I’m a big fan of the singer/pianist Gavin DeGraw. As a writer, I tend toward musicians who write compelling lyrics, and he does that and puts compelling melodies with them.
World Suicide Prevention Day was about a month ago. About a month before that, I spent some time in a psych hospital, trying to recover from a mixed episode. That’s a special piece of bipolar hell where you’re manic (bouncing off the ceiling) and depressed, often suicidal, at the same time. I maxed out two credit cards — overspending is a hallmark of mania — and yet told the ER doctor that while driving to the hospital, I kept thinking about opening the door and playing in traffic on Highway 52. Time between checking in at the admissions desk and getting a security escort to a bed on the mood disorders unit? Two and a half hours, shortest ever.
I mentioned Gavin, and World Suicide Prevention Day, because his song “We Belong Together” (available on YouTube and iTunes) breaks my heart. Every single day of my life I think about killing myself. Some people don’t believe me. Some think I’m over-exaggerating, or should be able to handle the overwhelm by myself. But seriously, I have three plans always in the back of my mind. When I get to the intent part (deciding to do it), I go to the hospital. But one of these days, I am just going to say screw it and check out, with no regrets. It’s a hell of a way to live, and it’s beyond painful.
…as one we are everything
We are everything we need…
We belong together
Like the open seas and shores
Wedded by the planet force
We’ve all been spoken for….
That’s my hope. I wish I felt like I belonged. I’ve lost a few friends this year (to indifference toward me, not death), and I feel alone (aside from my cat) most of the time. There doesn’t feel like there’s any reason to stick around.
What good is a life
With no one to share,
The light of the moon,
The honor of a swear?
The kingdom of men,
Is hollow within,
Without the care,
That it takes to make a perfect love,
The passion to find the other truth,
To visualize the straightened from the skewed,
To trade a common comfort from a view,
Would you try to live the way in which you speak?
I wish more folks lived the way they speak. People often don’t know what to do when encountering a mentally ill person. I’m not nuts all the time, and I’m not contagious. Please don’t be afraid of me. Sometimes I’m nearly normal. I’m on disability, but I work part-time. Granted, I get incredible accommodations from my boss, a psychologist who understands it all. But still, I’m able to function that way. I have trouble with relationships (comes with my borderline personality disorder), but there are still a few people who don’t mind spending time with me. I have an incredibly spoiled cat, and I’m capable of feeding and watering (and spoiling) her.
It’s just that sometimes I fall apart. No different from most people that way — everybody hits valleys sometimes — it’s just that my highs and lows are higher and lower than most and I need medical help to straighten them out.
I try to speak up on World Mental Health Day because I want to do my part to end the stigma. I’ve never spoken publicly about my suicidality — or my borderline personality disorder, for that matter, though that’ll be another post — because I don’t know how people will respond. But it’s time. I’m not looking for pity. I’m just trying to get people to understand what my life can be like. Maybe it can help you help someone who needs it.
Woman with cat photo available from Shutterstock