“To write poetry and to commit suicide, apparently so contradictory, had really been the same, attempts at escape.”
John Fowles, The Magus
A Keeping It Real Post
I hate this topic. I loathe it. It makes my stomach hurt, and my palms sweat, but it’s something we need to discuss openly. We’re in the middle of National Suicide Prevention Week in the US. And while the conversation around suicide is becoming easier for the mainstream, when it comes to Widows, it’s still taboo.
In my lifetime, I’ve lost people I loved to suicide. As a survivor, I was angry. How could they? I didn’t understand; I only knew my pain at their loss. It was impossible to comprehend the WHY until I was the one contemplating ending my life. When I started blogging, I promised to shine the light on the ugly underbelly of grief, so here goes.
Sometimes, suicide is the only logical choice.
Before you chew my a$$, let me explain. Bereavement isn’t just the pain and loss and horror of losing someone you love. It’s an all-out assault on our bodies. Our brain chemistry changes when we’re not sleeping, self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, or not eating. These changes affect the way we think and make decisions.
Three Years Ago
Three years ago, I was a grease fire. I was a raw wound. My doctor kept prescribing more and more pills as if grief is something that can be medicated away. It was routine for me to take a mix of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety pills, sleeping pills, and pain pills, and wash it down with bourbon. One night that combination almost killed me. It took a while, but I eventually forced my doctor to help me wean off safely, or threatened to figure it out on YouTube.
(This isn’t medical advice, do NOT quit taking your medication without speaking to your doctor.)
I wasn’t sleeping and suffered from PTSD nightmares about D’s gruesome passing when I would finally doze off. (All gone now, by the way.) I was a zombie, and life was a blur. On more than one occasion I “woke up” with a loaded pistol in my hand and no memory of how it got there. It was terrifying.
The day I found myself with a loaded gun in hand on the stairway landing (my mom’s room was downstairs), I got rid of all of them. My grandfather took his life with a gun. My mom was 14 years old when she found him. I couldn’t do that to her again. I didn’t care about hurting myself, but I couldn’t risk accidentally shooting her, the dog, or a neighbor.
(This post isn’t about gun control, so please keep your comments to yourself.)
Accidental Suicide Risk
But that wasn’t the end of it. The accidental suicide risk was just as high as ever. I challenged God, the Universe, and all the other deities to prove they wanted me to be alive without him. I quit wearing a seatbelt, drove fast and reckless, and put myself in dangerous situations. Stupidly, I even got into cars with strangers and walked alone at night in parts of town I wouldn’t even drive in during the day.
And I was the girl who swore that suicide was never the answer. All I knew was that I wanted the pain to end.
How To Help
For my Ws, please be aware of your thoughts. If they are moving from, “I don’t want to live without him” which is totally normal, to “it would be easy, I just have to….” please get to a counselor immediately. And remove the obvious threats like guns and pills.
For friends and family, your role is a lot more complicated. Most of my inner circle were worried about my mental state but were too afraid of making a mistake, so they said nothing. I’m one of the lucky ones; I’m still here.
I know it’s scary. I’ve been put in that role myself lately. But I challenge you to decide if you’re willing to live with a really pissed off W, or with the knowledge that maybe if you’d said something she’d still be alive.
For all my W sisters in this situation, I beg you to keep going. The pain lessens. You’ll get better at dealing with it. There is so much life to experience, and so much beauty and joy to discover.
The Wandering Widow
Live Now. Dream Big. Love Fierce.
The Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. #BeThe1To