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.