I just read a post that made me want to hop in here as fast as my fingers would take me and begin to blog about the topic of suicide. I know… touchy subject.
It was mostly a blog about those people who use suicide as a bargaining chip to control those around them, to get what they want, to garner attention, to get out of doing unpleasant things, to make others feel sorry for them and so forth. The attention seekers. Sadly I am more than aware of how many people use the word or topic of suicide for their own benefit. It is often solely a manipulative move and that makes me insane. This manipulative form of attention seeking causes people to feel just as this blog writer did. It causes a lack of empathy, a lack of compassion, a sense of anger, a feeling of being used or manipulated… and I get it. As much as the blog really got me riled up, I also completely understood the writers feelings of how horribly suicide is portrayed by those who use it as an attention seeking platform.
Then I feel this huge pit in my stomach. That feeling of not being understood again. I also feel some anger towards the attention seekers for dirtying such a sensitive and heartbreaking subject with their muddy feet. How on earth can those of us who have really been there ever receive the empathy and compassion that we truly deserve?
Maybe I need to explain what suicide looked like for me? Explain how it feels from the inside looking out at least in my experience?
On the outside…
Suicide for me was all smiles. A cheerful demeanour no matter how horrible things really were. Suicide was laughter, jokes, hugs, kisses and strength. It was dressing in bright clothing and showing up to every event right on time. It was perfect. I was never late, a mess or not in control of my life. My children were well dressed and well-loved. My husband was given the best of me after I finished giving the best of me to everyone else who wanted it as well. Suicide was optimism and a very positive attitude.
Suicide to me was never… NEVER letting anyone know how truly horrible that I felt inside.
On the inside…
Suicide ate me alive. It was unexpressed tears and restrained anger. It was giving every single drop of energy that I had to everyone else and saving nothing for myself. It was messy, confusing, overwhelming and infused with guilt. It was pessimistic and unable to see that life could ever get any better. It was nightmares at night and flashbacks in the day. Sights and sounds that would bring a grown man to his knees and make him beg for mercy. It was neglect that started on the day that I was born and continued to make me feel worthless for much of my life.
In my world…
I lost 3 sisters to suicide, damn near lost a child to it as well. Twice. I lost a good friend to it and I’ve heard stories in my community about several completed suicides. What did these events all have in common? They all had people who used words like “selfish” to describe the death. Even when Robin Williams completed his suicide, people asked how he could do that to his children. Why couldn’t he have hung on for them? So far as we know? He probably hung on for decades before finally being completely unable to fight it any longer.
I suppose I could sit here and ask many of those questions as well. The pain caused in my life due to the deaths of my friend and my sisters has been almost insurmountable at times and its made me want to join them. I’ve been jealous that they got to leave before me. No one ever knew that. My silence was bought by the lack of compassion shown to my loved ones who were obviously in so much pain that they could not even imagine living one more moment. I understand that level of pain. I lived it… for decades.
So why did I stay while others felt free to go? I had children and I did not want to leave young children without a mother. That was my only reason. I was waiting for each to reach adulthood and then I was going to quietly slip out of this world in an accident. I had made sure that my method would never be looked at as a suicide and so far as everyone in my life knew? I was the happiest person around.
As for those who would have criticized my decision if they knew the truth?
They had no earthly idea of the pain I was hiding. The secrets. The long-standing abuse and a level of deprivation that is not adequately described by the word neglect.
Why do others feel the need to be critical at all? What gives them the right to judge another so harshly? What gives anyone the right to be so disapproving? Until you have lived in the shoes of someone who has been seriously and very often silently suicidal? You just can not imagine the hell of it. There is no worse place to live than the suicidal mind. Trust me. I’ve lived in some places that should have been worse by far.
Why didn’t I reach out for help? Well… honestly? I knew how condemned I would be. The first time I ever admitted it to a doctor, the first question I was asked was “Are you serious or is it a bid for attention?” I’ve been asked that same question but almost every single person that I’ve ever told.
I am a proud person and never want to burden others so I stayed quiet to protect them. I also planned my death as an accident so that my loved ones would never need to feel ashamed at my oh so obvious weakness or at the hands and minds of others who lack empathy and compassion.
What can we do to change this world we live in?
I’d like to start by having people be careful with their words. If you are suicidal? Be courageous enough to admit it and get help. If you are only seeking attention? Please find a better way to get it.
And for those who lack empathy for those who consider suicide or actually complete one? Just try to imagine living in a suicidal mind for a day or even a week. It is dark, hopeless, nothing makes any sense and the only way out is to free ourselves from this world. If you can judge it? You’ve never truly been there.
I am incredibly blessed to say that after 4 months in hospital (2013) and AMAZING care from one special nurse in particular, I do not feel that way any longer. I shed my secrets in the safety of those hospital walls and I have continued to fight towards healing ever since. It’s been almost 2 years since I lived in that horrid, dark and scary world of suicide. I still drop back in there now and then when life gets REALLY bad or a memory knocks me flat but I was taught the skills to get myself out of that and I do. One of the best ways for me to get out of it though is talking to a compassionate and caring friend or two. If not for those people who NEVER judge me harshly? I don’t know what I would do.
To those who lack empathy or compassion for the suicidal? Please don’t ever shut me or anyone else up with your harsh judgments. You have no idea who is doing it all for attention and who you just helped seal their casket.
Today’s blog was written in response to another blog but even more so in loving memory of my twin sister Julie-Anne who completed a suicide on this day in 1989. I love you and miss you ever single day but I will NEVER judge you.
❤ January 1970- July 1989 ❤