On “It Gets Better”
Published in Blog.
I’m a little torn here. I almost feel like suicide is something that should either be talked about without reservation, or not talked about at all… Which is why I don’t really know that I should be writing anything. In this video, Ze Frank says it’s like a virus, and that it can spread from one person to the next — how true that is of a lot of destructive behavior.
When I was in college I knew a girl who was dealing with tremendous night terrors, where she’d start thrashing around at night, still asleep, yelling and kicking until she woke herself up, only to then think she was still trapped in the world which her mind had created for her. I can’t imagine what that’d be like, fearing sleep. She took medication, but that didn’t help much. She sought therapy, but in the small college town we lived in the options were very limited. She told me one day that she had been using another coping mechanism in her life: To help manage the pressure, and take control of her emotions, she would cut herself. This was a new concept for me, and I didn’t really understand it at first. It didn’t take long before it made complete sense though.
For some reason I have a harder time talking about cutting than I do suicide, but both are destructive outlets for release that I’ve used to try and get through, or escape, living. Part of the reason that I started attending meetings at a local sober house in August wasn’t because I was strung out (to be fair, I sort of was), but because I could see my mind drifting, opening up possibility for that dark cloud of self-destruction to return. I was confused, about a lot of things, and after finding no help from local outlets that are supposed to be able to at least point me in the right direction, I decided that just being in a room with people was better than being in a room by myself. I was right.
Talking about suicide is a hard thing to do, and I still don’t know the right way to even approach discussion of it. Whether or not this is ever true, it seems easy for those who haven’t struggled with crippling depression to offer catch-all, broad-stroke advice to those in need of support, or to say, “seek help,” or “you’re not alone,” or “it will get better.” And that pisses me off. What pisses me off more is that even coming from someone who continues to struggle through suicidal ideations years after a failed attempt at ending my own life, that’s about all the advice even I can offer.
I don’t know what good there is that can come from putting this out there, but maybe in some universal-positive-lifeforce-energy kind of way, it’s just my way of taking the aluminum foil down that has been covering my windows, and setting a tone within the tiny, little community that I live in. And if by some odd chance someone reads this who feels like a miserable sack of shit, who’s working a soul-crushing job to pay for a house that they purchased because that’s what grown-ups do, who’s getting shuttled to and from that dreadful job by friends they don’t even like because they lost their driver’s license, who’s as depressed when medicated as they are normally, who doesn’t get any reprieve from therapy, who feels like their family would be better off without the burden of dealing with an emotional train-wreck on a daily basis… just know that I felt that very same way, too, and it actually does get better. And if you can’t believe that and things continue to appear their most bleak, you’d be surprised who will show up on your doorstep in order to talk you off of that ledge. People care. You’re not alone.