“some gaddamn time…a man’s due t’ stop arguin’ with hisself. feelin’ he’s twice the gaddamn fool he knows he is….’cos he can’t be somethin’ he tries to be every gaddamn day without once gettin’ to dinner time and not fuckin’ it up….i don’t wanna fight it no more. understan’ me charlie? an’ i don’t want you pissin’ in my ear about it. can you let me go to hell the way i want to?”
—wild bill hickcock, deadwood.
that’s the second to last post on my facebook page. Â only one person got what i was saying. but it was only after another conversation that it made sense to her. you’d think someone who had tried to committed suicide would know what i was getting at. but it’s not true.
there are two kinds of people who are suicidal: those who need attention, and those that want to die.
don’t get me wrong, i’m not saying one is better than the other. a person who needs attention, needs to feel they are needed, or help and that’s valid. but not everybody needs– or wants– help. wanting to die, wanting an end to one’s pain is just as valid.
a few weeks ago, i confided in my friend that i was depressed. she asked me what she could to to help. i replied, somewhat sarcastically, that she could send me some of her gaddamn pills so i could end this fucking misery.
she went into freak out mode.
not what i was expecting, or looking for. she’s tried to commit suicide a few times, but — again, Â perfectly valid– she needed attention. her life had been pretty catastrophic, someone who she trusted deeply had betrayed her, and she needed help. she needed to be affirmed. she Â needed to know that she was valued. she deserved it. she’s one of the funniest, wittiest people i know, but is so down to earth that it’s not for a second pretentious. she’s marvelous. i adore her. but she assumed because i was suicidal, that we had the same motivation. nothing could be further from the truth.
i want to die.
when i asked for her pills, it was one of those stupid moments of brutal honesty. you know those moments: someone asks you how you’re doing and instead of plastering on the fake smile and lying thru your teeth, telling them you’re, “fine,” you hit them right between the eyes with the unvarnished truth. what she wanted was the normal bullshit. i gave her the truth.
not what she was expecting, or looking for. freak out mode. she called my friends– they called me, asking me to pick up the phone. to be clear, i appreciate them expressing their love for me, that sort of kindness is in too short a supply in this world. i am grateful for it, but the sad fact is, it doesn’t end my pain. it doesn’t stop my daily agony. that pain is the difference between my friend and i.
that’s not to say that my friend isn’t or wasn’t in pain. she was in terrible, horrible pain. but the difference is that where hers was brought on by recent circumstance, mine is near constant. my misery is the rule, not the exception. i hate to compare pain, it’s not fair or valid to do so, i’m simply saying, my pain is different. and where her pain pushes her to get help to remedy her situation, my pain pushes me to want nothing more than to kill myself.
no attention, no drama, no phone calls, just a silent peaceful grave.
which brings me to another of my quibbles: suicide survivors. Â i’m sure i’ll get grief about this, but people who commit suicide are not selfish. they’re not. i know it makes things a bit easier for friends and family to shake their fist at the sky or the recently passed, but it’s NOT true. last week one of my facebook friends was going on about how her friend who committed suicide was selfish. really? this after they talk about how they. “lost touch.” whatever. he got busy with his own life and didn’t have time for her. who, pray tell, Â is selfish in this situation? exactly. the person still breathing. i can’t tell you if his friend was anything like me, but if she was, she was pulling back so she could do what she needed to do with a minimal amount of pain for those around her. she was beingÂ thoughtful.
Â “suicide doesn’t end pain, it just transfers it to other people.”Â
— harlan ellison
when mr. ellison wrote that, he was fresh off the suicide of a friend. i don’t doubt he was in a lot of pain, but one thing i don’t think he understood: people like me, the ones who honestly and truly want to die? we are in PAIN. SERIOUS PAIN. this life for us is MISERY. that pain might beÂ transferred, but i submit that it’s alsoÂ dissipated. no matter the amount of heartache he– and those around people who kill themselves– have, they are better equipped to handle that pain. people like me, we feel too deeply, things most people can cope with wound us, make us ache to our bones. we want nothing more than for that pain to be at an end. how can that be called selfishness?
to illustrate my point, let me ask you a question: let’s say you had a friend. they were in a car fire that resulted in 3rd degree burns over 90% of their body.Â are they selfish for wanting a pain killer to ease or end that pain? of course not. they are in constant, severe pain. easing that horrible agony isn’t selfish, it’s reasonable. to want them to have that pain eased is compassion.
this was the thing i explained to my friend. i didn’t want her to freak out, call friends, haveÂ paramedicsÂ breaking in my door, or stop me. i just wanted her to understand. i didn’t want her guilt tripping me, telling me i was selfish…. i just needed to be heard.
can you let me go to hell the way i want to?”
“Oh, mama. Heard. Heard. Heard.”
i’m lucky to have such a wonderful friend.