elionwyr: (barefoot)
[personal profile] elionwyr
This wasn't much on my radar today, until I saw a tweet from The Bloggess about Wil Wheaton posting about depression after she posted about depression/suicide, and so - la, here's my post on the subject.

So I struggle with depression. I'm pretty open about it, both in my virtual and physical lives. And sometimes it's over my family, and sometimes it's because of my anxiety - I apparently suffer from anxious depression, which is ever such lovely news - and sometimes I am depressed for no reason I can actually map out to anyone. Sometimes it's the startled realization that my body is exhibiting signs of depression or anxiety all by its lonesome and I wasn't catching on fast enough because I was too caught up in the noise in my head and life to notice.

A few times in my life, I have found myself hitting my mental/emotional fill line. And the only logical reaction is to contemplate suicide.

People say that's a selfish thought. I disagree - quite strongly, and with many colourful NSFW words - because what I hear in that sentiment is 'you're thinking about suicide and that will seriously screw up my life'..which may be true. But imagine you're back in school and you're running that fucking mile for gym class and really, you hit a point where this seems like the stupidest thing ever, you don't care about the clock or the task or the judgmental looks from the jocks..you start walking, and if you could, you'd just sit down and stop because you really really really don't give a damn about anything except not running anymore.

You've hit that fill line. You are DONE.

And that's pretty much what it's been like for me at those times.

What gets me through it? One person. It's always been pretty much one person. One person that answered the phone and gave me the gift of hours of talking. One person that wrapped his arms around me and quietly held me through the night. One person that wrote something on Facebook that hit me just right at just the right time.

None of them knew they were saving my life.

And so as this day of awareness ends, I think that's the message I really want to express..that you can save someone's life completely by accident. Just by caring.

Never underestimate the power of your words, the power of your random acts of kindness.

Jenny asked people to share what gets us through the dark days. Often, it's been my cat. Lurk deserves to be safe and fed, and the one time he saw Death, it freaked him the hell out...he howled for a week after Hades passed away. I won't do that to him.

She also asked that we share what music helps us. When I'm dealing with family crap, most of Poe's "Haunted" album does the trick (even if I do cry through parts of the songs). When I feel shaky, VNV Nation is my musical drug of choice..."Fearless" is a really good one, as is "Epicentre."

I'll leave you with "Fearless" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pi_bAtUBtTk - and the reminder that if you struggle with suicidal thoughts, or anxiety, or depression...you dazzling creature, you are not alone.

And it does get better.

And yeah, I thought that was bullpoop, too.
..It wasn't.

Date: 2012-09-11 04:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysobelle.livejournal.com
I love you.

Date: 2012-09-11 11:36 am (UTC)
ext_4696: (Default)
From: [identity profile] elionwyr.livejournal.com
And I you. Beyond words.

Date: 2012-09-11 07:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bronxelf-ag001.livejournal.com
VNV Nation: Carry You.

Date: 2012-09-11 11:37 am (UTC)
ext_4696: (Default)
From: [identity profile] elionwyr.livejournal.com
Thank you for tunage!

Date: 2012-09-11 05:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oneagain.livejournal.com
Sometimes I think the idiots who talk about how selfish suicide is are the reason folks think about it to begin with. Selfish? Yes. You are in so much pain that you have to think about how to cope with it, and no, *they* are not the most important thing at that moment. I mean, isn't the repetition of that message in one way or another, that you and how you feel don't mean a lick, in the face of what others feel or need from you, a part of what can bring on that depression? Good god, what narcissism! "Live for me"? "Be in mind bending pain because you will inconvenience *me* if you give it up and put a cramp in my day"? Good lord. It's like the parents who speak about their children screaming for attention to the point of self harm, saying "they just want attention (ignore them)". Hi. If you are self-destructing from being ignored, perhaps that need is crucial? Hon, I really don't get people sometimes. What I do know is that I am glad you are alive. Thank you for that.

Date: 2012-09-11 05:28 pm (UTC)
ext_4696: (Default)
From: [identity profile] elionwyr.livejournal.com
Yup yup. You found the words I couldn't.

And I love you, heartsister.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2012-09-11 05:28 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-09-12 11:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gafferbear.livejournal.com
I've been the person called. Sometime, I'll tell you all the stories (remind me!).

An Ode to Betty Schwartz, a Teacher of mine.

Date: 2012-09-15 04:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gafferbear.livejournal.com
I told you I'd tell you the whole story later, so here it is.

I will never commit suicide. The ghost of Betty Schwartz would come to haunt my ghost, and lecture me again and again on the beauties of life and love, and the usefulness of pain in developing inner strengths. If there is any kind of afterlife, I am convinced of the power of this woman's spirit to find mine and torment me eternally.

She was a dear Teacher of mine, in High School, a gaunt (wow, that word is inadequate) skull-eyed, frizzy-haired corpse stick of a woman, who very lively, taught an honors-level English Lit. course titled, appropriately, "Values of Life and Death". Personally, she had been diagnosed some many decades earlier with terminal cancer, and been told (at that time) that she had six months to live. She lived. Way past. With verve and tremendous self-restraint.

Our one field trip during that class was down to the mortuary, to see her coffin (with a terminal diagnosis ongoing, she'd seen to such things early). It was a plain unornamented pine box, and she mourned that the hinges weren't available in something less flashy than brass. Like, iron, or steel, perhaps. She did not believe in ostentation (with one exception).

She was by far the most rigorous, demanding Teacher I'd ever had, and there were several excellent ones which I had - Dotty Icove and Pat Lefferts also had tremendous impact on me. But Betty Schwartz started out with: "My name is Betty Schwartz, and I am a Victorian prude. You may call me Miss Schwartz. If you call me anything else, I might choose to fail you." Members of the staff of the Literary Magazine, the Phoenix, were entitled (because thereby, she had acknowledged your contribution as equal to her own - if the whole class had managed to get onto the staff of the Phoenix, she'd have been delighted) to call her, "Betty", regardless of wheres and whens.

An Ode to Betty Schwartz, Part Two (so there!)

Date: 2012-09-15 04:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gafferbear.livejournal.com
She made us look inside ourselves, and around ourselves, at the miracle of what is a life we want. That there are beauties (and painful beauties) in our lives around us all the time, and that these are accessed mostly through the creative. We, as a species, must generate beauty in everything we do (if legislation ain't beautiful, don't pass it!), or we are doomed. We must make choices for the future based on beauty, not profit; we must accept pain as part of our species' learning process. We must choose limits to our lifestyle, because profligacy is wrong, and harmful to mankind. Community is what makes us sustainable. Wherever we find it. What matters is the quality of life lived, by choice, not the quantity. Whatever we are passionate about must be our community gift. We must all pick up trash. We must all do good things, because don't we all want good things done around us?

She made us promise (on the last day of class) that upon receiving news of her death we would, or else she'd haunt us, *immediately* do handsprings, turn cartwheels, and such, while singing at the top of our lungs, "Ding, dong, the witch is dead, the wicked witch is dead." I happened to hear of her eventual death in my twenties, while waiting after a concert at Blossom Music Center with a small extended circle of friends; my Mentor, Patty Kugelman, and her husband Jack, both of whom were Teachers in Bedford, and the Assistant Vice Principle of my Junior High, who they'd brought, were among them. "Pardon me..." I said.

And promptly went about pursuing her Last Command. They were horrified. Until I flopped back down, exhausted, and said, "Sorry. I don't want her haunting me. She said she would." They extracted the whole story from me, and admitted it sounded exactly like her. "No matter where you are, or who you are surrounded by, you must immediately..."

So no, suicide isn't an option for me. There is always pain. We cannot be free of pain. We also cannot be free of beauty. And I don't want Betty Schwartz to haunt me, any more than she already does. I am grateful to her beyond measure, for extracting from me the promise that my life was to be worth more to me than all possessions, all manifestations of earthly things. Be it love, be it comforts, that my life would remain precious to me. With critical self-esteem, saying that we're worthwhile because we can create beauty (out of, in indeed, words, which are *nothing*), we cannot be denied. Otherwise (and also!) we're tiny little specks on a tiny little planet in a huge huge universe and if we want to thrive we're going to have to preserve this rock while moving off of it. There's so much beauty to make. Betty, and I, want us all to drop the little things, and make it.

Teachers make this possible.

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