Sitting here watching United 93.. Probably nor the best movie to watch when you’re already depressed. Anyway, it has the typical Hollywood (attempted) gut-wrenching scenes of people saying goodbye, knowing that their fates are likely sealed. This makes me think of when I was at my own limit of what I could handle. I know – ever the narcissist. When I was at my breaking point, I had printed and sealed envelopes of each letter to each loved one that I’d be leaving behind. I’d not give them the chance to say goodbye.
I’ve heard some real misconceptions about people who are suicidal, or who go through with it and are successful. I’ve heard of it referred to as a cowardly act, the ultimate selfish act, the “easy way out,” among other ignorant things. I guess I can understand to some degree where they are coming from. They are ignorant. I’m glad they are ignorant, at least in that they have no personal experience in being in not only serious contemplation, much less being in that split second between life and setting in motion a course of events with no option of return or survival. It’s far from a cowardly act – anyone who firmly believes that is an ignorant asshole. To stand there and wonder if your survival instinct will kick in before or immediately after you start what method of choice to end your life and you’ll somehow botch it up or prevent yourself from letting yourself go.. There’s nothing cowardly about that. Fear – fear is more often than not a product of ignorance. When you look death in the face and are indifferent, if not welcoming, you’re far from a coward.
As for a selfish act.. That usually carries the connotation that the person is only thinking of themselves. You think of everyone – everything before making that choice. Certainly, depending on the circumstances, one may think that others will be better off without them or whatever – there’s a lot of things someone who’s in contemplation thinks, but imagine how little one values their own life to even consider ending it, knowing that there are likely others that care. The way that suicidal people are portrayed in the media is sickening. These aren’t all people who are unstable with their lives falling apart around them. Some are extremely successful. Some are productive right up until the day or night that they go through with it. Some you never have any indication that anything is even wrong. I’ve always been highly successful. I’ve used work as an escape – something to occupy my mind when existence was nearly unbearable.
I’ve been touched by suicide. I lost someone whom I loved deeply to suicide. I know my life has value; a lot of value, in fact. I know that I’m an important part of people’s lives. I’m one of the few people that can do what I do professionally. Do I sound arrogant? Possibly. I’m a valuable person. I’m deserving of happiness. I’m as confounded by my own mental illness as anyone. I had a shitty life for the first 25 years. It got better. I made my life what it is today, yet I lack the capacity to fully enjoy it. I don’t get it – it sucks. It sucks more for my wife and loved ones. People will sometimes say “How can you possibly be depressed!? You have everything going for you!!” Yeah – I wonder that myself. It irks me to no end, really. Anyway… I’d never, ever put someone through the hell that one goes through when someone they love takes their own life. Hell, for 20 years, I never even uttered the words that I wanted to die. I was ashamed. How dare I? Especially knowing what’s left in the wake of such a thing.. It’s been 15 years since my best friend took her own life and I still get choked up thinking about her. Part of that is selfish – I want her here. Part of it is a deep aching sadness knowing how much she was hurting. Part of it is guilt for not being able to help ease that pain enough for her to be here. Some of that is anger for her leaving me. Part of that is anger at myself for not having done more (though objectively, there’s nothing I could have done – I know that, but I still feel that way), and then there’s doubt.. All of the “would’ve , could’ve, should’ve” things. There’s always unanswered questions.. Questions that she took to her grave with her, which frankly, are trivial. It happened, but those are the questions that sometimes keep me up at night. Selfish? Really? Fuck you – it’s likely an act of mercy. Believe me – everyone else is on your mind when you’re at that point. I know it is for me, every time I seriously contemplate it. Hell, I worry about the method.. I worry about who will find me. Even worse, if my wife or someone else close to me has to identify me. That’s the last image someone will have of me. That image will haunt them for the rest of their days. I’d rank that as anywhere from 30-60% of what keeps me here from day to day; not having to put anyone that I love through that, much less some stranger.
“Easy way out?” Life is hard – choosing the time to go is harder. See above.
So.. I’m a bit surly today. I had a rather bad day at work. The 12-16 hour days are getting real old, real quick. It’s not the fact that I don’t make overtime, but rather that I just need some downtime. I took my last support call at 8:30 tonight. I left for work at 6:30 today. 3/4 of a bottle of wine later, I’m ready to take my two sleeping pills and a muscle relaxer to try to stay asleep for 6-7 hours (if I’m lucky). Then repeat the whole process tomorrow. My wife and I talked on the phone before she left for work today. She asked if I had started on a new bipolar medication. I had. She said I didn’t tell her – which I honestly thought I had, but her memory is better than mine. I’m not going to continue the medication, though. It’s not helping. Is this depression situational? Maybe. I know I’m burned out at work. I know my wife is burned out at her job, too. Where does my chemical imbalance leave off and where do I begin? Hell if I know… I’d be fine being jacked up on amphetamines during the day, opiates at night and muscle relaxers to sleep. I can see where people might get addicted to things to hide from their problems. I think anxiety and depression are just part of Western life. You’re born into debt. You have to pay taxes no matter what, even if you “own” the land you live on, so you have to be part of the machine no matter how much it ills you. Or you can start a cult. If you get enough of a following, at least you can get the tax break and live off from your followers’ donations.
I’m off to go to sleep.. Maybe tomorrow will be better at work. Maybe I’ll go start forming a cult after work if I can’t sleep. Who am I kidding.. I’ll come home at some ungodly hour, drink another 3/4 of a bottle of wine and bitch on WordPress… Better than the alternatives, I suppose.