Write Here!

I really am just going to start writing here. REALLY. (Part of this is due to The Bloggess’ post, part of it is me.) I don’t know why I don’t do it, preferring to just post snippets on Facebook instead of truly writing out what’s going on in a format that might actually, I don’t know….help? Especially since I write not for anyone else but for ME.  And maybe that’s why I don’t do it — because seeing my words out on a page, putting them down and pressing “publish” means they’re *out there* .

My mother always told me, “Never put into writing what you don’t mind seeing published in the New York Times,” and so I’ve always had this bit of a block against actually blogging or journaling my real feelings. I’ll talk endlessly about what’s going on AROUND me. If you read back through the few posts on this blog, or my public Facebook posts, you’ll see a pattern of “so this happened” and thoughts on the political climate and what I think about what’s going on in the world. But rarely do I talk about ME. I rarely share with the outside world (or, in the case of even friends-locked posts on Facebook) what’s going on inside my head. That kind of information gets tightly filtered, if shared at all. I play it so close to the vest that NO ONE knew how bad things were with me before my suicide attempt. I just don’t talk about it. 

I understand what my mother was getting at, especially in this digital age (though, this was WAY before it. She died in 1989. Maybe I’ll get into that. It’s part of my crazy.) Writing things down and sending it means it can be printed for all to see. You don’t put your private stuff out there to be used against you. I’m pretty sure this was just part of her paranoia, her own bipolar mania — or whatever damage HER mother did to her — and she passed it on to me. So now I have this odd “block” about writing in a blog because hitting send sends it out into the ether makes it permanent. The internet is permanent. It’s not even anonymous — as much as people think they’re hiding behind their screen names. I don’t ever use my full real name online but I’m sure if anyone wanted to figure out who I was, they could. 

But now, I’m past where anyone could use it against me. What could they do? I’m already disabled and on disability. I already live under the poverty line and struggle to get by. I’ve already had a person in authority over me use my words against me, use my mental illness against because I TALKED ABOUT IT.  And I’m OVER IT. 

I made my entire suicide experience and aftermath public on my Facebook page, in the hopes that if someone happened upon it, it might help that ONE person with their decision. And every time I open up and speak freely about what’s happening with me, more people say things like “me too” and “thank you, I needed to hear this” than “shut up” or “you’re crazy, stay away from me.” And writing it out helps me too. It helps to see it out and if I hit that “publish” button…maybe it’ll help someone else. Or not. Because I’m pretty sure no one reads this. And that’s OK. Because blogging again is going to exercise my brain and muscles that need to be worked. 

The fog needs to be lifted and it’s probably going to take some manual labor to lift it. Ain’t gonna be some wind coming by to blow it away. So here I am. I’m gonna blog again. Often. I’m even going to set some Alexa notification or alarm thingie to poke me to do it because I really am SO GOOD at making promises to myself and breaking them. It’s what I’m best at. 

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CW: Suicide

So. You probably expected I might have something to say after the latest rash of celebrity suicides.

Hotlines, chats, even Facebook has prevention tools that are supposed to help reach out to those that might be contemplating ending their lives. These resources are great and I am so grateful to the people that man those hotlines — goodness the strength it takes to man those phones. (Aside: I worked as an insurance CSR and got a suicide call. They happen. We aren’t trained for them, not really. But my psychology degree and Priestess/pastoral training kicked in and I was able to do the right work while the supervisors worked to get the police in the town to do a welfare check on the person. I never did find out whether or not he lived through his attempt.)

My point, however, is that people deep in the throes of a suicide attempt don’t reach out. I’ve said (written) this before. We don’t. I didn’t. I was in therapy, on medication, and wasn’t even having suicidal ideation. (I’m not really going to talk about my attempt — I’ve written about it before. You can find it elsewhere). So often people are already in therapy and doing all the “right things”, taking their meds, and still struggling. YOU have to reach out to THEM.

  • And even if and when you do — they still might do it. 

It’s not your fault. You didn’t fail them if they succeed and kill themselves after you tried to stop them.

  • It’s not your decision. It’s theirs.

I know I’m going in a different direction on this than a lot of folks. I think I have a different perspective because I’ve quite literally been there, done that, and have lived to tell about it. Suicide is HARD to do correctly that’s for damned sure. I’m still here so I did it WRONG….*y’all don’t worry, I’m good. Not in any danger.* People who are doing “all the things” and still struggling, when they make the decision to end it — most of the time they’ve really thought things through and gotten their shit together to do it and how. They’ve been thinking about it for a long time, how they’re going to do it, and finally the right time presents itself and it’s done. They are not going to call a hotline or friend for help. They’re just not. I didn’t. (OK. For honesty’s sake, I had a moment there when I thought “hey, maybe I should try to stop this train” but it was really fleeting. I still wasn’t going to call anyone. I was on the ride chose.) That fleeting moment…if they manage to climb out of the abyss long enough to breathe…they might make the call. But so often, we don’t. The abyss’s hold is strong.

Is it selfish? You’re damned right it is. No one knows the internal struggle a person is going through – heck, even the therapist likely doesn’t know 100% what’s really happening because so often we can’t put it into words. Depression lies. It tricks even the person suffering into thinking we’re OK until all of a sudden, we’re not.

So now we’ve had two celebrity suicides. The media is going to talk about them with reverence and the spotlight will again be on mental illness and people will say, “Oh, we need to treat depression and mental illness like any other illness and End the Stigma™. ” That’ll last for a few weeks until the next big story and it’s forgotten. But suicides happen every day by non-famous people, and I’m going to hazard a guess that the rise in suicide in the US is going to up due to the crazy and toxic political climate. It’s terrifying, especially for marginalized communities.

And for those left behind? It’s not your fault even if you reached out and tried to help. But YOU have to reach out. YOU HAVE TO REACH OUT. YOU. 

And if you’re struggling yourself I know it’s hard. It’s so hard. Keep trying. Keep going. Gods, I know it’s hard. All that stuff I wrote above is for those other people that post trite “oh my god, Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, boo hoo, they had everything!!” crap. Depression lies. Keep fighting, keep going just a little longer…and then a little longer than that. I’m here. I AM HERE for YOU. FOR YOU. Talk to me: My Facebook My Twitter

Three Years Later

 

CW: suicide talk

It’s been three years since my rebirthday and this is what I’ve learned:

Today is the 3rd anniversary of my re-birth. My FB memories for this day are deactivated because I don’t want to remember what I said or did — but it’s still an important reminder to me to LIVE every day. I faced the abyss 3 years ago — dived in…and got spit back out. “Not now”. So now I live and celebrate each day as best I can.

November is a weird month because of this — I’m aware of the encroaching “here we go — it’s THAT day but also holidays and …” And every November since, unconsciously, I seem to go and do something life-affirming. The first year after, I helped Ralph with Bandit and LadyBug and gained a new family. The second year, I adopted Pix. This year, I’m fostering Amada. So I’m alive, thriving (so to speak) and sharing it with others.

Thanksgiving has become a lightning rod holiday not unlike Columbus Day due to the mistreatment of Native Americans, both historically and just last year at the pipeline protests. But for me it’s personal. I am TRULY THANKFUL because I am still here. I’m not always — it’s true. Sometimes I’m still fucking pissed off that I have to watch my world implode and all the fires around me. I couldn’t just go out the way *I* chose. But still, I have now chosen the path of compassion and love and am doing the very best I can. One day, one life, one heartbeat at a time.

Love and life. Namaste and peace. These things have true and serious meaning to me. They are not fluffy buffy unicorn fart concepts. They are what my life is for and why I was pulled back from the abyss.

They are why I am here.

I just came back from a session with my therapist (talk about a coincidental appointment scheduling, huh? I didn’t MEAN to accept this date — I moved the original one due to having my wisdom teeth removed the day before my original appointment).

And when she asked how I was, I answered, “Well, kinda weird. I can’t really explain how I feel today because it’s both my death day, and my rebirth-day.” And then I showed her my FB post from which this blog post is based.

I’ve learned not to attach to others. Or attach to their perception of me. To live my life with as much kindness and love as I can put out, not worrying whether I’ll get it back (I won’t) because that’s not the point. To strive to leave every person feeling better for having talked with me, even if only for a brief moment.

To breathe. Fully and deeply. To love with the entirety of my soul. And to forgive those that have hurt me (still working on that — that’s a tough one because oh…i’ve been hurt so deeply and i’m human and get so mad).

That humans are deeply and fundamentally flawed. And yet we are some of the most creative and purposeful beings to have ever graced this planet. As disappointed as I am in the human race as of late — I still have hope that someday we will rise above our baser instincts and find the loving purpose of which we were put here to achieve. There has to be one, else why would we have evolved to be able to create such beautiful music and art?

There’s probably a lot more I could say — but the dogs are looking at me to play — and they are the purest souls and while I love y’all — I do love them more. Namaste.

 

 

Things Better Left Unsaid

There are some things you just do.not.do to a person who suffers from depression and anxiety. Some things you just do.not.say. Believe me, we hear it all the time as it is — from our own minds. Our “sock monkeys”, “jerk brain”, “psychotic roommate”, “demon”, etc. Many of us have a term for those voices in our heads that, if we’re somewhere close to stable, have managed to dial down to faint hum but are always in the background, muttering.

Muttering things like, “you’re not good enough”, “no one wants you around”, “why even try?”, “maybe you should make another attempt, and do it right this time”. A friend of mine had a bad day, and posted about her anxiety sock monkey giving her a hard time. Her friends commented, boosting her up, sharing their experiences with the same kind of thing….doing what friends do. Doing the RIGHT THINGS for someone that was suffering and having a bad day. Another friend posted about having a tough time accepting herself — and the same thing happened. Compassion is a beautiful thing to see, especially in relation to anxiety sock monkeys.

Then I posted about mine. I said I was feeling lonely – and whether it was loneliness caused by my anxiety sock monkeys working overtime or some other reason…I was also treated with compassion and other friends shared that they too also felt the same way at times. It helped to a certain extent, knowing I wasn’t alone — even though the loneliness remained. There’s no magic pill that suddenly makes everything better, especially when you’re already suffering a downturn in depression.

(I’m coming to my main point, but this is an important tangent. Part of all this is that I was told I “share too much”. Really…I wonder how many of my readers — those who are actually on my Facebook and consider themselves my friends — know just how deep into a depression I’ve fallen. Have I shared that? Can you tell? Have I actually said anything, to anyone? I don’t think so. Not until this very moment have I said one thing to anyone…that’s how close I play it. I post a lot but rarely do I “core dump”. This….this is a core dump.”)

Ok, where was I? Oh yes. So I made the post, went on with my life. I didn’t expect anything from it – I was getting something off my chest, letting out a little of the darkness and I felt better. Now, one of the cardinal sins in mental health is giving an actual voice to those sock monkeys — literally say to a person who is suffering: “Maybe you’re lonely because you really are {insert anxiety reason here}”.

*record scratch* *blinkblinkblink*

WAIT. WHAT? SAY THAT AGAIN?

WTF Jackie Chan

It’s taken me an entire day to process this entire conversation. I’ve slept on it. Talked about it with other friends. Gone over it in my mind, word for word. Made sure I didn’t take it the wrong way. Nope. Armchair psychoanalysis is DANGEROUS, man. Dangerous. And it’s a damn good fucking thing I’m as stable as I am (even though I’m struggling, STRUGGLING, right now). I realize I’m struggling. I know I’m struggling and that I’m hurting and depressed and freaking falling and I know the abyss is over there, in the corner, beckoning. That’s STABLE, because I KNOW IT. I’m so fucking aware of how close to the edge I am. I’m grounding and centering and BREATHING and meditating and doing everything I can to keep myself together.

And I’m suddenly told, “Maybe the reason you’re lonely is because {insert anxiety reason here}”. Jeez, lady. Why don’t you just hand me the fucking gun? Why don’t you just put a pharmacopeia into my hand? ‘Cuz you just freaking pushed a suicide survivor (and you know the recidivism rate on those?) two more feet toward the edge….and “I like to psychoanalyze people so I’m really just trying to help you.”

First off: I have a therapist and psychiatrist, thank you. Second: I have a psychology degree and post-graduate education and training. Only thing you’re qualified to analyze is rocks. Third: Fuck you. Really…fuck you. Seriously? ARE YOU SERIOUS? You actually thought that saying that to me was HELPFUL? How, exactly, was that supposed to be helpful? I’ll wait while you come up with an answer. Especially since I’ve ‘overshared’ and you already know my past and the reasons I suffer from PTSD and all the shit….so, come on. How was that “helpful”?

Whew. OK. I’m done being pissed off and writing about this because people — really — THINK before you speak. Chris Cornell just committed suicide, so all the memes and posts about suicide prevention are going around again. As a survivor, I can tell you that when someone is really, truly ready — they’re not going to call a hotline or a friend unless they have a moment of clarity and those moments are fleeting. And if a person is struggling with the decision, or just struggling in general and are having thoughts — a careless, thoughtless, “helpful” person saying something like what was said to me just might be the ammunition needed to push them over the edge.

This is a warning, so to speak. If you have a friend or acquaintance that is depressed and suffering and you don’t know what to say or do, and you’re afraid they’re possibly going to attempt suicide — GO TO THEM. Don’t wait for them to come to you because they won’t. Don’t berate them, don’t list all their character flaws or all the ways they make you crazy or frustrate you. Don’t criticise them or tear them down. DON’T use their honest Facebook posts against them. DO tell them they matter, that you care, that you love them, that you want them around even if they’re sad or anxious or feeling like a slug.

Words matter. How you use them matter. The people you use them with, and to, matter. Think before you speak.