“Why would you want to kill yourself?”
I’ve heard this question posed to me before and often in conjunction with, “You have a husband and four, beautiful children. Aren’t they worth staying alive for?”
The first thing I would say is: I didn’t W A N T to kill myself. What I wanted was to stop hurting. I wanted to stop existing in the kind of torment I was experiencing. It wasn’t a case of mind over matter either. When you are in that dark place, where you are contemplating thoughts on suicide, you just want the hurt to end.
The second thing I would say is: In my case, because I am not sure about others, I was not thinking about my husband and children. Not in that way, at least. Instead of thinking: “What would their lives be like with me gone?” I was thinking: “My life would be better with me gone.” It’s almost as though I was seeing this as some kind of twisted mathematical equation, where you can eliminate that x with no consequences, instead of knowing that you have to take that x from both sides. I did not think about them at all, even though I love my family (husband and children and parents and pets). A suicidal person, like myself in that moment, is completely submerged in self-loathing and pain.
The third thing I would say: “Does not having a family make it okay or somehow more acceptable to kill yourself?” I should hope this would be a resounding no, but when people bring up my family, I get very upset. It is not that I did not care. In fact, it was almost like I cared too much. My depression and mania often wreak a lot of havoc in my household. I was trying to spare them.
People everywhere, regardless of having a love of their life and kids or not, attempt and commit suicide all the time. How this should make a difference eludes me and furthermore, irritates me. Those who are alone have sometimes made a conscious decision to be alone. Some, do not want to be alone and struggle finding people who will understand them past their mental illness. Just because someone is alone doesn’t mean that they are unhappy, either. And, just because someone is alone, doesn’t mean their attempt at suicide is somehow, more understandable. I have heard people say, “Well, if she had someone she wouldn’t have done it.” Not directed to me, but others. Suicide has nothing to do with having love or having happiness. It is a perception of your world, and it is very, very bleak, and people who have love and happiness and money, commit or try to commit suicide all the time. We need to shift this perception and turn the focus to mental illness and trying to understand it and ending the stigma attached to it as well as the idea that if you have it all, it will never happen to you. Because it can. It happened to me.
None of this is to say that those closest to you should not be a huge reason for you wanting to live. It’s been roughly seven years since my last attempt and part of my being mentally healthy, is remembering that my family loves me, and loves me even in my bleakest moments. I work very hard to keep that on the surface of all my thoughts and talk to my husband when the darkness creeps in and tries to steal it from me. Depression is an insidious beast and sometimes it is something very innocuous that happens which causes it to slide its’ icy hands over you. I feel it takes a village to be able to recognize it, meaning your significant other, your children, your parents, your friends and your co-workers and because it takes a village, we all have to understand mental illness and not be afraid of it and not shame the person who has it.
*About the picture: We all need to reach out. Be kinder. Smile at people. You never know what someone’s going through and you never know when your smile, or your friendship, might be that beacon of light they need to keep the darkness at bay.
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