Debriefing Deafening Silence

It’s been a little while since I finished writing what turned into a 3 part series on a specific encounter with suicide that occurred in my life. I say “a little while,” but it hasn’t really been so long at all. I suppose that you know I haven’t exactly taken a month off to ponder this or anything. To be honest, I have tried to write about other topics already, but it just feels like this one was unresolved. Left raw.

Suicide is just such a difficult topic to discuss! People who haven’t been suicidal don’t understand what it feels like (but who could expect them to understand an experience they haven’t had?!). At the same time, the pain that some of these individuals feel over the suicide of a friend or relative is very, scathingly real (and I don’t understand their situation either, as it has never happened to me). People who have been suicidal do understand what it feels like to be in that state, but they may not know how it feels to watch a loved one retreat, diminish, and then die. These people also have real and visceral pain, but often the sources of it are invisible, making it very difficult to discuss or defend.

So how do I do it justice when I am just one person who has experienced one or maybe two sides of the issue? All I can ask of you is that you take my words for what they are: the description of my perspective and my experience. Nothing more and nothing less.

They aren’t going to be true of everyone’s experience. They may not even be accurate descriptions of my own life! (After all, drawing in a hurricane of emotion doesn’t really allow one to see current events very clearly.) At the end of the day, all that I have is my experiences as I remember them feeling at the time, the perspective that I have gained in the last several years, and the hybrid created by fusing the two.

In these last 4 entries, I haven’t been trying to diminish the value of the young woman who killed herself- The fact that I was incapable of mourning at the time says more about my abysmal mental health during that period than it ever could about her. So when I do things like infer that no one invested in her, it’s only because I can’t imagine a suicidal person who truly believes that he or she has a real friend close at hand… but then goes through with it anyway. When I was last actively suicidal, I had a friend that I knew cared about me, and I went to her instead of going through with it.

Maybe it’s not like that for everyone, and if it isn’t, I sincerely apologize to the people who serve as exceptions or counterexamples to my point. I really am sorry about this. No one’s experience should ever be diminished or written off for any reason. If you don’t fit into my box, then I need a new box.

So, here’s my giant disclaimer. I can’t understand every aspect of this phenomenon, and I can’t explain why any specific person killed him or herself rather than continuing on. All that I know for sure is that for me, when I was in that dark and lonely place, all that I wanted was  for the constant agony to stop. I didn’t want to leave anyone. I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I didn’t think that I was valuable enough to be capable of either of those things.

I just wanted to be at peace. At the time, on October 8th, 2005, I could not see any other way.

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