My Side of Suicide
February 3, 2017
This post is exceptionally long.  Even for me.  But I hope you read it anyway.
Yesterday, I sadly learned of the death of a young boy, in his teens, who committed suicide.  They didn’t say how he did it.  Didn’t say why he did it.  But, nonetheless, another young life has gone to waste. 
His death could have been the product of so many factors.  It could have been the complicated layering of several factors, or only one, supercharged and unrelentless.  But no matter the cause, most people I’m sure will react in a similar fashion...saddened, stupefied, boggled down with feelings of guilt or of anger.  And of course, you will hear the hearts breaking of those who knew and loved him, and of strangers whose compassion is dealt yet another blow.  And the glaring question: How could we not know?
Every person who has attempted or succeeded in committing suicide had their own individual reasons, though I’m sure some may have appeared painstakingly the same.  Some kids are bullied at school.  Bullying, leading to feelings of insecurity, inferiority and ultimately, worthlessness or even disgust with one's self. (In other words, why the hell am I here? What am I good for? Does anyone even want me around?)  It is alarming at what young an age children are driven to even consider the possibility of ending their own lives.  Flash forward to the college years where the unbending, almost cruel pressure of one’s parents to perform well in school drives a female undergrad to jump off a building at the UCI campus oh so many years ago.  
Others try to end their lives due to heartbreak, perhaps because of a break-up, a divorce, or to join their loved ones in Heaven.  Some are so severely depressed, they decide living a dim, joyless life is no life at all.  And then there are others still, who live with mental illnesses, like anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, who end their lives either because the voices in their heads tell them to do so, or they wish to silence the chants and raspy whispers that just won’t quit, or those who are in just so much pain and agony, they only see their misery as an unending cycle that can't be broken.  No matter how many times they get better after a relapse or an episode months or even years later, they break down again.  It is so tempting to say, "What's the point?"  When a psychotic break or nosedive into depression is your life's default, it's all too easy to answer this question.
When a person attempts suicide, countless things must rush through their mind.  I myself have never attempted suicide, but I’d be lying if I said in the 15 or so years I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I hadn’t once considered it in my lowest, darkest of times.  I do know what it feels like to want it all to just end.  For the world to stop--because then, the voices would stop.  To try and wish away the pain that is so unbearable you cannot imagine even the slightest possibility of a better day.  And any smidgen of hope you miraculously muster instantaneously fades away, like rose petals in the dead of winter, leaving behind branches of thorns pricking at your already unstable heart and frantic mind.
 I know how it is to feel breathless.  To feel like a thousand ton boulder is sitting atop your chest, and your body is so tired of squirming and trying to escape, you think, “Welp. Why don’t you just crush me instead?”  That’ll take care of the problem.  That’ll be the end of my worries. The end of me.
Because it only takes one quick slash of the wrist, one pull of the trigger, one foot--off the edge of a building or a cliff.
Some think, the pain I am feeling now doesn’t have to last.  And they don’t consider ending or alleviating the pain by talking to parents or friends who couldn't possibly understand, popping some pills their psychiatrist prescribed, and for many, prayer is not enough.  God doesn’t answer quickly enough, or they don’t believe in God altogether.
It is a lonely road, and you are terrified.  Their fear of living is so rampant it beats out their fear of dying.  We live in a world where some people are afraid to die, and these people are afraid of living.  Somehow, in their minds, it all gets twisted.  And I say this with no judgment because I’ve been there.  Please do not think I am judging or patronizing anyone.  I am merely trying to postulate and with a sad heart, trying to understand even beyond my own measure of understanding.  Because I've been there, yet, I am still here, and with full disclosure, there was a time the only reason I was still left standing was because I was too afraid of falling.  Falling into a sleep from which I would never return.  Too afraid to do the deed.  Hoard the pills, rake that razor.  Not only was I afraid of committing the act, but of what would await me on the other side once I did.  For if people who commit suicide automatically land in hell, I dared not to test that theory...
When Robin Williams, who was also bipolar, died, I remember thinking, what was the last straw for him?  What tipped him over the edge?  I thought, why couldn’t you have held on?  WHY?  You settled for darkness and let go of the light.  Here was a man who made the world laugh and brought joy to so many, and yet...his own joy was not enough, critically pointing to something deeper.  Sure, it could’ve been the illness, but even with the illness, your humanity does not leave you, that is, until you’ve found yourself on the brink of psychosis.  When psychosis strikes, all bets are off.
So am I trying to say everyone who commits suicide is suffering from psychosis?  No, of course not.  Particularly because committing suicide can be a conscious effort to solve a problem the only way you know how to solve it.  It may be backwards logic but in their mind, it’s logical and perfectly doable.  You don’t have to lose contact with reality and foster delusions to decide to commit suicide.  You can be perfectly aware of what you are doing.  But your battle with reality is no match for the extreme sadness breeding within you.  
There is something embedded within our minds, something we cannot be rid of, as hard as we try.  Something coaxing us into believing whatever it is it wants us to believe.  And some of us are able to fight it off.  But so MANY others are helpless to its force.  No, we are not weak, though we are prone to moments of weakness, and we happen upon these weaknesses in our greatest moments of desperation.  We are terrorized by our own consciousness.  Trapped by our own fear.
If you’ve suffered manic episode after manic episode, breakdown after breakdown, you literally become petrified of it all coming back again.  You grow tired of this vicious, incurable disease that continually brings you agony, and even when the pain stops, just knowing it is bound to happen again, that it is an never-ending, unrelenting process that will lure you in over and over, is enough to want to pull the plug.  You’ve tried with all your might to fight the head-splitting disease but it keeps biting back, so it is no wonder a person’s response would be to end it all.  Because they truly believe death will make it all go away.  The torment will end.  The misery will end.  They cannot see past the pain.  Because they’ve tried.  And it still won’t disappear.
I wish I could help those who suffer.  My heart goes out to those too afraid to reach out.  Too stuck on believing they really are alone in whatever it is they are going through.  If I could help them believe, they are not alone, that life is worth living.  That they don’t have to continue suffering.  That there’s a way around this madness that the serpents in life attempt to lure you towards.  If they could believe, it really all can and will be ok.  To just keep holding on.  Keep holding on.  It does not have to be the end of the road for you.  You have SO much living to do.  “Hold on, if you feel like letting go.  Hold on.  It gets better than you know...don’t stop searching it’s not over.  Hold on.”  -Good Charlotte...totes emo. But great song.
Emo. I remember back in my college days, people my age and in h.s. often referred to people who seemed to complain or "whine" a lot about their lives or were typically silent (and dressed a certain way) were considered “emo”.  But I learned firsthand from a family member that in his case, he wasn’t being “emo”.  His mannerisms and statements were a cry for help.  Turned out, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  Yes, there are those who simply want attention, but there are those who genuinely need our help, and we don’t always recognize this cry for help because the person in trouble is so good at disguising it as something else.  If only we could pay closer attention and read the signals they aren’t shoving into our faces...if only we were all Depression Detectives and could recognize when someone is truly in trouble.  Even the ones so dearly loved can be prone to depression.  You don’t have to have a crappy life to be dealt a crappy hand in your emotional and mental arenas.  Sometimes, s*it just happens.  To the greatest of people.  To the ones minding their own business.  I have no words for those who are tired of all the bulls*it life has to offer, except...try your best to hold on. Reach out to anyone you can...anyone.  You are not alone.  I might be a complete stranger to whomever is reading this but my ears are open.  I’m willing to listen.  And I won’t judge.
My prayers and condolences to the family and other loved ones of the young teenage boy who took his life yesterday.
I know sometimes it feels ike things will never get better, but miracles do happen.  Really, the miracle is you waking up every day and deciding to live.  Happiness will come.  Slowly, but surely.  You might have to work at it.  And it may seem unfair that happiness comes more easily for some than others, but don't let that be your reason.  Don't let that be your cause for shutting the world out or shutting down.  The world wants you to let it in.  And I know it hurts to smile when you're dying inside.  But give it time.  Please.  I beg of you.  Give it time.  All you have to do is try.
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