― David Foster Wallace
When I was little, I was thrilled that my baby sister's name was Mindy, because I loved the Mork and Mindy show. And I have loved Robin ever since.
As some of you already know, I made my own suicide attempt on September 10, 2001. I fell asleep expecting to never wake up again. I did. And all around me, people were screaming and crying because terrorists were crashing airplanes into buildings and bodies were falling out of windows. It was a weird world to wake up to when I didn't even want to wake up ever again in the first place.
Like many people who survive their suicide attempts, my first thought was, "I can't even do THIS right, and now I just have more pain and problems than I did yesterday."
My second thought was, "...and look at all those people who didn't want to die at all, and now they are gone." It seemed very cruel. People like me who didn't want to live, didn't appreciate life, and here we are, trying to end it, making a mockery of people who still had so much living they wanted to do, and who can't anymore.
The thing is, though, I didn't really understand what I was doing. I mean, I did on a certain level, of course, but parts of my brain weren't working. It wasn't that I was just too selfish to appreciate life. It was that I was too sick.
I am a lot more functional than I was before finally finding the right kind of medication, but even people who have known me for years still let truly insensitive things slip out of their mouths. They say they get it, but there's still a forgiveness that people are ready to give someone who has a noticeable physical disability, that they aren't ready to give to people with a mental disorder.
If you have to cancel plans or aren't able to return a phone call because you were in a car accident, people turn the hurt around and forgive you. If you cancel plans because you just couldn't leave the house that day because the outside world feels like an ocean ready to rush in and drown you, then you get to hear things like "It hurts to be friends with someone who is depressed." And, "It's hard to want to keep making plans with you." As though, knowing how much my illness hurts others, I should be able to make a more conscious effort to not have it.
I'm not mad. I'm too used to it to get mad. Unfortunately, my first desire is to now just stop reaching out to people, because then I hurt them.
That's where things get dangerous. It is no one's fault when someone else commits suicide, but there is also a part of me bristling at all the rhetoric surrounding Robin Williams' suicide - if you need help, talk to someone, reach it, you're not alone! Well, maybe he DID try to reach out and people were fucking assholes about it! And maybe he reached out, got love in return, but his brain was in too much pain and it just wasn't enough! There's really no knowing, but I can tell you this, I had a sweet friend in high school who eventually succeeded in killing himself, and as much as his family loved him and still loves him and always will, he once told me on a school bus that they just don't get him and don't believe him. He later hung himself.
|Hyperbole and a Half|
Now of course, I'm going to get accused of making people feel guilty; the survivors who are left behind when someone succeeds and is able to finally move on and have peace. I still feel like we don't take enough responsibility towards each other. We still don't get how to act or what to say when someone has a mental disorder.
If someone is refusing to take medication, is abusing you emotionally or physically, is violent or stealing from you or generally unsafe, than you sometimes have to walk away from a mentally ill person. You can't force anyone get better, and you don't have to endure abuse to help them.
However, be reasonable.
If someone is "whining again" on Facebook, experiencing anxiety over something irrational like crooked doormats or how many times they washed their hands, don't take it personally, and don't make it about you. It IS exhausting to maintain relationships with people who are sick or disabled - you have to accommodate someone in a wheelchair, or someone excitable, or someone with a weak immune system, or someone with OCD. It's extra work. But we're still goddamn human beings. The majority of us would "stop this shit" IN A HEARTBEAT.
Medication sometimes fixes it, and sometimes HELPS us cope but doesn't fix it, and sometimes does nothing. Sometimes exercise and dietary changes fix it, and sometimes they HELP us cope but don't fix it, and sometimes they make no difference. A lot of us see IMPROVEMENT, but still have to manage. I recently discovered that vetiver essential oil will stop a severe panic attack (holy shit what a blessing!!!). But I still have never found anything that helps me get out of bed if my body refuses.
So, this is my reality. I'm not cured. I can't just stop hurting your feelings. And even though I'm getting better at resisting, I am still probably going to turn your toilet paper from an underhand position to an overhand one.
If I go into your kitchen and close all the cabinet doors for you, unless you also have OCD and need them open, just SHUT THE FUCK UP and let me do it. I don't know why, either, and pointing it out isn't helping.
If I can't leave the house, don't tell me I just need to get out into nature. That's the opposite of what I need. What I need is probably low stimulation and some quiet time.
If I have only been alone for 3 days but my brain tells me it's because people are fed up with me and I feel desperate, and your first thought is, oh no, here she goes again, just DON'T SAY ANYTHING. If it's that hard for you, just move on. It's Facebook, lots of people are drama queens fishing for compliments on social media. You can totally just roll your eyes in silence and not say anything. Because what you say will be repeated in my mind, over and over, for many hours, through many days.
And if I hurt you, and I give you an explanation for my actions, ACCEPT THEM. PLEASE If you are my friend, then I am 99% positive nothing I say or do is intended to get a rise out of you, be passive-aggressive to make you beg for my forgiveness, or otherwise done because I don't care about you that day, or secretly don't consider you a friend. PLEASE believe me that I'm almost always coming from either a loving place or a crazy place. That 1% of the time that I intend to hurt someone, that Iam truly being a vindictive bitch, you won't have to wonder - you'll know.
There is a lot of judgment going around against Robin Williams' wife. Why she didn't check up on him and assumed he was still asleep. Whether or not she was there for him. A lot of judgment towards him, as well. A Fox News asshole said Robin was a coward. That's someone who has no clue how much COURAGE it takes to actually follow through on an attempt to kill yourself.
The bottom line is, maybe she was trying to get him to just see how much he had to be grateful for, and wasn't hearing him. And maybe she was doing everything possible but it just didn't work. I don't know, and you don't either.
What you DO KNOW is, if someone you love recently broke down, did YOU brush them off, were YOU finally done, or did YOU have the presence of mind to either be supportive AGAIN for the 500TH time, or at least did you have the class to just shut up.
And believe me - if you are witness to me being a pitiful attention whore, having a break down, or otherwise freaking out, it's because I CONSIDER YOU A SAFE PERSON. Chances are, you are also someone I CHERISH TREMENDOUSLY.
This has been a public service announcement from The Blasphemous Homemaker.