Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I guess it's time for me to blog again.  Losing my last post really took it out of me.  Usually I'm better about saving things as I write.  I guess that one just wasn't meant to be seen.  Anyway...back to today.

I think I have some survivor's guilt when it comes to suicide.  I've been hospitalized twice because I was suicidal, and there are multiple times in my life that I should've died, either from attempted suicide or from indifference.  Many nights I didn't exactly want to die, but I really didn't care if I lived to see the next morning, and I acted accordingly.  It scares me because I don't know why I lived.  It definitely wasn't because of something I did.  Some say it was because my higher power was there.  I think that's probably true, but at the same time what does that say about people who do successfully carry out suicide?  Does god not care for them as much?  No, I can't believe that.  I know I didn't do anything back then that made me "deserve" to be alive.  Not that people should necessarily earn their right to live or anything, but I brought a lot of pain to the world back in my suicidal days, and I hadn't done much of anything to help anyone.  My net impact wasn't positive!

So then you have someone like Robin Williams.  Well loved by so, so many.  It seems like the whole world is in mourning today.  From what I've read and seen he was well loved off screen too.  He admits he did a lot he's not proud of during his active addiction, but it seems like he was a genuinely good guy.  So the response I have inside is hard to put words to.  When I was suicidal, I was some dumb kid living on the streets (or close to it).  Had I been successful, very few people would've noticed me gone, and their thoughts of me would not have lasted long.  So, if there were some sort of world quota for suicide, it would make sense to get rid of me, rather than him.  That said, I was a kid with nothing.  From outside appearances, he had everything.  Money, fame, family, friends, etc.

I know firsthand that it isn't that outside stuff that leads a person to suicide.  It's way bigger than that.  You have to feel so completely empty inside that you can't imagine continuing on.  It is a depth of pain that is truly inexplicable and goes way beyond just whether or not things are going well in your life at the moment.  This last time that I was hospitalized, I knew people cared, and honestly I was angry at them for caring.  In my mind, they were keeping me from reaching that final peace.  I thought often, "Why couldn't I have just died when I was truly unknown?"  There were times when literally no one would've noticed me missing for a long time, if at all.  Also, no matter how much people cared about me, I still genuinely believed they'd be better off without me.  I can't really explain it because it isn't logical.  But I knew I hurt so badly that I couldn't possibly be a benefit to anyone else.  "They'll see, once I'm gone it will be better."  I was so, so blinded by pain.  I wanted the people around me to see that all I could possibly bring to the world was pain.

I tried to get help but was constantly blocked from it...first by pride, then by money and resources.  It amazes me to hear of a celebrity suicide because they literally have access to any resource they could possibly want.  All the therapy, all the inpatient rehab, all the whatever.  It's at their fingertips.  Of course they also have the constant judgment that follows.  It makes national news if they go to any one of those places.  I can't imagine if my life had been so on display when I was in such a dark place.  In the case of Robin Williams, it kills me to know that he was seen by so many, and yet no one could reach out in the way that he needed to bring him out of where he was trapped.  I don't blame anyone around him, nor do I blame him.  Depression is terrifyingly sneaky and stealth.  I just wish, as I know everyone does, that it could've been different.  I wish he could've felt the love that the world has for him.  I guess this all goes to show that even the biggest names are far from immune.  Sometimes I think it's worse for them.  The better you look on the outside, the more you're judged for how you feel inside.  If things are going well in your life, you're expected to be happy.  You're a comedian, you're expected not to be sad.  I imagine it was that much harder for him than it was for me to admit he needed help, even though he had the resources available.

Last thing...he checked himself into rehab just a couple of months ago...not because he was drinking or using again, but because of mental illness.  So even with inpatient treatment, he couldn't defeat whatever it was that was going on in his head.  Obviously no one but him can know for sure...but from what I can see, he did everything right and depression still won!  That's so scary to me!  People want to blame those that kill themselves or attempt to....talking about how selfish they are.  But in my own experience, and with every suicidal or formerly suicidal person i've spoken to, they've lost touch with the ability to feel connected to others.  They can't grasp how their death will impact anyone.  But it's not that they're not thinking of others.  These people who want to blame the depressed person love to say, "Well they should've done ______."  But sometimes I don't think anyone knows the answer to what they should actually do.  He sought intensive inpatient help, so clearly he talked to people and I can only assume (hope) got medication.  He didn't go back to his addictions (as far as I know).  He tried to handle it the right way, and it still got the best of him.

Of course it's sad when the celebrities (or anyone) that have a long history of drug use eventually overdose, but at the same time it's almost expected.  I know how hard it is to get sober....but ultimately it is a choice whether to take action.  And addicts know that choosing to continue to use will eventually lead to death.  But when someone gets sober and stays sober, seeks help for their mental illness, and still can't get through it....that's both terrifying and tragic.  Is there really nothing that can protect one from severe depression?

Had I died when I'd wanted to, obviously I know the reaction wouldn't have been as big as this one is....but I'm feeling so strongly about Robin Williams and I've never actually met him.  I can't imagine what I would've put those who cared about me through.  Even though obviously I didn't succeed, it still pains me to think how close I came to hurting so many.  I wish there was some way that I could take it back, even though many that are close to me have no idea how close I came.  I also think of the people I know now.  Even though I struggle to believe that people actually like me, today I know I have a place in the world and a meaningful impact.  Had I died back then, that impact wouldn't have happened.  It just feels like there's this balance in the world, and something like suicide throws it off so badly.  Maybe it really was just his time to go.  I don't know if it will ever make sense.  But I am so overwhelmed with grief, sadness, and guilt right now that it's hard to even function.  I want it to make sense, and I don't think it ever will.


I really am grateful to be alive, even though lately I at times have been struggling to show it.  I really am trying to live today in a way that shows that gratitude.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Riverbird! I hear you. I have felt the same way that everyone would be better off without me. I learned something new about my loss of connection. I have no money for therapy either. And I now understand that it's the emptiness inside that I'm feeling. My partner wants me to get better. It's really hard though. But, just a moment ago my kitten jumped up to support me. I'm grateful for her and for your sharing. You've helped me tonight. Thanks so much!