Two years ago, I sent my friend a text: I’m sad. All the time.
I sent another: I can’t go outside because the sun hurts my eyes.
Then I sent another: I think, I just might, end my life.
I wrote a story about ending my life, published it here and immediately deleted it.
Then re-wrote it with a post-mortem point of view to make it feel like a figment of my imagination. Fiction.
When someone would ask if anything was wrong with me, I could hear the hurt in my throat when I said I was fine, just fine.
Because weren’t we built this way? Wear the happy mask until it smothers us, yet still we smile all the way to the grave? Our practice of fake glee is our own private torment.
That moment of decision will always stand out to me as one of the clearest, most crystallized memories.
I felt no fear at all. On the contrary, I walked with a sense of hope.
It was the first time I had thought of the future without feeling doomed. But I also knew myself well enough to know that I was a fickle man in life —filled with self-doubt, and that I needed to do this quickly, before I had a chance to change my mind.
It didn’t take me long to find the perfect rope and tie the knot I’d looked up on a YouTube tutorial. I’d spent about an hour practicing the knot in my room because I read on an online forum that hanging yourself was a tricky business. If done incorrectly, it could result in some serious pain. And I didn’t want to feel pain.
Recently I saw a number of people putting up this post:
My door is always open. Any of my friends who need to chat are welcome. It’s no good suffering in silence. I have chocolate, tea and coffee, and good food. And you are always welcome!
It’s no good suffering in silence. Give me a call, come to my house, talk to me. We can go have dinner or drinks and most importantly, I have time and I will always lend an ear.
I’m trying to demonstrate that someone is always listening.
I appreciate your optimistic effort but it is largely superfluous.
People who have not been so close to doing it themselves might not understand it, but I know the place they are in.
When you’re about to commit suicide, you’re not thinking of the ramifications and you certainly aren’t yourself.
You’re a completely different person.
You don’t have the same thoughts you normally would.
You forget about your friends, your job, your family.
All of those things are blocked out.
There is just vast nothingness.
You are singularly focused on completing the task at hand.
The thought is completely rational.
Trading a few moments of pain for an eternity without it.
When pain crosses a threshold, it becomes relief.
You’ll attain freedom.
Talking to people and Suicide hotlines are a great resource, but they have a major flaw.
For them to be effective, the victim needs to have the rational thought to call them.
All too often, they won’t have that thought. They’ve made up their mind and they don’t want to be saved. It’s a really dark place to be in.
Suicidal thoughts used to be like a TED Talk: Convincing ideas that your entire brain and heart nod along to. They’re well presented, with all kinds of evidence leading to one conclusion.
There’s no point trying to convince me that life is beautiful out of my bubble of melancholy.
If I were in that situation with you forcing me to dial a number and talk to a person on the other side of the phone who is going to listen and try to understand my problems and convince me to not end my life, I would break that phone, murder that person and then kill myself.
You can’t simply talk someone out of it, for you’ll have to understand the deep-rooted causes that propel people on this path. The causes mostly relate to depression.
The person in whom its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise.
Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows.
Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant.
The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors.
It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames.
And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really.
You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
Everyone undergoes depression in a different manner and it is more often than not impossible to explain it to the other person in conversation.
Imagine having a disease that convinces you that you deserve to have it forever.
That’s the metaphor I used for my depression.
It’s like being homesick for a place you’ll never visit, or heartbroken over a person you’ve never met.
Depression births metaphors because you get tired of telling people without it “I feel hurt all the time from nothing and I’m kind of tired of being alive. I’d just like to slip into a coma forever.”
People can hear the words, but it doesn’t help them understand the difference between “sad over a specific situation” and “haunted by a ghost that reminds you all the wrong you have done every second of your life”.
Metaphor lets them live it, if only as a concept.
They’ll never fully get what it feels like, but at least they have a vague idea of the shape and weight of what you’re carrying.
And what you’re carrying is enormous.
Depression takes a lot out of you.
Life is no longer casual.
Friendships become a burden as you try not to ruin their fun, so you pretend you still see the world like they do. Relationships become a struggle as you try your hardest to be the person they fell in love with, instead of letting them down by being who you are now.
The friend I had texted called me up and told me he had been thinking the same. And it was not an optimism coated voice or repeated echoes of light being at the end of the tunnel. It was the sense of solace that I am not alone, which shifted my resolve.
He said: ‘In my view, suicide is not really a wish for life end.’
‘What is it then?’
‘It is the only way a powerless person can find to make everybody else look away from his shame.
The wish is not to die, but to hide.’