I can’t & I’m sorry: the thoughts before suicide

When I’m suicidal, I’m angry at other people. They ask me to hold on, to not give up. They beg me to think of my family, my friends, who will be devastated by my death.

What right do they have to tell me what to do with my body, with my life? I think.

I suffer.

I suffer so much, so deeply.

When I heard Robin Williams had died of an apparent suicide, I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t shocked, not even slightly. Just immensely sad, and scared.

Bipolar is deadly. Depression is deadly.

With each depressive episode, I find myself feeling helpless. I did everything I could, I think, And I still couldn’t stop this. 

Or, even worse, I failed to do everything I could. I brought this on myself. I fail at life, I can’t do it. 

I can’t.

In the moments when I have been closest to suicide, those are the words playing over and over in my head, the ones I sometimes cry out into the isolation. I can’t. I can’t do this any longer, I can’t suffer like this, I can’t cry any more, I can’t sit around and wait to be well, I can’t keep trying to live.

And then: I’m sorry.

To call my suicide selfish would be to deeply misunderstand the act. When suicidal, I hate myself for burdening the ones I love. I know my suicide would hurt them, but my depression feels like even more of a burden. I know how much it hurts them to see me struggle, and I don’t want to hurt them like that any more. I want it to be over, I want them to be able to live their lives without the burden of my pain. I want us all to be able to move on.

I don’t talk much about the times when I’ve been suicidal. I’ll bring it up occasionally, briefly, when talking about those times in my life, but I never go into detail, because I don’t want to upset anyone. Suicide is really scary. I’m not sure who it’s scarier for, the people on the outside, or the people on the inside.

The people on the outside, who have never been suicidal, they don’t understand how anyone can feel that way. They are afraid, deeply afraid of it, so they reject, minimize.

You’ll feel better. Don’t be selfish. It’s only temporary.

The people on the inside, who have reached out to touch the edge of death, we’re afraid because we’re wondering when things will get bad enough that we take the leap. More like a stumble really, because leaps take too much energy. When will we stumble over the edge into a decision we can’t take back?

When we are suicidal, nothing feels temporary. Everything is agony.

In fact, I wouldn’t say that I’m afraid of suicide. I’m afraid of what comes before suicide, the pain and anguish that could eventually lead to that decision.

Robin Williams was one of the survivors. He’d been to rehab, been through numerous treatments, had every resource available to him. He’d been fighting the fight for sixty-three long years. One of the thoughts that keeps me alive in my depression is There’s still more out there. There’s more to try, more medications to test out, ECT if it comes to that. Yoga. Good food. Routine. Community. Maybe those things will finally cure me.

When there’s nothing left to try, when I find myself again incapable and broken, then what will I do?

I will do my best not to listen to the repetition in my mind: I can’t, I’m sorry, I can’t, I’m sorry, I can’t, I’m sorry, I can’t.

I will do my best to listen instead to the people around me: We love you, we will not give up on you. We love you, we will be here for you, for as long as it takes. We love you, no matter what. We love you, we will share your suffering. We love you, we do not resent you. We love you, we know this is not your fault. We love you, no matter what.

These are the things we need to say to people who are suicidal. Do not call us selfish. Do not chastise us or plague us with platitudes. Just repeat, again and again: We love you, no matter what. We love you, we love you, we love you.

If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255. Talk to someone. Email me. Many, many people have felt this way, and many of us survived. You can too.

(For my friends and family, who might be concerned about a post about suicide: I’m not suicidal right now, nor am I depressed. All is well.)

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3 thoughts on “I can’t & I’m sorry: the thoughts before suicide

  1. Love, love this and I love you for having the courage to write this. People are so uncomfortable talking about depression and they don’t realize how trivializing their comments feels, even sometimes from other people who feels like they’ve been there. The nature of depression is to be alone inside your head. No one has been alone in my head. You can’t tell me my pain will go away or whatever circumstances may have triggered a bad spell could have been worse; what does “it could be worse” mean when you’re in the very worst place you’ve ever experienced? Then I just feel crazy and like I’m overreacting. Anyway, I’m babbling. You know this. Thanks for your perspective and all the ways you’ve helped me through the “I can’t” days.

  2. Wow! You are truely breathtakingly beautiful for sure.I am not depressed but have several people as friends who are.I tell them through my kindness of love and words that even if you do choose to end your life I’m always still going to love you no matter what and never judge you for your actions.Its all to easy to try and make a suicidal depressed human being feel guilty by saying dont be selfish, or you have so much to live for ,what about this and what about that.That person is more than aware of this stuff and if you try to fight or challenge them on this you are actually making the situation even worse.I love my friends with my everything and will stand up and voice it even after the fact if they choose to end their life.Its not attention they are craving just support and true understanding of how they are bloody feeling on the inside and in their brain.People need to stop pretending to understand something they really know nothing about.I think it takes a real Gifted human to truely understand the real reasoning to depression.Sufferers don’t just wake up and decide I might feel down today because of the bloody weather.Its in their whole bodily soul and I can assure you that unless you are depressed or mentalily ill you have no idea what’s happening at all.All I know is that I love my beautiful friends and always will.I listen to them and tell them I love you and your a beautiful person no matter what’s going on and you can call me and I will be there for you any time of the day your not a bloody burden or annoying to me at all.When I watch the movie Love actually I look at the sister who gives up love for her brother and think Wow! This to selfish non understanding people of depression means nothing and they don’t respond to that part of the movie but I do because my friends need more people like that in their lives. A lot of people dismiss this as just a faze or it will pass or they just want attention.Get your negative no it all comments away from me and my friends because we deserve better than your rubbish comments.I love you for sharing your private and personal battle with me and everyone else who gets to read it to.Thankyou and you are in my thoughts and I love you.God Bless you.Mary.

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