Monday, August 11, 2014

Compassion and Suicide


Syrup-drenched inspirational meme invocation aside, I believe that having compassion for others (and ourselves) is one of the most important actions we can take in life. To be compassionate in regards to any and every facet of other people's lives is to acknowledge the validity of the whole person, not just the parts deemed acceptable for public consumption. Those of us with chronic illnesses understand this better than many. 

One thing the general public should understand is that suicidal ideation (thinking suicidal thoughts) isn't always driven by the desire to die or be dead. Sometimes, it's an impulse. Either way, your brain is literally trying to kill you. 

In this case, let's say your brain insists that you "run into that knife" or "fire that weapon" or "take a step off that bridge", but you have absolutely no true desire to do so. (In my experience, that voice is an incorporeal demon filling the interior of my mind like Bob from Twin Peaks, forcing unbearably clamorous orders and never letting up.) The messages invade your mind space ALL DAMN DAY and it is all you can do to keep them at bay so you can get your chores or reports done. You simply cannot get far enough away from it. I've experienced suicidal ideation due to both this impulse and bipolar disorder. How categorically alarming, frightening, and exhausting it is.

There are SO MANY of our selves/friends/family members/neighbors/strangers who struggle through every single moment while hauling the leaden weight of an uninvited demon or two everywhere they go. We are doing the entire population a grievous disservice by silently allowing people to combat those demons alone. As my wise friend Seth says, "We need to say that it is ok to say when we are in trouble and be able to have the tools available to us not just to help in crisis but to show us how to live with it."

Where do we begin? With compassion.

***EDITED TO ADD***

“You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering.” Ernest Hemingway.

Folks, please pay close attention. I keep seeing posts that say things like "If you're feeling depressed, seek help!" This is all fine and good except for the reality that most people who are suffering badly are truly crippled and in no frame of mind to seek help. Also? They likely already ARE getting some form of help for themselves. ***If you know someone is depressed or suffering from another type of mental illness or bad situation - PLEASE REACH OUT TO THEM. They may not be in a place to be able to accept your help, but do not take it personally. Compassionate action is worth the try.

More info on being an advocate and finding support for everyone: https://www.nami.org/Find-Support

Love, love, love.

7 comments:

  1. It is so hard to ask for help when you already feel so disconnected. If you already feel that nobody cares, there really is nobody to ask for help and there's no reason to fight Bob off.

    I find that in times like these people are quick to say, "why didn't they just ask for help?" (and I'm guilty too) but those are often the same people who can't be bothered to pick up the phone for a friend they know is troubled or forgive a friend after a crisis.

    But maybe I'm just bitter and maybe this shit makes me feel it all SO HARD.

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    1. I agree, Chrissy. That's why I think it's important for everyone in general to develop more compassion toward these situations so less people might feel less alone. <3

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    2. I added a whole new section related to this!

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  2. I would say that the ideation itself is a form of suicide, in that it takes brainspace and bloodsugar away from that needed to interact with lived, consensual reality (aka Life). What is not Eros is Thanatos, however blurry the boundary, however much the corpus continues to lurch through vector space.

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  3. Wow. I like that analogy, Costi. <3

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