Thursday, May 19, 2005

Suicide. A horrible personal plague

Yesterday I found out that a man that I intensely admire had considered suicide[1] in 2002...or so I read his livejournal. This rather upset me. No, I wasn't upset with him. It's a little late to comment in his LJ, so I'll talk a bit about my feelings here. Hey, its my blog, ja?

Suicide has been something that has been a plague upon my existance. When I was 13 an acquaintance and friendly guy in my middle school PE class put a shotgun in his mouth and blew himself away. When I was 15, a friend of mine slit his wrists in school and I dragged him to a teacher's attention. When I was 24, a very close friend's bf killed himself with speed...intentionally...and left a note blaming her. That same woman that I was very close to killed herself because of the guilt two months later. Sleeping pills. In 1999, my exwife was going through a second divorce and shot herself.

All of these people were awesome people. All of them were very, very creative people. All of them were very intelligent people. All of them, save Randy and Scott - the friend I dragged away to the teacher - ended their lives. All of them saw no hope in their situation for a future life. The impact of their decisions are still reverberating with the ones that they left behind.

My ex's family, esp her mother, has all but been broken. This is the woman that the whole time I knew her well was made of iron. She'd taken a helluvalota crap from her ex in court and out. She'd gone on to get her master's and have a good career despite having two children of her own. Yet, after her only daughter's death...she barely musters the strength to even cook at all anymore. She had been quite an accomplished cook when my ex and I were married and prior.

My femme friend, Erica, that died - as much as I love(d) her - ripped the bleeding heart out of her family. Her mother and father are very devout Catholics. They've been in intense therapy ever since. Erica'd been the glue that often held together her brother and parents...and with her passing her brother and the bonds between her brother and rest of the family imploded. All because someone she cared so much about was on some substances that he promised he'd get off, went violent, and she threw him out.

For myself, I cannot watch a suicide scene in a movie. It eats me up. It makes me furious. It leaves me at night when I am tired with the fangs of depression biting at me too. Its made me suppress my emotions far more than I ever could before. It had at one point nearly overwhelmed me. It fills me, even with my wife's healing touch and my daughters burbbling love, full of pity.

Some of these individuals were going to go on to amazing heights if they kept their heads about them. My ex was an staggeringly intelligent woman: she picked up fortran overnight and in a couple weeks was coding for Cray YMPs. Erica was an extremely articulate writer and thought provoking interviewer. She had an incredible future ahead of her. Her bf's band had just landed their first multimillion dollar recording contract. Their contributions to the world could have been heady stuff.


They're dead.

Their lights have been snuffed out by their own hand. They felt denying the world any further peak at themselves or their own insights or amazing accomplishments yet to come.

Gone. Never to return. Leaving us all behind. Ravaging our spirits in deep and malign ways.

Save two.

Scott despite his youthful mistake has gone on to be a computer consultant and working towards being a fulltime bassoonist for a Chicago professional orchestra. Randy pulled himself from back from suicide's siren song somehow. I'm delighted. I can't say that it hasn't brought back all the horror and dread feelings that my second marriage and baby's birth had by and large banished though.

With Randy, even though I have never met him, it seems that I had a very hard time with this. He's past that stage, but he seems like he'd be a tragic and terrible removal from the great intellectual online community. Some of the stuff he's written about and he's shared with me in our interesting discussions has been damned insightful and incredible in many, many other ways. That is not to say I am fawning. There are things that we couldn't disagree more on: me salivating over the prospect of annexing Canada is one of them: I want him to be a cabinet official in the White House circa 2028, damnit. His dislike for a lot of things American is another: Rottenstadter boogiemen, frex. That's fine. In fact, if we agreed on everything I'd be intensely worried about my own beliefs. Or his. Or both. Opposing view points are very healthy. And fun.

I am not angry with Randy at all for his confession. I like and admire the man. What I am feeling is nothing more than baggage from the past. A past I had thought was left by and large behind me. Except for moments that come up and bite me. Like this.

Ramblings done. On with life.

1. EDIT. 15:37 PDT I got an email explaining that I was mistaken and that it was that he considered it not attempted. I read it wrong. *cringes* However, even considering it is a horrible thing. I'm glad that he didn't.


Patrick Ian Banks said...

A chill certainly ran down my spine when I read what Randy wrote, even if it was just a consideration. I've never really seriously considered it myself, but I do have a history of depression, so I was reminded why I try and keep a close watch on my mental health by both Randy's post and yours.

Randy McDonald said...

My sympathies for your losses, and my thanks for your concern.

Inasmuch as I can provide any insights into the mindset of someone who commits suicide, it's that it's perceived as the only way to escape from an intolerable situation. If the method of escape involves one's self-obliteration, well, at least there's no likelihood of suffering any more. The damage inflicted upon others is considered, but it's a secondary issue relative to the pressing need.

Yes, checkups of one's mental health are as good an idea as checkups of one's physical health. I cannot begin to state the importance of getting everything taken care of.

But rottenstadter boogiemen?

Will Baird said...

*blinks hard*rubs eyes*blinks again*

OMG, I have comments!

pib: My personal cure for depression normally involves gobs of chocolate (women have definitely got this one right!), some soda, a good book, and a long, all day bath. I've had it. It sucks. Normally its related to horrible things that have happened to me at one time or another: alot is tied to the deaths of friends.

rm: Rottenstadter boogiemen was intended as a mild tease. My humor is a little...odd at times. The Rottenstadters are a passing thing, IMO, based on interactions with my generation and those younger.

I understand the syren song that suicide sings - it's the only way out - but its really deceptive, IMNSHO.

Randy McDonald said...

I don't disagree that it's a false reprieve. It goes without saying that I rather prefer the life I'm leading now with all of its issues to non-existence.

And I'm all in favour of odd humour.

Patrick Ian Banks said...


Good thing I like all those cures you listed, even though gobs of chocolate won't aid me in my goal of shrinking my gut. I also agree that the suicide siren song is hell of deceptive - in the case of my darkest moments, I've always taken comfort that there are other ways out that don't lead to grieving friends and relatives. I suppose if I had an uncurable, degenrative brain disease or was facing starvation and loss of my entire family after a civilization destroying apacalypse, I might be less of the optimistic pessimist I currently am.

And Randy, I'm glad you're leading the life you're living now instead of not existing. And Odd humor does indeed rule.