Teenage Suicide-Don’t Do It!

6 Apr

In the midst of “discussing” the issues around the latest weirdness via twitter (someone tweeting that they were feeling rather…cutty to Demi Moore, and the resulting consequences), they comment that to them, there’s no difference between an suicide, and a suicide attempt-both are merely cries for attention. I’ve no desire to single this person out since this opinion is in no way limited to them.

When most people stop and think of someone who is suicidal, they might think of that over dramatic girl they knew in tenth grade who wore too much eye make-up and smelled weird, who threatened suicide every week or so. Or maybe a boyfriend who was a little closer to being abusive than one might want to say,  who claimed he’d slit his throat if you left. We’ve all known these people. Most of us thought they were idiots.

There’s a truth to suicidal thoughts, a vibrancy that’s so dark and sick that I can barely face it. The truly suicidal-they tell no one, or almost no one. They hold their thoughts close to their chest, knowing that if they mutter one tiny word, they will set a chain of events in motion they don’t want to think about. If they talk about it, it becomes real, and they can fight the thoughts off in their head if no one else knows.

Besides, if they tell someone, and don’t do it, well, then we all know they’re ONLY looking for attention, right?

I have actively tried to end my life twice. Once at 14, and once last year at 30. Both times were terrifying. Both times were closer to death than I really wanted-I just wanted all pain to end. I could touch the end from where I was, taste it. It was a cold place.

Neither was truly a cry for attention. Help maybe. A cry for some sort of salve to make my world better. A way of dealing with the fear of living without the people I loved. A release for the sickness in my head, the last resort to steady chaos. It was never about drawing eyes to me, to be loved. It was only ever about making things just stop sucking so fucking much.

Some of us don’t always have the capacity to handle life. Maybe we never will, without medication, without therapy. Our filters are lost, the windows open, and it all just comes at us. After awhile, you’re tired. Tired of fighting to stand in one place, tired of struggling so much for the things everyone else just grabs so easily. Little by little, the insulation around that tiny little rubber away hole-it disappears, and you’re left holding the handles on a bag that’s empty and heavy, all at once.

It’s not anyone else’s attention you want. It’s your own. You want your life back.

Some threatening suicide, exhibiting all those classic symptoms every goth and emo kid reads up on may need help-but they don’t necessarily mean to end it. They’re desperate, and I’ve been there as well. Quote the right things and you’re rushed to a doctor that otherwise takes years to see. But some, some don’t give their possessions away or mope around listening to sad songs-they just do it.

Because the world can be cold, and scary and oh so lonely, especially when your brain doesn’t work, not like every one else’s brain does. When you’re cornered by voices humming how little you are worth, how much everyone hates you. When even the sunniest day seems cold. Running from these things has nothing to do with attention, or even help. Running towards even death can feel sweet.

Sometimes I think even doctors don’t “get” suicide, not if they haven’t felt it’s clammy hand on their shoulder. I’ve wanted to die because I just wanted things to stop hurting-much as someone in chronic physical pain might wish for death. I can’t put into words how horrifying it is to live each day knowing you’d prefer to be dead, having that thought sit in front and drive, every single day, for years. After awhile, it’s all you know.

It’s never just for attention. When I nearly ended my life last summer, I was terrified to live my life, terrified to go on. I lay on my bed, staring at a picture of my daughters for what seemed like an eternity before I got up and made my way to the hospital.

I didn’t want attention. I wanted a new life. And somehow, coming that close to death gave it to me.


17 Responses to “Teenage Suicide-Don’t Do It!”

  1. Bon April 6, 2009 at 9:50 pm #

    you say it well.

    i lived up north, where suicide among youth has become an epidemic, where it is impossible not to be able to call to mind the faces of kids who’ve ended it and more who’ve tried. most are adolescents, and so i suppose there’s a bit of attention-seeking in it occasionally, but i think far more often it’s exactly as you’ve said it. they want to know if they can get to the edge and find some fucking meaning in not crossing: the hurt is real. palpable. and when everyone’s doing it, it becomes simply the way to deal with hurt…a siren song that broadcasts low but insistent, a radio you can’t quite turn off until the low hum finally becomes more than you can bear.

    i’m lucky. it was only ever in that window after Finn died, when i was so utterly moorless, jobless, childless, uprooted, that i found that place for myself. and it lay there open before me like a logical move, in so many ways…except that i am my mother’s only child, and the cruelty of putting her in the place i wasn’t able to cope with being was enough to pull me back, bitterly.

    • thordora April 6, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

      It was much the same for me after my mother died, most of the time. The thought of leaving my father as she had left me…I just couldn’t do it. I remember feeling so terrified at 13 of doing to him what happened to me…

  2. Green April 6, 2009 at 10:07 pm #

    I almost never talk about it. Simply because nobody wants to hear it, and if I insist on talking, they’ll not want to listen, and I already have too few people in my life as it is, I don’t need less.

    Most people who talk to me about makeup tell me I don’t wear enough. Nobody’s ever said I wear too little.

  3. Jennifer April 7, 2009 at 11:53 am #

    You’re right in that.

    Although, for some, the threat is real when they reach out, there is a certain truth to it that resonates with action far less then the dramatic. As you did last year.

    You were not seeking attention. I think you were looking for a push in the right direction, for someone to tell you that you mattered, and threaten to bring people to your door if you didn’t seek the help you needed for yourself.


    Anyway, been there myself and know first hand that it isn’t something that gets advertised.

    I still remember the decision, as I layed on the bed, after eating I don’t know how many pills. Part of me wanted my mother to rush into my room and tell me that I mattered. That I was loved. That she wanted me to live. I did live, because I apparently didn’t take enough of the right things.

    The next day, she informed me that I couldn’t even do that right.

  4. B April 7, 2009 at 3:25 pm #

    I’ve always admired your courage. This post just makes me realize that even more. Thank you for writing the words that some of us can’t write ourselves.

    • thordora April 7, 2009 at 10:11 pm #

      It’s not courage. It’s irritation at those who will never understand it. Until you’ve faced yourself and oblivion head on, you just really can’t get it.

      But hey, I’ll take any and all compliments. 🙂

  5. isabel April 7, 2009 at 9:42 pm #

    I never told anyone that I wanted to kill myself. I got treatment for depression because a friend suggested it as a way to solve my problems. I thought that there was nothing wrong but I ‘got help’ and even then, I didn’t tell anyone, not even my doctor, not even my therapist.

    I totally relate to your post. Thank you for writing it. I want to add my feelings here in your comments because I’ve never been able to share these feelings with anyone and you get it.

    I didn’t want to kill myself for attention, I just wanted life to stop. I was tired out and the pain was exhausting. Every tiny part of life was extremely difficult, just sitting up was difficult. Talking to people was almost impossible. I have no idea how I got it together enough to even see a doctor. I was so terrified that if I told her I wanted to die that she would make it so I didn’t have that choice: hospitalize me (which she threatened anyway) or drug me. The idea that my life would have to change in some way, even in some drastic way like living in a hospital, was scary because it meant life becoming even more difficult than it was at the time. Like, that I would have an even harder time and yet no longer have a way of dealing with it.

    She made me take my first pills in front of her. I agreed to the drugs to avoid being hospitalized. Thank God, THANK GOD they worked.

    Thank you for this post.

    • thordora April 7, 2009 at 10:10 pm #

      Thank you for sharing your story. I think so many of us have had that moment, that horrible fear that someone will lock us away for even daring to mention that we just want our life to stop, that we would give up such a gift. It’s so beautiful when you say it, and they just tell you they can make it all go away.

      I’m glad those pills worked too darlin.

  6. jaded April 7, 2009 at 10:41 pm #

    Hi, I’m de-lurking. Crazymumma sent me a link sometime ago, and I’ve been visiting erratically since. I appreciate your honesty and courage in “owning” who you are, yet offering no apologies, only courage.

    May peace be with you.

  7. cheekyketek April 8, 2009 at 3:28 pm #

    The one time I contemplated suicide seriously (post partum depression, you ugly bitch you) it was not about attention at all. It was about what you said.

    I think about the quietness of desperation a lot, working in a high school. The loud, dramatic emo kids are not the ones I worry about. It’s those silent ones, the kids who try to skate through school unseen. Those are the ones that concern me most.

    • thordora April 8, 2009 at 4:53 pm #

      Most people who know me in real life, who don’t know about my illness, they can’t imagine it. I’m loud and funny and rather obnoxious. THey’d never imagine what goes on in my head.

      I’ve noticed that the people most people assume are depressed are usually the least likely to be. If you’re depressed, and suicidal, you don’t WANT anyone to know your weakness.

      Self protection can work to one’s detriment sometimes…

      Are you still in Amsterdam you lucky bitch you?

  8. cheekyketek April 8, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    Urgh! That’s me, Gwen. I kinda sorta have this new blog and I keep forgetting I’m logged into it for all the wordpressers. Anyway.

  9. Ameroux April 10, 2009 at 11:35 am #

    Thordora, you wrote this so well. I’ve been suicidal for most of my life and it’s exactly as you’ve described it. It’s always there, sitting on my shoulder, whispering in my ear: “The Evil Whisperer who whispers in the breasts of men . . . ” The last time I came very close was in 2003 and I think I experienced what you wrote about. I needed to come that close to the edge to realize that what I really wanted was to have my life back. But that nasty bastard is always there, whispering. Some days he gets louder and louder. Just as you said, most people in my life don’t have any idea that I feel this way. And most people are simply not emotionally equipped to take in that kind of information unless it has touched their lives in some way, the cold breath of it on their necks.

    I don’t often comment here, but I read fairly regularly. It means a lot to have a safe place to say and hear these things. Plus which, Thor, you totally rock as a writer! Take care.

  10. thordora April 10, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    Thank you.

    It sounds really pithy, but I can never find any real depicions of suicidal thoughts or attempts-I can find all the emo ones easily enough though.

    It’s much darker, and a lot less “TV” than I find portrayed most of the time.

  11. angharad April 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

    i grew up with a suicidal parent so i found it really interesting to read about it from your point of view. thank you for writing so honestly.

  12. bromac April 13, 2009 at 11:58 am #

    Only my daughter has kept me alive the past 3 years. Before her, my husband’s insistence. Before that, my mother.

    It is about gut-wrenching pain. It is about the inability to see some way out. It is about wanting to stop hurting the people who love you so much. The last has been my problem. Self-loathing and knowing I am disturbingly affecting those around me, and that is the worst part of mental illness to me, hurting all those people who want to help me.

  13. sofia April 14, 2009 at 4:23 am #

    alll i have to say is thank u….i know it is a bit repetitive but i felt like i wrote what u wrote my self….its exactly how i feel everyday….and im outgoing and funny and have lotz of friends of course they couldnt even picture me being this way….the “dark” way….but knowing that im not the only one is somewhat a relief….so thanx

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