Again, this post may contain triggers. I’m sorry for anyone who is upset by the title popping up in their feeds, but I felt it would be best to make it clear from the outset what I would be discussing in this blog entry.
So here goes.
I have spoken about suicide before here: https://notaloneinthere.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/thoughts-of-suicide/
It’s a hard feeling when you’re so desperate and so low that killing yourself seems the only way out, and it’s important that that feeling and that desperation is talked about. But that’s not the only feeling that’s out there. There’s another one. A far more subtle one. There’s the longing for not-quite-suicide. And that’s dangerous too, because it’s so much easier to deny its existence.
What am I talking about? What is not-quite-suicide?
It’s where life is a drag and a chore and a long empty corridor of fog and pain. It’s where you don’t think you’re that bad, but you know you’re not that good. It’s where you feel like everything you do is a string of desperate patches on a fraying coat. It’s where you don’t want to kill yourself… but you wouldn’t mind if you died.
Not-quite-suicide is the thought that makes you want to lie down and never wake up again. It’s the bit that makes you wonder if you could just float out to sea and never be seen again. It even dresses itself up all noble as a willingness to die for someone you care about. Because killing yourself is an extreme step (you think to yourself) but if you were to die heroically in some kind of grand gesture… well, that wouldn’t be too bad.
I’ve sometimes been deep enough in depression that killing myself seems a viable solution, and that’s bad. It’s a big bad scary warning sign. It says “this person is in trouble“.
On the other hand, I’m only occasionally well enough that I wouldn’t be tempted by the chance to die heroically for a flimsy cause… and somehow that doesn’t seem to ring as many alarm bells.
Hell, I’ve fantasised about hostage situations where I’ve talked the shooters into killing me instead of the other people in the room. I’ve had Mary-Sue stories in my head where I’ve bravely given my life to save a friend, or a family member, or a complete stranger. And once I copped on that this wasn’t a case of “sacrifice” so much a case of something I wanted to do anyway… well it didn’t change my attitude at all. Hell, these days my tactics in the imaginary hostage situation involve explaining that I suffer from depression and even if I survive this I could fall deeply enough to kill myself at any time, so I’m really the logical choice to die as I have no guarantee of being saved anyway, not really, not ever.
And this doesn’t set off alarm bells.
Now, maybe it’s just me who took so long to see how scary these thoughts are, but I’m willing to bet that’s not the case. I would hazard a guess that I know at least a half dozen people who frequently think that it wouldn’t be so bad to just drop dead right now, or to take the place of someone who desperately wanted to live. And I’d hazard a guess that a lot of those self same people would hum and haw about whether they were “really depressed”. I think there are people out there every day to whom dying (note: “dying” NOT “killing themselves”) seems like a far more pleasant option than living. And I think that hundreds and thousands of them believe that “it’s just the way life is” and they “have to just deal with it” and it’s “just them being weak and not coping” and a whole load of other brain-gremlin nonsense involving the word “just”. Furthermore I think they often don’t feel that they can look for support because there are so many people out there who are worse than them.
Can you imagine that? Especially those readers who don’t know how depression feels like? Can you imagine thousands of people going through their lives thinking that death might actually be kinda easier than going on living… and thinking that THEY’RE NOT REALLY THAT BADLY OFF?!
Can you imagine thousands of people that are so fed up of the struggle of living that they can’t seem to care anymore, and who won’t tell anybody because they don’t want to be a bother, or bring down the mood, or act like a “drama queen”?
Can you imagine thousands of people who think “I could tell my friends that I don’t care about living anymore… but it’s not as important as their problem with their car breaking down and I don’t want to be a drag”?
It makes me very sad.
It makes me think that even if I don’t want to be a drag to my happy friends who are coping well… perhaps I should tell people how I feel anyway. Because perhaps if enough people do it then it will become normal. And perhaps some day when someone confides that they can’t cope with living anymore the response won’t be shocked silence, or uncomfortable attempts at comfort, or plain not knowing what to do… perhaps it will be “well let’s see what we can do about that”. And perhaps if it’s normal enough then people like me will be able to let themselves be helped without feeling like we’re just a drain on society.
That would be nice.
I’d like that a lot.