Suicide is an evil thing.
It’s a niggling thought that enters your head and kicks you when you’re already down.
It tells you that the world would be better without you in it.
It tells you that you’re not successful enough. You’re not impressive enough. You haven’t achieved enough or become enough to be worthy of anyone’s affection, so you might as well end it now and do everyone a favour.
I speak these thoughts plainly because during my episodes with bipolar, I have had them enter my head, time and time again.
Thank god I am not Currently experiencing them, but I have a friend who just did, as well as a friend’s brother who followed through on his thoughts just a few months ago.
These friends were not Close friends of mine, but I think about them every day.
I thank god that the one who just told his FB community goodbye came home in one piece, alive, to his family after that post.
My heart aches every time I see a post from my sister’s friend’s friend who lost her brother to suicide this year.
These people have No idea that I think about them regularly, but I do.
And that’s because people live in communities.
People isolated in their own suicidal thoughts have No idea just how many of their community members they affect.
Not just with their suicides, but with their lives.
I went to my 20-year high school reunion this weekend and the coolest thing happened.
Everyone was so happy to see me, and I was so happy to see them.
Not for any Single reason, except for that we were part of each other’s communities and it felt so great to see each other again.
I was worried going into the reunion that people would notice that I had gained weight. Would ask me what I did for a living and then judge me for my answer. I was worried I wouldn’t be good enough. That I wouldn’t measure up.
But each person that I saw and hugged and spoke with didn’t seem to notice any of those things or ask about any of those things.
We talked about our memories of each other and what we had been up to over the last 20 years.
It was so wonderful to see those familiar faces.
And when I saw them, I wasn’t questioning their appearance or judging their relative ‘success’ in life. I was just Pumped to see their faces.
When I woke up the next morning, I realized that the reunion had given me the gift of something quite profound. Something I had been trying to learn but just hadn’t been able to accept yet.
When I was suicidal after my postpartum depression, my friends and loved ones kept telling me that it didn’t matter how pretty or funny or successful I was, they just loved me for me.
I couldn’t grasp the idea that their love was unconditional.
When I woke up after the reunion, I thought of that room Full of people that were happy to see me, even if I hadn’t seen them in 20 years.
I did Nothing to earn their love. All I had to do was be me and be present at the event.
And it finally sunk in for me that even if I have to suffer another terrible bout of depression (I Really, really don’t want to have to live through another one, but my illness makes it likely), I just have to remember the feeling of the reunion and the lesson I got from it.
Being me and being present is enough.
Even if that means depressed, anxious, miserable, antisocial me. I just have to hold on and not give up. I just have to be me and be present. That’s enough.
It crossed my mind too that a year ago, I couldn’t have envisioned myself in a little black dress, happy, with a group of girlfriends and confidently going to my 20-year high school reunion. When you’re in the grips of suicidal depression, you can never envision the good that might come in your future if you can just ride out the depression. You can only feel the heaviness and oppressive misery of your current situation.
At the reunion, one of the organizers and I were laughing and joking about walking home from high school together back in the day. He laughed and said ‘I’m glad you’re here.’ I thanked him for organizing the event, thinking that’s what he had meant. He squeezed my shoulders, looked me in the eye and said ‘I’m glad you’re Here. I read your blogs.’
And I was just gobsmacked by that.
Someone I hung around with 20 years ago is reading my blogs, and had the heart to say something so, so kind to me.
‘I’m glad you’re Here.’
I want to say that to anyone who has ever struggled with suicidal ideation.
To anyone who has wanted to pull the plug but stuck around, despite the pain.
I want to say that to anyone who is currently in the grips of suicidal ideation and depression.
I’m glad you’re Here.
Just being you is Enough.