Before I get deeper into the world of ECT (I swear, there’s a part II coming!), I heard today about the loss of Chester Bennington to suicide. Linkin Park was always sort of in the periphery for me, but that’s not really the point. Every time I read about another celebrity’s (or non) suicide, I’m immediately time warped back to the moments that I wish I could…not die exactly, but maybe just not exist.
Although, sometimes death was the ultimate wish when things got really…complicated. Removing myself from it all seemed like the best option. Just as a warning, I’m not going to use euphemisms or dance around the subject of suicide and suicidal ideations so. And family, friends, please know that I have too much of a complex about making everything ok and breaking the tension to actually do something so destructive to my loved ones. Plus, I promised some of you I wouldn’t. Besides, I still haven’t been to Dollywood.
It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that I’ve been suicidal, and I’ve been close enough, or have been in serious enough situations that I know it’s been a real fear for some of my loved ones- to the point where I’ve had more than one Serious Talk wherein they’ve felt it necessary to make me promise not to. The closest I ever came wasn’t long ago. It wasn’t actually the night I went to the hospital. That night I hit the bottom of a really, really dark hole, but it was a given that I would do something to get help before I did anything irreversible- I never seriously considered the irreversible option. I would go in and get help and find the right treatment. So that’s what I did.
And you know what? I still haven’t found the right combination of treatments yet. The combination of being “medication resistant” and having issues with ECT (to be described later), I have found myself- again, in moments- not wanting to die per se, but thinking that a life of relentless anxiety and depression can’t possibly be worth the moments of happiness and love that, while frequent, aren’t so relentless.
There have been moments when I have felt really bitter about staying alive. That I was stuck being here, miserable, all so people could go along with their day knowing I was there, should I ever be needed; so they wouldn’t have to deal with the pain of death and all of those “what could we have done?”s. Like I’m the David Rakoff from his quote in my earlier post:
“Should you happen to be possessed of a certain verbal acuity coupled with a relentless, hair-trigger humor and surface cheer spackling over a chronic melancholia and loneliness – a grotesquely caricatured version of your deepest self, which you trot out at the slightest provocation to endearing and glib comic effect, thus rendering you the kind of fellow who is beloved by all yet loved by none”
(I’ll leave it to you to decide if I’m one or the other- or neither or both)
But there are also days where I’m so thankful to have the people in my life who have shown up, and gone out of their way to show that I am loved. Or at least cared for enough to be given one deadline extension after another, as I try to work up the mental energy and focus to reach my normal level of production, and for people to drive me to and from appointments when I’m not allowed to drive myself. People have checked in on me, which means the world, and I know people have been checking in about me with other people, which is…strange, but nice, I think.
Sylvia Plath describes being at that “do it or don’t” moment best:
“But when it came right down to it, the skin of my wrist looked so white and defenseless that I couldn’t do it. It was as if what I wanted to kill wasn’t in that skin or the thin blue pulse that jumped under my thumb, but somewhere else, deeper, more secret, and a whole lot harder to get.”- Sylvia Plath
I want to find and kill that other thing…and I’m frustrated that I haven’t been able to yet. And frankly, I’m stubborn when I get frustrated. I’m frustrated for a lot of outside reasons, but mostly about my seeming inability to find the right cocktail of meds whose effects don’t eventually wear off, along with possibly being in the 20% category for ECT, the longer it goes on. It’s like whack-a-mole, and I refuse to give up until I find it that other thing and, if not kill it, make it take several seats. Because of this stubbornness, I know I’m going to be ok, even if I’m not now.
This isn’t to say that I’m better or stronger than Chester, or any of the other approximately 44,000 people who die from it each year. I only know my own situation and my own reasons for not killing myself. It’s just to say that you never know what someone is going through, so maybe just try to opt for kindness first. I don’t know.
And when you read about the next person who has lost a battle to mental illness or addiction, just try to remember how much they’ve gone through to get to that decision. It’s a shit decision, but it doesn’t meant they’re weak, or selfish, it’s just…it’s just so complicated. I guess I can really only tell my own story with any authority. So I’ll end it there.
And if you’re feeling suicidal, or aren’t quite, but just don’t know where to turn for help, here are some resources:
Also, I really don’t think that many people even read this so I’ll just add that you should never, ever hesitate to reach out to me directly if you just need…anything. https://www.facebook.com/Williams.ErinMary