I remember when I wanted to die.
Not just die by an accident or natural cause, I wanted to take my own life.
I remember when I wanted to kill myself.
I don’t think I’ve ever said it like that. I’ve said that I’ve thought about suicide, that I’ve been suicidal, but something seems raw, seems scary about saying it like this… “I wanted to kill myself.” It seems so much more intense, palpable, and permanent than the term suicide.
As one of the most positive people I know, I can promise you, if I can be that low, where I think about ending my life, anyone can get there. People you least expect. People with happy attitudes may be crippled with thoughts of ending their interior pains.
I remember it vividly. I was recently separated from someone I had been with for years. We had “couples” friends and I didn’t have any “guy” friends. So when we separated and were no longer a “couple” the friends went away. I had been with this girl for my entire adult life. And within a 24 hour period I lost her, the friends we had made, living in a house we owned, by myself, sleeping in the basement because I couldn’t stand sleeping in the bed. I felt so alone.
I was sleeping on the floor of my basement, one block glass window. I was working for myself at the time, and I had zero interaction with humans. I had a cat. He kept me company, in the dark, cold basement.
It’s embarrassing, yet liberating to admit that I wanted to kill my myself.
Suicide has become such a taboo subject. Maybe that’s a problem. We sugarcoat the permanence of killing yourself with fancy words like suicide. We make it taboo. We fluff it up. We downplay the subject. We look at these thoughts as the third rail. Perhaps it’s due to the fear of the idea, or fear of failing to prevent suicide….No one wants to touch the third rail. It may result in death.
I’ve heard people say that those who commit suicide don’t talk about it, and the people who talk about it won’t actually do it.
I wonder why.
I didn’t talk about my suicidal thoughts at that time. I think I’ve admitted it in posts years after the fact, but at the time it wasn’t plastered on my Facebook. I didn’t want anyone to know because I didn’t want anyone to talk me out of it, and I knew if I had mentioned it, my phone would have been ringing off the hook. I knew my mom would have had me committed to some psych ward for a 72 hour hold. I was content with my phone not ringing.
Had my phone rang, had one person called to check on me, family, friend, next door neighbor, I think I would have avoided weeks of painful thoughts. Now, I recognize that someone who genuinely cared about my well being, my happiness, my life, they could have helped me overcome my negative and destructive thoughts and feelings.
I don’t know that we have genuine relationships very often in today’s society. I have a handful of people that I text every day to check in on. Because I worry about them. I know they are going through hard times and I want to make sure they are okay.
Because I know, when I was going through a hard time, I needed someone to check in on me, and no one was there.
I have to imagine that people texted Robin Williams. They texted Anthony Bourdain. They texted Kate Spade. But did they ask how they were and genuinely care? What about the 22 veterans who kill themselves every day?
Do we ask questions to listen? Or do we ask questions like robots, just waiting for a chance to respond?
Do you have genuine friendships, that aren’t just based on an eco-system of give and take. Of what they can do for you or what you can do for them? Do you genuinely care about their well being, and more importantly do you show that care? Or, if something happened to them, would you be left with a feeling of regret, because you didn’t text more.
You didn’t hang out more.
You didn’t make time to see them.
You put yourself first.
If I could get there. If I could get to the point that I was contemplating killing myself, anyone can. If Robin Williams could take his life, anyone could.
Suicide is permanent. It’s not taboo. It’s not to be kept in your mind. It’s not to be swept under the rug.
SUICIDE is FINAL.
And it creates a snowball of grief, regret, shame, and more for the family and friends left behind. Always wondering if they could have done more. Regretting they didn’t pick up the phone and show that they really cared.
And if you are there, in your basement, in the darkness of your heart, considering killing yourself to escape what you feel is permanent pain, speak up, phone a friend, get out of your house.
If you don’t believe life can get any better, speak up.
If you have friends and people you care about, check in on them.
Be genuine friends with people.
Be genuine with people.
Have deep, meaningful, open conversations.
You might just save a life!
Because life is too valuable to take it before your time is up.
And we don’t get to decide when our time is up.
Peaks and valleys are part of the journey in life! And it’s our responsibility to keep an eye on those traveling with us!
We are responsible for living our lives. And for loving to live them.