Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"I want to die"

She wanted to die. I had no idea. People hide their problems. Whenever you ask someone how they're doing, they always say they're fine. Never in my life have I told someone I was in pain, even though at times I was. How many people have I walked by on the street and didn't even realize they were in pain. I was talking to a friend one night. She interrupted our conversation and says, "On a different note, can I tell you something?" I said yes. She tells me about a woman she saw on the news. She was stabbed to death by her husband and left in the tub with her wedding dress still on. What a gruesome image. The confusion that must've gone through the newlywed's head. A red wedding dress. And just like that, I felt how quickly death could come. But that wasn't what she wanted to tell me. She was trying to work up to the real thing.

She told me about her dark past. She painted yet another disturbing imagine in my mind. She was like a master painter from Italy, who had honed her skills by using her emotions and her past. She had been molested as a child. By a brother and a sister who were 13 and 15 (not hers). She didn't remember the details. "The memories are choppy. I don't remember getting somewhere or leaving. Just like little clips. Sweaty palms. Dry kisses. Sounds. Skin." To make it worse, one of her friends that she trusted this information with told the whole class in elementary school. She was ridiculed. She was an outcast. They called her a lesbian. She jumped from best friend to best friend.

But like many things, it's the smallest things that hurt the most sometimes. The kids tried to get her best friend to give her a dirty candy. Probably picked up from the floor or something.

To try to cope and find a better place, she tried cutting herself. She tried to starve herself. She was the painting of a child who wanted the suffering to stop. Each stroke of the brush adding detail and emotion with a steady hand. She hoped her medium were watercolors. So that they could at least eventually water away. But they're permanent. A Sharpie marker. "Did you feel like you wanted to die?" I said. "I did," she said.

Another friend of mine in high school wanted to die. I met him my freshman year, but we weren't really friends. An occasional hello. All my friends made fun of him. Some behind his back. And some didn't care from what side. I smiled at these jokes, but I showed no teeth. I didn't want to laugh. But being a teenager is tough. You want to belong. He was black and he acted feminine. Everyone speculated that he was gay. "That fucking faggot," my friends would say. But I never defended him. I should have. Years later, I spoke to him. He said he had wanted to die. He had finally announced to the world that he was gay. He didn't want to face his family. His supposed friends. He told me, "I felt dirty. People made me feel like I had AIDS or something because I was gay." I'm sure it was even harder because he was black.

Another man, in some distant country had committed suicide. He hung himself. A friend of mine told me all about it about two years ago. Some relative of hers in Lithuania had just committed suicide. She was down that day. I had never heard a story about suicide so close to me. It's one thing to read a story on the newspaper or see it on the news. It feels made up, almost. The whole time I kept thinking of what had driven this man to do this. What problems he must've had. How many people he passed through the street on his way to work or to the store. His coworkers probably had no clue. The cashier smiled at him like they do every person. And he would walk home and hang himself. His pain unbearable. How many people have we seen in the street that are dead now. That we had no idea were sick or battling depression. Who knows. And one day, someonone would open the door to his room, and find him there. His feet wont touch the ground. And all of the pain he wanted to get rid of is still there I'm sure. And it's keeping him from ever touching the ground.

And after hearing all these stories, what could I say? When someone wants to die, there's nothing you can say that moment to instantly cheer them up. No one sentence eclipses pain. The pain is the sun. It's much too big for the moon. But sometimes, when the timing is just right, the moon eclipses it

Wanting to die is like running away. I've wanted to run away many times in my life. Sometimes, I just hate the people. I hate what I've done in the past. I hate that I feel like I have no future. I've secretly wanted to run away to the woods or something. Or just drive one hundred miles in any direction and start over. But then, I feel like I'd miss some people. This is how I imagine dying would be like.

Dying is when your heart stops. No more thoughts rush through your mind. I've tried to picture dying and I always become frightened at the very end. I picture myself lying there and having my heart stop. Before it does though, my heart maybe beats extra fast. I can hear the beats in my ear like a drum. My chest frantically moving up and down. But what scares me the most is when everything starts to go black, even when my eyes are wide open. I imagine it like going to sleep, except there will be no dreams, and I will never wake up again in the morning.

I heard the shot of a gun outside my house one night. On the intersection of Spaulding and 28th. The whole block immediately looked out their windows. There was a man on the ground. Maybe in his mid twenties. When the police came, everyone was outside on their doorstep, watching like the finale of their favorite television show. It's always a sad episode. It's when everyone says goodbye. I was in my socks and was standing on concrete by my black, metal fence. I could see the faces of people, shining blue from the police lights. The ambulance took the man inside. And just then, I see the mother and the father slowly walking home, crying. "Why does this happen," the mother said. They walked right by me, I could touch them. The mother's tears, twinkling like the brightest star that night. The man's  younger brother was crying as well. He was in shock. When everyone went back inside, I'm sure every home was silent. I know mine was.

Many people lose a loved one and feel like they can't go on living anymore. Especially if it's a son or daughter. You feel like you failed as a parent. You let your child die. And the pain is excruciating. I know life will never be the same. My brother's best friend died from a gunshot to the head while he was DJing at a party in a backyard. When I went to that funeral, his mother wept uncontrollably. Her chest was having spasms as her lungs couldn't keep up with her crying. This family's life changed forever in an instant.

If you found this post, you're probably dealing with something similar. And you've been searching for something to make you feel better, or maybe for someone to understand what you're going through. My child, I wish I could pass you by on the street and talk to you. I wish I could be your friend and tell you it's all going to be okay. Tell you that there's no need to take your life away. That there's some people out there who care.

"How did you get over it?" I said to the first friend above. "I got over it when I started being accepted again. When people stopped hating me." But I know she's not fully over it. The memories still linger like a washed up piece of a house on some deserted island after a tsunami in an unsuspecting country. She saw shrinks (still sees them) and has trouble trusting people.

I asked the other friend how he got over wanting to die, and he said, "By support from family and friends. Just little by little and day by day." But he was lucky. Many don't even have that. Some hang themselves to escape the pain. To escape the loneliness.

I know the past hasn't been too kind to you. And I know the future probably seems bleak as well. You tried to kiss it, but it pushed you away. But listen to me. Take a deep breath. Right now. I know they probably feel fake. Forced. But do it anyway. Blow out as long as you can. It's what counts. I'll wait.

In every instance, I've noticed that it's other people that will make you feel better. Friends who will understand your pain. You don't have any good friends?

Okay, here's what you need to do:

a.)          Go for a walk or jog everyday. You've felt depressed this whole time. You probably haven't moved much. Being outside is good. If you don't want people you know to see you, then walk somewhere you're not familiar with. It helps you to see different things.

(If they can do it...Oh hell no)

b.)          Read spiritual texts. It doesn't matter if you're religious or not. It's not about religion. They help you be grateful. They help you to forgive yourself and others. Something you probably haven't done. There isn't just the bible, there's many others. Search for them.

c.)          Take a shower. I always feel better after I take a shower. I feel clean. I feel like going outside. It's tough to take a shower when you're down. You can't summon up the strength to get in there. But it's worth it, trust me on this one. After you take a shower, go to the city and just sit in one place. Stare at the people. Realize that every single one of them has problems. Some are just like you. Don't be fooled by the mask they wear or the pretty sweater they have on masking that ugly shirt.

d.)          Help someone. All your life you've wanted help. You've seen what not helping can do. Help someone who needs it. Expect nothing back. Make a list of people you can help. Volunteer maybe. You'll meet new people. Most people you've met up 'til now has sucked. Time to meet new ones. There's good people out there.

(Even if it's just helping someone get up)

e.)          Picture yourself die in detail. Sounds weird, but most people that want to die don't really think about it much. Really think about it. Think about your heart stop beating. Think about how you will NEVER have a thought again. Most people don't really want to die. They just want what's aching them to die.

f.)          Write down why you want to die. Write it down. Be as detailed as you want. Then, give it to a stranger on the street, and walk away. Have what's aching you be out there in the world. Don't keep it inside. It's like a parasite. It needs you to survive. But you don't need it to survive. So get rid of it. It's good medicine. It's hard to get rid of an idea. So make it tangible. Make it a "thing." Then get rid of it.

g.)          Make a sign that says, "free hugs" and stand by a busy street. People will hug you, trust me. I've seen it done many times. I don't care how old you are. You might meet some nice people and maybe make somebody's day as well. Don't be embarrassed to do this. Why would you? If you are, I will you hit you with a stick, I promise. Now is NOT the time to start caring what others will think. And at the very least, it's a nice story to tell.

(Isn't this sweet?)

h.)          Surrender. Surrender to the universe. There's that pain in your chest right now. I've been there. It causes you to bullshit everything. You lose interest in everything. You feel like you can't be creative until this pain stops. But sometimes, you can't control everything. Just let things fall into place. Accept that you're hurt and that it's just some feeling that your body perceives. It's not really real. Surrender to the universe. It's bigger than you. Just let things take it's course. Eventually, the pain goes away.

When you want to die, you never truly recover. It's such a strong feeling and it will be a strong memory. I hate when people say that killing yourself is selfish and that it will hurt the people who love you. It's selfish of them to say that. You are hurting right now and you want the pain to stop. You come first. But they are right about one thing. Killing yourself is not the right choice. My baby, you are a child. No matter how old you are. You just want someone to hold you tight. To cover you in a warm blanket and rock you to sleep. To replay that music that played the beautiful notes when you were a child. Before the bad came and crushed the piano. I know you know what's right. I know you know what you have to do. You have to fix that piano. Maybe the keys are stuck. Maybe some are missing. So fix it. Replace them. Little by little. Then relearn how to play the piano. Your fingers will have callouses of knowledge. Of experience. But the notes will appear again. And people will surround you because you're even more beautiful than before.

You passed me on the street. This is that street. "Hi." "Hello."


If you have any other tips or suggestions, please comment on the bottom. Any advice is appreciated.

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