I have a mental illness; this means for me that I often live in many different worlds all at the same time. I have angry worlds, happy worlds, manic worlds, and of course the so depressed can’t do a damn thing worlds. I often have strange and rather appropriate voices for each world. It is my norm. I live in it and am known in it.
I have learned that there are parts of this mental illness that I have that others can not comprehend. Parts that seem radical or dangerous, or even horrific. I have learned that if you don’t have a mental illness than simple comments can often set you off onto a path of worry and angst; while those of us who said the comment have quickly moved on. This can be reversed, but for the most part what I find to be commonplace scares the holy hell out of my doctors, my therapists, my family, and my friends.
For instance, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about suicide. The killing of my own self. The disappearance of my body and soul from the lives of those I love. You and I both know that the ones that I love are easily and with somewhat disdain stating that this is selfish and they need me around. The truth is the world turns no matter what happens. The truth is that whether I am around or not only matters to me.
I don’t believe suicide or suicide thoughts are selfish. I find them to be the exact opposite. Not once have I considered killing myself for my own gain. Not once have I considered killing myself for fame or fortune. Not once have I thought of killing myself for the spotlight it could possibly attract. Not once has my thoughts of dying been about me at all.
Usually they fall in line somewhere between if I do this, this so and so will…. or if I do this, they can finally move on. Or they can finally find the peace they deserve or at least the partners they need. A lot of my suicidal thoughts are about giving freedom to those I love to find peace, find solace and finally find the ability to live a life away from this disease. You can’t argue, ever, that these mental illness don’t affect everyone around you. They do. And for me, the thought that I could give some relief to those I love seems like the greatest gift in life.
Most of my suicidal thoughts are easily ignored or if not ignored put aside because I am too busy to kill myself. I do that on purpose. Most of these thoughts of doom aren’t real because they can be easily justified. The vast majority of the time all I have to do is look in the rear view mirror at my children, and I can continue on.
I imagine that some people believe that suicide thoughts hurt; physically or mentally it hurts to imagine your own death. I don’t find this to be true. I look at the thoughts as proactive plans incase the time comes when I need to implement them. I look at them as an honest reflection about how I really feel; who I really love; and what I am willing to sacrifice. I look at suicidal thoughts as any other thought about the ones we love. It is there and there is no reason to panic.
But most people do panic. And the only thing you can do is hide these thoughts so deep in your soul that while they corrode the lining of said soul, at least they don’t bother anyone. Your family doesn’t immediately demand your admittance to some sterile hospital, and your doctors can live in familiar bliss that they have helped another soul. Sharing suicidal thoughts isn’t always the best idea.
Until those thoughts become greater than you can control. Until those thoughts scare you. Until those thoughts take you from a place of planning to a place of hope. Once hope enters the picture in regards to suicidal thoughts it is time to hint softly but strongly that you may need a little help.
Usually the help I need lies in not being left alone for long periods of time; especially when I know that no one is coming to rescue me. Usually the help I need is the use of something out of my norm to convince myself that I have moved to another plane/world/sphere. Usually the help I need is not in dissecting the thoughts, nor even figuring out where the thoughts come from (I already know) but in finding enough time to be able to get past those voices and the ability, the strength, to find new voices. Comfortable voices.
Suicidal thoughts come with the territory. And while I recognize that three out of four people never think about killing themselves, at least not on a consistent basis, I do. It is part of me as much as it is part of the disease. Suicidal thoughts are part of the person I am and will continue to be a part of the person I am becoming. They are an important part for one reason only – they are a perfect gauge to what I am really dealing with. And while I never allow anyone to take my temperature, I can simply by listening to myself.
I have been struggling with some deep and difficult suicidal thoughts. The kind of thoughts that scare me because of the simple ease they come and the simple ease that I accept them not as suicidal thoughts but as literal hopes. It is hard for many people to accept that suicidal thoughts can be hopeful, but then most people can’t figure out quantum physics.
I sat in a Chinese take out restaurant last night when the kind of thought that scares even me happened. I use the word restaurant lightly because even though they cook and sell food, there are only a few tables and most are filled with people waiting for their take out order. The walls, the floors, everything is filled with this level of grease or at least oil that seems out of place and while the restaurants never seem completely clean to me, it also occurs to me that however they are cooking the food probably kills everything in and around that store.
I was sitting in that restaurant waiting along with about five other people, and out of the blue came the image of one of the men getting up from their chair and opening fire. I acknowledged immediately that I was in an extremely vulnerable spot sitting where I was, and I recognized that the death would most likely be sloppy if not quick.
There was the suicidal thought. Not the killer, not the killing, but the general acceptance that if it happened I would be fine with the outcome. Yes, I was in a vulnerable seat, but why move? Yes, there might be pain when the bullets entered my chest, but it would be such an easy and less messy way to die. My family would not suffer the guilt of suicide (which is ridiculous, but very real). My children could be told an easy story about their mother and fate. It would all be nice and tidy.
And those are the thoughts that made me realize that for one more time in my life I was reaching a dangerous place. Because dreaming of dying or at least realizing that you could isn’t dangerous. But realizing that there is hope that death is met in this way is. Suicidal thoughts are only dangerous when mixed with hope.
Hope is one of those emotions that are probably healthy for the three out of four people who don’t have a mental illness. But hope and thoughts in a mentally ill person can be a dangerous proposition. It is the reality that kills. It is the reality that because of the hope seems so perfect. Hope makes those thoughts not dangerous but easily obtained. This is the death, quiet death that changes the game completely.
Hope is literally the most dangerous emotion we feel. And yet we seek it, we need it, and ultimately we allow it to destroy us. Everyday suicidal thought isn’t something to really worry about; it is when we add hope that we find ourselves standing in front of a mirror holding a knife and knowing exactly what we are suppose to do.