When I hear about a suicide or suicide attempt, it usually leaves me in a bit of a catatonic state. For example, I abandoned my blog for a while after hearing about a suicide attempt. A student at the University of Guelph tried to kill themselves in the same building that I was in when I tried to end my own life.
I didn’t know how to handle that. I still thought about the aftermath of my suicide attempt often at that point in time. Living in Guelph, occasionally visiting campus, felt haunting. To hear about that suicide hit me too close to home, so I stopped writing for a while. I was in the middle of a series about what the treatment I received after my suicide attempt, but I never finished. Maybe one day I will.
Anyhow, I read a couple of blog posts about Robin Williams’ suicide. I spent a few minutes in the fetal position. I was scared because I was reminded of how far gone I used to be, and I never want to end up there again. I cried a little, especially because I’ve seen a few posts that have said that suicide is an incredibly selfish act. That stung because I would never do anything to intentionally hurt my loved ones. I could have gotten angry or upset and cried a whole lot more, but I decided to share my point of view instead.
First off, every person who suffers from any disease will experience it differently than someone else with the same disease. Two people who are diagnosed with terminal cancer might think very differently about it. One of them might want to fight to live day after day no matter how hard things get. The other may hope that it ends quickly and with as little pain as possible. And I am sure that there are a million other reactions that people have when they find out that they have cancer. It is the same with depression. Every person afflicted with depression experiences it differently. So just because I tell you how I felt when I was depressed does not mean that everyone with depression feels that way.
When I was severely depressed, I felt like a burden to everyone around me. I felt bad for my family that they had to be stuck me. I felt bad for my friends because I was always a downer. At the time, I also had a person in my life who got very upset with me because of my depression and anxiety issues. When I would have major panic attacks hanging out with friends, I felt guilty for bringing them all down. When my mom had to come get me in the middle of the night because my friends couldn’t get me to stop screaming, I felt guilty for making her get out of bed to pick me up. And when I was already feeling this way, I had one person telling me how happy he was before he met me.
In retrospect, that guy had a lot of issues. He told me that he would stand by me and help me fight my illness. But he got mad at me when I turned to him in times of crisis; I had ruined his night. And he got mad when I turned to someone else; I shouldn’t have turned to someone else when I had him. I now know that it wasn’t my fault when he would get angry. There was no way that I could have won.
However, at a time where I believed that I was a burden to my friends and family, being told by someone who always insisted that they loved me and cared about me that I really was a burden convinced me that my worries were true; I was holding the people that I cared about back. If I died, they would be sad at first, but I would be liberating them; I would no longer be the one to ruin everyone’s good time.
I’m not blaming that person for my suicide attempt; that was my choice. A lot of people have been writing about how suicide is not a choice, but for me it was. It was a bad choice, and those who are suffering from depression are not in the right mind to make the right choice, but it was a choice. At least for me, it was. I decided to take the pills and follow them with gin. I was just wrong about it.
I’m very happy now. I got through it. Thankfully I have a sensitive stomach and threw up after I passed out, so I got a second chance. In this moment, I can’t imagine ever wanting to kill myself. I love being alive! But for a long time, that was not the case. For many people, that is not the case. Each and every person has his or her own battles, and we can’t pretend to understand all of them. All we can do is show support for each other.