Welcome to yet another Happy Suicide Prevention Month!
I’ve been looking at suicides, because, y’know, hobby, and it’s heartbreaking how many people think there’s no other option. They’re so beaten down, or in so much pain, or they’re at the end of their rope (sometimes literally, which is a terrible joke), or something. There are so many young people who don’t know yet, and some people never do figure it out, that most of what seems so painful is bullshit. The world is full of bullshit. But it still hurts, bullshit or not, and sometimes it’s the depression that has them so down, and then something, anything, or a continuing trial of little things, makes up their mind for them. There are kids running around with depression who are hiding it so well that no one would ever think of it. “Always happy, always smiling, always the life of the party.” Well, not so much. Some people can act so well they should be on stage.
When I was 12 or so I took most of a bottle of Excedrin. I don’t know what I was thinking, because looking at it now, it just seems really stupid. But I did want the pain to stop, and Excedrin was supposed to stop pain, right? Anyway, it was probably all I could find a large quantity of – my dad kept them on hand so he could have two every night so he wouldn’t “wake up with a headache.” I rather doubt that it works that way, but whatever.
I would like to say I am the only 12 year old who wanted the pain to stop, but there have been suicides of kids much younger.
A bottle of Excedrin won’t kill you, but I know what it will do. It will make your stomach bleed like a mother*****. For a couple of weeks I walked around hunched over while my stomach bled, trying to ignore it and then thinking it was going along swimmingly, until my stepmother yelled at me to stop acting like that. So I straightened up, and the pain was worse, but I straightened up anyway, and eventually it went away.
If she, being stepmother, knew what I’d done, she would have said I was just looking for attention.
No shit. I probably was. I’m an attention seeker all right.
Several years later I took some meds I found in my parent’s bathroom, hoping they might do the trick.
No. It did not work out for me, because I’m still here. What it did get me was a home visit from my church youth leader (my family didn’t go to church, only I did, to my own church) and grounded, which meant I had to stay locked in my room and watch a lot of TV. Which is just as well, because I’d rather be here than not, most days.
People will try whatever it takes if they have that level of pain. And they will hide it so successfully that you’ll never know. We don’t all yell from the rooftops, “Hey, I’m really really really depressed,” like I do. I have no shame, apparently, but many people do feel shame about it. They don’t want to burden their family or their friends, or they don’t want people to think differently about them. They want to maintain the illusion that they’ve got it all together . . . just like everyone else. They care what people think of them, like most of us.
But there’s nothing shameful in being depressed. If you break your leg, I’m not going to tell you that it’ll get better if you just walk on it, damnit, because it’s all in your head, but some exercise and fresh air will take care of it.
I love it when people say it’s all in your head because, of course, where else would it be? That doesn’t mean it’s not real.
So, if you have depression, and you’re feeling the least bit suicidal, what do you do?
The correct answer is all of the above. If the person you tell doesn’t believe you, or tells you you’re being DRAMATIC, which is another fun word people use to downplay what’s going on, or tells you you’re just putting too much pressure on yourself, and just stop it, or tells you anything other than, “Let’s get you some help for that,” tell someone else, and keep at it until someone takes you seriously and you get help. It’s also nice if they say, “I love you anyway, you nitwit,” because that always makes me laugh.
Depressed people are not, after all, totally without humor. Except sometimes.
It seems so much easier to do away with oneself these days. That, or I was just a really unimaginative kid. Or I didn’t want to die, I just wanted some attention. Or I just wanted the pain to stop. Or I just wanted someone to see me for a change, instead of looking through me and putting whatever they imagined I was in my place. I don’t know, and for me it doesn’t matter, because I’m here now and my life is pretty freaking awesome.
But it matters for someone with that level of depression. It matters a lot.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (afsp.org) has walks, just like other illnesses (and thank you to my awesome friends for pointing that out), and while I can’t do a walk this year, I’m hoping by next year I can.
The Last Good Daughter? That was just the title on top of the page when I started typing this.