Tag Archives: suicide

Today I saw the news that Stevie Ryan, 33 committed suicide two days after her grandfather died. Apparently in a podcast following her grandfather’s death she made mention that she hoped that his passing wouldn’t pull her into a deeper depression.

I admit that I have no idea who Stevie Ryan is. From what I can tell she was someone who was initially popular on YouTube, then ended up hosting a show on VH1. The only reason we’re hearing about it is because she’s someone of relative fame.

Here’s the part that bothers me aside from the obvious. Prior to committing suicide she made casual reference to her depression and implied that the passing of her grandfather could potentially make her depression worse. I’ve been on the edge of taking my own life and on a couple of rare occasions made casual passing reference to it to someone I was close with. Luckily, the second time, when I was actually planning on going through with things and preparations had been made, loose ends tied up, etc., the friend took notice and called me out on it. We talked and I went inpatient the next day at McLean Hospital just outside of Boston. She had a public forum, though. She made mention of this on a podcast prior to going through with it.

Even if the podcast hadn’t been released prior to her taking her own life, did anyone else involved in the podcast reach out to her and press the issue? Look, I get it.. When you’re down the last thing you want is someone pestering you about being down. Frankly, it takes balls to say that you’re depressed in today’s world, especially in a public forum. There’s so much stigma and ignorance surrounding mental health that it’s frankly disgusting. Either way… What I’m getting at is that she dropped a hint; a warning almost that she was already in a low place and would likely go lower.

I don’t know if she had planned this or if it were a rash decision. I’ve seen studies talking about people committing suicide somewhat spontaneously/without prior planning, and the other group that plans meticulously. Not to knock those who work on such studies, but they don’t exactly have the chance to ask the ones that succeed.

My point is this… If someone is willing to talk about it, talk to them about it. Or don’t; just talk to them about anything. Sometimes just some human contact and interest in what they think or have to say may be helpful. It’s something.. If their mind is made up and they aren’t hesitating, there’s pretty much nothing you can do, but if you have a chance to show them some humanity and dignity, please, please do.

If you want to skip a rant, now is a good time to stop reading this post…

Did Stevie Ryan mean anything to me personally? No. I didn’t know her and won’t be so presumptuous as to read up on her and pretend I know anything about her or who she was. What I do know is suffering, and what suffering alone in a room full of people is like. Clearly being someone in the spotlight and having people around doesn’t make you any less susceptible to the isolation so frequently accompanies depression. I bet she smiled and laughed just as well as the rest of us that suffer from this affliction. It just sucks that the only time that depression and suicide are brought to light is when someone famous commits suicide. The world lost their shit when Robin Williams committed suicide. After a few weeks, that passed and we were on to whatever the next media craze was. If memory serves me, it had to do with a Kardashian; because..priorities? I’ll never understand that one.. Regardless, there are millions upon millions who struggle every day with this. At some point, those that don’t suffer from it need to wake up and realize it’s not weakness, it’s not a character flaw and it doesn’t make someone suffering any less worthy. Maybe they could even try to have some fucking empathy. For anyone saying it’s taking the “easy way out” or they dare to call them a coward, I defy them to put themselves in a situation that could very well end their life and see if they have the stones to actually go through with it. I’d bet damn good money that they’d piss themselves. I only say this because it’s the type of ignorant shit I’ve heard from my own family in reference to others, from countless strangers and co-workers of all socioeconomic and educational backgrounds. The last thing anyone needs is commentary from a knuckle-dragging mouth-breather when they are really down to begin with.

I honestly don’t know what the solution is.. In the most connected world we have, we’re also the most isolated we’ve ever been. All I can say is this; look out for each other. If you have a hunch someone is in a state of real suffering, listen to them, and respect where they are coming from. Sometimes it’s not about solving the problem or offering solutions, but it’s more about bearing witness. It’s about joining someone, even if for a little while, in their own personal hell.

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Today

Here it is, 3:00am and I can’t sleep. I downed to sleeping pills and two klonopin with a heavy could shots of liquor, which I’m feeling the effects of now. I know.. I know better. I need to wrangle my liquor consumption under strict control.

So.. What’s keeping me up? Horrible depression. Worse than it’s been in the last few years. I’m at a loss. Thoughts of suicide plague my mind every few seconds to every few minutes. It’s not about anything specific. No triggers that I’m aware of. I’m just exhausted.. Physically and emotionally. I’m tired.. I’ve been worse off than this before and I know I can endure through it, which I will, but this suffering seem like cruelty at this point. I’ve been over self-medicating with alcohol.. Strong alcohol. Take a small drink glass, fill it half with vodka, add to Kahlua and some Baileys to top it off and you have my version of hard chocolate milk. I down about a glass a day that’s filled to the brim. Tonight’s poison was about a 1/3 of a glass of B&B – packs a punch with very little consumption. Equivalent of three shots. I’m hoping tonight’s choice with a couple of klonopin and a couple sleeping pills will knock me out because I need to be online for work at 8:30 and have much to do.

In a few hours we’ll be seeing the fertility clinic to discuss our options. I had a vasectomy 18 years ago and the chances of a reversal working after 15 years is 2%. I don’t care for those odds, so we’ll explore the more invasive techniques offered by the clinic. I don’t mind 2-3 weeks off with an ice pack on my nether regions. It’s part of the goal. I had that vasectomy because the depressions were so bad that I was certain I’d not make it to 30 by my own hand. Turning 40 within the next year, priorities have changed and it’s a step my wife and I are ready to take. I’ve no expectations. If they say it’s simply not possible, the adoption is the next option. I don’t need a child to be part of my own genetics to love them just the same. Some guys get hung up on that, but I don’t. It’s not blood that make a family, it’s the ties that we make.

Here’s the dilemma, though. I suffer from deep and debilitating depressions. I’m in the midst of one of the worst in years. Every minute of every day have visions in my mind of piercing my carotid arteries and bleeding out as quickly as possible, probably taking some aspirin or alcohol beforehand to reduce the chance of clotting with thin blood. Please pardon the graphic nature of that, but after considering many, many options, this seems like a sure-fire way off success. Too many things can go wrong with pills, gunshots aren’t always successful, jumping ha a good chance, but it’s not guaranteed, getting hit by a car or a train at high speed have likely outcomes, but there’s no guarantee. The list goes on.. The last thing I want is a botched attempt and my loved ones having me on life support in an ICU or my being in a vegetative state being a lasting reminder and a constant source of grief by simply being alive, if only physically. Why the urge? I don’t know. All I know if I’m mentally and physically exhausted. I take my meds religiously. I see the therapist weekly. I do the homework in trying to find the root cause of this, but all things point to a chemical imbalance.

At 39 and having dealt with this pretty much the entirety of my life, when is it acceptable to say that we fount the good fight, but it’s time to call it? Doctors can do this with resuscitation attempts. Oncologists can help the patient and family decide when the fight has reached a futile point. Even we can choose when a pet is suffering to the point that their quality of life has turned to one of suffering. Why can’t humans do the same? I know some miracle drug may come along that will over me peace and a sense of well being in my lifetime , but that’s a hell of a gamble.

So, onto the choice to have a child. It’s a conscious choice. It will cost a boatload of money to do so since it’s all elective surgery as well as the IVF. I don’t mind the money part. I’m prepared for that. But.. Is it selfish to want to bring a child into this world knowing that I feel this way more than 60-70% of the time? I can put on the good act, but kids have a way of picking up on things. I don’t want to pass my instability onto our child.

Life goes on… If we have a child, then I’m locked into surviving no matter what for a minimum of 20-24 years. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I don’t want to hurt my wife or our child. I love my wife dearly. I loved my best friend who took her own life many years ago. I loved her as a friend and more than a friend. It took me a decade to just begin to process her death. How could I possibly do that to someone else that I love? The endless questioning of what could have been different.. What could I have said.. Could I have been a better friend.. All of that comes up regularly, even after so long ago. I don’t want that for her. I like my life with her. When she’s around I feel some semblance of peace. Some days that’s all that keeps me going.

So.. Is it selfish having a child with me being a train wreck of a human being? I’m ready for the challenge and am high functioning even when I’m extremely depressed. I can do the necessary parenting things regardless of mental state. Maybe this will give my life some sense of purpose as opposed to just waiting for the clock to run out.. Maybe not. I have to work through that with the therapist.

Hmm.. 3:47am. Time for sleep, I guess.

Duality

I am and have been living two lives for a long time. They are seemingly incompatible.

Life number one is that of a middle-aged successful professional who’s happily married, has a house, two cars, two dogs and a cat. I have friends, albeit at a distance. I’m becoming closer to one that’s local – someone I didn’t expect to become a close friend with, but she’s a good influence on my life and is a good objective third party. I don’t have to put on the act for her. I can be myself. I don’t have any interest in her other than a platonic friendship, and the same goes for her. I don’t consider myself to be close to anyone at work, but given the amount of travel, that’s not entirely surprising. Most of my interaction with colleagues is via email and brief telephone calls. I’m outwardly friendly, happy, and have an honest can-do attitude. I’m customer focused and work internally to ensure that clients are taken care of while still maintaining the financial goals of the company that employs me. I’m well-known within the company, well-respected and well-trusted as a problem solver an innovator. My wife and I have decided to have a child or adopt, depending on what’s medically possible 18 years past vasectomy. There’s a good chance we’ll be able to have a biological child where I’m the father via sperm extraction. I’m excited at this prospect, though I’m getting about a 15-20 year late start to the process.

Life number two is that of a married man who struggles to get through each day because of severe and unrelenting depression. Not a waking minute goes by that I don’t think of finding the nearest sharp object and going for my carotid arteries. I’m heavily medicated with psychotropic medications and go between insomnia and hypersomnia. Most days I get through the workday and am exhausted by the end of it. I go to my hotel room, or go home and go to bed shortly thereafter. Most of my existence is in my own head as I don’t trouble others with my internal struggles. Logically, ending my life has passed from being an illogical idea to a  logical conclusion to a life spent fighting and losing that fight.This life is one of exhaustion. This life is one wanting a way out with causing as little damage to those closest to me.

So.. Where does that leave me? I’m living both lives. As I write this, I hope for some terminal illness – that’d be easiest for all involved. But, I’m also planning on having a child. I know I can endure the depression and all that goes with it for at least the next 20 years. Well indefinitely, really. I’ve been on the other side of suicide. I loved her so much; the one that committed suicide, I mean. I know what that pain is. I know what that aftermath is. I know the endless days and nights of asking why. I can’t possibly do that to someone else, so this is a life sentence.. A life sentence of suffering. That’s not fair to me. Exiting early, that’s a life sentence for my wife, our future child and the few that care about me. So, regardless, I stay. I live that second life in the shadows. In silence aside from here. What am I to do? I don’t know.. Endure, I guess. That’s my only real choice, isn’t it?

 

Here is is Monday night and I already feel beat. In other news, after talking with the psychiatrist, we’ve decided to double my dose of Lexapro to try to battle the depression that’s seeped in. I’ve been mostly honest with her about how I’ve really been doing, but I should probably come clean about how strong the suicidal ideations are. It’s logically and objectively making sense to me, which isn’t a good thing.

I know there’s more than this.. Than existing, I mean. It’s not as bad as it can get, but I see that coming in the coming in the near future. Every time I think I know how bad it can get, it seems to surprise me by finding a new low. I’ve been self-medicating with alcohol some nights, which I really shouldn’t do, aside from the obvious, but even for health reasons alone. It’s not a regular thing, at least. I hadn’t had a drink in a couple of weeks, and tonight I’ve only had some. Not even enough to get a buzz.

I’m conflicted about telling my wife how I’m really doing. I owe her that much.. For the hell I’ve put her through with my mental illness, I owe her that much. On the other hand, for what I’ve put her though, I feel I owe it to her to keep it to myself. I’ve burdened her with this too much as it stands.. I don’t know what the hell to do to be honest. Part of me thinks I should leave so that she can find someone else that’s in a much better disposition than me. I know that’s the depression talking, but it’s how I feel either way. To be frank, if it weren’t for her, as cliche as it sounds, I’d not be here at this point. The lows have hit bad enough that I’d not just think about giving up, but would have, or would act on it. I couldn’t do that to her. Other people, yes, but not her. So, I have to figure out a way to push through. Since I have to push though, then I need to figure out a way to make that less miserable. Right now, chemically is about the only option that I see. It’s that, or ECT, or TMS, or Katamine, or whatever else is out there. All of which I could try, some of which would likely cost me my job, which would enter in a whole host of other fucked up problems that would likely make me even more depressed which wouldn’t be good for anyone.

I’ve spent countless hours trying to figure out if what’s going on with me is psychological or chemical. When I look at the world, I think there’s a mix of good and bad in the world. I don’t know what the balance is, but objectively, I think there’s considerably more good in the world than bad, but the bad gets most of the attention so it seems worse than it is. Overall, I am optimistic about most things. If what I experience is indeed mostly chemical, then it stands to reason that there will be breakthroughs within my lifetime that would offer relief. Approaching 40, barring anything unexpected, dare I hold on to hope that some relief can be found within a reasonable time in the next 35-50 years? Will I be so far gone into darkness that I’d even know how to handle being good, much less just ok? I don’t know.. My mind isn’t in a good place tonight. I’ll probably watch a show or something and then go to sleep. That seems to reset my mind pretty well.

Fuck me, this shit gets old..

Failing

Tonight I’ve had to o much to drink. Actually, anything is too much to drink, given that I have liver disease. It’s genetic, but drinking certainly doesn’t help matters any.

So, why drink? I want to be numb. Emotionally I want to be numb, but all I’ve managed is my nose and face being numb.

I’ve been struggling for awhile now, but can’t seem to shake it. I’m having trouble getting out of bed in the morning lately, which is new for me. I’ve always been high functioning when the lows hit. Today I did laundry (work clothes only) and mowed the lawn. The lawn was because I neglected it for a couple of weeks, so the mower was choking every so often from the long grass. These are major accomplishments in my world right now…

Tomorrow and the rest of the week I’ll be going to a client site. I’ll need to interact closely with the production and IT staff to make sure the solution I’m programming will fit their needs. I’ll be doing this as every fiber of my being wants to just end it all. It’s not just a desire, but more of a pressing need. I know this isn’t healthy. I know it’s not logical. I have a good life, at least now I do. Things were bad growing up, at least until 17 when I left home, then things went bad again at 21 when my best friend killed herself. I used to feel so much surrounding that.. Grief, loss, anger, hatred, disbelief, sometimes individually, sometimes all at once. At around ~29 I started to move on with my life. I didn’t start dysfunctional relationships after that. I married again at 32 and have been happily married since then. I have a good marriage, a good job/career, a nice home and even a couple of good friends. How dare I feel depressed enough to want to die? With all that I have, how dare I? I feel as though I’m crawling out of my skin. I can’t shake the sadness and deep sense of hopelessness and despair.

I’m well-medicated. I have the best mental health care that money and insurance can buy. It’s not as bad when I’m medicated. It’s tolerable. It’s just good enough that I can exist from day to day. I can get up and do all the adult things I need to do. I’m mostly empty, though. I see no hope in feeling better. I know that realistically within my life, advances will be made in medication and overall treatment of severe depression. Am I willing to wait for that inevitability? Not really. Will I? Yes. I owe that much to my wife. I’m at peace with her, or mostly so. Enough to keep me here. I know what it’s like when someone you love takes their own life. I’ll not put her through that. So, I have to hold onto hope.. Hope that in the next few years, or at worst, decades, that advances will be made and effective help will come. Until then, I’ll continue existing, being a ghost in my own life. Existing day to day in the shell of whomever I used to be. I remember a better me.. A me capable of happiness and joy on a sustained basis, but that me is such a distant memory that I don’t recognize him. He died a long time ago, his body just kept pushing on and going through the motions. Once in awhile something real happened, like when I met my wife. That was real. It’s still real. I feel so selfish and like a piece of shit for wanting to leave this life before its natural end. I feel like a fraud. A failure. I’m unrecognizable to myself. I’m unrecognizable to those who know and loved me. My friends have all put distance between themselves and me. My family as well. My wife can tell something’s wrong, but how do you tell someone you love that you’re feeling this way; again?

In 2012 I had a breakdown. After one of the only arguments we’ve ever had, I ended up checking in for the first, and hopefully last time into a mental hospital. After a week I was freed. The depression had mostly passed and I could trust myself once again. Am I to that point now? No, not now, at least. I’m doing the best I can, but I feel myself slipping, day by day, minute by minute.

I don’t know what to do.. I see my psychiatrist in a couple of weeks and I’ll come clean with her as to where I’m at with things. She’ll likely prescribe some time off from work and some R&R. It won’t make a difference, though. I’ll just spend the time in bed. That’s what I do when I travel for work – go to the client during the day and then go to sleep at 6:00, followed by forcing myself out of bed at 6:00am. Repeat.When I’m home I do the minimal – dishes, occasionally laundry, let the dogs out, and take care of the lawn. Other than that, I’m lazy and sleep a lot. I watch a lot of Netflix. I’m just at a loss. I feel hollow. I’m tired.. So very tired. I don’t know how long I can keep existing like this. I’m not in any danger now, but if things continue like this, at some point, I’ll need to check into a hospital again. On some level I’d hope that would work, but on another level I know that would just prolong things. When is it ok to say that you’ve fought the good fight and lost? I don’t care if people call me weak, or that I simply took the easy way out, but should things be this fucked up to begin with? I have a good life. I simply can’t enjoy most of it. Depression knows no social or economic bounds. We’re very well off and I don’t have anxiety about most of the things people worry about in life. What the hell is wrong with me?

“I’m good. You?”

The standard greeting that we present to each other usually consists of a passive and insincere variation of “Hey. How are you?” Our reflexive answer is always always one form or another of “fine.” They don’t really want to know and we know that. Chances are we don’t want to get into it, anyway.

Some people are easier to read than others. Regardless of how well we wear it, we each put on our mask and slip into the skin of whomever it is we present to the world. For some that skin is pretty thin and fits rather nicely. These are the types that are as close to being their authentic self for the world to see. For others, that skin is really thick, doesn’t always fit well in places and you can’t even begin to imagine what the person underneath looks like. Some are in between, which is where I’d like to think I fall.

Some days I’m the real me; no mask or skin needed. These moments are rare in the presence of another human being, most often my wife. Other days I have to put on the emotional equivalent of body armor just to get out the front door. I’m not even completely honest on this blog, though it is my personal diary shared anonymously so I’m at least sharing with someone; someone whom I’ll likely never meet, nor know much about. This blog is to be the opposite of the mask and persona that we slip into each day. I want this part to be out there, but not have to worry about any number of ways that could alter my social or professional life.

This week I have to be in character for 5 days straight, less at night for the few hours I get to sleep. I’m wilting inside, rapidly at that. The last three days I’ve spent a tremendous amount of energy in just keeping my composure. I’ve been on the edge of tears off and on, have been irritable and short-tempered. So, I smile, make nice, play the role of a happy well-adjusted person and give my “I’m fine, thank you. Yourself?” responses, taking slight comfort in the fact that the other person may be doing the same. Somewhere behind the space shared between our masks there could very well be two people who’s souls are bleeding out and neither of us can see it. That’s how I feel right now, anyway. I feel like me, the real me is bleeding out, soon to only leave this hollow shell of a persona walking around not realizing that the show ended a long time ago. Sometimes our biology doesn’t match up with what is really going on inside. I suppose that those dying of terminal illness that have every desire to live for years if not decades to come feel the opposite. The really f’d up part with me specifically? When I found out that I had liver disease and it initially looked like my lifespan would be significantly shorter, I was relieved. I’d later find out that it will likely only shave a few years off, though. The look of confusion that the doctor gave me must have been a reaction to my rather raw and sincere disappointment.

How am I? A type of terrible that I can’t find words for. I’m conflicted as well. I want to end this madness. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I care enough about myself that I don’t want to go on needlessly suffering like this. I’ve done as much for pets. There are parts of my life that I really like; love even. My wife and I love each other dearly and enjoy the time we have together. We laugh a lot. In late 2012 I begged her to let me go. Letters were written and were in the glovebox of the car. They were each to those closest to me trying to express that there’s nothing they could have done. They were both thank you and goodbye letters. I’m nowhere near where I was at that time, but my wife made it clear that she didn’t want to lose me. I wasn’t playing some manipulation game or anything. She’d have a right to know. She’d need to hear that it wasn’t her or anything about our current situation at the time. We were having some serious problems then. Go figure.

I’ve lost someone I loved dearly to suicide. That’s a hellish thing to experience, and no matter what the person says, or doesn’t say, there’s always that lingering question of if you could have prevented it somehow. I’ll not put anyone through that. Do I want to right now? Yes – with every fiber of my being, yes. Will I? Absolutely not. When I was at the very edge – right down to the split second before crossing the threshold of no return, I checked into a hospital. Will tomorrow be any better? I don’t know. My depressive cycles go like this. They start hard and fast and leave just about the same. Such is the experience of one with bipolar. How am I, you ask? I’m screaming inside and you’ll never know.