One of the goals I have always had in journaling my experience, here at In It For The Parking, is to help others better understand what life is like for someone with my conditions, because I believe that empathy allows us to better communicate and connect with one another as human beings.
This is especially true when I write about suicide, because I have fought against suicidal ideation for years.
Recently, Scientific American came out with an article that I think came very close to describing the truth of the suicidal mindset, but that missed a crucial component – A #7: Stop caring about the people who you’d leave behind.
To summarize their article, here is “How to Commit Suicide in 6 Easy Steps”
- Fall short of standards
- Blame yourself
- Don’t forgive yourself, and be acutely aware of what a fuck up you are at every moment of every day.
- Begin to believe that you ought to die – either because you should be executed for whatever real or imagined sin has occurred or because it is the only way to end your pain,
- Stop worrying about the future, because you’ve decided there won’t be any, and
- Overcome your fear of painful death.
You might wonder how I can say that I have overcome 1-6, but trust me, I have.
Anyone who has a chronic illness that has incapacitated them to the point of being forced to apply for Social Security Disability has been forced to fill out paperwork describing in detail how they have fallen short of standards set for them by society. A truly soul-crushing exercise, to say the least.
Anyone who has MS knows what it is to question whether or not it is your fault whether or not you have the disease. When medical science cannot tell you why you have a disease, why wouldn’t it be your fault? And with the mounting evidence about the gut-brain connection, I wonder sometimes if I haven’t caused it with my dietary choices. I couldn’t have known… but that doesn’t matter in moments when I’m suicidal over the pain I feel from it sometimes. And who wants a future filled with ridiculous pain anyway?
And then there’s the real reason why I have been suicidal for years – the miscarriage I never told anyone about in 2000… and my fear of judgment and punishment if I asked anyone at all for help. How “It’s your word vs. mine.” and a few well placed punches convinced me to never say a word to anyone.
But #7 matters. Because you can endure terrible pain when you care about people. Pain comes and goes. It’s kind of ridiculous the kind of disgusting and humiliating and awful things that you can simply get past and go through in life in the name of love, if you’re not willing to let that part of who you are break. Your love of those other people will get you through because there’s so much more wonderful stuff out there in life than the awfulness that the suicidal badness shows you.
There’s only one you. In all of time and space and for all eternity. So you suck it up, and you bear the pain and the shame, because those people fucking matter to you, and you won’t let yourself believe any of it anyway, so you tuck it all away. You repress it. You make it “disappear” because it already is done, and you should never have to think of it again… until 11 years later you get PTSD and get to relive it in flashbacks…
And then your brother tells you that you’re *choosing* to be disabled. *sardonic smirk* Maybe this will help him understand. No one chooses to be a victim.