I’ve been meaning to write this for a while now, and now seems as good a time as any. I have the night off, and Robin Williams is dead. It would seem that he killed himself.
Initially, like many others, I was just in shock. I googled “Robin Williams death hoax” hoping to find that this was one of those celebrity death stories that are fabricated so often. No luck. When I realized it was real, there was pain. When something is a constant in your life, even when it’s something as seemingly pointless as a celebrity figure, you grow attached to it. There doesn’t seem to be a world where Robin Williams can’t exist.
When my thoughts returned to Earth a few minutes later, I thought to myself, “If someone like him can’t hold on, then why am I still trying?”
I have spent the majority of my life with that option on the table. It’s not always at the forefront of my mind, but it has almost always been there. It seems honorable at times, just ending the struggle. If the idea is there, and appealing whether I’m happy or sad, then why not?
I’ve found some relief in reading philosophical musing that touch on suicide. Tolstoy’s A Confession was particularly helpful at one point. I hope this paraphrase of a small part of that text is not completely inaccurate:
Life is so painful, and ultimately, so pointless. It’s a joke really. If one becomes aware of the joke, is it not more honorable to put an end to it? Isn’t not ending the joke simply cowardice?
Ultimately, Tolstoy finds some shelter in religion, though restrained my his reason. He transforms himself into someone capable of living without the feeling of pointlessness that he had found before. This was the key to his survival.
I had not found anything that gave me reason to keep going until quite recently. To be fair, I didn’t even find it; it was given to me. I will be in debt to that person for as long as I do survive.
-I first felt the unique draw of suicide when I was 11. My mother did not love me, and I couldn’t comprehend that. I’m not sure I understood it, I just knew that she starved me, would lock me outside for days sometimes, and that she would ignore me almost completely when I was indoors. I wasn’t worthy of the attention of my own mother, and just not existing seemed to be a solution. I had been raised to believe that suicide was a grave sin, though. I never actually considered carrying out the act, though the idea came back to me several times over the next few years.
-When I was 16, I had decided it was time to get it over with. It was over a girl. It was silly. A call from a friend put the idea out of my head. I dealt with emotional pain by cutting my upper arms with a knife my father had given me.
-The first time I tried to kill myself was after KAE had left me. She was the catalyst, but I had so many reasons. I failed three times in the following year. These experiences are how I held back the idea before finding my reason to survive. It’s painful to fail at it. Incredibly, almost unreal pain is a big deterrent.
-I had decided once again this last winter that it was the best option. I wrote letters to loved ones. I sent several of them. I had arrangements in place to obtain the necessary pharmaceuticals. Another friend, another phone call, and here I am. Some people are worth living for, and I only needed to find one.
I’m not proud of any of this, but it is a part of who I am. I think of suicide as a deceptively beautiful being. I actually refer to it as the Suicide Fairy. It shines and smiles, and is so bright that there couldn’t be any negatives. When you get close enough to make out it’s features, you see the fine lines in the face, the barely noticeable fangs, the hollowness of the eyes.
I don’t have much to offer when it comes to advising people against killing themselves. As I mentioned, on paper, it’s a lovely idea to me. I just found something that will keep me going. That’s all I can think of that anyone can do. Find a purpose outside of yourself, something tangible from which you can step back and see the positive affect your mere presence is having on it.