The Wrong Idea

Another celebrity suicide in the headlines means another open door for judgement. “So selfish”, they say. “He had a family. What about them?”

Fuck that.

Suicide is not a selfish act. It is a desperate one. It is a clawing, suffocating need to make the pain, physical or emotional, go away. It is the belief that others will be better off in a world without you in it. It doesn’t make sense to those who don’t experience it.

I’m four days into the partial hospitalization program at my local mental health facility. The work we do there, in order to attempt to tame our inner demons and reach a place of stability and safety is hard. Beyond description hard. Each day, for six hours, our little group drags out every hard topic, every fear. We open up wounds and poje and prod. We cry and shake and try to make sense of ourselves and each other. We laugh together too, ¬†though. We often find it much easier to find compassion for each other than we do to be compassionate towards ourselves.

At the end of the day, I come home and I sleep. I sleep for hours, no matter how much sleep I got the night before. The first day there, I was only awake for 8 hours.

I try to be patient with those who react with anger towards suicide. Those who call it selfish and cowardly simply don’t understand.

If you are at risk, reach out for help. To anyone, or just to the hotline. No matter what your own mind says, you are worth it.

suicidepreventionlifeline.org

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Hurt

There’s been an honest, but hurtful mistake made. It’s caused things to be thrown into chaos.

There was already so much chaos.

My chest is too tight, my anger simmering a little too close to the surface and it makes my skin feel too hot. Or maybe that’s just the inescapable nerve pain. 

I’ve never been one of those types to get insanely excited about my birthday. This year, in particular, I am absolutely dreading it. I wish it didn’t exist almost as much as I wish I didn’t exist.

I don’t have anymore to offer you. It’s a short, vague, and hopeless post to juxtapose the long, heavy post from earlier. When everything is falling apart, why bother stringing words together? It isn’t as if they’ll be heard anyways.

The Aftermath

It’s been one week and two days since I tried to kill myself. It’s getting easier to talk about, but as reactions pour in, I find myself overwhelmed by different people’s feelings and my own. Some have responded calmly and quietly; a gentle hug, an “I’m glad you’re here”. They tend to be the ones who have been here before. They’ve experienced this aftermath, they know the quiet is the easiest to manage.

Others are louder. They are shocked and scared and their emotions are wild. I feel frightened and cornered, ashamed and burdensome. I want to crawl away and out from under their scrutiny, away from their fear and grief. There’s anger in their worry and it feels as if I’m drowning.

Then there’s me.

A small, barely flickering flame has taken up residence here in this broken heart and mind. I donated my birthday to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Project Semi-Colon. I let my post about my attempt begin to circulate a little more widely so that others in my position might see it and feel a little less alone. A project that I had considered over a year ago that had no direction, no purpose, suddenly falls into place; a non-profit dedicated to collecting and sharing resources for at risk individuals of all ages. A single source for information, assistance, advocacy, and education for those impacted by suicide. A place for loved ones to honor those they’ve lost to it, a place for those facing it to find each other and grasp each other tightly.

A few I’ve shared this with have urged me that I’m taking on too much, that I have to be careful.

“Maybe when you’re done with school.”

“Give it a couple years before you take on any more.”

I don’t have the promise of a couple years, though. I don’t have time on my side and the feeling that every second wasted just thinking about it is another second that someone could be getting help they need, but couldn’t find before. If not for the sake of other people, I need this project because the world needs as many lights as it can possibly hold. One single light extinguished because that person felt as if they weren’t worthy is one too many.

Reach out if you need someone. I’m throwing the link to the suicide hotline on this post again if you feel like you truly have no one, but I promise, you are not alone.

There’s a whole tribe of Lemons and Spoonies with you.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

A Lengthy, Heavy Post (AKA: The Writer Has Been Gone Too Long)

Trigger warning: I’m gonna be talking about some heavy stuff in this post and some of it will probably be upsetting or triggering to some. Proceed with caution.

Yeesh. My last post was the 16th and as off the rails as the title suggested.

This is the reason I don’t go back and read my blog posts. Pam, almost every time I post here, texts or messages or (if she’s in the room with me) looks over and says “Uh, your friendly neighborhood blog editor checking in here” and will point out typos that I didn’t catch because my author style for this blog is apparently “keep it wild by never editing. At all. Not even a quick read-through or scan for typos, just post it and run the other direction,” which I’m sure all the writers reading just hardcore cringed at.

Or maybe you all nodded in understanding, because writing is hard and the worst critic a writer will ever have is themselves and sometimes, the only way to get something out is to just do it and not look back.

My Inner Editor has been in full force and she isn’t satisfied with just my writing. She’s been looking to cut out friends, rewrite scenes of my life with risky decisions and more action, and finding a lot wrong with everything about who I am.

This past Monday, she almost got me to delete the entire work in progress.

That was really new and probably very startling to a lot of you and I’m sorry for how many people are going to find out about what happened by reading this instead of talking to me. If you can believe it, this is way easier than telling people you love directly that you tried to kill yourself. I am safe, I have reached out to the appropriate channels for help and I’m getting myself taken care of, but it still leaves a dark stain on anything and everything it touches.

Things haven’t been going well. I know, “obviously,” was probably what you just said to your screen as you read that. “Understatement!” you guffawed. But it needed to be stated. Some of it I can’t and won’t get into here because some of my problems aren’t for the world to read about, but most of it boiled down to finally reaching a point where I decided that the best course of action would be to stop living. I’ve come to this decision a few times, as anyone who struggles with suicidal thoughts tends to, but this time was different. This time, I grabbed the means to do the job and I left the house, started walking down a main road with the intent of finding somewhere off the beaten path where some random passer-by wouldn’t happen upon me and be scarred forever (Nikki and Pam not finding me being the reason I left home at all), composing an email and setting it on a timer to send to the local police, and carrying out the deed. (Disclaimer: For the safety of readers that might be struggling with suicidal thoughts and for the sake of the sanity of those that read this and would be better off without details, I won’t be going into detail on what it was I planned on doing.) As I walked, Nikki and Pam kept messaging. I tried being evasive and not telling them what exactly I was doing, tried saying I was just going for a walk, but the more they poked, the more scared I got until I lost my nerve entirely. After roughly an hour, I stopped walking, I threw away what I had brought with me to do it and sat on a swing in the schoolyard I’d stopped at because I’d walked nearly a mile and was too emotional to continue. I confessed to them both what I’d planned on doing, that I had gotten rid of any means of harming myself, and started walking back home after taking some time to rest and compose myself.

Needless to say, it was a pretty shitty night.

The next day was Nikki and I’s second anniversary. It was, without anyone save for a couple of people knowing, exactly what I needed to banish the previous night’s thoughts and feelings. The day was filled with love and well wishes from family and friends. Nikki and I took time to not only celebrate together, but to examine our relationship and see what we could do to make it better and stronger. We had friends over for DnD later that evening and had a blast like we always do. It was demonstrated a thousand times over just how many things I would be missing if I had succeeded the night before. I think about how differently Tuesday, June 27th would have looked for everyone I care about and everyone that cares about me. The news would have slowly broken over the course of the night and day. Instead of congratulations and celebration, Nikki would have been subjected to the Hell of having to telling my family and friends what I had done. Instead of well wishes and fun, my loved ones would have had to manage the loss. Instead of laughter, there would have been anger and grief. For every comment I read that congratulated Nikki and I, I saw a message of condolences for my family. Shame and guilt for my actions turned to awe and a gratitude so profound, I could never conceive of the words to describe it. Gratitude for the people surrounding me, for the fear that made me hesitate, for the love and acceptance that ultimately stopped me.

This was a long one, and I’m almost done, but I didn’t want to post this without posting a few things first.

First of all, if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, I’ve included some links at the end of this post for different resources like the National Suicide Prevention website, which you can call or chat online with 24/7, and a couple sites dedicated to providing listeners free of charge for those struggling with life in general and who need someone to talk to.

Secondly, I’m gonna get political for a minute. Mental health resources are already scarce and, if you manage to find them, they are often expensive and impossible to obtain for some of the people that desperately need it. Our government is currently working on legislation that would make it virtually impossible for ANYONE to provide or access mental health resources. We, as a nation, need to pull our collective head out of our ass and actually start taking care of each other. We need to recognize and fight for the idea that healthcare is not a privilege, but a basic human right and it is not for sale. We cannot allow anyone to put a pricetag on human life anymore. In 2018, 268 seats (33 Senate seats and all 435 seats of the House) will be up for grabs. We need to make sure that the people that fill those seats have our best interest in mind and heart. Educate yourself on who is running in your state, in your local governments, where you vote, your rights as a voter and how to identify and stop voter fraud or voter suppression. If you aren’t registered, register. If you’ve never voted, figure out how to and get yourself registered if you haven’t done so. But for the love of anything and everything you hold dear, FUCKING VOTE, PEOPLE! And in the meantime, it takes literally five minutes or less to call your House and Senate leaders. Do it. Tell them to do the right thing and remind them that the American people deserve proper and affordable healthcare. Write letters if you’re shy or anxious about talking to people on the phone. I’ll include a couple ways you can reach out to your representatives, but a quick google search can give you pretty much anything you need to get the job done.

Finally, don’t forget how fucking amazing you are. Every single one of you reading this, you are a beautiful, wonderful, perfectly imperfect human being and you are worthy. YOU ARE WORTHY. You deserve happiness and love and acceptance. If you aren’t getting that, reach out. You will find it and it will find you. Reach out to me through the Lemons and Spoons Facebook page or email me (lemonsandspoonsblog@gmail.com). You are not alone out there and even if I have no idea who you are, I already love you because you deserve to be loved just for existing and being you. Tell other people how much you love them every single chance you get. You have no idea how much they might need to hear that. Do silly shit, be crazy sometimes. Accept that we’re flawed beings and that’s okay. Accept that, sometimes, we need help and that there are people in the world who want to help you. And finally, recognize that life is nothing but a series of moments, and all moments come to an end. Try to fill your life with as many good moments as you can. Try to remember that the bad moments end and that your life is too precious to let the bad moments define you or worse, convince you that life isn’t worth living.

Life is the only thing worth living. That’s why we live.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ -The National Suicide Prevention website, suicide prevention hotline and online chat available 24/7

https://www.7cups.com/ – 7 Cups is a site that provides free chats with trained listeners on a variety of topics. You can also undergo training and become a listener yourself to be there for others who need someone to talk to. They also have lots of resources for self-care.

https://www.superbetter.com/ -Superbetter makes a game out of self care. You are the hero and everyday, you fight bad guys (overcome obstacles), activate power-ups (things that give you strength and energy), and complete quests (reach goals).

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/ -Information on some of the resources available nationwide. For more local resources, a simple google search can usually give you a few ideas of where you can get help or, at the very least, point you in the direction of someone who can help you find help. Side note: don’t underestimate your own community. Your local library or local churches might have some really great resources you never knew about or might be able to help you find resources!

https://greatist.com/grow/resources-when-you-can-not-afford-therapy -A good list of mental health resources for when you can’t afford a therapist. Full credit goes to the author,¬†Katherine Schreiber.

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ -Find your House Representative!

https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/ -Find your Senator!

https://www.eac.gov -A website containing plenty of information on federal voting rights and general national voting education. Personally, though, nothing beats going straight to your state and local government websites and finding voting information that way, since each state has its unique voting laws and processes in addition to federal laws and processes.