I Don’t Mean to Shock You

Suicide has been my friend, and yeah, he’s not a very nice friend. He’s been the friend that whispers to me, that offers me a way out, an end to the pain that boring, everyday life can bring.

Well, if I put it that way, suicide hasn’t been a friend at all, but all the same, I’ve lived long periods of time with the enemy inside my head, chattering at me.

Since he’s been such a constant companion, well, I come across insensitive when I talk about death and suicide. I can shock and offend people so easily, and over the years, I’ve tried to keep my flippant comments about suicide to myself.

I had a friend (a real one, not in my head) who killed himself in college. When I found out, I said, “Well, at least he’s found a way to quit smoking. Permanently.”

My dad’s a cop. Dark humor goes with the territory and it must be genetic.

I didn’t mean to come across callous, but I understood what had killed my friend, and when faced with death, I usually laugh inappropriately. Again, I’ve had to do some pretty heavy self-editing at times.

The problem is, people have had close friends, relatives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers kill themselves, and the living are left to deal with it. And that’s a hard thing, made harder if the survivors never had suicidal thoughts. When I get all flippant about suicide, I hurt people who’ve experience such loss.

One of the things I tried to add to my novel, LONG LIVE THE SUICIDE KING, is that suicide, even talking about suicide, has consequences. No one can be suicidal in a vacuum. When someone kills themselves, it affects everyone around them, and in a way, it kills the ones closest to them. It’s a form of murder.

Heavy stuff. Life is hard. Death might seem like a solution, however, I don’t believe it is. Don’t ask me for specifics, but I think we have lessons to learn, and if we don’t learn them here, if we checkout, permanently, we go somewhere else to learn them.

I don’t think suicide is a way out. In the end, I think it’s a monumental waste of time and, again, it murders those around us.

It’s my job to be heroic, to find the other side of my pain, to reach out for help. And it’s my job to talk about my dark thoughts with at least one other person on this earth: a close-mouthed friend, a pastor, a therapist, my mom. As humans, we heal through our mouths. The words we say can shed light into the darkest parts of our psyche.

And there is hope and good stuff about life, in all of our lives. Chocolate. Seriously, there is chocolate in this world. You know what I love? I love those cheap, crappy chocolate donettes–not a real donut, but a donette–you find in gas stations and convenience stores. Hmm, crappy chocolate donettes and the waxy milk you can buy to wash them down. Convenience store milk isn’t exactly sour, but it really wants to be sour, you just know it.

I could swing that into analogy, about me wanting to be sour, but somehow, something inside of me, like a FDA-approved preservative, fights the sour, and so I wash down the chocolatey goodness, standing outside the Conoco, with the morning sun on my face.

Life is sweet.

4 thoughts on “I Don’t Mean to Shock You

  1. Hey! I was reading the best way I have felt in years when all of a sudden the page changed on me. Boom!!! Good reviews, too. Can’t wait to get the book ‘The Never Prayer’ cause I’ve always been a paranormal buff (Stephen King has always been one of my favorite authors until I reached 50 and now I don’t read him as much). Maybe I don’t like to read about people getting killed as much…just myself…by my own hand…when I’m feeling really hopeless, which is most of the time. But it sounds like you have a little more than I have over my life. I have mostly over the last 10 years since the brain aneurysm. Have you ever been tested for hypoglycemia…it’s where if you get too much sugar your blood sugar drops rapidly and it’s like you become a different person. I had it for a while off and on thru-out my life and even my handwriting changes. That’s when I become suicidal the most. Then there’s hyperglycemia…which is the opposite, and I’ve never had it so I can’t tell you much about how it feels but I imagine it’s no party either. If you have either, the doctor told me…it means you probably will be diabetic one day…but my day has not come yet…thank the good Lord!!! You always getting your grubby little hands on chocolate donettes and milk, oh yeah…and talk about sour, I got some chocolate milk once and needed a fix real bad so I just raise the carton and took a long swig and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was so sour, I almost lost my cookies on the spot! I looked at the sell date and it was three weeks past it. Then I almost lost them again!!! I have never bought chocolate milk in the little carton in a service station since that time, and I’m not kidding. I hope you don’t mind if I call you Aaron…but Aaron, when you are in a hypoglycemia stage you crave sugar and you have to watch your carbohydrates…which is starch that turns to sugar in your body…bad news. Once when my kids were small, and everyone was in bed asleep, I got up and sat at the kitchen table with a knife for hours, contemplating the best way to slit my wrist where it would hurt less and bleed out the fastest. But I stopped to think my parents and my children and everyone I love might think it was their fault. And get this…I JUST COULDN’T LIVE WITH THAT! So being the chicken I am, I backed out again! Aaron, this is getting kinda long and I’m not gonna go into every time I contemplated suicide but there was another and this was kinda funny cause about a week later my twin sister actually went thru with it and ended up in the emergency room being treated by the doctor I worked for. Then she came home with my husband and I, because we had gone to the hospital to get her because they called us cause we were listed as next of kin. She spent the night with us and the doctor said to give her something to help her go to the bathroom to get the drugs out of her system so I gave her some Exlax (2) and she said hmmmm, since she liked them and the doctor said she needed to get the drugs out of her system, I gave her 3 more squares. Then I went to bed. The next morning, she told me she slept in the bathtub. I love my sister. She lived.

  2. I consider suicide the most selfish thing a person could do. I’ve known two people who killed themselves. One had everything – good looks, talent, a beautiful wife and baby, plenty of money – but he deliberately killed himself. The other person wasn’t a close friend, but he left behind a wife and children. I don’t get it.

    I’m not belittling your struggles with suicidal thoughts because I love you and I’ve never had them so I can’t “discuss” on that level. But people who deliberately end their life – I just don’t get it.

    I suppose there might be circumstances where I’d consider it, but they’d have to be pretty dire and I’d have to be another person.

    Okay and all that said? I’m looking forward to reading The Suicide King.

    Sending hugs!!!

  3. Oh, Kaye, life is funny. And over way too quick, though some days feel like an eternity. Yes, eating is critical to good mental health! Fruits, vegetables and hush puppies!

  4. Christine Ashworth! I am so glad there are people out there who have never thought of suicide. It gives me hope. We all have such different life experiences, and we have such different chemical makeups, that it’s not surprising we all handle reality so differently. I had to learn how to live. I just did. And I haven’t been seriously dark for a long, long time.

    I don’t feel belittled at all! I feel hopeful!


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