Birthday Weekend: Part IV

Monday was the end of the birthday weekend. The Colts won the Super Bowl (I missed it because of a wicked migraine) and my mother was back home in NY.

I didn’t sleep. I woke up on Sunday at 1 p.m. and didn’t sleep at all. I decided to go to work at 8 a.m. as a result and faked a cold (stuffy nose and occasional coughing) to corroborate my story from Friday. Guilty plagued me so I e-mailed all of my co-workers, pouring my heart and soul into apologizing. I didn’t get a response to my e-mail. My best – or worst – guess is that no one bought it. I figured that everyone was mad at me, hated me, and wanted nothing to do with me. The fact that no one talked to me but my boss and the lady who sits across from me spiraled my mood even further. I talked to my boss, told her that I’d get my immediate work done, then head home early.

See that depression scale to the right? I plunged to 0. If I’m lucky, I was a 0.5. I wanted to die, I wanted to commit suicide and just couldn’t formulate a plan. I wrote a suicide e-mail on delayed delivery to my husband. I even had a suicide post planned for my blog. Just before I left work, I came to my senses and realized that if I hadn’t died from my attempts in the past 10 years, I wouldn’t be dying today. I deleted the e-mail and post.

My thoughts indulged me in suicide. I couldn’t wait to die and make my co-workers regret not talking to me. Post-mortem thoughts of their words swirled in my head: “I had no clue she was suicidal, I couldn’t tell!”

No one can. I was sulky but I didn’t appear suicidal… I don’t think anyway.

On my way to the train station, I thought about all the ways I could die. Perhaps getting hit by a car? No, too much risk of becoming a vegetable. How about throwing myself on the train tracks? Nah, too messy.

I walked and sat in 9 degree Farenheit weather, hoping I’d develop hyperthermia. No such luck. Just an extremely cold face and fingers.

I called my mother, purposely sounding cheerful to throw her off. I just called her to tell her much I loved her. (Nothing unusual; I do that occasionally.) I kept hoping she’d let me off the phone eventually, but the conversation dragged on and on with long dead spots. I became frustrated. I just wanted to tell her I loved her one last time. And then – ooh, I know! – drown myself in the Schuylkill River!

The conversation lingered. She told me that I had a good husband who loved me and took great care of me and that I should take great care of him. She said we were lucky to have each other. Then, I made a mistake. A BIG mistake.

I said that he married a dud.

My mother’s foreign-born, but she’s been around in the States long enough to know the meaning of ‘dud.’

Oh boy, did I get it. She launched into a lecture about how I should
think positive, that I’m worth all sorts of things and to remember how
much she grieved after my father died. (Purposeful guilt trip, mind
you.) During her soapbox, my mind ventured off and flipped the script.
What would happen if I arrived home that day only to learn that my
husband had killed himself? I’d crumble. My world would fall apart. Not
only would I have lost a husband, I’d have no real way of being able to
make ends meet. My husband’s suicide would propel me into the express
lane toward my own. The thought of my husband dying in that way was
enough to soften my heart – a tiny bit – to how he’d feel if he lost me.

But I was convinced. I couldn’t handle life anymore and I had to die. I needed to die. I deserved to die.

And the anxieties came crashing down on me: I need to be hospitalized.
I can’t go on disability again. It’s busy season at work; I can’t be
hospitalized. I need to quit. I’m too much of a liability. I can’t deal
I can’t deal I can’t deal. [improper punctuation intended]

The biggest lie any suicidal person tells him or herself is “I can’t deal I can’t deal I can’t deal.”

I convinced myself that I had no willpower to continue living. I
decided that once I hung up the phone with my mother, I’d drive to
Conshohocken and throw myself into the Schuylkill from the bridge.

The crappy thing was that I’d left my car keys at home. I hadn’t even thought about taking the train to Conshohocken.

My mother still lecturing me 10-15 minutes later (I had her on
speakerphone as I left the train), I walked home and sat on the couch,
exhausted. I listened to her and finally she calmed down. She said,
“I’ll find out what’s going on with my job and call you tonight to let
you know. I’ll talk to you later, OK?”

No response.

“Hel-LO. I said I’ll talk to you later, OK?”

No response. I can’t lie and say “sure” if I don’t mean it.

Again: “Hel-LO. I’m talking to you. Why won’t you answer me?”

*shrugs* “I don’t know.”

The hubby walked in the door for lunch. I ignored him and faced the other way.

“Is your husband there?”

*shrug again* “Yeah.”

“Can I speak to him, please?”

The true suicidal freak in me would have resisted and hung up the phone. But sheer exhaustion won me over. 

“Sure,” and I handed the phone to him. I continued to sit on the couch, sulking.

I heard a series of “yeah, yeah, no, no, not really, OK, OK, yeah, no, I will, OK, bye.” Then he came over to me.

I expected a mopey, cried-out husband. To my surprise, his face was dry and his eyes only showed concern, no tears.

“What’s going on, honey?”

*shrug*

Him: *sigh*

A lot of back-and-forth on this, but it ended up that I threw a crying
fit about how I wasn’t fit to deal with life, that I couldn’t deal
couldn’t deal couldn’t deal, and I had to kill myself. I needed to kill
myself to escape work. I was too mentally ill to work. I didn’t want to
end up like my schizophrenic father who became too ill to work and was
denied disability because, as we all know, mental illness isn’t a real
illness that can lead to disability.

The outcome? Well, I’m still here so, um, obviously I didn’t drown myself in
the Schuylkill. And I went from a 0 to a forced 10. I smiled, thoughts
of suicide dissipated, and I just couldn’t wait to blog! But first I
was hungry. Then I was tired. Then I woke up at 6 p.m.

It’s Monday night turning into Tuesday morning now. I need to sleep. And I’ll take a Percocet to help me do just that.

I’ve got suicidal thoughts, but they’re ravaging in the back of my mind
– not the forefront. I’m scared to go to work, but realize that I can’t
focus on the supposed hatred from my co-workers. I need to go in there,
do my job to the best of my ability, and kick ass while I’m at it. I
have the ability to kick ass. I don’t need to quit. I can have a good
day tomorrow and I don’t need to die. Maybe all I needed was sleep.
Fifteen-plus hours of no sleep probably exacerbates suicidal thoughts.
(Where’s the study that proves this correlation? Is there a drug that
Novartis has made to help me combat suicidal thoughts on little-to-no
sleep?)

Eh, fuck it all – I’m a suicide survivor. Today, at least.

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12 Comments

  1. Stephany said,

    February 9, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    This is what I have been wanting to read more about, great post.
    Being a survivor, means to survive those thoughts that are SO REAL and very hard, and not take action.
    Though some may say action or some sort of self-harm should have occured…I say not.
    Just having these thoughts can leave a person gripped and immersed in ideations of death that are scary.It takes a lot of hard work to get through a suicidal ideation stronghold. You demonstrated here in your words, that within you–there is that inner-strength and you tapped into it, and are stronger than you probably think.
    I am glad you have a supportive family around you. Your husband’s words are pure gold.Showing concern, without a lecture or speech.
    Take care and thanks for sharing.

  2. Mark said,

    February 11, 2007 at 9:07 am

    you hate advice so I thought I’ld give you some.
    I have thoughts of suicide also, yet I know they are not real. You seem to think yours are real, yet you must know they are not.
    Items that contradict suicide thoughts. 1)You still think your job is important and go to it.2)To get to your job there are many things, like eating and dressing that you continue to do.
    If you have any vanity, which you must have if you continue to eat and dress appropriately, I challenge you to look at the uglyness of death and realize you wouldn’t want to end up and look like this at http://poetry.rotten.com/blonde/0002/
    or http://poetry.rotten.com/shot-au/0003/

  3. Mark said,

    February 11, 2007 at 9:24 am

    I forgot my summary, I have suicidal thoughts yet know I will not act on them, due to my (brain/minds) dislike of being a real dead person as illustrated at that website. I/you/someone suicidal has to learn to re-label/identify the feeling of despair as something else than suicidal thoughts.

  4. Mark said,

    February 12, 2007 at 1:31 am

    More rant. sorry.
    Logically speaking, we can’t “feel suicidal” any more than you can “feel walking” or “feel running”.Suicide is an action not a feeling.Please everyone, stop calling your feelings suicidal, when it is feeling despair, grief, hopelessness, anguish or whatever. Suicide is an action as a result of feeling something. Identify your feelings and then change them or live with them, its up to you.

  5. March 16, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    Mark,
    “I have thoughts of suicide also, yet I know they are not real. You seem to think yours are real, yet you must know they are not.”
    Hmm. Interesting. How are suicidal thoughts not real? Please explain this to me.
    “Items that contradict suicide thoughts. 1)You still think your job is important and go to it.2)To get to your job there are many things, like eating and dressing that you continue to do.”
    What about when you stop caring about your job, frequently call in sick because you can’t work, and stop eating, dressing, and being hygenic? Do those continue to contradict suicidal thoughts? What about those who actually blow themselves away with a gun? Are those thought “not real”?
    “If you have any vanity, which you must have if you continue to eat and dress appropriately, I challenge you to look at the uglyness of death and realize you wouldn’t want to end up and look like this at http://poetry.rotten.com/blonde/0002/ or http://poetry.rotten.com/shot-au/0003/.”
    Yeah. Not pretty. I got grossed out. Right now, since I’m not suicidal, I think that’s pretty gross and wouldn’t want to end up like that. (I browsed the site and JFK’s corpse was pretty graphic.) However, in my suicidal state of mind, I DON’T CARE. That is the one thing that many people need to take into account. Suicidal people are not freaked out by those images. That is where they desire to be.
    “I forgot my summary, I have suicidal thoughts yet know I will not act on them, due to my (brain/minds) dislike of being a real dead person as illustrated at that website. I/you/someone suicidal has to learn to re-label/identify the feeling of despair as something else than suicidal thoughts.”
    I have many questions for you, then: What do you consider suicidal thoughts? You know you won’t act on them, but what about those who have? I understand that thoughts of suicide are an extreme form of despair but I don’t understand why this terminology needs to be relabeled.
    I posted this previously, but you need to realize that while you are able to fight off thoughts of suicide – I assume for you they are merely “passing thoughts” – not everyone is the same. A suicidal person’s constant and continuous thoughts of dying are very real. Gruesome pictures of corpses wouldn’t change his or her mind.
    Best,
    Marissa M.

  6. March 17, 2007 at 12:09 am

    “More rant. sorry.
    Logically speaking, we can’t “feel suicidal” any more than you can “feel walking” or “feel running”.Suicide is an action not a feeling.Please everyone, stop calling your feelings suicidal, when it is feeling despair, grief, hopelessness, anguish or whatever. Suicide is an action as a result of feeling something. Identify your feelings and then change them or live with them, its up to you.”
    Rants welcome.
    I understand what you’re saying and it makes complete sense. However, “suicide” is the action and not necessarily “feeling suicidal.”
    Follow my English degree for a minute: To say someone “feels suicide” is inaccurate because both “feels” and “suicide” are both verbs, just as you pointed out with “feel walking” or “feel running.” However, “suicidal” is used as an adjective to describe a person who contemplates the action of suicide. There are instances when verbs do turn into modifiers, i.e. “walking” man or “running” man, but those are used infrequently.
    See Merriam-Webster on the subject: http://m-w.com/dictionary/suicidal
    I addressed your last two comments with two previous responses. You seem to advocate the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” theory. I question whether you really have suffered from such despair that you reached the point of ending your life. You seem to lack significant knowledge about the feelings leading up to a person who tries to/attempts suicide. I’m not trying to be combative, however, your comment: ” Identify your feelings and then change them or live with them, its up to you.” is, quite frankly, insensitive.
    Best,
    Marissa M.

  7. Mark said,

    March 17, 2007 at 11:57 pm

    The photos I linked to were not meant as a shocker or gross out , but for a suicidal person to empathise with the dead person. Realize how ugly and perminate death is and what YOU will look like if you do it.
    Marissa you do not know what is in the mind of ALL other depressive people.

  8. Mark said,

    March 18, 2007 at 12:02 am

    You seem to advocate the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” theory.
    Well yes I do , but I don’t know what bootstraps are and have never seen them.
    People who are physically addicted to cigarettes , can and do quit smoking. How do they do that?

  9. Stephany said,

    March 18, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    Obviously suicidal thinking/thoughts are a variation of abstract, and no one can tell another person how serious or not serious their thoughts grip them.Some of the one’s who “got dressed” “went to work” “appeared normal” are ALL dead.
    The numbers of dead by suicide statistics speak louder than words or shocking photographs.
    Read this article “One Suicide Too Many”, about Cynthia Doyon; written by journalist Philip Dawdy and author of the blog Furious Seasons.
    Read the entire article.
    “…Then silence, save for a gunshot about 54 hours later.” -writes Dawdy.
    This is a must read, that could possibly influence someone into not killing themselves vs. shock photos.
    http://www.seattleweekly.com/2004-01-14/news/one-suicide-too-many.php
    IF these suicidal thoughts are passing,tell me why (Mark):
    1. Why my male neighbor who was a softball coach, had a great job and family; drove to the post office in my down and shot his brains out in the parking lot.
    2. Why I had to drive 500 miles one way to a 24 yr old daughter who OD’d on sleeping pills and was lucky (twice)she didn’t die.
    3. Why I drove 100 miles in the other direction to another daughter’s 21 yr.old best friend, who had charcoal covered lips from being treated for OD’ing on a bottle of Prozac.
    4. Why my 49 year old friend of 43 years, a mother of 3 kids and the youngest only 12 yrs old–popped pills and gave up and died in her own bed; no notes left behind.(and her kids found her! along with neighbor kids, who now are afraid to go to sleep at night.)
    5. Why Brad Delp of the rock band Boston, wrote notes all over his house and left one on his body, and is dead.
    Statistics speak for themselves.

  10. Stephany said,

    March 18, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Mark,
    Bootstraps are on boots; many people walk in, or ride horses or Harley’s in, and their are straps you can use to “pull up your boots”.
    Thus the old “pull your bootstraps up.”

  11. Stephany said,

    March 18, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Sorry, but one more rant:
    Comparison of quitting smoking and suicide are 2 separate issues. Like brain tumors and childhood bipolar disorder.
    Give me a break.

  12. Mark said,

    April 6, 2007 at 11:28 am

    To Stephany
    Just found your response. Again I state the pictures of dead people is not meant to be a shocker+gross out, but to remove death from the abstract imagination to understand/comprehend/see the uglyness of death.
    I was trying to point out feeling bad enough to want to kill yourself wasn’t the same as feeling suicidal. Suicide comes after feeling bad.If you aren’t feeling bad, I’m pretty dure you don’t feel suicidal. It is to break the chain of thought that the only means of escape is death/suicide.
    I referenced the ability of people to quit smoking as the process can be similar to stopping oneself from the habit of thinking of suicide when feeling terrible.


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