Another way down
Hey. I know a speech isn’t what you want to hear now, that you want the whipping of the wind, the exhilaration of the fall, the sharpness before nothingness. You’re tired. I’m tired too. Why don’t we sit down for now, at the edge of oblivion, two tired souls?
Thank you for listening to me. Not many have listened to you recently have they? I can see it in your posture. You’re waiting for me to dismiss you, to tell you your words mean nothing. I'm not another demon, so if you wish, speak, release the water drowning you inside. Tonight, I am the one who listens.
I’m sorry about the pain you’ve been through, all the people who’ve turned a blind eye to your suffering. Sure, everyone suffers, but kindness should still be first and foremost.
You understand, with your heart on your sleeve. You’ve helped so many, had them rip that heart off and shred it as thanks once your purpose was fulfilled. How many times have you stood in my place, talking to someone in yours? You must be so very tired.
There’s so much more to life you know? You don’t have to solve everyone’s problems. I don’t know if it is a relief or an insult to who you are, this next sentence, but you are not responsible for everyone’s problems. It’s crazy, isn’t it? You know this, I know this. And yet.
Here, have this flower. I plucked it from this ledge we sit on, watching the stars which watch us back. Do you think there’s a god up there that watches over us? I do. Paradoxically, I also believe we can make our own decisions regardless of what God intended for us. Neither of us must be the therapist. We are allowed a little selfishness sometimes.
Why am I doing this? Maybe its selfishness, not wanting to see a life I could have saved gone on the wind, to witness your departure. You've felt this selfishness once, before you became tired. Maybe your selfishness is wanting to leave, and my selfishness is wanting you to stay.
Here, I hold out my hand. I ask that you take my hand, come with me, and maybe we can go get some nice warm food. I think we both deserve to indulge, to enjoy something with a simplicity we’ve since lost.
I know you're scared of the uncertainty of life and friendship, that I will rip your heart to shreds yet again. I cannot promise you I won't. Such is mankind. But as with this cliff, everything is uncertain. Risks are a part of life. I'm a risk. This situation is a risk. You are a risk. Yet I hold out my hand, risking the possibility that you won't take mine.
Will you take my hand, let me bring you somewhere where the light is warm and the aroma of food is in the air, with friendly chatter and comfortable seats?
And besides, there’s books to read.
You remember when we were little, and whenever we had a disagreement over a toy or something we decided it should go to the one who loved it most? You always won..
Well not this time.
You're not allowed to die. You're mine. I love you more than you do.
Got nada for this challenge. I have loved many a suicidal thinker over the years, yet nothing I’ve ever said - kind words, hopeful words, begging, pleading, joking, encouraging, trying - has ever made a damn bit of difference.
I gave up on those methods and have switched gears now. Rather than wasting words, I’ve instead learned to just be there. Physically, if possible, as it seems best.
Don’t let them alone, particularly on bad days. As suicide seems a private affair simply denying that privacy with constant companionship seems the best solution. Even - or especially if - they don't want it. There's a reason there are no doors in suicide watch.
Obviously professional help is the way to go, but even after seeing someone the road out of darkness is best not traveled alone.
It can be difficult to companion someone who really doesn't seem companionable, particularly when their mood can exhaust your own. Which is why it's much easier to form a party. Taking turns taking care of someone, and making sure they have multiple sources of comfort, can help immensely. Keeping everyone charged is equally important.
As the Net memes say, Winnie the Poo and friends make excellent caregivers for the perpetually dreary Eyore; they never force him to be happy, they just continue to invite and include him on their adventures regardless.
How long you keep this up depends on the person. Suicidal people have to find their own reason for living; you can't give them one, or be one for that matter. Took me many miserable ages to learn that one. You can only stand watch, and keep them moving along, until they find it on their own.
And if it all fails, then it's important not to internalize their loss as your failure. People make their own choices. Nobody said life was easy; that goes doubly for the ones left living. Focus on the ones not yet lost, and keep yourself moving too. I don't think there's any shame in that, even if it may sound cold at times.
I've heard it said that a friendly word can keep somebody from suicide. An action of a friend, who might not have even known about your problem.
I think we all sometimes reach that point where we just want to give up and give in. Just throw our hands in the air and say, "I'm done. I'm leaving this place, right now!"
But, I'm sure that where you are sitting right now, you have dreams. We all do. We have goals. Things we'd like to see, things we'd like to have, and things we'd like to do. And people we care about.
I've come to the point where I wanted to give up. Just die already and get it over with; what am I living for? I had a friend then, who was willing to check in, cheer me up, and be my cheerleader.
So, you don't have a friend like that. It's okay. I can be that friend.
Thing is, it's hard to kill yourself when you want to be there for somebody else. When you want to see their dreams come true. When you want to build memories with them.
If you find that your own dreams aren't motivating you to keep on living, turn to your family and friends. Look to them; there must be at least one person who you'd love to see get somewhere in life, before you die.
Look to them, and imagine what it might be like if you die now. Let's just say you die, and you're gone for good. Will you see them chase their dreams? Live their dreams? Become somebody that you would have been proud of to know?
There is a time in our lives when we feel like we don't even have the ability to be there for others; not even speaking about holding on for ourselves...But sometimes you are at your strongest, when you are at your weakest. You are able to be a greater help for others, just because you don't know how to help yourself. Somebody out there needs you to be there for them. So, when life gets tough, remember that there's somebody who needs you to help them. If you can't live for yourself, then, live for them. Live to help them become better people; but don't live your life for nothing. Don't die for nothing. Die, having served your purpose.
You feel like giving up, yes? But don't. It's not much of a consolation, but do you know how much you can achieve by just persevering? By keeping on the path of life, you can make your dreams come true. You can be a difference. You can be the next Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Martin Luther King...the next genius! The next sensation!
Yes, fame isn't always worth living for. But those famous people meant and still means something to others out there. Won't you just try and live, so you could also be an example of purpose and meaning to others?
Get back up
I could whisper sweet nothings and tell you things will get better tomorrow.
I could clutch you to my chest and tell you it's all going to be okay. But again that would be an untrue fact.
See the storms we face comes with different identities. Each in a different way affecting us mentally.
Depression, and anxiety, the most popular of them all.
Giving in to them we stumble and fall.
Until we can no longer fall and the only way out comes in a neatly wrapped, freshly polished box large enough to cradle you to sleep. And at your lowest that looks great.
You have a long life ahead of you. Don't let the monster inside your head deteremine your destiny.
Don't let what can be become what could have been. I know its its hard it's but turn to God and he set you free as he did me.
Don't turn off your light before it's time.
You have a purpose and in due time eye blindingly your light will shine.
I could tell you things will get better.
But how you decide to rise from the ground is what really matters.
Do you feel like you want to die, or do you just want to not be where you are right now?
Do you have thoughts of hurting yourself?
Do you have a plan?
Have you attempted suicide before?
Did you know that in certain situations, ideation, or thoughts of dying, thoughts of not wanting to be here anymore, thoughts of wanting to just fucking feel anything else... as awful and terrible as it sounds... those thoughts are coping skills.
I know it doesn't sound like it would be, but sometimes our brain wants to protect us when we are vulnerable, afraid, or in lingering chronic pain.
Depression is a liar- I assure you. If that were not true, you would not be here looking for truth- truth that things can, will, and do get better. You would not be here to desire to read this.
You sit reading this having gotten through 100% of your worst days so far; so there is comfort in knowing no matter how deep the rabbit hole of your depression, your anxiety; no matter what your brain unleashed when it over-powered even your very personality... you are still here.
Do not take your pain or your experiences for granted. I tried to kill myself, and I mean I really tried. At the time, yes oh my gosh I wanted so much to just not feel- anything. Looking back, I still remember every second of that pain that led to such a blank and seemingly somehow frantic panic that I could not do it fast enough.
That was six summers ago. After about 400 days I stopped counting. I would be lying if I told you I made my life better, or that I never think about it or have ideation anymore. I also can in solid truth tell you... those years between then and now have been some of the worst and hardest in my life- but even in those times, I would not let myself entertain the thought, at least for not too long.
Suicide is perminate. Emotional pain, physical pain- treatable, as is anxiety and depression. I chose to be bigger than the thing that almost broke me. I chose to be stronger than myself, and I have made that choice everyday since then.
So... can you help me help you?
I know you enjoy repairing and building things... making good use of the hands that dangle between episodes of strength and hardship- one nail or qwerty at a time. Tap into that and let's see what you can do?
Peak and Pit
Back when my sister was still a little kid, she had a friend named Megan. Megan’s family played a game called ‘Peak and Pit’ at the dinner table every night. When my sister was invited over for dinner, she played this game with them.
The idea of the game is to name the ‘peak’ of your day, and the ‘pit’ - the best and worst moments of your day.
Back in whatever - seventh grade? - this game might have been an easy, ‘oh, I went to the dentist, what a bummer!’ as the pit. The peak might be ‘Evan talked to me in the hallway!’
As we get older, I think this conversation becomes more imperative. Mental illness, and suicidal ideation, might make it so that those suffering have no ‘peaks’ at all. This is their darkest hour.
This isn’t an easy topic. It’s messy, gritty, and ugly. There are no easy answers to this rather impossible, timeless question: is life worth living?
In seventh grade, I was a plump, happy-go-lucky, bright young student. At the age of almost thirty, I can now say with confidence that my ‘pits’ have landed me in psychiatric facilities five times, if we’re not counting outpatient centers, individual therapy, or even partial hospitalization programs.
To those suffering, the count doesn’t matter. They’ve already read what I’ve written, in some form. They need hope that one day, things will get better. For real this time.
I want them to know that even in lousy seventh grade, when my peak was talking to Josh between Chemistry and English, I still had a peak, even if I didn’t know it enough to voice it at the dinner table. Even after the mental illness kicked in and I got wheeled in a gurney to some ward of whose name I shall never speak again, I had a peak. Because in the game, there has to be a peak to go with the pit.
I have a voice in my head that doesn’t shut up, that wants to die, but it knows. There’s another voice that existed before you got sick.
There’s peaks. Because there has to be.
Your pit is the darkest moment before you turn thirty when you think it’s never going to get better, but it will. It always does.
I know that the words " You have so much to live for" are meaningless
I used to hate it when people would speak such nonsense to me
So, I wouldn't do the same to you
If anything, those words made me want to die even more
I hated having "The Talk" with my therapist or my mother
They didn't understand, Hell no one could
No one understood
No one ,genuinely, wanted to help me
No one had my back
I turned into "The Dark Side of Me"
I hated that part of me, I hated being mean
I hated being narcissistic
I hated being that way
I had to reflect upon my self and my actions
I realized that just because everyone had given up on me, that didn't mean I had to
I realized that if I was going to change, I was going to have to LIVE
If I was going to Live, I was going to have to make some changes
I had more confidence afterwards
I got my life back on track
I got a job, a car
I started going back to school
I wasn't going to give up on myself, as so many that "tried to help me" had done
I wasn't giving up and I wasn't going to die
I was going to show them that I didn't need them afterall
I just needed to find the purpose myself
I just needed to have faith in myself
I found myself ...
Alone and broken
I nutured my broken soul back to health
There is one piece of advice that I wish you'd take into consideration...
Don't give up on yourself, even if everyone else has done so
Sitting on the ledge, watching little cars stream under our feet, I want to hear you talk. I know the adrenaline is pumping and your mind is porobably racing and the world is spinning. I want to hear it. If you verbalize it, maybe it'll help. Maybe letting all of your frustrations and anger and anxiety fall onto someone else, it'll help make you want to live. We can stay strangers since friends can be unreliable and family doesn't understand. You can go back inside and go on knowing this will never come out to another soul that you know.
I won't speak because I don't know what to say. I never know what to say. Things I know factually sound arrogant, things I know personally sound like I'm making this about me, things that I feel when you talk make it sound like I'm pitying you. I probably won't look at you because if you cry, I'll cry. If you are breaking, I'll break. If you look too deeply in my soul, I can't stay anonymous and will grow far too attached to just leave this ledge and walk away from you. I'll look at my feet and wonder what happens when we fall.
I've fallen before, and getting back up is hard. When you smack into the middle of Fourth Avenue and cars are hitting you every time you try to get up, it gets really hard to try to get up. That's why when I saw the soles of your feet and heard you crying, I invited myself into your space. I thought I had to get up on my own, and it didn't get easier until I finally took one of the many hands outstretched to me. It still wasn't easy since they didn't pull hard and I didn't put all my weight on them, but without that patience and care, I would've been flattened.
That long metaphor to say, talk to someone. I promise you whatever is going on will end eventually. You eventually get away from bad families. You eventually find someone that loves you for you. You eventually make it to the nicer part of life. I did it. So many people did it, and many of us are here for you because I guarantee you a lot of people that went through it remember that it is not easy. I still look at the scars (both actually and metaphorically) of that time and admire how far I came. It was a hard fight, and no fight is won without allies. So, make allies and know that if asked, I'll always happily be one of them.
I know it hurts. I know it does. Thank you for listening. Please listen a little longer.
I know you're looking for a way out; you're looking for relief. You won't get it this way because relief is a feeling and you can't feel anything when you are dead.
But, I have some really good news for you. Most people who want to commit suicide, don't. Your chances of surviving is high.
I know what you really want isn't to die, but to be free of pain. You feel out of control and this is your way to get it. Other people can help you get that control and help you feel better and you don't have to die. A lot of us have been where you are and have survived and we can teach you how to survive to, and even thrive. You have the ability within you to overcome it.
When someone wants to kill themselves, it's because their coping abilities are outmatched by the pain they are feeling. It has nothing to do with being strong, okay? Almost everyone has felt like killing themselves at one point. And again, most of them survive.
We are going to help you get more coping abilities so that your pain, in time, will be outmatched by your ability to cope with pain and get through it.
Just promise me that you will think it over and you won't kill yourself tonight. I will stay with you, but promise me you will be alive tomorrow morning.
P.S. this is hard to do one-sided because most of it is actually just listening to the person.