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Trigger Warning.

I have experienced very black depressions, and know how hard it is to get help when you are in such a state. I have pet the black-eyed dog Winston Churchill and Nick Drake wrote about. It has sat on my lap. Its breath is horrible.

There are few places you can find solace when the dog pays a visit. Few places, that is, if you're lucky. There is very little that resonates. At least for me, certain music could touch me; Nine Inch Nails has shooed the dog away for me before. So has John Berryman's poetry. Kay Redfield Jamison has also helped. But there's not much out there that can do the job; the writing is either too sanitary or too hopeful. When I am with the dog--when his scent overpowers everything else in the room--upbeat motivational speeches don't do me any good. If anything, they make things worse.

When I told my wife I was going to write a blog post called '10 Reasons to Kill Yourself', she cringed. But then I explained my thinking to her; to reach someone in a deep depression, you have to know the terrain. Those of us who have been there know, so it is on us to reach out to each other in a language we can understand.

I thought it would be worthwhile to collect a bunch of reasons in favor of suicide, and then demonstrate that there are actually better reasons not to commit suicide. For example; there is no God, therefore life is meaningless. But if there is no God, then you are actually presented with an opportunity to create your own meaning. I would flesh these little bullet points out, of course, but you get the point. Then it occurred to me that this gimmick would  be too transparent, and may only irritate a person in a deep depression. It would read like too many evangelical pamphlets that present straw man arguments for atheism and then proceed to knock them down with spurious logic.

So I am writing this instead. Maybe it is best just to lay my intentions bare and see what comes from them? When I started my recovery from alcoholism, it wasn't the AA or NA manual that provided me with the most sustenance; it was Richard Lewis's book The Other Great Depression. He wrote about things I understood from his personal vantage point. It surprised me how similar our vantage points were, too. As I began to come to terms with my mental illness, it was Kay Redfield Jamison and William Styron that made sense to me, and made me feel I wasn't alone.

Maybe just writing about our experiences are enough. So that's what I'm doing.

I already have two chihuahuas that I love, and two dogs are enough for me.


Originally posted to Spencer Troxell on Wed May 29, 2013 at 07:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by Mental Health Awareness and Pink Clubhouse.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    "Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." ~ Samuel Johnson

    by Spencer Troxell on Wed May 29, 2013 at 07:06:15 AM PDT

  •  Hug the dogs you love, Spencer... (14+ / 0-)

    ...let them help chase that other dog away.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Wed May 29, 2013 at 07:13:24 AM PDT

  •  Republished to Mental Health Awareness (4+ / 0-)

    The title took my breath, for a second, but I remind myself I can't judge others in how they deal with the deepest darkest times.

    I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

    by second gen on Wed May 29, 2013 at 07:43:52 AM PDT

  •  I just keep telling myself how much it would hurt (7+ / 0-)

    the people around me and the guilt they would feel if I were to kill myself.

    Nine Inch Nails is great.  Meshuggah helps me.  I find it soothing (maybe numbing is a better word) and contemplative.  Music other people find soothing drives me nuts.

    •  Yes, keep telling yourself that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neuroptimalian, BlueJessamine

      I lost my grandfather and mother to suicide.  Don't blame them and I do understand.  When someone gets to that point that person is in a lot of pain.  Depression is a difficult place to be and only people who have been through it can understand it.  Like a black hole.  But if one gets to the point of thinking of killing oneself  one should tell someone.  Because they ones left behind do feel guilty even if they understand the pain.  People who commit suicide often feel everyone would be better off without them.  But those people aren't better off, just left with a piece of their heart broken.

      •  Been there. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        And if I could have prevented my brother's suicide, how much would he hate me today for being the reason he would be forced to continue to suffer in misery?  I wouldn't have wanted that on my shoulders, either.

        After he died, he let me know beyond doubt that he's still around.  I just hope his misery truly ended, not just segued into a different form of existence.  How horrific the afterlife will be if we're still compelled to share it with the same idiots and evil people who currently overpopulate this Earth?  That's my one and only fear about death.

        "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

        by Neuroptimalian on Wed May 29, 2013 at 11:36:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The tigers come at night (9+ / 0-)

    Although my tigers stalk at any time.

    A sibling has been diagnosed with bona fide bipolar and has made numerous suicide threats and "attempts" - although the "attempts" were all rather carefully staged so as to be discovered in time. My mom and other siblings eschew psychiatric labels, but there is much that makes me suspect that we all have a touch of the bi.  My upbringing was very dysfunctional due to my Mom's unacknowledged mood swings:  the high moods could be fun, at least until they turned nasty (or her affairs got too obvious), and the down moods were always someone's fault.  I consider myself to be on the bi-polar "spectrum" although I'm told I barely qualify for the "cyclothymia" label - I'm functional and primarily disthymic.  Unfortunately, medication hasn't been of much benefit - SSRIs send me bounding off the walls, which is a wonderful as a feeling but tends to interfere with my ability to get things done, and other meds leave me feeling foggy brained and even less functional than my standard disthymia.  Since learning about bi-polar, I've started to label what I call the "hypomanic buzz" that I originally experienced with the family.  I feel this with my kids at times, although no reputable therapist would give them a label (except for the ubiquitous ADHD).  I've done my very best to give them a strong foundation of love and support, but I'm sure that they can pick up on my lows, no matter how I try to hide them.  At least they know the labels, and know that psychiatry can be helpful.  They have even experience the beneficial effects of medication for other issues, and so have a model for using meds when necessary - you just have to be vigilant about symptoms and side effect, and persistent about finding a good fit.

    I certainly appreciate your candor more than the proposed preaching.  It is nice to have brief flashes of a community.   I, too, have read Kay Redfield Jamison - although I must say that I rather envy the highs that allow her to have such a productive life.  I am the only bi member of my family who doesn't have much in the way of highs - and I envy them their social circles, their activities, and their energy.  I plan to pick up William Styron's darkness visible at the library today.

    Please, call me "Loris."

    by s l o w loris on Wed May 29, 2013 at 08:11:42 AM PDT

  •  I'm not so sure that there is (4+ / 0-)

    one terrain for anyone in this situation to know.

    I might be able to come up with 10 reasons to kill myself, but I wouldn't presume those would be anybody else's 10 (or 5 or 1) reason(s).

    But I agree that those who've never been in the place can't really comprehend it.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Wed May 29, 2013 at 08:16:45 AM PDT

  •  To stop an unjust and illegal war? Please see (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    s l o w loris, BlueJessamine

    the examples of Thich Quang Duc (died 1963), Norman Morrison (died 1965) or, more recently, Malachi Ritscher (died 2006):

    Thich Quang Duc

    Norman Morrison

    Malachi Ritscher

    Who, knowing of these heroes from our recent past and being of good conscience, would not be seduced by the siren call of suicide? I know I had to fight off the urge several times during the years of the Bush Junta. (One of the most steadfast people I vigiled with at the Federal Building in Westwood killed himself shortly after the revelations about Abu Ghraib became public. Although Jerry did not leave a note, there's a part of me who thinks that he placed himself in that tradition, probably because Jerry was protesting against torture and prisoner abuse long before the revelations hit the mainstream media. RIP Jerry.)

    No easy answers for you, sorry.

  •  You need to find a cause greater than yourself (0+ / 0-)

    that you can adopt and fight for to give your life more meaning that it now has.

    Three great crimes have been committed in America in the last 60 years or so and righting any one of these wrongs can give meaningful purpose to the rest of your life.

    And all three crimes have been committed by the same group so no matter which one ( or more ) that you choose to fight the result will be the same in the end.

    These three great crimes are :

    1) The utter deteriortion of our Health Care System

    2) The utter destruction of our Educational System, and

    3) The utter decimation of the Living Standard of the Working Class.

    The force that has committed all of these crimes is the Republican Party and devoting the rest of your life to stamping out these Bastards forever should give your life true meaning and rid you of depression forever.

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