The doorstep to suicide is the loneliest place in the universe. I’ve been there, so understand. Many people don’t, and that is understandable. How can someone be expected to comprehend such a distortion of reality? I’ve stood in a room full of people who loved and cared about me–and felt completely alone. While friends and family were giving me hugs, all I could feel was a vile self-loathing for being such a burden on these wonderful people.
The doorstep to suicide is a very cold place. I had always thought differently. When thinking about it, it was a passionate event. A climatic ending. But when I was there, it was a very cold and serene place, like an arctic field. Suicide becomes a rational decision, the only option that makes any sense. It can’t/won’t get any better, so what’s the point? You are standing in that arctic field, alone and bitterly cold. There is no place to go, no shelter, no warmth, no hope.
The doorstep to suicide is a timeless place. Imagine if you will an agony so terrible that it becomes your existence. The pain so awful that it fades into a numbness that encompasses your every breath, until your breaths are a burden. There is just a “now,” bereft of a joyful past and a hopeful future. I was 29 years old and my life was over. I could not remember 28 years of love and joy and could not conceive of the 15 years of happiness that awaited me.
The doorstep to suicide is a selfless place. I would have never of thought that. The opposite really. I had always considered suicide the most selfish thing a person could do. How could they do that to their friends and family? I had been there, been a witness to a person who tried to go through that door, and had to clean up afterwards. Selfish, self-centered, damnable…but perception distorts as badly as reality on that doorstep. What many consider selfish distorts into selfless. The question, “how can you do that to your family and friends” becomes “how can you NOT do that FOR your family and friends?” How can you continue to exist and allow your existence to drag them down, and do them harm?
I sat on that doorstep for a cold, timeless moment, got up, put my hand on that doorknob…and I am not quite sure what happened. An internal whimper. An upwelling of passion that escaped like a gasp through the ice that made me think: something is not right here. I called an old friend. Two thousand miles away. She would understand. But she didn’t. It still made sense to me, to step through that doorway. I hurt so bad. How could she not understand?
“Just one year,” she said. “Give me one year. Put it aside for one year.” If I could make it through 29, then what was one more? Give her one more year. That didn’t make any sense, but, for her, I could do it.
The doorstep to suicide is a place I never went back to, but I still can remember it. I wonder if it was the same for Robin, and for others? I wonder if they made calls that went unanswered?
The path to the doorstep is a cluttered place, filled with misconceptions and burdened by the stigma of mental illness.
Depression is a disease.
Depression is real.
Depression can be treated.
You are not alone.
There is hope.
I have also been there. And, yes, it passes. It is unfortunate that there still is so much stigma associated with depression and suicide. For me, I kind of found a mission and that is I will literally and figuratively stay out of box. One of the fulfilling things that I did recently was walk The Overnight for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
Hello. Thanks for the comment. I will have to check out the walk. I guess that my Coffee Chronicles has been my mission, sort of my 12th step, trying to get the word out about how I’ve dealt with my depression. People see me very differently than I see myself. I’m actually working on my next column now, something about a secret world.
For me, secrets and shame go hand in hand. I was ashamed to admit the fact that is was depressed.. So depressed, that suicide seemed to be the only option. I think the stories are where the answers are. It is both helpful for the writer and reader.
What would I have done without you! Who would I have sobbed to? Yes, I had family all around me but you were the one that I needed when I let go.
And I always will be. I am so glad to have been there for you.