It’s not very often I post anything other than poetry, or prose and photos on my other blogs, but a friend recently commented on the suicide of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington. Below is the comment I left on his Facebook post:
“I used to be of the same opinion, Dani. I was always a glass half full kind of person; still am. I would never have, ever, given the notion a second thought.
I thought it was terrible to take one’s own life when other people were sick or dying and had no choice in the matter.
Being judgemental has a way of coming back and biting you in the arse.
Several years ago, I found myself in a situation and place I couldn’t see a way out of. My world basically came tumbling down around me. I had no one to talk to. l was too proud to contact my family back home. I felt like a complete failure.
So what did I do? I researched all the ways a person can end their life. I whittled down the list and very level headedly discarded all the methods I thought were too painful or messy. Then when I’d settled on the way out I thought was the best for me, pills and booze, I carefully went about planning it down to the last detail, where, when etc.
I went about it all quite methodically. I obviously wasn’t thinking rationally, but I was thinking quite clearly about where I was going.
The gist of it is this:
I drove to the ocean, with my pills and booze, to a place I absolutely knew no one would find me until I was definitely gone.
Then I sat there and bawled like a baby for a long time.
That was a complete surprise to me. Then I thought about my kids; what it would say to them about me.
Then I got angry that I’d let another person make me feel I had nothing left to live for. I spoke to God too.
Obviously I didn’t harm myself; never even opened the whisky and pills.
A couple of years later I got a tattoo,; one that stands for being a survivor.
If people see it they probably think I tried to kill myself; I didn’t. I look at it every now and again. It reminds me how good life is and what a good life I have.
But it doesn’t really matter what people think of me. I definitely thought about doing it, and if my speaking about it helps only one person, then what other people think doesn’t really matter.
I have a good life. I have people who love me. I like me.
I wouldn’t have any of that if I’d harmed myself.
So to anyone feeling so depressed they see no way out, please talk to someone.
No one knows what you’re going through unless you tell them. As much as we’d like to think people should know we’re in pain, no one can read minds. And sad people are very good at looking happy”
Now I’m pretty much an open book as far as other people are concerned; what you see is what you get. However, some of my friends and family will no doubt be surprised by the above comment.
The reason I said what I said? Because a lot of people still see others who don’t ‘…have it all together all the time…’ as being weak. That isn’t the case at all.
For a person to even entertain the thought of suicide, they have generally been through some hell or another and have come out the other side because they are strong enough to weather the storm thrown at them. A whole series of ‘storms’ can unfortunately lead to feelings of helplessness, unjustified inadequacy and thoughts that they don’t really matter to others who have ‘…all their shit together’.
It’s easy to scoff at those you perceive as weaker than you, when your life has gone pretty much as you wanted, and expected, it to. Throw in a few, sometimes continuous, periods of interminable stress, and life can take you in a direction you would never have thought possible.
The strongest person in the world can weather any but that one, last, unweatherable storm. Everyone has a point they can get to where all hope seems lost. Fortunately, many people are never tested to their limits or they wouldn’t be so blasé, so judgemental, about those who take, or attempt to take, their own lives.
Some people see suicide as a slap in the face, especially when they’ve lost loved ones to illness, accidents or criminal activity. So they see suicide as a selfish act. However, those feeling suicidal often see it as releasing their loved ones from the burden of living with their moods or unhappiness or lack of self esteem.
If you’ve had a good life, without abuse, without death, without any soul destroying emotional, financial or health problems, think yourself lucky. Not everyone is as lucky as you. And luck is all it is. Those who say ‘…I make my own luck…’ or ‘…the harder I work the luckier I get…’ are deluded. Their worlds could come crashing down around their ears tomorrow.
Don’t judge people who are in pain. They are suffering enough. Love them. And be thankful you’re not going through what they’re going through.
There but for the grace of God…..