Today is National Suicide Prevention Day, and many people like me find it hard to go without marking it in some way. Although having one special day for discouraging suicide may seem silly, it’s useful in raising awareness about how many people are losing their lives.
Today, there are articles being published about mental health resources, and how to seek help if you are feeling that you might harm yourself.
There are articles about how to spot warning signs in people you care about.
There are articles about being the one left behind, and all of the grief and anger and self-doubt it brings.
And there are many, many articles about reasons not to take your own life.
If you have ever been suicidal, you’ve probably seen what’s in those last articles. There’s a lot of good stuff in some of them; stuff that bears repeating. I’m not going to repeat it here, though.
Instead, I’m going to tell you that I understand about those times when trying to take in advice or inspiration feels like listening to a wind blow through bone-dry grasses.
Today, I won’t tell you suicide is a sin. That’s between you and whatever religious or spiritual values you have–although I pray that, should you fall, any deity you meet welcomes you with nothing but love and compassion.
Today, I won’t tell you that tomorrow is another day. I know sometimes that’s part of the problem–when things are very dark, tomorrow and every imagined day after it stretch out like a long prison sentence. I encourage you to reach for a shred of hope or open-mindedness that may help you entertain the idea that tomorrow could be a better day, but I know just how difficult that is.
Today, I won’t lecture you about how you need to stay alive for your loved ones, or how much killing yourself would hurt them. You already know that. You’ve probably refrained from some attempts because of it already. Instead, I’ll tell you that I believe you are doing the best you can to stay here, and if you fail I will not judge or condemn you. Go and read Cowards if you don’t believe me.
So I will not lecture you today, or tell you what to do or believe, or try to make you feel guilty for your thoughts.
But I also won’t lie.
The truth is, I do want you to refrain from killing yourself today.
My selfish desire is for you to keep breathing for another twenty-four hours. And another after that. My selfish wish is for you to hang on long enough for something to change. Get through the minute, the hour, the day. Make it through–and the next time things get really bad, hang on then too. I admit it, that’s what I want.
You see, I want you here on this planet with me. If you go, there will be one less person in the think tank researching the nature of hope and perseverance.
If you go, I will be a little bit more alone.
Some of you who depart are doing it under the influence of brain chemistry that has become extreme enough to interfere with coherent thought and choice. I know that can happen.
But if you still have some capacity for those things, I confess my selfishness to you. I want you at my side in this fight, to share battle tactics and tricks. I want you with me during the long sleepless nights, so we can read each other stories when we’re sad.
I know what a hard thing I’m asking of you, and it’s your choice. But the little girl in me wants her brothers and sisters around. Go read Why it’s “Not This Song”. Go write some bad poetry, or do something repetitive with your hands, or tell someone to go fuck themselves–anything, I don’t know. Just don’t go today.
Don’t go. Stay with me.