suicide is scary.
my first, and only boss killed herself. when i was young, i remember flipping over a bleacher in the dugout, tumbling, to catch the seat square in my stomach. when i got a call several years ago, hearing what she’d done, i felt the same. the air was smashed out of me. i felt a punch in the gut, an emptying. it was like a failure to upload. i had nowhere to put that information. no filing system, no sorter to deal with it. she did what?
for me, i think it’s scary because it makes it a possibility. ‘oh, i see — that’s available’, i thought. i’ve always worried crazy was contagious. that depression was something you could catch. i pictured a wave coming at you, with no other option than it taking you down, pulling you under and that’s that. you didn’t make it. no mam pam, i’m perfectly happy here on the shore under an umbrella. no interest in messing with all those… feelings.
i didn’t realize you could withstand a storm, a rush of water, a tragedy or even a really really low mood. i pushed away a lot of feelings because i didn’t know they could crash on you, and you might go down, but you’d get up. there’d be time to catch your breath. live a little, see the sun. and inevitably the next set comes, but you’ve got some practice. some technique. you’re sturdier than the last go-round.
i watched my parents get pulled down a few times, and i heard the word suicide then. they weren’t shy about depression. even more reason for me to avoid anything remotely related. i wouldn’t do that. i’d steel myself against sadness, if it meant not crying when my mom got sick, keeping my distance when my dad felt lost, or challenging brian to buck up when he felt stuck. i wouldn’t let them pull me down with them, because the slope was slippery, and if suzanne hung herself, what if i did too?
suicide still scares me. i think about all the suffering that comes before and i still don’t know how to process it. but, i’m finally in the water, where we really do our most authentic living. and i’m trusting what i’ve learned. i’ve seen a tropical depression or two, and i didn’t evacuate. i hunkered down. i lost my grandmas, my mom, and my marriage, and i’m still here. i stocked my life raft with shit tons of therapy, with a bottle of wellbutrin, with my friends, pups, food, walks, work, all the tears and i’m still afloat.
in no way do i want to say i’m better at this… life thing – but what i want to say is if you’re scared, or if you’re afraid too, we can get through it. almost everyone can relate. talk about it. say the word. depressed. sad. scared. suicide. take the power away from it, and let’s get in this janky lifeboat together. i’ll bring cheetos, the kleenexes, the books, anything i have to give. we’ll do our best, and maybe one day catch a wave or two to ride for fun, when we get better at it.