On Sunday I told you about the post I was writing for Stigma Fighters and how important it was to me. Well I actually followed through on something (yay me!) and am proud to tell you that my piece, On Choosing Life, went live yesterday. It was a difficult, empowering confession to write, and I am very proud of myself for having submitted it.
Oh man, I wish it was just sadness.
I mean, there is sadness, but it's not just sadness. It is ache, but it's not just ache. It is restlessness and anxiousness and lack of appetite and fatigue and pain. Everywhere, everything, pain.
It just hurts right now, to be awake. It feels like sickness. Like influenza, only not.
I have no fever, no cough, no running nose. No mucous to expel as a sign of my sickness. No proof of what's going on inside of me.
Trigger Warning: suicide, stillbirth, self harm.
I sank into the cushions of my therapist's ridiculously comfortable chaise lounge for the first time in two weeks and picked up the billing statement she'd left for me.
“Well, that's one benefit of fewer therapy sessions,” I quipped, noting the almost quaint balance due.
“The only one,” I added. I didn't add that I wished I could get away with so few therapy sessions every month. She already knew.
This week's #fridayflash is in honor of National Suicide Prevention Week.
“Quit with the cry for help bullshit, Paulette,” Lena said. “We're all tired of hearing it.”
I blinked. Lena did not blink back. Instead, her green eyes glowered.
“I'm sorry,” I whispered. I didn't mean to whisper, honest. But my throat was closing up again and whispering was better than the undignified squeaking that everybody hated. The corners of my eyes pooled with tears. “I'll be better,” I told them.
Years ago, I scrawled multiple suicide notes into a marble composition book. My various suicide plans. I was always trying to get the plan right, to find that perfect method of surrender. It would have to be relatively painless, absolutely tidy, and not physically harm other people. I poked holes in all of my plans, trying to find a winner. I told myself that as soon as I found it, I'd carry it out.
"I'm going to drive off a cliff."
I can't tell you how many times I've thought about those words. Not because I've wanted to drive myself off a cliff, but because growing up, it was just another one of those things that my mother said.
It used to scare me so bad, thinking about my mother plummeting off a Pali Highway lookout. But none of the things my mother ever said frightened me half as much as all of the things she didn't.
"What do you mean when you say that?" Jonas asked. I didn't want to tell him the entire story. There was too much to tell, each answer brining with it two, five, a thousand questions.
But still, I had started it and of course he was going to ask, and so I had to say something. But what do you say to the child who saved you from yourself, who made all of the pain and all of your past worth bearing?
“I can accomplish anything if I just don't kill myself today.”
That probably sounds either melodramatic or obvious, but for most of my life, this lifesaving mantra has required herculean reserves of emotional stamina.
The easiest way to keep up with all my posts is to subscribe to my newsletter. I'm not gonna share any of your information, and an unsubscrbe link is included in every email. Thank you for joining!