Today is the 79th day since I last self-harmed. I’ve been sober for even longer, and have gone without a suicidal gesture or attempt for even longer still. All of the above are some of my target behaviors. Target behaviors are basically things that you make it a goal to change. I have been free of all my extreme target behaviors since mid-September.
Everyone has vices. Everyone has targets. Some affect your health, some affect your relationships, some get you put in hospitals. But for the most part, all of them affect your emotions. Overall, these behaviors are done to change how we feel. Whether it’s smoking or cutting or drinking a lot of coffee, people do it to feel better. That’s the one universal goal that we all have. So, what’s going wrong? Why does everyone seem to need an escape? Can’t we just be content?
If you thought I was going to go into an explanation of the human urge to improve emotion, you’re wrong. I have no idea how to answer any of those questions. I was just putting it out there as food for thought.
Anyway. 79 days. That’s a long ass time. How did I get here? I honestly don’t even know completely. A lot of my coping abilities still haven’t improved a whole lot, at least not in my opinion. I sleep a lot. Like a lot. I still don’t do much schoolwork. I still feel awful frequently. So what exactly is stopping me from cutting, burning, getting high or trying to kill myself? I have a superficial answer to that. My mom has stated that she’ll buy me my next tattoo when I get to 100 days target-free. That’s a major motivation. I want another tattoo ASAP, and I have exactly zero dollars in the Bank of Jocelyn. However, that wouldn’t be enough to stop me if I got really upset I’m afraid. So what else is it? I honestly have to do a lot of thinking on that one. Maybe part of me is just trying to prove myself wrong. I’d say that I’m trying to prove other people wrong, but in reality, everyone else thinks I can do this. I’m the one that believes I can’t. Maybe there’s a little part of me that’s getting bigger, a part that wants to prove the rest of me wrong. I don’t know.
What do I do when I get urges? you ask. Well, I do nothing. I literally do nothing at all. I try to sit as still as I possibly can because I think that if I move a muscle, I’ll lose control and rip my skin apart. My emotions get to a point where it just seems so unbearable that I want to die. What can you do when everything is so intense? I’ll tell you what you can do: nothing. Sometimes you just have to ride the wave until the water settles. I don’t know how I can manage to do nothing in moments of crisis sometimes, but I’ve been doing it. I also hold frozen oranges on my face, which is a little something I picked up at the 3East program at McLean Hospital. It’s actually very effective in slowing down seemingly uncontrollable thoughts.
So today, the day after Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all of the people that have worked so hard to help me get to 79 days. Let’s keep it going to 100!
Today is the International Survivors of Suicide Day. Today is also one year and one month since my best friend took his life.
I wish I could say that I don’t know what it’s like to survive a suicide. I wish I didn’t understand, but instead I think I may be a survivor of suicide in more ways than one. The typical definition of a “suicide survivor” is someone who has suffered the loss of a loved one to suicide. In that way, I am a survivor. Additionally, I have made my own attempts at suicide and lived through them. In that way, I am a survivor too. I have survived the suicides of two of my friends as well as my own.
Sometimes I feel like there’s only one reason why I’m still here. That reason is, quite simply, knowing what it feels like to be left behind. I don’t know how to explain it very eloquently, but it changes you forever. I feel like the people around me are ticking time bombs. Suicide is the largest explosion of a person as they burst into a mushroom cloud and destroy things for miles. The survivors are poisoned with the cancerous radiation of grief.
When my friend, Isaiah, died in 2012, it first occurred to me exactly what was happening as I saw the police cars, firetruck, and ambulances outside his house. In that moment, I became a survivor. I’ve spent a year wondering why Isaiah died and I didn’t. Why am I the one that is still alive?
Attempting suicide goes against every instinct we have as humans. All of our most basic reactions are to survive, but some choose to rebel against that. A failed suicide attempt is equally as devastating to the person who attempted it as it is to the people who love and care for that person. It’s terrifying for everyone. Surviving a suicide attempt is like missing the winning goal in a soccer game. I know that dying isn’t actually winning, but in the mind of a suicidal person, that goal is the ultimate escape. You feel like a failure to yourself, your team, your family. It’s embarrassing and ugly.
Sometimes I wish that I hadn’t failed in my attempts, but I think I know deep down that I was meant to be a survivor.
My entries have gone from mildly amusing to terribly depressing. I apologize for that. I swear I’m not always angst-filled and whiny. Check out my old posts for proof! But anyway, I figured I’d try to post something that was more the opposite of what I’ve been doing. So in no particular order, here are 5 reasons why I really don’t want to kill myself:
1. Music. Music has gotten me through the shittiest moments of my life. It was just a month ago that the only reason I kept going was to hear Eminem and Lady Gaga’s new albums. Both The Marshall Mathers LP 2 and ARTPOP have dropped now, and they’re both wonderful. Gaga is what got me through school today. Of Mice & Men is another that has really helped me. Austin Carlile is my dedication, inspiration.
2. Skittles. Holy shit I love Skittles so much. And not the drug “skittles” that health teachers always insist is a thing. I personally have never met anyone that did something called “skittles”. I guess it means pills of some sort. Anyway, I mean the fantastic candy Skittles. I will taste the fucking rainbow until my tongue falls off.
3. My Main Jaunts. I’m convinced that I have the best friends in the world. They are the funniest, most supportive group of kids ever. I can always count on them for an honest opinion, a caring ear and a good laugh. What more can a girl ask for?
4. Family. My family is my home base. My brother is the funniest kid on the planet, my sister is gorgeous, and my mom’s nice as shit. Perfect situation, right? Wrong. We’ve been through hell together. We might not talk about it too much, but it’s like an understood thing. And as you can clearly tell, my grandparents are super adorbz.
5. My Pupperdingles. I’ve already written a post on these nuggets of joy, so here’s a link to that biz: https://acceptthebullshit.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/the-pupperdingles-and-other/
Now I realize that these are all external things. They are all things that can be lost. I am working on finding something within myself to live for. It’s a daily battle and a daily hunt for that hope and that motivation, but I will find it. I will find that peace.
I was looking through “notes” that I wrote on my phone back in November 2012 (the first month without Isaiah), and I realized how true many of them remain today. Here are some of them:
November 4, 2012 2:54 PM
I feel like for the first time, I have to fight myself. And, I mean, yeah, that’s kind of a constant thing, but now I’m stuck really really needing to fight myself for my life.
Because I don’t think I have ever been this genuinely suicidal in my life.
And I know that I have never felt so obligated to live.
I’m just trapped.
The past two weeks have been complete hell because I have nothing. Nothing can take this away. I have nothing.
I need help. I’ve never needed support so much in my life. And I’ve never felt so unable to speak to or be around others. I need people, but I know that people leave. I need people, and that terrifies me.
I don’t know if I will ever be able to accept love or accept other people’s care. And that’s exactly what happened with Isaiah. He didn’t get it. He just couldn’t. You can’t live if you never feel wanted or needed or loved. And it’s hard for me to deal with knowing that I couldn’t make him feel that. That I couldn’t show him just how much he meant. And even though I know how very little that actually had to do with me, it still feels like such a huge failure on my part.
It’s scary because at the same time that I feel so sad that he was so hopeless and that he felt so meaningless at least in that moment, I know that I’m just a noose short of the exact same situation.
And I have no idea what to do.
November 10, 2012 1:20 PM
The words “I don’t know why” and “I don’t understand” frequently pop into my head. And I mean, I do know why and I do understand, but I don’t. I can’t even explain it. I think my mistake is assuming Isaiah thought about suicide the way I do. And I know he didn’t, but it’s hard for me to get that.
I understand wanting to die or wanting to end the pain or whatever, of course I do, but I consider everything. I weigh every pro and con, I write individual notes to each significant person in my life, I go over possible ways it would affect people, I study different methods and rate them in terms of pain, time, survival risk, clean up, and a bunch of other factors. Who does that? Nobody fucking does that.
I talked to Isaiah when he was suicidal a million times. He never did (and most people don’t) look at it the way I do. It’s completely emotional for them. And in a way, I’m glad. If by some chance, he really did think about it rationally and weighed the options and thought about everyone else and he still did it, then it’s a whole different level of intent. That means he thought about his brother and parents finding him, he thought about me, he thought about his potential, he thought about all the good things he had and could have and he still thought that suicide was the best option. As soon as someone enters that level of comprehension, it is a million times more deliberate. If somehow that happened in his head before he did it, then he made the conscious decision to leave me–to leave all of us.
I can’t decide if it’s more painful to think that he thought of his family and me and he still left, or to think that we didn’t even cross his mind at all.
November 25, 2012 12:53
I don’t think that people get enough credit for resisting the urge to kill themselves. I want to die, and it takes every bit of energy I have not to kill myself. Expectations are hard to meet when you’re fighting to stay alive. All of these things that people expect me to do like get a job and do my schoolwork and get my license and go to college and even just maintain relationships require me to be living. Everyone assumes that’s a given, but it’s a daily, all-encompassing struggle just to keep this body alive. And the most frustrating part is that the people who need to know will never be able to understand that.