Friday, September 12, 2014

Kicking Suicide in the Teeth

Update 2016: This article was featured in my book
"Saying NO to Suicide", with added commentary.

I have to confess something. I don't like most online suicide prevention resources. It's not that they're wrong, but that they're too soft. I'm looking for Burgess Merideth in my corner shouting at me in a gravelly voice, “Keep hittin 'em in the ribs, ya see? Don't let that b— breathe!”, not “Someone need a hug?” like Will Farrel's character in Elf. Suicidal ideation needs to be fought tooth and nail; I need pep talks not greeting cards.

When I was suicidal a few weeks ago I had nobody nearby to turn to. It was very late at night, and I didn't think to call a hotline or wake up a friend. Instead, I texted my daughter in Germany. I just needed somebody to know what I was struggling with. She replied with sympathy, but also asked me what I was going to do about it. I laid out my game plan and she sent me words of encouragement. I had her in my corner, and I was going to win the fight. Even just confessing to her was a positive action that began the turnaround. By the time I woke up the next day, I was no longer in any danger. I had made it to the bell round after round and won.

I'm not sure why I was suicidal then. Sometimes there isn't a good reason. I've got more going wrong today than I did weeks ago, and I'm not experiencing suicidal ideation in the slightest. I'm getting over a nasty cold, I'm very depressed, I'm still struggling with the divorce, I'm lonely, I've got a buck in the bank with bills still unpaid, and I spent the day in forearm crutches because I was so neurologically off that I couldn't walk. I deal with much more than ADHD and depression. I tell you this not for sympathy, but because I need you to realize that I understand what feeling low is like. I understand desperation and hopelessness. I get it. However, I'm still not going to kill myself. Suicidal urges are a trick of the mind, and I'm not falling for it.

So if you are like me and are tired of the greeting card sentimentality of many suicide prevention resources, please understand that it's not just you who doesn't find them helpful. They're simply not targeted to somebody like you or I. We need somebody fighting in our corner for us and cheering us on towards success. I don't have a hug for you. I'm not going to tell you that you can't help feeling this way. So listen closely.

You can do it!

Keep hittin' depression in the ribs!

Kick those suicidal urges in the teeth!!

Get in there and knock 'em dead!


Yeah, I did just say that. I don't mollycoddle when it comes to suicidal tendencies. I'm fighting for my life. Maybe that sounds melodramatic to you, but it's been the technique I've used to beat back suicidal impulses for twenty-seven years. If I was suicidal weeks ago but I'm not today when things are much worse, then suicide just doesn't make any sense, does it?

Unfortunately, logic doesn't work so well on the depressed mind. The overwhelming feelings of despair are hard to think through clearly. So prepare today. Find your reason to live. Write it down. Staple it to your forehead. Do what you have to in order to give yourself a reason to hang in there until the urges pass. Because the urges will pass. There will be another dawn. You will get to the other side of the abyss and be happier for it. That doesn't sound as nice as a greeting card expression, but it is still true. Roll up your sleeves, and get ready for the fight. It's going to be difficult at times, but you can do it. Suicidal tendencies can be overcome.


Reposted from May 2014