jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
[personal profile] jazzfish
ETA: To clarify: as things stand, I seem to be on an upswing. I can tell it's not permanent, there are things that need to reassess and change. But it's not as bad as it may seem. You can tell by how I'm willing to talk about it, for instance.

Like, does everyone walk around with a not-quite-voice in their head going youreafreaknobodylovesyougohomeandhangyourself pretty much every day, and is everyone else just way better at dealing with this voice-ish thing than I am? ... I don’t think I'm actually going to do it. I've thought about it every day for like ever and I've never actually done it.

--Jade Sylvan, "On Anti-Depressants"
Not really for ever. Best of my recollection I first wanted to kill myself in seventh grade. Since reaching adulthood I've only had two times when I'd consider myself to have been a suicide risk: the spring I failed out of university, and most of the year after I got fired from a terrible job.

So thoughts of suicide are something I've lived with since I was thirteen. Not constantly, but not so rarely that they were unfamiliar.

It started feeling more consistently like an option in the late 2000s, I think. Only it wasn't about wanting to die, not really, it was about wanting to rest. Wanting the massive stresses I was under to just.go.away. Then in mid-2012 it grew more real, and more frequent. By 2014 the spans of time when I didn't think "or i could just die" in response to more or less anything were measurable in hours.

I carried on because I couldn't do anything else. I had to keep my job so I could make rent and so we didn't get kicked out of the country. I held it together long enough for that to happen, long enough for Permanent Residency to come through and for [personal profile] uilos to get certified to work and to find a job. I'd been planning to take a few months off when I got laid off at the best possible time.

And I got better. I don't know how long it took. Certainly by late January 2015 (so, five months) I was doing enough better to have told my counselor about it, as a past-tense kind of thing.

That summer, [personal profile] uilos's contract ended, I went back to work, she found an awful lab job and then a permanent job at BCIT. And after five or six months it started creeping up again. In a different way, this time. It's not "i want to die" or "i wish i were dead" or even "or i could just die, that would be okay". It's more ... not caring. Not seeing any particular reason why I would be alive instead of dead next year, next month, tomorrow, right now, other than simple inertia.

I am beginning to suspect that this might be Not Okay.

[Incidentally, I am not on anti-depressants. This is partly due to a not-wholly-positive experience with Prozac as a teenager, and partly due to a belief, shared by three separate counselors, that altering my situation will help far more than tweaking my brain chemistry.]

"But why didn't you talk to someone?"

There's two answers to that.

The first:
But all I knew was that I was hurting, I felt like everything inside me was rotting away, and when someone finally talked to me about it, I wasn't able to get any help. That was the lesson I learned from them (and to a lesser extent, from a friend a few years later): if you let anyone know how upset you really are, they will be mad at you. So no one must ever know.

--The Accidental Beard, "slowly lifting that weight"
That's not exactly how it was for me (more like "if you let anyone know how upset you really are, they will tell you it's your fault"), but the sense of it is familiar. Ancient, ancient history, there. But like the man said, the past isn't dead, it's not even past.

The second answer is that talking doesn't fix the underlying problem. I can vent and cry and get it off my chest and have a sympathetic ear, and then I have to hang up the phone and turn around and my life is still there. I'm still failing my classes, or scraping for minimum-wage hours at Waldenbooks because I couldn't hack it at a Real Job. I'm still hyperstressed and lonely and isolated. Why would I tear myself open for a temporary fix, when it will just be back again tomorrow night?

I have no answers. I have no resolution. I'm still writing the ending to this story, writing it in places where you likely won't see the ink spilling. In a year or three or ten I may look back at this and say "yep, that was a turning point alright."

I'm told it's important to talk about, though. And who knows. Maybe it will help someone else.

So. Here I am. Here it is.
Strength isn't what you need, not always, to win human happiness. Strength is the reward for suffering, not a defence against it.

--Gwyneth Jones, "The Lovers"

Date: 2017-01-20 12:13 am (UTC)
darkfyre_muse: (Default)
From: [personal profile] darkfyre_muse
So I was sitting here trying to think of a witty way to start. Sorry I got nothin'.

Except that I have spent a lot of time on that continuum. I think its always been there. Ever since I grew out of wanting someone to rescue me. So 12? 14? I don't know, I try not to think to much about life pre-college. (That really sounds worse than it was but it did suck.)
And it is a continuum. Everything from a pretty serious plan of how and where (Spring '96) up to 'Or maybe I'll just get hit by a bus'. Usually it is just a quiet knowledge that it is a possibility.
And no, it is usually not about wanting to be dead but wanting the suck to stop.

So all that to say, you aren't alone. I don't need to ask why you didn't talk to someone because while it isn't bad advice it also is often not terribly useful and if I recall you and I have had similar experiences in the futility of that route. (Or I am remembering wrong and you are better at therapy than me.) (And yes I just failed to connect with another therapist. /blerg)


Maybe I need to plan a trip north.


Date: 2017-01-20 12:41 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Thinking of you. I'm really glad you felt comfortable writing.

I'm not good with sympathy. I'm more of a problem solver and the part that stands out to me is that its the situation. I tried a therapist at one point when life was more than I could handle (not suicidal nor depressed so clearly different) and bottom line I had a plan for trying to manage work/kids/medical issues but there was no way to change the time schedule of when relief could happen. These are big issues.

I don't think anyone should be defined by their job not being what they want. The economy is rough and there's a lot of luck involved. I think its a big lie that we tell everyone that if you just work hard enough. No... if you just work hard enough you'll stroke out or have a heart attack meanwhile someone else inherits their position, wealth and lack of morals and doesn't hardly work at all.

Anyway.... I personally found Dr. Seligman's The Optimistic Child very helpful to me. My take away from that book was optimism is really problem solving. The nice thing is he has exercises where you learn how to evaluate situations for what is and isn't something you can control and how to decatastrophize and to listen to that voice in your head and start dialouging with it.

I'm also not about guilt tripping generally but I think an important quote about suicide is it doesn't end the pain, it just passes it on to someone else.


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"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

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