I was debating with myself whether or not I should write about this for like… 10 seconds. Then I opened my Google Docs and wrote the title.
It’s a heavy topic for most people and I don’t want to make someone feel like I am not taking it seriously because of my light approach to it.
But here we go…
The first time I felt suicidal, that I can remember, was when I was a child and my drunken mother chopped my hair off. I went straight on the street, fell to the ground, cried hysterically and begged someone to kill me.
If this seems like a frivolous reason to feel suicidal, let me add that we just came home from a bar, my mum was heavily drunk, and it was in the middle of the night.
Yeah, she abused me a lot.
I was raised in a completely non-religious/non-spiritual household but I knew enough about god that I even prayed to him to take my life away. I was willing to try everything.
Years went by and soon I wasn’t just thinking of dying, I was actually running away and seeking locations for my final deed. I had a date on which I planned on doing it and I wrote it in big numbers on the wall.
One day I swallowed a bunch of antidepressants, not sure how many. Nothing happened. I don’t remember which pills I was taking and if a handful is enough for an overdose but because nothing happened I didn’t take this act seriously.
It was the same with self-harm.
For over a decade I beat myself so hard when I had anger or rage episodes that I was blue and purple all over my legs and stomach. I also hit my head against the wall or mirror in hopes of causing a seizure (I used to have epilepsy).
My whole life people talked about burning your skin and cutting your wrists as acts of self-harm, but no one talked about using one’s fists and the walls at home.
It’s really hard to stop myself because I dissociate when I have an episode. I lose all control over myself and observe my actions from the outside. I can either break the door or my leg, and the leg is just so damn close.
Taking antipsychotics helps tremendously with these major episodes and I haven’t self-harmed in about a year, I dare say. I wrote about my experience taking them here.
But this is so normal to me that I can talk about it in the same way as you talk about the weather or what’s in the cinema this month. Maybe because I’ve felt suicidal since I was a child, or maybe because my babysitter overdosed in my presence, or even because my uncle hung himself. Self-imposed death was all around me.
We, as a society, are afraid of talking about it, though.
It’s this dark thing we know about but every time someone mentions it we start feeling uncomfortable and pray for the Earth to swallow us. No one wants to talk about people who committed suicide, or even worse, no one wants to think about people who are self-harming.
Because if we do acknowledge it, we have to also acknowledge that we are complicit in not doing more to help people who are suffering.
I came up with a quote that I hope you too can connect with, it goes: Everybody is afraid of The Joker but no one wants to help Arthur Fleck.
I’m not necessarily talking about people with serious conditions that are a danger to society, even though they need help the most, but about those who are a danger to themselves.
We are so afraid of talking about how we live in a world where millions of people are willing to die rather than continue living that we forget about looking for solutions.
We can help each other but not without looking at the scary parts first.
I say this as someone who is both in the shoes of a person who is not doing enough to help others and as someone who has experienced the worst of suicidality. Because there is always someone who has it worse and who suffers more.
I want everyone to talk about suicide because it’s common, it’s happening and we can prevent many people from committing it.