[Wednesday falls on Friday today…it’s been that sort of week]
Do you understand suicide?
I do. I don’t want to do it, but I have it on my list of options. Worst case scenario sort of thing. This is because I have chronic, often debilitating depression, and it often makes me doubt I have the ability to maintain my life for its natural duration.
Lose the people I love, not able to take it? Suicide’s an option. Don’t sell enough books and fall into poverty? Suicide’s an option, better than living in a soggy box under a bridge. Fall into a permanent depressive funk in which I can’t even take care of myself day-to-day (which is what started to happen to me last year, which is why I re-entered therapy, got back on the meds, and had electroshock therapy for the second time in three years)? Suicide is always there.
It’s like the cyanide capsule hidden in my molar, ready to be crunched in dire circumstances.
Not a day passes that I don’t think about it, at least in passing. It’s a bloodsoaked thread woven through the fabric of my life, not dominant but always dripping. It’s been this way for years.
Do I think I’ll do it some day? No. Would I be surprised if I did? No.
So yeah, I understand suicide. It is dark and terrible and fucked up, but it can also be practical. Or at least seem so to a mind in pain.
I tell you that so that you know I’m talking to you from the darkness. It can be tough to tell most of the time, because I’m largely a low-key yet upbeat guy, forthright about my problems but not whiny or melancholy or gloomy to be around. But I live in the darkness of this disease, and I speak as something of an expert. And the thing I want to tell you is this:
If you have someone in your life who suffers from depression:
One of the hardest things to do is to ask for help. I will go days without doing the dishes, or taking out the trash, or going to get the mail, or showering. I’ll avoid the phone and not answer emails. I am utterly useless during those times, and I am mostly without hope. During times like this, I lose all my faith that I can do the things I want to do with my life. I think of the places I’ll never go, the people I’ll never get to hang out with, the books I will never be able to write, and I despair.
I hate asking for help. So I don’t. But I need it.
So, if you know someone with depression:
I think there are many lives lost that may have been saved had the people who cared about the folks in pain actually found meaningful ways to be there for them. It can be a burden, yes. But if you care for them, you won’t think of it in those terms, or at least won’t let them know you feel that way. Help them get the professional assistance they need. Cook them a meal every week. Help them clean their home (even little things like taking out the damned trash can make a difference). Talk to them, show them you care about them, show them you have faith in them.
You may just save their life.
I’ll return next Wednesday with the letter I. I hope you’ll stop by. I’m a writer and I post about a wide variety of non-alphabet-specific topics. Feel free to comment under my posts. If you want to subscribe to the blog, there’s a button in the sidebar.
Also, feel free try to check out my adventure novel Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom. It’s been very well reviewed (KIRKUS REVIEWS: “Written in fast-paced, intelligent prose laced with humor and literary allusions ranging from Dante to Dr. Seuss, the story has all of the fun of old-fashioned pulp adventures.”) and is great for action-adventure lovers of all ages.
For another fun ABC Wednesday post, visit the Carioca Witch here: Bringing Up Salamanders.