Sunday, February 06, 2005

Suicide is rarely painless

Before I forget, I want to thank Andrea Blythe, Carl Anderson, Ben Garrison and DarkMoon for posting links to the site. This is how we grow.
And to remind you that you're always invited to add your thoughts to mine. We're in this together, and not for very long at that.

Orion is watching a Cibo Matto video and singing along. Sugar water. His toddler life is different enough from mine that I almost believe mine actually was black and white.

Earlier I got a phone message from Draven who was sitting in the rain somewhere in Illinois and fairly incohesive. There was another message from him after that one, even more jumbled, apologizing for the first one. I emailed him and reminded him about that all-important no drinking and dialing thing. And that he's my friend and I love him anyway. He lost a brother, who lost himself and ended it. His pain lives on, right there in Draven. TaDa.

My father was forty three when I was born. By the time I was ten, he seemed like an old man to me, as did everyone else over twenty. Did you know that most of us have the same number of heartbeats per lifetime? Elephants, finches, mice, people. I didn't know that, back then, but I went through a phase where I believed that every step I saved my dad would prolong his life a little. I was terrified of losing him. I was always jumping up to get things for him. I never told him why. He lived to seventy six. My mother died young, before she got her first wrinkle. She didn't kill herself, but she thought about it, a lot. She practically carried Death in her handbag, always checking to make sure he was still in there, with her lipstick and tissues.

I never met my father's mother, but I was told she was pretty, that people called her 'Pet' and that she sketched lovely pictures. I was told that one Monday she did the washing as usual and took it outside and hung it all up in the sunshine. It was a beautiful breezy day and she put the basket and pins neatly on the steps and, still in her apron, walked the length of the yard and stepped into the river and breathed it right in. My dad was five when that happened. He told me that she was wearing a yellow dress with little daisies on it. He must've been about three and a half feet tall. He would have known those little daisies pretty well. They looked a lot darker, wet.

I'm not convinced that people who suicide want to. Possibly, when someone is labeled as having failed an attempt a suicide, what they actually did was succeed in stopping themselves from committing an act they were drawn to by illness. Or they were rescued. Either way. Good on them.

Orion wants to dance. It sounds like a good idea to me.



Carl V. Anderson said...

You're welcome for the link. Since your site is part blog/part exhibition of your artistic talents, you should think about making some banners for people to use to link to you. I always like using banners for links, I find them intriguing and make me want to click on them to see what's on the other side.

I'm sorry you never knew your grandmother. I work in the mental health field and suicide is such a horrible reality to deal with. I found my first victim early on in my career and the finality of it all has stuck with me throughout my life. I agree with your thoughts about "failed" suicide if life isn't bad enough for those who find themselves taking that step, we have to attach a negative word to something that should be a positive thing.

jordan's mom said...

I tend to agree with you, Lisa. I don't think folks who are suicidal want to be dead, really. It's more that they desperately want to kill Something inside themselves, and don't quite know how to accomplish it without trashing the whole package. Mental Health as a science has moved rapidly during the last quarter century toward the understanding that, apart from grief (which everyone experiences from time to time) the vast majority of "mental illnesses" are biochemical in nature...that is, there's something wrong with the hard-wiring. It's not a weakness, or a behavioral choice, or simply the product of a bad life. You don't just "pull yourself up by your bootstraps", or "get on with it." Society does a terrible disservice to people by making depression shameful. And there's plenty of evidence that it's hereditary. If someone suffers from depression, here's a basic "1-2-3": 1) Get a thorough physical examination. There are literally hundreds of things that can happen to the human body that result in symptoms that look like depression. 2) Talk to a professional, and seriously consider the option of short- or long-term medication. It's often possible to correct the "hard-wiring" glitch. 3) Take a look at how you've altered your life to live with the disease, and begin to explore new ways of living your life that are more conducive to hope/creativity. You may not have had the opportunity to do this before, and it needs doing.

Don't blame yourself. And don't give up.