I didn’t have the strength to pull myself up anymore. My psyche and my heart were broken, and hope – as mentioned earlier – had long vanished. I was tired of being alone; tired of being a burdensome daughter and shameful aunt; and tired of not having the writing career – in whatever meager form – that I once had and could never have again.
I never, ever foresaw or considered the scenario in which I find myself now.
I hope that my state of mind, and my depression lifts. But do you know what surviving a suicide attempt has taught me so far? That I was right all along. That the world is irreparably messed up. That it doesn’t matter how hard you try – some people are born into good fortune, another few just get lucky, and a few somehow get the job, the family, and the sense of purpose they deserve when they work hard. As for the rest of us – an increasing lot, in a marketplace where even a Bachelor’s Degree means almost nothing; where powerful connections, beauty, money, pedigreed families, high class, fame, or thousands of Twitter followers are the true social currencies – we toil like hamsters in the proverbial wheel knowing our lives will always be struggle, poverty, more bad days than good, more heart ache than happiness, and living with the pain of talent unspent. We want to support ourselves; we don’t want to live off the government; we desperately want to contribute to society and help others.
America’s suicide problem is the penultimate expression of the growing multitudes of the hopeless; people who used to feel great passion about the possibilities of life, this world, and their potential to be part of its ongoing creative, cultural and spiritual evolution – but who are continually denied this humble right. Suicide attempts are individual citizens speaking, in the only way now available to them, that: “We give up. We will never be heard; our ceaseless work will not pay off – socially or financially. We’re tired of working so hard where others succeed simply by posting an eye-catching selfie. We’re really, really tired, and see no point in playing a game we – finally – realize can’t be won. So you win, the one percent. You win.”
We know that our lives pass unnoticed; we’ll die alone; our obituaries won’t grace any newspapers; and that politicians’ chess games will never translate to change in our own lives.
I now wonder whether all those “intimations of immortality” I used to feel, all those groundswells of passion and fervor and other-worldly purpose were all just straws of purpose I grasped, vapors that were never any more real than the masses’ comfort gods. I wonder whether art and words, subtle beauties and gestures, and the children of this world – the things which used to be my source of “higher being” and grounding, weren’t just as much hokum as the other, so-called “sacred.” Because even though I’m lucky in many respects – no brain damage, no paralysis, excellent, Medicare-covered surgeons – the short, frail life of the human body, and the culturally-constructed, storybook lens through which we view and experience life, and falsely imbue it with meaning, haunt me. I wonder if scientists and atheists and matter-ists and all those folks haven’t been right all along – there is no beauty or love, no greater, hidden messages encrypted on the surfaces of our life and nature and family, coyly waiting to be found – as I used to think. All there is of human existence, it seems now, is atoms. I always knew this was a possibility but had hoped my art and my Dubliners moments indicated otherwise – but now it appears that may not be so.
Maybe I’m still suffering from trauma-induced brain fog, combined with great difficulty and reluctance to process that October night. Nonetheless – this is not how I imagined things going down; like I said, that dive off the roof was supposed to work. If I had ever considered an afterward, an alternative ending – this feeling of nihilism, this complete bewilderment as to where the hell in the world do I fit now – most certainly would not have been one of them.
Due to financial circumstances and my sole income being SSDI, I am in urgent need of aid to pay for costs related to my ongoing rehabilitation, particularly dental repair. My injuries are so severe and complicated that not even my long-time, excellent dentist can help me; he has been forced to refer me to an oral surgeon who will not – as my dentist was – be willing to repair my jaw and injured teeth at little or no cost. Given my history of anorexia, my continued inability to chew is significantly impeding my recovery. If you feel moved by this difficult-to-pen article – which I was very hesitant to share – or found it illuminating, and are in the position to give – please consider donating at my GoFundMe site. Please also consider sharing this post via social media.
1“Why suicide has become an epidemic – and what we can do to help,” by Tony Dokoupil in Newsweek, May 2013.
2“Preventing suicide: A global imperative – Myths,” World Health Organization, 2014.
3See Newsweek, May 2013.
4See “Preventing suicide: A global imperative – Myths.”
5“U.S. suicides hit highest rates in 25 years,” by Casey Leins in U.S. News & World Report, October 2014; and,“40,000 suicides annually, yet America simply shrugs,” by Gregg Zoyoya in USA Today, October 2014.
6See Newsweek, May 2013.
7See U.S. News & World Report, Oct. 2014.
8“Preventing suicide: A global imperative,” World Health Organization, 2014.
9See “Preventing suicide: A global imperative.”
10See Newsweek, May 2013.
11See U.S. News & World Report, Oct. 2014.
12See Newsweek, May 2013.
13See USA Today, Oct. 2014.
14See USA Today, Oct. 2014.
15-16See Newsweek, May 2013.
17Wray, M., Colen, C., & Pescosolido, B. (2011). The sociology of suicide. Annual Review of Sociology, 37, 505-28.
18See Newsweek, May 2013.