Zac Anger's Blog

world suicide prevention day (personal)


Tags: personal

Note: This is actually from not-today; whenever wspd was. Also, it's lame. One day I'll speak words about things, I guess.

I hear today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I'm not going to share my own story, not the specifics. The past five years have been an extraordinarily difficult time, and last summer (2014) things went bad, and didn't really start to get better for months. I still haven't talked to anyone about what actually happened last summer--not other people who've been through the same things, not my doctor, not the therapists, and certainly not family. At some point I'll have to, I know, but the thought of putting it into words is terrifying.

But it was a mistake to let it get to me so much that I didn't intend to survive. I set out on an extremely self-destructive pathd--and this is coming from someone with a history of addiction, self-sabotage, and recklessness. I couldn't stand being alive. I did my very best to get out of it. There were two distinct suicide attempts: one, mixing copious amounts of booze with barbiturates and opiates, passing out in the middle of the street in my own vomit; the second, slashing up my arms and, with a feeling of relief, shooting off a quick Facebook message to a friend who I'd asked to be the executor of my will, such as it was. I didn't expect to get through either event, but the good will and love of other people kept me alive. Things were not good, and I didn't want to be helped; I didn't think there was any other way to stop the overwhelming pressure, fear, and pain that had become my life. Well, I was wrong.

My chiefest regret from all of these goings-on isn't the series of mistakes and bad choices (mixed in with a whole lot of bad luck) that ended up leaving me feeling that helpless. If I'd managed to do what I attempted, I'd've missed out on a lot of things I never thought could happen. I'm an uncle, now. And a semi-professional in a field I actually enjoy. I've learned some skills that can help diffuse the sense of drowning. There's a way out, and it doesn't mean taking my own life.

It's not easy. If you're dealing with depression (or any other disease), or a bad situation at home or work, or a painful or traumatic experience, or an unhealthy relationship, don't let anyone ever tell you it's not a big deal or make you feel like less of a person for being overwhelmed by it. These things aren't easy. Sometimes shit just really fucking sucks, and sometimes it doesn't get better for a long time. But it does get better. It takes work. It takes a lot of effort, and time, and maybe medication, and maybe cutting toxic things out of your life. But it's worth it, and there are people who will help. To make it through another day becomes a little victory. Looking back on another month of surviving and working towards being happy, you feel a sense of accomplishment. It's a major achievement, survival, sometimes, and it's okay to treat it like one.

Therapy, meds, groups, or even just talking about things aren't for everyone and every situation, but staying alive and exploring the options for help is for everyone. If the only thing you have control over is your ability to stay alive, don't give that up. It's your own; you're your own; own yourself, and don't let anyone take that from you. I'll say again--it's not easy, and anyone who says it is hasn't been through what you're going through. Living isn't easy, and living through really tough times is even less easy, but it's worth trying.

This post is kind of a disorganised mess; there are things I personally still haven't even tried to deal with, and I'm not sure how to voice how I feel about the past year of slow, incremental recovery. But I'm glad I'm still around. If some strangers hadn't called an ambulance and put me in the hospital that night, and if my dear friend and her boyfriend hadn't made the drive and bandaged me and demonstrated to me so clearly that there were still people who are truly good and who love me, I would've missed out on so much. I owe them more than my life (and they can't have that anyway--it's mine!); I'm indebted to them for all the joy I've had in the past year, and all that I'll have for the next several decades.

If you have someone to talk to, give it a shot. I'll bet there's someone in your life who's struggling through something similar. We're good at hiding things until it's too late, and pretending we're okay when we're really at the edge of what we can take. Reaching out could save someone else's life, and it'll definitely save yours.