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It’s not my place to judge

“Suicide is painless. It brings on many changes. And I can take or leave it if I please.”

Remember those lyrics to the M*A*S*H theme song? Well, it wasn’t sung in the opening of the show, but I had the sheet music when I was 9 to play on the piano. I thought those words were so odd to me at that age. What on earth could be painless about killing yourself?

But I’ve learned in my adult years, that to the person who commits suicide, the pain of living is greater than the act of death. Hard to comprehend, I know.

There’s been much talk about suicide after Robin Williams’ death on Monday. Many bloggers have written about the topic. Some with stupidity and ignorance that makes me cringe, and some with understanding, poignancy and heart that reaches out to those who might be in a dark place.

I’m not writing this as click-bait. I’m sort of jumping on the bandwagon, I suppose. But I want to keep the dialogue going. And I want to offer my comfort and love to those suffering among the living.

Not the depressed ones, no. The survivors of someone they love that has committed suicide. This post is for them. I know a few, sadly. And what I’ve been reading and hearing on the Internet and social media makes my heart break for them. Because it’s no one’s place to judge or condemn their loved one for something that person did. Albeit final, permanent and devastating, but not their place to judge. No.

The stages of grief are first Denial and then Anger. I think some people dwell in the stage of Anger longer than is appropriate.

Can you imagine your mother or husband taking their own life? Leaving you behind to grow up alone with your sisters, or raise children without a partner? I can’t either. I do feel angry for those left behind. I could scream on their behalf. But I’m not the one living it. It’s not my place to judge.

But I know people that are living this. And I want to tell them that there is no shame. The pain of that family member was so great, so confounding that no one can understand. And it isn’t anyone’s right or place to tell them what ‘choice’ (not my words) they made. They were sick. Sure it wasn’t cancer, but they were sick. And it’s not my place to judge.

The mind’s chemistry is still a mystery. But we have come many strides in science to know that there are chemicals the body needs to function. Just like insulin or oxygen, we need a balance. And when that balance is off, things can go haywire.

How horrible that Sarah goes to school ashamed she has no father because he killed himself over the summer when he lost his battle with Bipolar Disorder. But Sally’s mom passed away from cancer and everyone is making her cards and offering help. But Sarah’s mom and siblings don’t talk about their loss. They’re too ashamed. Everyone says, “How could he do such a thing? How could he leave his family like that?”

He didn’t rob a bank. He didn’t gun down a school. He was sick. Just like Sally’s mom. He was sick. And the flames of pain and darkness burned too hot. It’s not our place to judge.

I can’t say it better than David Foster Wallace:

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”

I feel so unqualified to even broach this topic. But battling depression myself, knowing a friend who sought help to keep from attempting suicide, and the dear loved ones of friends and family that I know who are survivors of suicide; I can only offer my words as a salve. A balm to their wounds that might wear off temporarily, but hopefully will be felt at a time of need. It’s not my place to judge. And it’s not yours either.

 

It's not my place to judge by Frugalista Blog lifting the shame of suicide for those left behind

 

 

Guest Post- A brave friend

Today’s post was not written by me. This is a true account of a friend of mine and her fight to keep her friend alive. You see, I know of suicide. I know children of parents that have committed suicide. It’s an ugly bitch. It leaves the people behind confused, angry and grieved. When my friend asked if she could use my blog as a space to share her story, I didn’t hesitate. I want her story to be shared without any worry of identities being discovered.
If this story speaks to you, then message me or her and we can get you help.

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First, I want to take the opportunity to thank Frugalista for allowing me to post anonymously on her blog.
You see, I am a blogger, however, given the nature of this situation, I could not post this on my blog, but I
had to get it out. I needed to get it out. For my own personal mental health and so maybe, just maybe
if you are having thoughts of ending your own life you will read my words and know you are loved and
that you are not alone. If you think you know who I am, please do not post anything about my identity
publicly. Instead, email me at youarelovedalways2012@gmail.com.
My best friend, Mary left her abusive, sociopath of a  husband earlier this year and her already precarious
mental health started to spiral downwards rather quickly after she left. She has always suffered from
depression. So this summer, when I received the first call for help, I was expecting it.
What I wasn’t expecting was to see someone so sad and so hysterical that no amount of words could get
through to her. She was convinced that her daughter would be better off without her. She convinced
herself that she was a burden to everyone and that she was worthless. She couldn’t work; she couldn’t
get out of bed. She was in a completely irrational state of mind. I tried everything I could to make her
see the devastation and destruction her daughter would face if she killed herself. It didn’t work.
Nothing worked. I have never in my life experienced someone in this state of mind, with so much raw
pain that it seemed to just emanate from her soul. It was heart-wrenching to experience and we didn’t
know what to do.
We got her to bed that night and in the morning after the pills and the booze wore off she seemed to be
okay. In her sober, rational state of mind, she knew she couldn’t kill herself, she knew it would destroy
people. She knew the pain would go away. We tried over and over to get her to seek counseling. But,
no matter what we said, she repeatedly stated that therapy wouldn’t work.
After that incident, we considered an intervention to force her to get help. It didn’t sit right. I can’t
really explain it, except to say, I knew it wasn’t the right time.
Over the next several months, we tried to brainstorm with her to figure out ways for her to make an
income, because her asshole husband refused to provide any support. We got her an attorney. Her
parents provided for her financially. She cashed in a 401K to support herself. We had a plan for her to
take some classes. Most days she felt good and positive. But it was just a mask.
Then, just a few weeks ago, she stopped returning my calls and texts.
Friday night our other friend, Carrie, called; she was the one I was with during the above episode. Mary
had called her wanting her jewelry out of the safety deposit box. Carrie was concerned and so I called
Mary and thankfully, she answered.
I asked her why she wanted her jewelry. She wanted to sell it so her daughter would be provided for.
She said she had found a place for her beloved dog and was giving up custody of her daughter to her
daughter’s father. She also stated that she was meeting with her attorney to make sure her will was
updated so that her soon to be ex-husband would not receive any of her assets, “in case something
happens.”
“What do you mean, in case something happens?” I asked, already knowing what she meant.
“Well, I’m not going to kill myself. But I just can’t do it anymore. I don’t want to burden anybody
anymore. My daughter will be fine. She doesn’t need me.”
The most terrifying and disturbing part about that conversation was the nonchalant manner in which
she was saying these things. She had a plan. She wasn’t the hysterical crying mess that she had been
previously. She was sober and serious. I knew that night that no words I could possibly say would make
a difference. I told her I loved her and I would talk to her tomorrow.
Saturday morning we got on the phone with her parents and conferenced in the suicide prevention
hotline. After repeating the conversation from the night before, he was understandably concerned and
advised us to dispatch a crisis van. He also informed us that if she didn’t go voluntarily then we could go
to the courthouse, file a petition and have her involuntarily placed in a treatment facility. We were
prepared to do that.
We met the crisis van at her house and she was pissed, angry and betrayed. It took nearly 2 hours to
convince her to go with them. We did have to threaten to file the petition, but she went.
I spoke to her that night and she said the place was miserable. She didn’t get a bed and she had to sit in
a room with 25 people, mostly men. She did not sleep.
She met with the nurse practitioner the following morning to be evaluated. She refused to say that she
was a danger to herself and they had no choice but to discharge her.
After learning this, I immediately starting searching for hospitals. I got on the phone to make payment
arrangements, as she does not have health insurance and cannot qualify for state or federal aid due to
the fact that her divorce is not final. I found one and I met our friend Carrie at the facility Mary was at
awaiting discharge. We sat down with her and a counselor and, again, tried to talk her into staying. She
refused. We then told her we found a hospital with a women’s unit. She refused. She didn’t care what
we did, she wasn’t going. She didn’t need counseling or therapy. She just needed to be left alone. She
slammed out of the room.
The counselor followed. And I have no idea what he said, but within 2 minutes she agreed to go with us.
I can only say that our prayers were answer.
We got in the car, chain smoked cigarettes, all of us nervously awaiting the next chapter. We arrived at
the hospital and began the 4 hour intake process. We stayed with her the entire time. She almost left.
She almost left again. But she didn’t.
At this point, she had been awake for nearly 30 hours. She was so tired. She agreed to stay. That’s
what matters. She is right where she needs to be to get better. To learn how to cope with what
happened to her. To deal with the ugly and the nasty. To learn how to prepare for the future.
I visited on Tuesday. It was difficult and a little awkward. But she seemed better.
I have no regrets about what I did. Nor am I concerned with the state of our friendship. I’m not sure
that she will forgive me. I’ve made peace with that.
I would rather her be angry with me than be dead.

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If you or anyone in your life needs help- please contact these organizations-

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

1-800-273-8255

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: Warning Signs