The effects of suicide on family and friends.
When New Years Eve arrives, IF it arrives for me, I think I will be very happy to say goodbye to 2018, because this year has been the most difficult and painful year of my entire life.
The despair hit me again a couple of days ago. Every time the despair hits, it wears me down a little bit more, and sometimes I think there will be nothing left. And this time the despair was pretty bad. On the one-to-ten scale of despair, this was about an eight. But it’s starting to lift a bit. I hope I can hold on. If I don’t, I think I’ll end up climbing up into the attic and putting a belt around my neck.
I’m a 59 year old Gay man. I’ve been through two five year relationships, both of which ended when my boyfriends decided that the grass on the other side of the fence was just a little bit greener. It’s been 14 years now since I’ve had the simple pleasure of waking up in the morning WITH someone else. In recent years I’ve been coming to grips with the prospect of finishing out what little is left of my life alone and unloved, but if that’s to be the case, the least I can do is be the best, most loving and kind and generous and loyal friend to as many people as I can be … so that when it’s finally my time to go, I’ll be spoken of and remembered well. I think that’s all any of us could ever ask for.
I have a Straight friend who I’ve known for almost four years. He’s always treated me with kindness and respect. He’s 50 years old, and a few years ago he was diagnosed with a cancer called mantle cell lymphoma. He can expect to live another three or four years, but so far he’s doing okay. In 2017 he agreed to accompany me down to Tennessee to watch the Great Solar Eclipse of 2017, it was arguably the most amazing experience of my life, and I’m glad I got to share it with him. We play backgammon all the time, and we’ve always had a very easygoing friendship. At the little dive we most often see each other at, people know us as The Backgammon Guys.
Except … early this year I realized I had fallen in love with him, that I realized I was thinking about him ALL THE TIME. And that’s when I really started to PANIC. I got online and was Googling words and phrases in a desperate attempt to find a website or a discussion group or SOMETHING that could help me make sense of it and help me sort it out. I was like, “I can’t believe this is happening to me! I didn’t WANT this! What do I do? What do I DO???”
And sure enough, the answers started coming in, and none of them were good answers. This sort of thing happens, the unrequited love. How could I fall in love with someone who not only DIDN’T love me, but who was INCAPABLE of loving me? The panic turned to pain, and the pain turned to despair. And the only options were:
1: Suffer through it, sort through it, and eventually try to get over it …. OR
2: Walk away from it, and stay as far away from him as I can.
And couldn’t walk away from it, because I promised myself that I would always be there for him, whatever the future held as far as his health was concerned. And if I walked away from it, all of our mutual friends would be hurt and confused about what had happened between us. So I decided to suffer in silence.
And I have suffered mightily. I have cried more over the past seven months than I have over the past 17 YEARS. And I have learned some very ugly things about myself, mostly my capacity for JEALOUSY. I’ve never had to deal with this kind of jealousy in my entire life … until now. And it’s the most horrible thing in the world. I’m so ashamed of myself. The whole thing is hopeless and pointless and stupid and embarrassing and unfair, and there’s no logic in it whatsoever. But then again, no one ever said the human heart was logical.
Some days are better than others. I usually think about how I’m feeling on the 1-10 scale of despair. Sometimes it will be a 2, other times closer to a 4 or 5. THIS time it has been an 8. Thankfully the despair is starting to abate a bit, for now. But I know it will hit me again, and every time it hits, it wears me down a little bit more. I was pretty scared this time. I know that suicide would cause a huge amount of pain to my family and the other important friends in my life, more pain than I could wish on anyone, but I wonder how much longer I can cope with this. Will I even finally break on through to the other side and put it behind me? As many emotional breakthroughs as I’ve had, the despair eventually hits me again. I’m so tired.
I was at a health clinic recently, and I saw a suicide prevention poster on the wall in the waiting room. It listed 12 warning signs of suicide. I got 10 out of 12.