Suicide. Devastating to those who are left. Heart wrenching. And the questions. “Why?” “Couldn’t she snap out of it?” “He made money, why would he do this?” “How could you be that depressed?” All of those questions with no answers.
Do we ever really know what is going on in people’s lives and minds? I remember when I finally awoke from a 20 year depression; I decided to be open and honest about it. Some people really appreciated that, some thought I should keep it to myself. Some I just didn’t share it with at all. People would tell me that they couldn’t believe it, I was always smiling and happy. I thought, “I’m Oscar worthy! I can act!” And of course there were some very happy moments, but the bulk of that time was spent negative, sad, unworthy, etc. I didn’t realize the depths of my depression until 2009. It was then that I realized the damage my negative self- talk had done to me. It was then that I realized I wasn’t happy with me. It was then that I realized God wasn’t punishing me, I was punishing me. It was then that I thought about suicide.
I know many think that suicide is a coward’s way out, a selfish act. I cannot judge or label it that way. I don’t know what it is. Nobody knows what is truly going through another person’s mind. Is it selfish to want to find a way to end the pain? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Is it cowardly to think that the only way out of the downward spiral is to end your life? I truly thought the world would be better off without me. I was in a hopeless place. I couldn’t see the other side; I didn’t believe I could get out of this dark lonely place.
Of course suicide leaves others wondering if they could have helped you. It leaves people wondering what they missed. How do you not know the depths of despair someone is feeling? Especially if you love them. You believe what people tell you. You believe them when they say they are fine. You never really know what is going through someone else’s mind.
A colleague of mine recently committed suicide. When I spoke with his wife she cried and shared some of the struggles he was having. She then said, “I thought I was taking such good care of him.” “I’m sure you were,” I responded, but he didn’t let you know what more he needed, I thought to myself. Sometimes you are afraid to share the care you need as you know it is a lot to ask of someone. Sometimes you are just afraid to admit how you feel and what you need.
I remember the depth of my despair. I remember driving my 380 Horsepower engine, roaring down the quaint Millstone road, winding and turning with ease. My speed continued to climb. I felt every nook and cranny of the road and loved the rush. The car is careening down the road with the music blaring and I was focused on one thing. Get rid of the anger! Get rid of the pain!
How? How do you stop 20plus years of pain! I saw the tree, I felt the speed of the car, I focused on the turn and hoped I would not feel the impact. Tires screeched and dirt and rocks flew as I slammed on the breaks and made a complete 360 turn! All I could see was my Mom’s face in her hands saying ,”I can’t lose another child.” I realized at that moment that hitting the tree would not solve anything and would kill my parents. I couldn’t be responsible for that.
I was lucky as I stopped myself and sought help. I went into therapy. I took anti-depressants for about a year and I healed. My healing has taken a lot of different methods. I practice all of my affirmations, write in my grateful journal, practice some yoga, some meditation, work with my gurus, etc. That has all helped me. Not everyone is so lucky to find other ways to get rid of the pain for good than suicide.
I share my story to help others. If my story can help one person make a decision different than suicide, I have been successful. The sun always does shine after a storm. You just have to wake up to see it.