Over the weekend, while planting potatoes, I decided to tackle the reason I stopped facebooking and started this blog.
At somewhere around 3 o’clock in the morning, on Christmas Day, 2016, I tossed and turned with months of built up thoughts and feelings and ailments that pushed me to a breaking point. My husband was sleeping peacefully beside me. So as not to disturb him, I got out of bed and went into the extra bedroom to decide how best to find the least painful and least messy way to end my life. I’d had many a death wish throughout the course of my life, starting with the teen years, but this was the closest I’d ever come to actually formulating a real plan to end it all.
The first thing that happened once I decided that this was going to be it was a sense of empowerment. I didn’t have control over so many aspects of my life at the time, and there were multiple voices that, bit by bit over the course of time (and when I say, “voices” perhaps it can be more accurately described as domineering inner chatter), had been eating away at my own ability to decide how my life should be lived. When I made the decision to end my life, those voices became very still, very quiet – kind of like the birds just before a bad storm is moves in. With that little shot of courage in that moment, and with immense calm, I began going through all the various ways to off myself, trying to sort out which one would best meet the need of that thing of leaving the least mess and be the least painful – while, at the same time, allowing me to stay fully conscious all the way through to the end. I wanted so badly to go online for help with the research, but I didn’t want to leave that trail behind for anyone who might wish to investigate the incident after the fact. Like flipping through a frame of posters trying to decide which one I would be taking home to put on my wall (they don’t have those in stores any more to my knowledge), I began to go through the various means one-by-one, evaluating the end results. I began to think of how the people closest to me would be affected and felt badly for the wake of confusion, bewilderment, and sadness they would have to deal with. Oddly enough, none of that moved me to change my mind – until I got to my son, who has had struggles of his own in his very young life. When I started to think about the message I would be sending to him about the value of life, that’s when I started rethinking it. That’s what gave me pause. And, after having gone through the various means I’d been able to think of up to that point, it was starting to become clear that there wasn’t a non-violent way to go about this. Even though I can be a volatile person at times, I detest violence, of any kind. I loathe it so very deeply.
Now that this interruption has come to my plans, what the hell now?? How do I go on living? I didn’t have any answers right then, but I did know that the arduous task was starkly before me. Damn it!! Damn it, damn it, damn it!!
I called a suicide hotline – twice. I got hung up on both times. My voice would not cooperate with the need to speak up. I tried croaking out a hello, weakly, on both calls, but to no avail. The vocal volume needed to start a conversation just was not there, so the person at the other end of the line assumed there was no one there and hung up (I called the organization later on after the crisis had passed and chided them about this). Eventually, I found a place where I could send a text and have a conversation that way. That turned out to be such a Godsend! The person having the written conversation with me was so immensely wise, and understanding of what I was facing, and so compassionate, I couldn’t believe it! It was stunning, really. That conversation helped me gain some peace to go on for that day.
The sun comes up. First things first: Tell my husband what went on in the night and get through Christmas Day! My husband hates that I want to put up a Christmas tree every year. I have ornaments I’ve been collecting for over 25 years, and each and every one of them represents a Christmas I survived. He will likely never understand this, and that’s okay. Maybe one of these days he won’t begrudge me this ritual of taking the ornaments out of the box, lining them all up, then very carefully and thoughtfully hanging them on the tree newly strung with lights and tinsel. Maybe not. But no matter. I will do this until I no longer can, for whatever reason.
Once that crisis was past, it didn’t take long to realize that the first thing that had to go in order to start the process of moving on was facebook. All that garbage had been coursing through me – especially all the discord surrounding the recent presidential election. Seeing what it was doing to people was just too much. This just was not a healthy thing for me, and so, bye-bye to facebook.
When I felt what I felt after making the decision to end my life, all of a sudden, I understood so much better why it is that people do it. That sense of taking the power back that had been robbed, and stripped, and pillaged away coming back in one glorious moment! It was a way to look all of that dead in the eye and say what most needed to be said: The proverbial f— you, and f— the effing horse you f——–g rode in on, you insidious, stupid, treacherous mother effing bastard!! Shut your mother effing mouth this instant! You will rob me no further. I’ll take the reins back now, no thanks to you very much!
What helped me live in the year that would follow was the remembrance of that sense of empowerment in that moment. It stayed with me all through the task of breathing in and out and putting one foot in front of the other toward getting healthy.
These things in our society are far too taboo, which is what makes them the most destructive. Mental and emotional – and, quite often, physical afflictions reach a boiling point, and that’s when very bad things happen. When I became ready and willing to commit suicide, there was not one part of my being that didn’t hurt. Everything hurt. Absolutely, everything. There was nothing in and about my being that didn’t hurt, and there was no place to go to get relief. This is unacceptable!
Somebody famous ends their life or has a very public mental and/or emotional crisis, and we say we need to have a conversation about mental health, but we never do. We keep on, as if it’s not happening all around us when it is. I don’t know what needs to be done to change this, but I’m at the precipice of making it one of my missions in life to change this. The person at the end of that text line that pivotal night helped ease the suffering – just enough so that I could get my bearings and find the reset button. God bless you who took the time to give a shit, whoever you are! We need more of you in this world.
This is all I can say right now. I’m still in recovery and quite likely may be for the remainder of my days. It’s raining out, which means I can’t go out and pour all that I have into my garden, my therapy. So, please pardon me while I go and cry in my shirt sleeve for a while.
Peace be with you.