Monday, February 20, 2012

Contemplating Suicide? Why You Shouldn’t Kill Yourself. My 2 Cents.

if you no longer walked the earth, the ratio of people-who-give-a-damn to a**holes would skew further in the wrong direction.  and i don't want the a**holes to win.  the people who selfishly take from others but don't give, who treat people like crap or make them feel disposable -- as if it doesn't matter if they are here or gone.  you have likely spent your life ensuring others know how much they are loved and valued for exactly who they are, with all of their flaws and imperfections.  you are worth no more or less than any other person, therefore you are equally deserving of the loving care you have selflessly given to others when they were at THEIR worst.  some people either cannot or WILL not give others what they need.  the a**holes may never change, but does that mean they should get to change YOU?  who gave them the right to make others feel worthless?  you have the guts to be ruthlessly honest with yourself and others about how difficult this life really can be, and that is a gift.  do you know how many people out there would trade a hundred pleasantries, a thousand shallow exchanges of small talk, for one real conversation with a genuine person like you?

i can't tell you that one day you are going to wake up and get what you deserve, that the people in your life are going to have an epiphany and realize how screwed up their priorities are, that the self-centered people of the world will figure out what it means to give to others. 

i CAN tell you that, 4 years ago when i roamed the streets of downtown nashville alone on what was to be my last night, homeless people on the street cared more about me than the 2 people who had most made me want to kill myself.  someone with no home-no family-no possessions could take the time to stop and look me in the eye (how many strangers would even notice sorrow in a passerby) and say “it can’t be THAT bad, can it?” but the 2 jerks who had ripped me apart, lied to me, betrayed me, and (the most recent of whom) abandoned me did not so much as phone my family to tell them i had written them suicide notes, much less pick up the phone when i called them, or do anything whatsoever. 

in the end it came down to a choice, and i decided that even if i never did anything else good in my life, I would NEVER treat another person with the disregard they had shown me.  animals are treated better than I was by them.  i almost destroyed my own life, and that of my family members, for people so disgusting they wouldn’t act to save the life of someone they purported to “love.”  perhaps that merely sounds arrogant and self-righteous, to stick around telling myself that i’m better than them.  but i suddenly became enraged when I went back to the hotel, because here i was about to hand over the power to determine my worth – the value of my very life, to be precise – to people who didn’t give a damn whether i lived or died. 

you would probably drop whatever you’re doing to help any random person if you thought they needed you…is that the kind of person who deserves to die?  the only person you have to show up for right now is YOU.  sometimes we have to give ourselves what we wish we could get from others.

why should you NOT kill yourself?  because “ the world (not you) is effing insane,” to quote the unlost.  “The problem isn’t you. The problem is that we live in a world of insanity, and it’s killing us all. Yeah, you heard me right: We’re LIVING IN A FREAKING INSANE ASYLUM, an insane asylum where we all feel as if we’re the only ones struggling, as if we’re the only ones living a silent lie and plastering on a fake smile for the world to see.  But we’re not.”

one minute, one hour, one day at a time = all you have to do. 

“Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world.  Whoever saves a life, it is as if he saved an entire world.  –Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5; Babylonian Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 37a

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Revelation of 2009: Suicide = Murder

June 6, 2009.  People who commit suicide are murderers.  That occurred to me recently.  Murderers take someone’s life.  Suicide is not an accident.  It is a planned, deliberate act of wiping out a person’s existence.  

After realizing this, I stopped to consider what exactly it was I had done that was so terrible as to be deserving of death.  Faces of people I considered to be sh*tty human beings flashed through my mind.  Despite their manner of treating others, their sins, their crimes – whatever the case may be – these people sleep with a clean conscience each night.  They don’t hate themselves for minor infractions.  They don’t toss and turn, unable to close their eyes, trapped in self-recriminating thoughts.  So what causes some people to hate themselves, while others glide through life without a care in the world, unburdened by guilt or regret?

I’ve come to appreciate the precise meaning of ambivalence.  I remember reading once that “suicidal people are ambivalent.”  Unsure, of two minds, undecided.  You either want to die or you don’t, right?  It seems like it should be a pretty black and white issue.  But even after weeks or months or perhaps years, sometimes you really don’t know what the hell you want.  Knowing what you don’t want, that’s the easy part.  You don’t want to get up in the morning.  You don’t want to leave the house.  You don’t want to be so alone.  You don’t want to feel the pain anymore.  You don’t want to put forth the effort it takes to shower or read or brush your teeth.  Do you want to die?  Who the hell knows.  Maybe what you really want are a million other things.  But maybe none of them seem within your power to obtain.  If you can’t ever have what you really want, shouldn’t you at least be able to get rid of what you don’t want? 

The world withholds your “Yes, you may have it” to which you respond “Well, I don’t want what I’ve been given.”  Is suicide not a resounding NO, I WILL NOT to life’s demand that we go on breathing?  Instead of answering the grand questions of existence, suicide answers “I don’t care and I’m tired of trying to figure out what the point of all this is.”  Maybe, if you can’t live the life you want, you have the right to decide that life is not worth living at all.  Some would argue that no one has that right.  Whether we do or not have the right, we all have the ability.  In the end, the choice to live or die belongs to one person, and one alone.  

Present Day.  Whenever I think of my "pre-breakdown" life, the thought of going back to it makes me want to run out and live in a tent in the woods.  I may not want this life I have right now the way it is, but the way things were before made me hate life to begin with.  The problem is that I don't know what would constitute a life worth living, no matter how many days I waste trying to come up with a path I would like to go down...I don't feel like the things I really want are under my control. 

What really scares me is knowing that, even if I could get myself back to the point where I was before - with all the outward markers of success (career, home, financial security, etc.) - I might feel exactly the same way inside.  I don’t know how I kept up the fa├žade before, but I sure don’t have the energy to do it again.

I grieve for things I lost, and also things I threw away.  Sometimes I look back at how impulsive my actions have been (and still are) and wonder what the hell is wrong with me.  I've even gone so far as to make a comparison chart showing "who I used to be" vs. "who I am now."  I don't like facing who I’ve become.  But I also wonder if who I AM has fundamentally changed, or if it's what I DO and how I interact with the world … at heart I believe I am mostly the same inside, but I've locked it all away out of defensiveness toward the world that just seems to want to hurt me.  It feels like a battle between the "me" I would like to be again, and all those external forces/people I am merely reacting to.  If that makes ANY sense at all... 

If it was anyone else, I would say to them, “You are not a role, or any of those surface things the world uses to define a person.  You are still essentially you, the same soul.” 

Everything that matters about you is still inside of you.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Whitney Houston’s Death: Do we have compassion for those who have none for themselves?

“She was a druggie; she deserved to die.”

Some people make callous remarks like that for the shock value, while others truly judge that harshly. It’s not as simple as a failure to understand addiction, a lack of empathy, or a holier-than-thou attitude… and it’s not unique to the critics. I would suspect many addicts think similar thoughts about themselves. Some may not want to live; others actively wish to die. Then there are those who are ambivalent about which category they fall into. Like me.

I don’t purport to understand addiction, but in a way I think we ALL do in some regard. I have my food issues, which run a similar path of self-destruction, and sometimes seem worse than drugs in the sense that you can’t just not eat (and therefore have to manage it constantly). The thing is, it doesn’t matter if you’re Whitney Houston or Jane Doe. You can have it all in the eyes of the world, and have nothing inside.

If you have struggled, you can relate. If you’re human. If you’ve known loss. Or shame. I can’t imagine enduring the whole world’s judgments for all my mistakes; how many people could cope with becoming a laughingstock? I’ve fallen from grace, destroyed my career, and allowed my addiction to overtake me … but fundamentally, nobody cares. I write an anonymous blog and I don’t speak to anybody from my past. It’s the inner critic I have to contend with. That’s the enemy for most of us.

The point is this: I understand self-destruction. I understand self-hatred. I understand getting into a hole you can’t climb out of. I have compassion for what she went through. Why is it, then, that I can find no compassion for myself? The lyrics, “ Learning to love yourself … it is the greatest love of all” run through my mind, one of the Whitney songs I grew up listening to. But why does it always sound so hokey to even talk about? Because we don’t even know what it really means?

Therese at The Unlost writes, “I love all of you. Emptiness and all. Fear and weakness, insecurity and all.” You know, those parts in ourselves which we refuse to tolerate, which convince us we are unacceptable to others. Fittingly, the title of the post reads, “TheGreat Valentine’s Day Hoax: Why the Love We Seek is our own.” If you don’t have it, no one in the world can fix it for you, or give it to you, or buy it for you.

I hope 
life treats you kind 
And I hope 
you have all you've dreamed of 
And I wish you joy 
and happiness 
But above all this 
I wish you love