Perpetual Suicidality [POTENTIAL TRIGGER]
Monday, August 11, 2014 will be one of those days that live on in infamy for me. I will never forget where and when I heard the news…
I was working at the library for the evening and a patron came in.
“Did you hear the news? So sad.”
All three of us looked at her like she had three heads. What are you talking about? we all wondered.
She caught on to our looks and replied, “Robin Williams died. Isn’t that sad?”
At first, we gave each other puzzled looks, wondering who in our community was named Robin Williams and then… oh, we realized it was the big-time actor.
I immediately jumped on the Internet to search for reputable confirmation of this news. It was quickly reported that he had died by “asphyxiation,” likely by hanging himself—a suicide.
My mood plummeted instantly. There was this outpouring of grief and of love for this comedian who had brought joy and laughter to millions. I certainly didn’t have the kind of talent Robin Williams had.
Then I glanced over at my colleague who is handy with knitting and crocheting. Quite a useful talent.
Then there’s me. I have not brought joy and laughter to millions and I can’t knit or crochet worth a darn. (Pun intended.)
(See? I just proved my point about not bringing laughter to your corner of the world. You probably just ROLLED your eyes. Well, I thought it was clever.)
What’s my talent? Correcting grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Wow. That’s sure to knock someone’s socks off. Because everyone has a need for a smart-ass who knows the difference between “anxious” and “eager.” (I guarantee you, there will be some sort of grammatical mistake in this post now that I’ve mentioned this.)
A useless talent. Almost a throw-away. I am very fortunate I can even make a living off of that.
My mood dipped and dipped and dipped until I got home. For the first time in a really long time, I lost my appetite. I crawled into bed and began surfing through my Twitter and Facebook timelines. Nearly everything was related to Robin Williams’s death and mental health. Suicidal? Get help. Depressed? Don’t suffer alone.
News doesn’t usually trigger anything for me. But for some reason, the Williams’s death hit me hard. I closed the cover of my iPad, curled up into the fetal position, and just… zoned out.
“You’re not as talented as Robin Williams was. You don’t deserve to live.”
“Your talentless ass should have been the one to die. Not a bright star like him who brought light to many.”
“What can I do to end my life? Hanging seems like a good choice, but that’s too copycat-ish.”
“No, how about jumping in front of a train on the tracks?”
“It’ll be much easier to drink a poisonous or toxic substance.”
My husband was in and out of the bedroom for a while. And then I decided it was time to give in to my triggered depression.
I tried to drink a small cup of Windex.
I got as far as pouring it out before my husband came into the bathroom and threw the Windex down the drain. Then fire damn near burned in his eyes. Then he said those words that I always dread to hear: “I’m going to take you to the hospital.”
“No!” I cried. “No! I’d rather die than go to the hospital! No! No! No!”
Last time I was in the hospital, I was alone in a room and a sex offender crept in and undressed in the empty bed. I could have been raped. But no one at the hospital really batted an eye at that. It was like, “Oh? Dude masturbating in your room? Did he leave? Okay.”
PEOPLE, I had PTSD from that. The hospital is NOT a safe place for me anymore. I would rather commit suicide than get raped. (Well, gee, if you put it that way…)
My husband relented. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to threaten you with the hospital.”
I probably needed to go. I wasn’t safe. I didn’t feel safe. I wanted to die by any means necessary. Join Robin Williams. Join my dad.
I had a discussion with my therapist at my last session before she went on vacation about how I’m perpetually suicidal. I don’t always go around actively thinking of ways to kill myself, but if presented with either a quick or painless route, I’d probably do it. For example, I told my therapist, “If I had a loaded gun in my possession, I’d probably blow my brains out. I just would.”
She asked me, “Are you always depressed?”
I shrugged and replied, “Yeah. Probably. I’m perpetually suicidal.”
She said, “That’s very concerning to me.”
I shrugged again. “You can’t lock me up in the hospital for the rest of my life, can you?”
She said she wouldn’t do that but continued to express concern over my perpetual suicidality. If I were smart and logical, perhaps I’d be concerned over that too. But as it stands, I’m not too bright in that area.
Currently, people are making a big to-do about pushing for ending stigma against mental illness. Get help if you’re depressed. Get help if you’re suicidal.
Being suicidal is not logical. Who thinks, “Gee, I’m thinking about ending my life. Maybe I should talk to someone about this.”
I did that when I was 14 and the cops got called on me. I quickly learned my lesson. If you want to die, keep it to yourself. Less hassle that way.
Robin Williams was very open and honest about his struggles with depression and mental illness. It’s sad that he lost his battle with mental illness. But—as surprised as we all were by the sudden death—given his struggle, it’s not surprising.
I am very open and honest on this blog about my issues with depression and bipolar disorder. If I went—poof!—gone, it would be jarring but not really all that surprising. I’ve dealt with mental health issues for 20 years now. Anyone surprised by my attempt at suicide really doesn’t know me. Perhaps it was the same way with Williams. Maybe we didn’t really know him like we thought we did.
I don’t believe in suicide prevention. I believe in suicide education but not suicide prevention. If someone really wants to kill himself or herself, that person will find a way to do it. (Give me a ceiling vent and some sheets and I can easily hang myself in a hospital.) My point is, there is really NO safe place. It’s learning to override the will to die with the will to live. Is that suicide prevention or suicide education? Because God knows I need suicide education.
There was no real way to prevent Robin Williams’s suicide. The only person who could have prevented his suicide was himself.
And I want all my family and friends to know: If I kill myself, it’s NOT your fault. It is MY decision. There is NOTHING you can do.
Not that I’m going to try and kill myself tonight. I just don’t feel like dying by my own hand tonight. Maybe one day I’ll have the guts to do it.
I feel like the boy who cried wolf about suicide.
“I’m gonna do it! I’m gonna do it!”
And finally everyone tuned him out because, for 20 years, he said he would kill himself and he never did.
I’ll probably die by my own hand one day. I just need to figure out how.