Suicide Prevention Day

To be perfectly honest, I dread and resent this day.  I know that’s a very unpopular opinion, but I’m not sorry.  I just can’t embrace it and write a tearjerker post about my close calls with suicide and how glad I am that I didn’t succeed.

I’m not glad I didn’t succeed.  I’m not actively suicidal right now, but my life is difficult and painful every day.  If any one of my suicide attempts had succeeded, I wouldn’t have to drag myself through that every day.  I wouldn’t have to worry about whether I can find a doctor who will give me medication to manage my chronic pain.  I wouldn’t have to worry about becoming homeless because my disability check isn’t enough for anyone to survive on.  I wouldn’t have to worry about how to get therapy when no one thinks I need help.  I wouldn’t have to worry about how I’m going to get to the grocery store now that there’s no bus accessible to me.  I wouldn’t have to worry about whether I’m going to crap my pants in public.  I wouldn’t have to worry about how I’m going to afford heat this winter.  I wouldn’t have to worry about any of it.

My problem with Suicide Prevention Day–and suicide prevention in general–is that it focuses only on keeping you alive.  Call this hotline, go to the ER, spend a week or two in the hospital, take your antidepressants.  Be grateful you’re alive because otherwise you’re a bad, selfish person for being unable to tolerate any more of your own pain to spare others from being hurt.

It never focuses on making your life survivable.  It doesn’t help you get therapy when you’ve been told you don’t matter enough to get help.  It doesn’t provide you with a support system to help you when none of the antidepressants help.  It doesn’t make sure you have enough money to meet your basic needs.  It doesn’t give you dignity or a sense of purpose.

It just keeps you alive, and way too often, the method employed is guilt.  “How could you do that to your family/friends?”  “Think of what it would do to _____ if you killed yourself.”  “If you kill yourself, other people might think it’s a good solution to their problems, too.”  And if you’re not grateful to be alive, not contrite about ever having wanted to kill yourself, you’re shamed as a bad patient.  You’re told you need to try harder or be more willing.  No matter how hard you’ve already tried, it’s not good enough.

Then you’re left with a whole mess of guilt and shame on top of the overwhelming circumstances you were already dealing with.  And you’re isolated–it’s dangerous to tell anyone how you really feel–so you hide or you lie.  You grow more and more alone, more and more hopeless.

Keeping people alive is not enough.



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24 responses to “Suicide Prevention Day

  1. Oh my god yes. I agree with this. I didn’t want to write anything about it either because the times I’ve come close, I’ve been the only one dragging myself off the floor to go on. The mental health services have only just started to help- after nearly a year and a half of hell.
    I hope your situation gets better soon. x

  2. Reblogged this on Marci, Mental Health, & More and commented:
    A good point of view on suicide prevention. We also need to point people to the resources and support they need and not onlyy when in crisis. People are suicidal not only on Sept 10th and most who are, are frequently. Reach out to offer a helping hand instead of a slap in the face about how selfish you would be.
    My favorite quote: “It never focuses on making your life survivable. It doesn’t help you get therapy when you’ve been told you don’t matter enough to get help. It doesn’t provide you with a support system to help you when none of the antidepressants help. It doesn’t make sure you have enough money to meet your basic needs. It doesn’t give you dignity or a sense of purpose.”

  3. Thank you so much for writing this.

  4. rozaliadame

    Reblogged this on The Uncanny Sublime and commented:
    I find I have to agree… I have a very precious friend who battles depression and the weight of mental illness but he knows he can count on me to help in whatever way I can, even if it’s just having a talk with him. I always wish I could do more though, I wish I knew what more I could do for him when he tells me the system designed to help him fails. These ‘professionals’ who have gone to school, earned degrees, and are paid to help, do not seem to understand what their patients need from them. Some expect just talking to solve everything, where some think popping a pill or two will accomplish the same thing. Truth is neither, both, or nothing at doesn’t work for everyone and is hardly ever a complete fix.

    I grapple with my own anxiety and possible depression, and I find talking extremely difficult, even with the closest people I know I can trust. I don’t think meds would help either (but I do have an aversion from medications of most kinds). But, my issues will always be at a standstill because… I don’t feel comfortable talking to my doctor about my concerns.

    Until our doctors become approachable in the ways their patients need… Striving to stay alive only hurts us more before we can see our pain ending.

  5. Reblogged this on gijoe79blog and commented:
    If you haven’t been there you more than like are part of the problem instead of a real solution. depression, Ptsd, chronic pain just to name a few of the things that consistently beat me down daily. I am tired of fighting so hard for everyone else. This author puts it into better words than I can so read on… read on.

  6. Reblogged this on The Other Side of Me and commented:
    This is an awesome post that I can completely relate to!

  7. Amazing post! You are an inspiration ❤

  8. Reblogged this on Multi-Me and commented:
    This says what I wanted to say but couldnt find the words. Thanks Hope for putting into words what is so hard to put into words. Your post touched me deeply. XXX

  9. I nominated you for the very inspiring blog award. Go to my blog for more details

  10. kat

    thanks for giving voice to where i am at at this very moment. for once, i finally really trusted and opened all my soul and secrets up to my case manager and psych np…and now they are tossing me away to another set of docs and psych mds… i never trusted before, because of the reasons you said, and i am sorry i trusted this time, and i know i will never trust again.

    and i will wait for the day when i can end this pain.

  11. You’ve very clearly articulated my own thoughts and feelings about suicide. I get stuck wondering: was I sent here as a challenge to get through this life, or was I sent here to develop the guts to end it rather than being a martyr to some belief system that may or may not be
    true? How far down do I have to get before my departure becomes
    bitter-sweet to my adult child?
    Sigh. I have to stay here for a while. I’ll know when it’s time to go. Meanwhile I get hopeful every time there’s a lightning storm: here I am,strike me, strike me!!!

  12. Thank you for saying this!

    And thank you for helping me see that I am not the only one who feels unsure, annoyed and somewhat bitter about the idea of Suicide Prevention day.

    It is in many ways a superficial occasion where people who aren’t struggling can wave their banner for change without engaging with the underlying issues.

    I have been dreading the day and feeling guilty for resenting it and for not getting involved.

    I appreciate your honesty in representing another side of the story! 🙂

  13. I so agree with your honest words.

    And I’m so glad I’ve never followed through.

    Like you, I’m wishing for everyone a network of help that actually functions.

    Perhaps this might provide some help for some:

    All the Best, Hope!

  14. It was eerily strange to read this, as it felt like someone peeled open my brain and laid it out on the page. How refreshing to see someone actually say something true, instead of always trying to say the right thing. Honesty is so confusing these days – which is more honest – to suffer quietly with dignity and some sense of composure, or step off the edge of the cliff and finally turn your back on the pain. It seems there’s always some reason or another you should hold on for just one more day, either for yourself, or others, but even though you hang on, it doesn’t erase that empty feeling of knowing.

    I just spent the last two hours distracting myself with a movie. About death. Well, about “there are no mistakes” and about “love, in all it’s many transmogrifications” or maybe the movie was just about appreciating where we are, right now. Whatever the case, it gave me two hours to escape the pain.

    Sometimes, two hours is enough.

    Beautifully written. You know, of course, that now I’ll have to bookmark this site and come back and read some more. Thanks for being so gutsy, and speaking in truth.

  15. I am here, but I am still not glad I have survived. :/

  16. Completely agree. Keeping people alive is not enough.

  17. Phoenix

    Reblogged this on Phoenix – My Child Abuse Recovery Journal and commented:
    I don’t usually reblog something written by someone else, because my blog is for me and what I am going thorough. But your words are so touching and they mirror my thoughts so much that it I had to post this on my blog. Thank you for putting words to thoughts I think almost every day.

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