivor/victims. You are never one without the other. The people I find myself drawn to most often know at least some form of pain. Rageomatic is one such person. My friend who I met at the fleamarket that was trained by his country of birth to kill Americans. The POWs and Veterans that helped me to see that I could be a person and have pain.

I am wondering why I can only think of male examples too. I know a few females with the same sort of pain but even they seem to see mine as “worse”. I don’t think there is really a worse. I think experiences are subjective but I am left to wonder if I think this so that I can live.

I know now, recovering from being suicidal will take my entire life. It is a worthy battle and I will win.

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4 Comments

  1. My cousin killed himself in 2001 – what was difficult is that he did not share anything with anyone, so it was a shock. I am trying to work out if it is more common for people who are suicidal to articulate their suicidal feelings, or if they are really about to actually go and attempt, if they just go and do it without telling anyone. Like they have made up their minds and there is nothing more to be said. Does that make sense? Another person in our extended family killed himself, and again, it was a huge shock – no warning. It’s like they both just decided, and acted, and there was no warning in terms of telling anyone how they were feeling – I guess they knew we would try to stop them.

    Thanks for posting.

  2. This is the part of surviving someone else that is hard, no one can give you the answers you seek. I can tell you a few things. First, I wrote a post while suicidal because I know that being an anomoly means sometimes you have to share this part of the issue, the part of being there. https://textualfury.wordpress.com/2009/12/17/being-suicidal-trigger-warning/ This is a link to that post. I do believe what I state is universal but some people don’t even consider being stopped before killing themselves, some people go from being fine to suicidal with no warning, some people spend a life time there like I have.

    There is also a connection in science (I do not have source but I read an article many moons ago) where it states people who are close to or family of a suicide are more likely to commit suicide. The connection is strongest with parents who die and their children, before the children reach 21.

    The articulation of feeling is almost impossible when in that dark place, all you can feel is pain. All you know is pain. The good things, they do not exist. It is a deadly form of tunnel vision. Please feel free to respond or use the contact form for a more private conversation. I am sorry for the pain that these deaths have caused you and I am willing to talk to you in depth.

  3. I can understand, to the extent that anyone can, that speaking, articulating suicidal thoughts and the pain that they are feeling is almost impossible – I am so thankful to you for doing so. I read your other post. I can honestly say that the last thing I thought about my cousin was that he was selfish. He was so young – all I could think was, he must have been so alone and so afraid. And I just thought of what a gentle loving person he was, and cried to think of how much pain he was in – and that if only I had known, I could have helped him in some way. Or maybe not. Maybe he still would have done it – but at least I would have known and would have tried. To me that has been almost as hard – knowing that he was in pain and I could not help him.
    Even thinking about it now, I am crying.

    Truthfully, I think he had OCD and he didn’t know it – it runs in our family, and if not recognized and treated can lead to depression and rumination on negative thoughts. I think he was frightened about what he was thinking, and felt that he was protecting everyone else. But of course we will never know.

    But the things I have never felt about his death – angry with him, that he was selfish, that he was a bad person for his choice. Just incredibly sad that he was so much in pain and so alone. And I have an enduring image of him carrying my daughter on his shoulders by the beach on his birthday, which was the last time I ever saw him. Truthfully, I think a lot of the people who say those things have not had an experience of suicide in their lives – if they had been touched by it, they would not say it. I know that grief can carry anger with it, but it does not last, usually. Love is what lasts.

    I guess what remains for me are the questions I have already asked, and which are unanswerable.

    I am sorry that you have felt the sort of pain that the person I love did. No-one should have to feel like they are better off not being in this world. I know sometimes it is a shitty world – but it is better with you in it (how would I know about Batgirl and the Lanterns without talking to you?). And without him, there is a hole which everyone feels. It was not his responsibility to make the people around him feel better, it was ours to help him get through whatever it was that was making him feel that way, and somehow I feel we failed in that. Or at least it is a shared responsibility. Maybe his was to tell someone how he was feeling, so we could help. And ours was to make it possible for him to tell us.

  4. Yesterday afternoon, my morning since I work nights, I walked out of the barracks, and I looked around at the windowless buildings, the endless desert, the glaring sun, and the uniformed strangers, milling around in silent apathy. I could feel it…the choice to focus on my wife and daughter 12,000 miles away, the pointlessness of my job, and the emptiness of my life, or I could focus on the things I’ve learned, the things I can provide for the people I love with money I’ve made here, and the fact I will be going home in about a month.

    I don’t always have that choice, but when I do I try to take it.

    I’d like to talk to you some more about this, but I don’t want to go into huge detail in a public space. If you want to hear from me, just send me a line at bramconcher (@=at) yahoo .com (spaces provided for anti-spam purposes),


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