Suicide seems to be one of the topics of the day, particularly in the world of hockey, my hometown Senators gathered around one of their coaches last year after his daughter took her own life, and this summer Belak’s suicide came soon after the death of Rick Rypien, a player at the beginning of his career.
I am glad to see people talking more about suicide, and Stephanie’s post really struck me because she felt attacked for ‘complaining’ online.
I can honestly say that when I have met Stephanie in person she has been one of the most friendly, happy people. I was so sad to hear that someone had been mean to her like that, because when I make friends on Twitter I want to know how they are honestly doing and how I can help them if they’re having a hard time. If I can say something that makes you feel better, or I can buy you a coffee and brighten up your day, I want to do that.
I also want to clarify some things that came out of the Michael Landsberg post and came up again in Stephanie’s.
When I was 16 years old, in the depths of depression and suicidal, I didn’t talk about it. I didn’t talk about it not because it was embarrassing, but because I assumed no one would care. I assumed, and still sometimes assume, that people don’t really like me, don’t remember me when I’m not around, aren’t actually my friends.
When I was in the depths of depression and suicidal it wasn’t about me. I planned on killing myself because I thought life would then be easier for everyone around me because I would no longer be a burden. I thought that those people who would actually notice I was gone would be relieved not to have to deal with my problems any more.
It was not about my pain being such that I didn’t care about the effect on my family, it was that my vision was clouded and I didn’t understand the pain I might leave behind. It would be an end to my pain and my problems, which caused pain and problems for those around me. Suicide seemed like a solution for me and all the people I loved.
I don’t know what I would say to my 16 year old self, or my 22 year old self that would make them believe that, as Dan Savage says, it does get better. Maybe everything I put myself through all that time taught me to be the person that was strong enough to marry my Joe and have our daughter. The idea that I might never have met her, might never have heard her laugh or call me mommy, or never have hugged her – doesn’t even compute.
Perhaps I could tell my teenage self that everything I put myself through, everything I went through, everything that fucked with my head, was to earn the beautiful life I have now. Yes, I have struggled since then, and yes I will have more struggles in the future I’m sure, but I am here, I am a survivor and I can change the world.