15 August 2014

From a friend:

He sat there with the bottle in front of him for hours and says that he knew if he opened it and took just one drink, that was it. He was a dead man. He wouldn't stop until he was dead. We asked him if he'd thought about the damage he would leave behind, how many lives would be broken because he'd killed himself, and he said something I'll never forget: I thought I would be doing all of you a favor. You'd never have to deal with my shit again. Killing myself would be like doing something good for anyone who cared about me.

He's been sober for what, three or four years? He seems happy and healthy, but we will always worry. It will only take one thing, it could be something big or something small, and he might bypass the drugs and alcohol and go straight to ending everything, and in his mind he's giving us the gift of him being gone. It doesn't make sense to us but it makes sense to him, and that's terrifying.
I've never had depression issues; I've never had suicidal thoughts. I've had anger issues, self-worth issues, body image issues, chronic pain issues, issues about my ability to keep writing anything worth someone else reading, issues about a plethora of other things that I'm sure I share with a majority of the world, but I don't think I've ever really been depressed and I know I've never felt suicidal.

So is it puzzling that I understand what he was saying? I get the point he was trying to make?

The discussions opened this week about depression--true depression, not the sorts of sadness or the blues that are a part of being alive--are already dying down. It's like, yeah, sure I get it, now let's move on.

Not everyone can.

I've been metaphorically holding my breath the last couple of days, hoping to not find out that a few friends who do teeter on the edge have had triggered, hoping to not realize that a few who struggle hard with depression are slipping deeper into it. I don't know whether the open discussions that have been going on have been helpful or harmful to them, if it's giving them a line to grab onto or if it feels like someone is trying to shove them under and hold them there.

But I do get what my friend's brother-in-law was trying to say.

It's scary. I'm sure right now he grasps the concept of suicide being a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but I get it.


Unknown said...

Thank you Karen. Just...thank you

Shaggy and Scout said...

The thing is, in the deepest darkest depths of it, once I slipped from the feelings of utter anguish, lostness & pain so deep there are (were) no words for it, all feeling ceased in my body. I entered a hollow, empty, quiet, peaceful black abyss where there was only one answer. "I can finally be done with this." I think this is the warning sign people miss...when a depressed person suddenly becomes calm, almost dare I say happy, because the decision to finalize things has been reached within themselves. For me there was still enough of myself left that I reached out while I was teetering between anguish and final peace to a dear friend who listened. I don't know how much sense I made, but he listened. Yes, I believed that not one single person in the world would miss me if I were gone, that they would all get over it quickly. I had convinced myself of it. My friend told me that I am loved, and valued and filled a very vital place in this world. He didn't leave it there, He told me to promise to call him back in 2 hours. And after that, in the morning. And I am still here today. And in a better place. Depression is not temporary for the chronic sufferer. The extreme feelings ebb and flow, and for those of us with chronic major depression, we never trust that when we are feeling good it is going to last. I've become more resilient in these last couple years, with only a few minor episodes to mar what is otherwise being controlled by the right medication. But only a few months ago got slammed out of the blue by the most major one of them all, which I just described above.

kenju said...

Many years ago (in the 70's) I went into a moderate depression due to the actions of some older family members. It lasted about 10 years. I did reach a point where I thought often that my family would be better off without me. I even thought about ending it, but I couldn't decide how to do it and I was chicken. I am SO happy that I didn't go that route. My depression lifted and I finally realized that even though I am not perfect, I do have worth and they are lucky to have me! Now if I were diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease? I don't know what I'd do.