“I attempted suicide something like eight times-”
“So you weren’t very good at it, then?”
Hahaha. Yes. Absolutely. Yes. In fact, you might even say I sucked at it.
This was the first time I’ve ever told my life story to someone and gotten that kind of response and hallelujah, it’s about time someone pointed that out.
Let’s see here… I took a bunch of pills the first time, took more pills the next time, took more pills with alcohol the time after that, tried to strangle myself with a lamp cord, iPhone charger and William and Mary lanyard… and oh yes, drank some Raid. None of this is striking you as particularly brilliant or effective is it?
I’m not suggesting that you go out and mock people who are actively suicidal or depressed, but it’s impossible for us to help anyone as long as we’re afraid of them– and that includes being afraid of offending them. We still may choose not say these things out loud, but it’s worth at least considering them. What does it mean for someone to attempt suicide eight times and live through it?
Most obviously (from my experience):
1. I didn’t actually want to die. It was just the only alternative to a really crappy life that I could see at the time. Anytime anyone else proposed a solution I was all ears. At least the first fifty times. After that, you kind of lose hope. But as soon as I met someone that was genuinely happy, and was not scared of me, I was again ready to listen.
2. People who are in pain really don’t think very clearly. I was pretty much a broken record of “Just make the pain stop. Please.”
3. Fear is paralyzing. I was terrified of emotional and physical pain and so pretty much stuck. Couldn’t take any steps to live better for fear of increasing my emotional pain and couldn’t even stick with one of the tried and true suicide methods for fear of physical pain. Horrible place to be. I’d always thought if there were a button to push that could have ended my life, I probably would not have lived past, I dunno, age eight?
4. Imagine how it feels to think you’ve failed at life and even failed at death. When people survive suicide they are bombarded by angry and weepy family members and friends. And when you’ve survived it as many times as I had, people really (and understandably) start to get pissed off.
And you can no longer whip people around with the threat of suicide. You’ve played your last and final bargaining chip, tipped your hand. This is certainly an unhealthy and selfish way of thinking, but see #2 above. People in pain are not capable of being anything BUT selfish.
So my time of torment has long since passed but I guess I felt the need to say this to encourage all of us to lose the fear and taboo surrounding these difficult topics. I have a friend currently going through something difficult but entirely different– something that I have never been through personally and can’t relate to. I don’t want to say the wrong the thing but my fear pretty much guarantees that I will make it about myself rather than listening to her needs. Fearless is the only way love can take place.