Suicide and Selfishness and Guilt

This is going to be a very…selfish post. I apologize in advance for that.

It also may piss you off – and I don’t apologize for that. This is how I feel and this is a purging post for me. I need to purge before I drive myself a little batty.

A friend of mine recently committed suicide.

I am…devastated. I am torn apart.

This has hit me in a way that death hasn’t touched me in a very long time. It’s the complete and total wrongness of the situation that still has me reeling.

The person that I am discussing is someone who I would have never even guessed that they would even consider suicide: two children under 15, a spouse, and a well thought of and popular educator. This person was liked by all who knew them. Funny, charismatic, charming, attractive, intelligent, talented… In all honesty, the list goes on and on. This was a person who I – if I was feeling down or sad – could simply think of and I’d get a giggle or two. Funny? The word barely describes my friend. Charismatic? When I say that everyone who knew this person liked this person, I am not exaggerating.

But now this person is no longer here.

Now I – and lots of other people – have this human sized HOLE that used to be occupied. A hole…

At first I was shocked. Astounded. And in denial.

No way had this happened. No way were they gone. Suicide?? Never!

Later, the shock began to wear off…but the denial did not.

It had to be murder. Was anyone looking into this?? No way would suicide be an option.

I’m not a Facebook user but I joined up and scoured the site, looking for the slightest hint that it could be murder. Hoping deep within that I would find some stray bit of gossip that would hint that this wasn’t real.

I hoped that maybe it was a horribly mean, nasty and late April Fool’s Day joke.

I hoped. And I prayed. And I hoped.

But nothing came out of it. Day after day, more friends called/texted, confirming that this wasn’t some sick joke.

And I started to feel guilty. The same guilt that I’m sure tons of other people I know all feel.

I wasn’t a good enough friend. I didn’t reach out often enough. I didn’t spend enough time telling this person how important they were to me. To us. To the entire world. I got caught up in my life and did not do…enough.

A few more days passed. Slowly, I started to get angry.

WTF, dude??! WHY would you do this?? Why would you leave all of these people behind? The fuck did you think was going to solve?

“Suicide is a long term solution to a short term problem.”

I’m all fucked up in the head right now. I can’t believe that I now live in a world devoid of this person…and that it wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t that someone did something to this person. This was self-inflected.

And every day, it became more real.

Announcements for the funeral came out. Crushing that last little bit of hope that I had.

Suddenly, the day arrived. I joined a very large and very solemn group that gathered to pay their last respects.

Damn. Just typing this, even though its been almost an entire month. I still start to cry.

I joined a large group of people who were sad. Who were crying. And some of us – like me – were angry. We came from all over, from multiple states and countries. To say goodbye to a person who should STILL BE HERE.

Fuck.

And we said goodbye. And now its supposed to be over. But it’s not over. It’s not.

There’s still a lot of pain for a lot of people.

There is still a person who has lost their spouse – the person they were supposed to grow old with.

There are still two children who have lost a parent, who will grow up with that lack.

There is still a school full of students, bereft.

There are still friends walking around in shock.

And this is one of the most fucked up things that anyone can ever to do someone that they claim that they love.

And I just want to say that – we have to be better to each other. To reach out to each other. To take care of each other.

I have been reaching out to friends and family that I don’t talk to on a regular basis. I’ve been telling them – begging them – to call me if they need. It doesn’t matter when, doesn’t matter what for. Just call if they need to.

And for you – stranger on the internet who just happened to read this long rambling post – if you need to, feel free to contact me, too. IT doesn’t matter why you feel bad, just know that YOU ARE SPECIAL. YOU ARE LOVED. YOU ARE WONDERFUL. Don’t forget it! Don’t let someone steal that from you! YOU HAVE WORTH.

Fuck.

I am so sad.

I want to close this before I burst into uncontrollable tears. Below you will find a list of quite a few places that you can contact if you need someone to talk to. Please, if you need to talk to someone, do it.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255
https://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Spanish – 1-888-628-9454

The CALM Center (Youth Ages 10-17, Available 24/7, 365 Including Holidays)
918-394-CALM – 918-384-2256

COPES Team (Mobile Counselors – Tulsa County)
918-744-4800

Mental Health Association Oklahoma Referral Line
918-585-1213 and 405-943-3700

211 / Helpline
211 – If you’re calling from a cell, call 918-836-4357

CTL (Crisis Text Line) Hotline Toll-free texting service. CTL is available nationwide and 24/7
Text “CTL” to 741741.

Hopeline:
(800)442-4673 (1-800-442-HOPE)

(877)838-2838 (1-877-Vet2Vet) Veterans peer support line

(800)784-2432 (1-800-SUICIDA) Spanish speaking suicide hotline

(877)968-8454 (1-877-YOUTHLINE) teen to teen peer counseling hotline

(800)472-3457 (1-800-GRADHLP) Grad student hotline

(800)773-6667 (1-800-PPD-MOMS) Post partum depression hotline

For a list of hotlines outside the US go here:
http://www.befrienders.org

For email support 24 x 7:
jo@samaritans.org
It may take a few hours or more to generate a response

For online chat support:
(none of these are 24 x7 but will tell you if online counselors are available)

http://www.IMALIVE.org
The first online network with 100% of its volunteers trained and certified in crisis intervention.

http://www.7cupsoftea.com
7 Cups of Tea is an on-demand emotional health and well-being service. Anyone who wants to talk about whatever is on their mind can quickly reach out to a trained, compassionate listener through this network.

http://www.crisischat.org

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Suicide and Selfishness and Guilt

  1. Great post, very touching and heart-felt. Could I add some thoughts on the subject?
    As far as I know, most suicide cases are prompted by depression. It’s a tricky disease, always camouflaging itself. I know from personal experience that when depression strikes, its symptoms are profound sadness and the feeling of unworthiness. “I’m bad” is what depressed people feel. I’m a bad mother, a bad wife, a bad professional, a bad friend,… I can’t do anything right… Most depression cases go undiagnosed because who wants to go to a doctor with such complains. People even avoid telling their family; they might be considered whining. Sometimes, there are triggers: a trouble at work, a problem with children, but who doesn’t have those. For depressed people, their inner reaction is out of proportion to the trigger event. In extreme cases, they commit suicide because they can’t deal with the sadness. It eats at them. It incapacitates them. They can’t do anything but mope internally, bleeding sadness until nothing is left, and the only way out they see is ending their lives. That’s why when doctors diagnose depression, the first question they ask is: “Do you have suicide thoughts?”
    There was nothing you could’ve done? Don’t blame yourself. Your friend should’ve acknowledged the problem first and should’ve talked about it. Although I understand why he/she didn’t. Nobody wants to deal with a depressed person, or with mentally ill in general. It’s unpleasant. In our day to day interactions, we all want cheerful and simple, and depression is neither. Furthermore, some people don’t accept that depression is an illness, a disbalance of chemicals in the brain. They consider it a self-indulgence and their reaction is: “stop whining.” So depressed people hide their condition and suffer in silence.
    Sorry for the long, rambling comment. Your post touched too close to home.

    • I don’t think your comment is too long at all. It’s a touchy subject, I know. And I really appreciate having another perspective.

      I have been clinically depressed in the past – I completely get the feelings of inadequacy that come with it. I used to feel that if I only wasn’t here things would be better for everyone else around me. I’m very, very lucky that I didn’t follow those feelings to the “forgone” conclusion.

      But, in a way, that actually makes me feel worse. My friend and I – along with two other people – used to spend hours and hours together discussing…everything. Life, our purpose in it, and the horrible things that flowed through our heads or happened to us in the past. I keep thinking “If only I had been around more, maybe they would have felt able to talk to me again.”

      I KNOW it’s much more than that. And that this was a battle being fought on a daily basis that had nothing to do with me.

      But it doesn’t keep me from feeling like I failed a friend.

  2. I’m sorry you feel this way. It might be you’re right and it might be you are not. Maybe whatever you could’ve done wouldn’t be enough. Maybe your friend’s condition was too severe and needed medications? Although none of them really help, they just cushion the sadness, insulate it.
    And I really appreciate your willingness to talk to anyone who needs it now, who could, hopefully, benefit now, who is still alive. It’s the best anyone can do, really, especially in the middle of your grief. I’d like to have a friend like that.

      • Thanks. I’ll keep it in mind if I ever need a pep-talk. Right now, most of my sadness doesn’t come from depression, at least I don’t think so. It’s the woe of any writer. You know: “They don’t read me, they don’t like my books, blah, blah, blah.” Self-indulgence for sure. I deal with it by writing more stories nobody wants, but I like my heroes and their stories. They keep me with them, so my everyday life slips to the back burner, doesn’t seem so important anymore. Definitely helps with depression. I think one of the therapies for depression should be helping people find hobbies: writing or knitting or playing bridge or whatever. You blog. I write. One of my closest friends became a Jehovah Witness. I don’t share her views, but it keeps her happy. I think that’s the point, although she wouldn’t share my opinion that her religion is a hobby.

  3. First off, I’m so sorry for your loss. Secondly, you made a wonderful post. Hopefully, any reading this who feels there is no way out perhaps has gained an understanding of just how much of an impact suicide can have on others. And hopefully those on the other side who read this reach out to friends/family and tell them how much they are cared for.

    Times like this remind us of what/who is important.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s