Monday, September 10, 2012

World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, 2012

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Almost every site I have seen have places to call if you are feeling suicidal, and lots of history and statistics of suicide. Some bloggers are adamant that suicide can be prevented. Some aren't. A few sites, eager to show that the blogger has a very good education, spew out facts from Durkheim, and go into 21st century stats.

Here's the honest truth. Most suicides can be prevented. Most suicidal behavior, if taken over that hump when a person is suicidal, leads to the person being glad the next day they are still alive. I've met several people in real life who are grateful their attempt(s) failed. I've met people who as they were swallowing pills ended up calling 911 because they changed their mind.

Then I've met people, including myself, who were upset they failed. They can't figure out what went wrong, every detail was planned to the Nth degree, and something caused it to go wrong.

How do you prevent a suicide? The best method is to listen to the person and do not judge. President Abraham Lincoln went through such a bad, suicidal patch in his life, his friends didn't leave him alone. It obviously worked, and he went on to be one of the best American Presidents.

Four years ago I wrote about a friend of mine, Kevin Greim, who suicided on Sept 14, 2008 in a most gruesome manner that still gives me nightmares. Out of all the pieces I have ever written in my life, I am the most proud of this one. Kevin was more than a statistic of two suicides that died in Mercer County NJ that weekend. He was a real live person, with the most beautiful aura I've ever seen. A person who totally gave of himself, was always there if you needed to talk and meant so much to so many people at my old support group. Yet since his suicide, I've learned he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, dealing with several problems, that if only he had discussed with his friends, he might not have died. If only he opened up.....

I think about Kevin every day. Kevin loved cars and when I see something cool on the road, I want to pick up my phone, snap a picture of it and send it to him. Only I can't. His friends, still are haunted by his death. One of them never got over it and his life took a turn for the worse.

Then there's the guilt. We all have it. Everyone who was at his memorial service and funeral has it .If only he had talked to me. I remember several of us looking at the urn his ashes were in, crying so hard we had to leave the funeral parlor. Standing outside in the cool Indian Summer with snot rockets coming out of our noses from crying to hard ,and all thinking or saying "Why didn't he call me"?

Some have moved on, as you do with life. Some have on the outside but, like me, are haunted in dreams of what must have been the last milliseconds of his life.

Here's what I want someone who finds this piece to take away.

I get you are hurting.

I understand you feel it won't go away. 

I understand your life has gone to s**t because of drinking, drugging, job loss, or love. 

I understand how you feel helpless and feel that if you were dead you wouldn't be in pain.


Have you really thought about the people you would leave behind? Yes, in your convoluted thinking, you feel they would be better but they won't. They will feel like they had the hearts ripped out and will miss you every day of their lives. They will hate you sometimes for leaving them, and other times they will miss you so much it will feel like Atlas holding up the weight of all the world. Only instead of holding the earth, they are holding up a broken heart that will never heal. If your friends and family are lucky, they won't go through divorces, or drug use or other ways to make themselves feel better. Ways that don't work and only make things worse in the long run.

One of my favorite movies of all time is "It's A Wonderful Life". At my lowest, most suicidal, I've wondered where my Clarence angel is. One night in my early twenties I got down on my knees and prayed for the entire night until that feeling passed.

All I can tell you is this. Yes there are 7 billion people on the earth right now. There is a reason that you were created. Call it because of G-d, a Higher Power, or just two people having too much to drink on a Saturday night. There is a reason, a mission you have with your life. You don't know it. You probably won't until you are on your death bed.

As bad as things are right now, remember Suicide is not painless. You can take or leave it if you please. It's my hope for all who read this, to please leave it. The only time suicide is painless is in a theme song from one of the best television series ever.

My piece on Kevin is here. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

High Dives and un fluffy pillows

I'm deathly afraid of heights. One nightmare that keeps playing over and over in my head is a true account, yet I am dreaming about it almost nightly. Growing up my sister and I were very close to a neighbor, one of the nicest widows you would ever want to meet. She was considered family.

In the summertime she joined the local swim club and my sister and I would go with her for the afternoon. It was a treat. My sister was fearless. She was also athletic. She climbed up to the high dive and jumped. I preferred the low dive or even better, just reading a book under the shade of a tree. (And you want to know why the kids thought you were strange? Could that be it?)

One day I was double dog dared to jump off the high dive by my sister. So I did. Or tried to. I went up it, no problem. It wasn't until I was looking down, I suffered my first attack of vertigo. I turned around as if to climb back down, but there was a whole line of kids waiting to jump in that cool water. I had to. It was the scariest thing I have ever did with my life.

In a lot of ways it still is.

The last six years of my life, I have been paralyzed with fear as I look down on the pool. I can't jump, I can't go down. I'm just on the high dive scared as if death was near. Frozen. I'm not making any progress, but I am not failing. I just am stagnant. I just am breathing, but I am not living.

I am paralyzed.

Let's put it in another way. I'm stuck in my life. I'm not happy where I am right now. I know what to do to fix it but I can't take the first steps. Once again, I am cursed with a depression so severe I can barely get out of bed to do anything but use the toilet or feed the cat. I just don't see a point to get out of the bed.

Through my blinds I can see some of the children that live in the apartment complex playing a make-shift game of soccer in the parking lot. They are laughing and smiling as they chase the black and white ball, happy that school hasn't started, happy to be alive.

I lie in bed, surrounded by un-fluffed pillows and wish I was that eager. Wish I was that happy. I haven't been. Not in almost a decade. Let's face it. The last six years, I am not even living. I am existing. It's my heart that's beating because the primal brain is telling it to beat, my lungs are breathing because my brain is telling them to do that. Every day when I go to sleep I wish I could die in my sleep. Of course I don't. I don't have the energy to do anything other than stay in bed and sleep.

Was this the reason I developed agoraphobia? Did the depression transmogrify to something more serious?

I should know better. I'm too old for all this nonsense. Still I cannot move. I can't leave the apartment. I don't want to leave the bed.

I want nothing more to have the good fairy wave her wand and i will be cured. i can get out of bed, and go back to the land of the living.

Good fairies don't exist. I can't get better like that. I got to do the work. I have the tools, I know the steps.

I just can't get out of bed.

Today is my birthday. It's the birthday I've been dreading for the last month or so. All I know is I can't have another six years of existing not living. I need to start living, or if I can't get off the proverbial pot, I will start dying.

I just hope this birthday year things will get better. I'm sick and tired of waiting on the high dive to find the courage to jump. I have to find the courage or someone has to push me.

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