I’m just going to get straight to it with this one. Last week was rough out there in the fight to keep our mental illnesses from consuming us. Two talented people committed suicide within a few people. While I’m not the guy who goes all crazy about celebrities’ lives and deaths, this isn’t about celebrity status. It’s about two people who are no longer here, for various reasons, but by the same method.
I didn’t know who Kate Spade, because I’m not into fashion and accessories. I knew of Anthony Bourdain, but I didn’t watch his critically acclaimed show because I don’t watch CNN outside of the news alerts and occasional videos on my phone. But I was taken away by the news of their deaths, especially so close together; and again, but the same method. I read their bios and about their last days and certain things made sense to me. That’s probably because I’ve been to the brink of suicide several times, making my final decisions because I just couldn’t do it anymore, and saying “fuck it, let’s go,” only to get pulled away from the brink by something, which I like to believe was God. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way, and even longer since I actually acquired the means to do it (I won’t discuss them here, but know that it didn’t involve guns…but I did have a detailed plan that only a couple of people know). I understood.
I’m not going to talk about and speculate what disorders; if any; or their demons. You can take a look at that yourself since it’s all over the news. But somebody said something pissed me off to the core. That was Val Kilmer’s (you remember from Batman Forever, now washed-up has-been actor; strictly my opinion), reaction to Anthony Bourdain’s death. I won’t quote it, but he said that Anthony’s act was selfish. If you want to see it for yourself, click here. If it’s been removed, simply Google it.
Before I go on and people start thinking that I’m defending suicide, I’m not. All I’m saying is that I understand that feeling, even if I don’t know their backstories. I’m not saying that all suicides are selfless acts. I have no sympathy for people who kill other people, then kill themselves, especially with these incidents of murder/suicides that we seem to hear about every other week. I personally know someone who was a victim of murder/suicide, and I’m beyond angry about it. He was a coward for what he did. Those acts of suicide are selfish because they intentionally took other people with them, and most likely committed the acts so they wouldn’t have to face the consequences. Before anyone tries to use the mental illness argument, most people who are mentally ill aren’t planning on harming people. I’m speaking from personal experience; even in my most serious episodes, I didn’t go on a shooting or stabbing spree.
I posted on my Facebook page a couple of days ago about why people need to stop telling people suicide is a selfish act, in response to Val Kilmer and the tons of other people who posted on both Kate’s and Anthony’s social media pages that they were selfish. You know, the people who are saying that they went to Hell for doing what they did, while doing shit that will almost guarantee them a free first-class ticket to Hell. People need to seriously stop doing telling people this is shit. It’s reckless, it’s ignorant, and it causes more harm than anyone can anticipate. I want to say that people need to stop believing that, but it won’t happen in my lifetime. All I can say is that if that’s how you feel, keep it in your circles or to yourself.
I’ve heard the lectures, most of the time indirectly, about how suicide is so selfish so many times. I heard it so many times from so many people, that I can’t even use the argument that those people never been depressed because there’s a good chance that they are or have. But it’s almost like bullying because you have to put someone else down because of your own insecurities. Going around with the line that suicide is selfish is almost telling them that they’re stupid because it makes you feel better about yourself.
I can point out from a philosophical standpoint of how suicide–aside from incidents of committing domestic violence and other violent acts–isn’t selfish, but I won’t do that tonight. But you can talk to me about it offline, or I can talk about it in another post. But the point I want to make tonight is when you tell someone that their feelings and thoughts of suicide are selfish and try to shame them, you make it harder for them to seek the help that they need. You could be that one lifeline, but it comes off as insensitive. Personally, I didn’t want to hear it. My reasons were pretty simple: I didn’t want to be in pain anymore, I felt like I was not contributing to the value of the lives of anyone who were associated with me, and I felt dead anyway. I felt like deadweight. I felt like nobody wanted to deal with depressed ole Jacob. I felt it was just easier for everyone else if I just left. It was time to clock out. I was done.
The suicide-is-selfish talk made me want to close up. I’m not saying this because of some textbook or article. I’m giving you real feelings that not many people knew until now. I really felt like I had nowhere to turn. I didn’t want the same old speech. I didn’t want to hear how lucky or blessed I was; I didn’t feel any of that. I didn’t want the “there are people who wish they were in your shoes” speech. If they only knew. Every bit of “help” made me feel worse each and every time, to the point where I didn’t reach out anymore.
I wasn’t seeking attention, despite what people say about most people who are contemplating suicide. Attention was the last thing on my mind. I wasn’t wallowing in my depression, going woe is me, like how someone tried to tell me I was doing some time ago. Why in the living hell would I want to live in depression? It’s one of the worst feelings in the world. I just wanted relief. I just wanted to be free.
I thought about my family. I thought about the people who loved me, genuinely loved me. For me, the cliché line that they will be better off without me was true. I truly feel that they would be better off without me.
But that’s the disorder. It distorts your thinking. It makes you feel worthless. It provides you with all of these justifications to why you don’t matter, but they’re really nonexistent. It’s not you. It’s this damn illness. It’s messing with your mind.
In the end, it wasn’t the “help” (lack of) from people who saved me. In their defense, some of these people were only by what was taught and reinforced to them from an early age; I used to be the same. It was the thought of my family and the thought that I still had things I wanted to accomplish that saved me. When I was ready to let go, God told me, “Not yet.” I’m not an overly religious person, but I do believe in God. I know it was God who saved me. Because of that, I eventually received the help that I needed.
It wasn’t easy. The thoughts and feelings didn’t go away overnight. I’m still living in fear that they could return. But for some reason, I know it’s just not my time.
I can’t say what was on Kate’s and Anthony’s minds in those final moments before they made the final act to transition. Nobody can. The only thing I can think of is that they wanted to finally be free. Leaving loved ones behind is never easy, but they just wanted to escape from the prison they were living in. You can call it selfish. I would never say that. I don’t believe it was.
But please, if you’re having these thoughts, know that somebody is listening. I’m here. But you can also (and I really recommend it) these ways of outreach:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (suicidepreventionlifeline.org): 1-800-273-8255. Call anytime, 24 hours a day.
- If you’re a veteran, you can reach The Veterans Crisis Line (www.veteranscrisisline.net) by dialing the same number and pressing 1.
Please do this, and I don’t use please a lot. I know what you’re going through, but this doesn’t have to be it. These people will listen, no judgment, no criticizing. Don’t let these demons win.
I said a lot tonight, so I’m going to save some words and go to bed. I hope you can take something away from this.
As always, if you don’t catch me on here this week, have a great week. See you around this time next Sunday.