a word | isn't it romantic?
It’s that time again. Has happened again that I have come full circle back to thinking of ways to die. Someone somewhere is saying, oh but if you really wanted to it is so easy. it’s just not that difficult. you could quite easily, say, hang yourself. You could throw yourself in front of a speeding train. you could swim out to the ocean and on and on. All of these are valid. The trouble for me is, if the reason I want to die in the first place has to do with escaping pain, why on earth would i choose a painful means of exit? More, I am not and never have been a violent person - nor have i, even when i ought have been, an angry person (angry people usually use a firearm to commit suicide).
I don’t wish to dwell on suicide or suicidal ideation here as a thing that has any romance associated with it whatsoever. Suicide and near suicide which I’ve come close to at least once, is messy, painful both physically and mentally, hard to recover from (it takes years for you and your family and friends to get over your near death). It shakes you to the very core. And if you meant to die, as I did, it shakes you even further because Fuck it didn’t work and you are left with a sort of void and a “now what” that echoes ad infinitum.
My go to suicide has always been Kurt Cobain who reminds me of both myself and my brother who committed suicide with a firearm much the same way Cobain did. Cobain had expressed all of the angst that I felt and sometimes still feel (though now i am older i see some of it as simple self pity and wallowing, which is fine really - no one said that was illegal). And Cobain was cool. he didn’t give a fuck about what anyone thought or at least he was good at putting up that front - a front that i wish like hell i could put up. He said what he wanted to say. he made the music he wanted to make. He was in your face. And he got rich and super famous doing it. What’s not to love? Unfortunately for him, there were other issues lurking around - that had to do i think with drugs and perhaps fidelity (though I don’t know much about his marriage honestly so that could be wrong) but drugs for sure. But Cobain to me was admirable in some way because as fucked up as it may sound to you, he had the chutzpah to pull the trigger and just get the damn act over with.
I ought be very careful here lest someone - anyone - think that what i am saying is a ringing endorsement of suicide. It is not. While i believe suicide is understandable in extreme cases of emotional and mental anguish, i believe it ought be handled by a doctor. I am completely for legally assisted suicide (mercy euthanasia I’ll call it) at the hands of a medical professional for people who suffer greatly from intractable mental illness. If you’ve tried most every drug, years of therapy, and none of these things have worked, then yes, i believe that a good doctor ought do the right thing and help you die and put you and everyone else around you out of your misery. I’ve thought about it myself. Had i cancer (which I’ve also had) some doctors would not hesitate if the condition were terminal. But when depression is terminal - when depression leads to suicidal ideation and suicide attempt which as i said are messy and painful and awful - mercy euthanasia is not even considered part of the option because, they insist, “depression changes and it passes.”
This is not always true. It may fluctuate, but if you keep coming back to the same place and that place is a dark place that gets darker every time you visit why on earth would a doctor say No? I think it’s time the law changed quite honestly. And i think other laws that lead to suicide need to change too - like bullying laws for example which are too lax and apply mostly to high school kids when we need them in the damn board room. Employees need recourse from corporate bullying (which costs corporations and the government a staggering amount of money every year due to lost wages, sick time, rapid employee turnover, unemployment, as well as a simple ripple effect on the economy). Make no mistake, all of those little barbs you thought or someone thought were so funny at the time and everyone had a good chuckle around the water cooler caused someone real pain in a very real world. There are real consequences and they are felt by everyone, not just by that person. It’s like a fractal that repeats and repeats and repeats and repeats and all because one person just couldn’t help him or herself. I should add too that bullying has led many times to suicide (which is now known as bullycide), but i’m pretty sure it goes underreported.
So why am i writing this on this cold winter’s night? Why think about suicide at all?
Last week i wanted to go to the top of the tallest building i could find and jump off the ledge. The trouble was, I had been on that very ledge not so long ago (this past summer) and found that despite the fact that i really did want to jump, I could not bring myself to move out over the railing and onto the ledge. Something stopped me. I call it cowardice and I feel deeply ashamed that I did not just jump - that would be at least some courage of conviction. I kept turning it over and over since then - what would it take for me to actually get out on to the ledge and jump:
a. I could find a way so access is key. I sorted that much out
b. It would be easier to do at night because you don’t really see the ground
c. i have to stop thinking about What if i survive the fall. People have survived falls from terrible heights. What concerns me is that the building is not tall enough and that i would need a really much taller building for my suicide to be successful.
You see - there is nothing romantic about it. Dylan said, “To her death is quite romantic….” I don’t know who he is talking about but it ain’t me. Religion - poetry - writing - may well be my religion, and my sin may well be my lifelessness at times - but death - no death never was and never will be romantic. Death is a serious business and not a pretty one.
I’m not sure what the point in writing this tonight is - other than to say perhaps to me and to you that we ought think very carefully before we make a rash decision like the decision to die. That I fall into this place all too often and can give you a thousand valid reasons as to why i feel that way and for the most part, i have to say i honestly believe they are pretty legitimate reasons for not wanting to live. I can also say that some other person has it far worse and they don’t want to die but in the end I could give a fuck. I’m me. They are them. I cannot sit and compare myself to other people and their issues in an environment of competitive suffering over and over and over again. My pain is my pain. My joy is my joy and theirs is theirs and so on and so on. My grandmother used to tell me that if we could all go somewhere and lay down our cross and pick up someone else’s cross, we would pick up our own because at least we know it. At least we know the trials and tribulations that come with that. She was right of course. It’s so easy to for another to look at you and say Oh gosh, it isn’t that bad for her or him. We do this all of the time. Unless it’s some awful radical news story full of terror and disaster, we have a convenient way of turning away from the truth of another’s pain. I think that’s basic self preservation though. If we really had to spend too much time looking at another’s life and getting involved we would all have compassion fatigue and be dead tired with not enough left for ourselves or our family. We choose wisely and carefully who we dole out our affection and understanding to.
Years ago i saw a man jump from the ledge of a very tall building in Manhattan. A crowd had gathered on the corner of Madison and 45th street. Some people in the crowd were shouting “Jump. Jump” More than a few. others were laughing. I stood there watching, shocked, frightened, wondering what this person was thinking and what had brought him or her to the ledge. What i could not understand and still do not understand is how it could be that the majority, not just a minority, of people, could want to encourage this person to jump.
The jumper did jump. And from what it looked like the jumper likely died though I don’t know this for certain. What I’m trying to understand all these years later is the blood thirstiness of people and the cruelty that comes out in times like that. How it is that these are the same people who all bond together when there is a terrorist attack like 9/11 and people are jumping out of the Twin Towers. I want to know what the difference is between that pain and the jumper’s pain all those years ago. Between that death and those deaths. I want to know where the heart was on that day. Where the compassion was. Was it that it was not some unseen dark hand that forced the figure onto the balcony? Someone to conveniently and easily hate and blame? I say to you that terrorism takes many forms - subtle and otherwise, and whatever got that person out there on the ledge from which he or she jumped was some act of terrorism either from within the self’s brain or inflicted by some abuser which just ate and ate and ate away at his or her self worth until they said Fuck it and jumped.
I’ve not much else to say this early morning. Only to say that all we have is each other in the end. And while i tend to go on absurd buying sprees, particularly when I am depressed, I know that in the end stuff is just stuff even if i am a material girl living in a material world. That these things that surround me tonight - my warm bed, my christmas lights on all years, my candles - they symbolize home to me. I am clinging to them for as long as I can. I am holding fast as if my life were at stake.
You do the same.
Thanks for listening,