The Other Side of Suicide

I was depressed for the better part of a decade, and I spent most of it trying to die and not to die. I had become intolerant of the simplest parts of staying alive: eating, working, sleeping.

I crossed the road without looking.
I fell asleep in the bath.
I returned to suicidal matters for the third time that year.

I just wanted my brain to shut up, but on it went, year upon year. Then my emotions retreated, and I returned to numbness.

There are no easy ways to kill yourself, and few painless ways to die. Through all my planning, I was brought back to life raging, churning my suicidal ideation around and around in my mind as though it would curdle if I stopped.

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Depression is relentless. It chips away your character until the only things left are the skeletal remains of your old self. I couldn’t connect with people. I was too dead for that, and I had enough self-hatred to fuel a liturgy.

My friends found it intolerable. They were terrified that my death would arrive tomorrow… And tomorrow… And tomorrow. They tried their damnedest to improve the situation, but depression was stronger. Love was a balm, but not a cure.

My scars are my personal semicolon tattoo. I tried to end my sentence. Then I chose, not to survive, but to thrive. I got help. Then I worked with my doctors until we’d kicked depression into the past. It wasn’t an easy fix, but we made it work in the end.

This side of suicide feels like rebirth. I’m an entirely new person. I’m amazed that I still have friends from that era, but they’re still in my life. Those relationships are different creatures now—easy, honest, light. Post-depression life has so much vibrancy, and even nine years later, I still feel grateful for the sunsets.

I receive suicide threats often on this site, and I never know how to respond. The only resource I have to give away is this story. Depression feels like a life sentence, but that’s just the lie it tells you. Depression convinces you that the rest of your life will be like this—another piece of dishonesty. It says you are worthless. Also untrue. That you can’t make it to the end of this day. Bullshit. You can, especially if you know that between 70 and 90% of patients recover.

I will hope enough for the two of us because I’ve seen the other side of this disease.

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10 thoughts on “The Other Side of Suicide

  1. When I approached you with questions on how to deal with a partner who was suicidal, I was perplexed when you came back with “I don’t really know how to advise on this”. Coming from Red who always seemed so on it and see everything so clearly, really threw me.
    I now understand how alien and distant those depressive years must seem now that you have got away from depression and suicide.
    Glad you beat it dear friend.
    Big love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t stay away from advice because my experience is in the past. I stay away because the only advice I have is to seek therapy and a psychiatrist. I’m just a layperson. I don’t have any special knowledge, so I believe giving advice would be doing people a disservice. Depression is an illness. Telling you to love it away is, to me, the same as telling someone to love away their partner’s diabetes.

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  2. Great post! After many, many years and many moments of giving up I now see things so differently. To say I don’t get depressed would be a lie but now how I handle it is completely different. I acknowledge the feeling and then I go outside and look up at the stars and think about their beauty and their mystery. I try not to go a day without looking at a sunset or finding something to appreciate. Even a message online or a text from a friend, any possible thing I can be thankful for I focus on it and rather than let pain paralyze me, I push myself to do something that makes me feel good like yoga, long walks, or being close with someone and it really has helped me to survive and find more peace. I lost my close friend to suicide last year, she was my rock- that more than anything made me realize I cannot do that to myself. If she could come back to life she would not have been ok with the fact that it ripped this hole in my heart and almost pushed me over the edge. We forget in our darkest moments that there are people close and even strangers that feel something for us and depression often convinces us that nobody cares but in actuality we tend to push the ones that do care away from us. I’ll never push people away again after losing her, I don’t want any of us to give up- ever. Again, great post- thanks for writing your story so honestly.

    Liked by 2 people

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