Note: It’s actually proving to be a bit scary/uncomfortable to hit “Publish” on this one, so I only ask that you read with an open mind and bear with me here as I try to make sense of a topic that does not make doing so, easy.
I stumbled upon a documentary today called, The Golden Gate Bridge Suicides. It was raw. And powerful. It has footage not for the faint of heart. And yet I kept thinking, “Why aren’t more people talking about this subject?” It is painful, yes. It is electrically charged. And somehow, somewhere, it became an almost taboo topic. Sure, we hear a PSA now and again about how ‘things get better.’ Or watch a celebrity talk about how they were bullied in school. But because of the lack of understanding, suicide gets shelved with the other problems that society would rather keep hidden away.
I get it. Why would a regular Joe want to take part in such a conversation? It’s not a chapter in your story. Maybe to you, suicide is a sin. Or perhaps, you have no sympathy because “we all have bad days.” Or … you just don’t know how to get involved. I get it, I do. But the thing is, suicide is not an “easy way out.” It’s not just about giving up or giving in. It can’t (or shouldn’t) be so easily defined. And it sure as hell is no chapter in a story — it is usually a part of the entirety. We all have bad days, yes … but it is not simply a ‘bad day’ that leads someone so deeply, darkly down. It is a never ending bad day that light no longer shines onto. It is how this person feels deep down at the roots, despite a world telling them that things “aren’t that bad.” At least, that is part of my interpretation, my experience.
Obviously, I am alive. And while I don’t feel comfortable (as of yet) to share that story, I will say that “it” was once the only refuge I could find. I studied it, fantasized, romanticized, craved it. All other outlets had been tried – and failed. Even the overwhelming guilt of leaving & ruining the lives of people I held so dearly in my heart, was not as powerful as my inability to deal with living any longer. I strongly believed that my life was doomed before it had even begun.
And with that, suicide was woven into my story forever.
Being alive when I very easily couldn’t be, what do I do with that? The only possible thing I can do is tell a tale and hope that in the course of the rest of my days, I can touch or help one person. I try, without overstepping, to raise awareness bit by bit. To say that it is okay to talk about it. To not shy away from the topic. I can say with experience that when people turn the other way/pretend not to see the signs/shrug it all off, it is going to have devastating affects. A life is worth putting your personal ideals & beliefs aside for.
In the documentary, as men and women would climb over the bars to prepare to jump to their fate, passerby’s were usually everywhere. Driving past; walking past. Very few times did anyone stop to even attempt to help. All I kept thinking was “How in the hell can they walk by and not do anything?” All these people, not able to put their political-correctness aside (you know, not interfering in other people’s business) to try and save a life. It is in no way their responsibility, I want to make that clear … but I’d like to believe that it is a human-to-human action that must at least be attempted.
Smile more often at strangers. Don’t ignore the signs. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there to lend a helping hand. Even if refused, you may have just done a great service. Sometimes a smile on a strangers face can become a miracle.
And to anyone else, including a very dear few that have entrusted me with some of the details of their darkness … I won’t say “it gets better,” because when you are in that darkness, it’s usually the last thing that will ever help to hear. I will say, however, that if you can live just one more day – and one more after that – eventually, things will become a little bit more manageable. Not perfect, but you will be able to breathe. I still have days where the weight of my past & present, and the hopelessness of my future is too much, and I let the thoughts (if only for a second) flirt with me … but I keep going. I might not know exactly what for yet, but I want to at least try to find out.
Sometimes the end really isn’t.