S is for... Suicide
S is for... Suicide.
Let me paint the picture. I just typed in everything before the first sentence in this paragraph. What did I do next? I'll tell you. I sat back a bit in my chair, crossed my arms and I thought. I contemplated. I pondered. I started to wonder how I would tackle this topic. I'm sat here in my office, at my house. Yes, I have an office - fuck off. I feel pretty calm, the prospect of writing about this doesn't scare me. WHAT I can write, THAT scares me. Not only can I write something... I can write ANYTHING. So like I say - it's more about the possibilities of what I can write rather than the process of writing that scares me. It scares me because I believe everything contributes to everything. Something I do here, can potentially greatly impact on someone else's life. Someone I've never even met, someone who has no idea of me, can potentially have their life changed forever by the choices and decisions that I make. That might seem a little bit extreme, but I think it's true. I mean shit, it could greatly impact someone I do know - and that is arguably even scarier.
The other hard thing to deal with - is the fact that everything that can be interpreted can be misinterpreted. So even if I have good intentions, what I write here can be misinterpreted. And the consequences of that could be fatal. It's doesn't necessarily mean I'm responsible. I'm not in control of other people's conscience. But I can influence it, we all can and we all do influence each other, and I think it would be foolish for people to think that we aren't all contributing to culture and the social conscience. The main trick is to remember actions speak louder than words (that's another fucking stupid phrase by the way - but it helps prove a point here). The population of the planet has grown massively over time. As humans we are generally shit at written and/or verbal communication. Take this beautifully constructed blog for example - distinctly average in terms of the quality of English I'm writing. Probably getting an F for this in English class. Too much swearing. Eeep! Suck my balls! Didn't want to waste that opportunity.
Physical communication however, body language, yeah we are pretty good at that. Whether we realise it or not. I mean, you are alive, so whether you like it or not, you are communicating with your body - ALL OF THE TIME - consciously or otherwise. Therefore, as a general rule you can safely surmise that most of us think suicide is a bad idea.
I want to write about suicide because it's a massive 'S'. Like, it's one of the biggest S's I can write about. Now that I am fully immersed in this 'S is for Something' habit, the more days that go by, the more this 'S' comes to the forefront of my mind. Because the topical content is so fucking heavy. I think it's important to address it. For everyone's sake, including mine.
Back to the point, I sat back and started to think. I started to reconnect again with my conscience. I guess, instinctively that's something that I've trained myself to do over the years. Because in my experience, all 33 years of it, the conscience, my conscience has been the thing that has helped me the most; as long as I've had the tools, skills and knowledge to deal with whatever it is I'm struggling with. It helps me to create a plan.
But it's not always been like that. Dun dun dunnnnnnnnn. When I was about 12/13, I really closely considered suicide. At 12/13 years old. There were a couple of occasions in particular that sit in my mind. One, I wanted to strangle myself with my mobile phone charger, and the other I wanted to strangle myself with the light cord in the bathroom. Clearly I didn't succeed, because I'm here writing this. But on both occasions I had the cord around my neck. Succeed isn't a great word to use there - I'd rather try to associate succeed with something positive - but since I've used it I'll address it. Sometimes when you set out to succeed in something you realise, maybe even just as you are doing it, that you don't actually want to succeed in it. I think it depends on how you are wired at that particular time in your life and how you best learn at that time in your life. So in retrospect, what you think you wanted to succeed in was actually something that you never wanted to succeed in in the first place. So what you really want could even be the exact opposite of what you think you want. The key is to think before you act. Take your time, get it clear in your mind and then act. Overtime, you'll get better at it and eventually it becomes second nature, and you can do both thinking and acting at the same time. But it isn't easy. It's not automatic. The mind is a blank canvas and you have to learn how to use it. You have to train it.
I have no idea exactly where I would have got the knowledge of strangling myself from as a method to kill myself. I mean, I used to watch a lot of films and play a fair amount of computer games as a kid, but I'm not going to pin the blame on the films or computer games, or my parents buying me these things when I was 'too young' for them. I mean, pick up a newspaper or just turn on the news - it's 24/7 now. You'll soon find some really intense and heavy topic that you have to try and process and make sense of. So I feel for kids these days. There is a lot of shit going on in the world. And unlike when I was 12/13, it's more in your face now than ever before. But I feel for adults too. Because it's not just about being 'old' or 'young' it's about being skilled and experienced. That is where you find the tools and confidence to cope and deal with situations. I mean, truth is, the world is probably at the most peaceful it's ever been. But it doesn't seem like that because of all the shit that you have pumped in your face every day. There is always an element of semblance about what is going on. Look it up, another great S word.
So, why didn't I do it? Well somehow, I had the tools, self-awareness, skills and knowledge to choose otherwise. I remember thinking about my family and how they would maybe feel if I had done it. They would feel sad. I did't believe any of them would have wanted me to do it. Even though at times, family can be pretty mean to each other. I knew they loved me and I was able to process that as a kid. I decided it would have been a selfish act on my part if I had done it. It's a long time ago now, so clearly I don't know exactly what went through my head - but I'm pretty confident it was along those lines. Basically I had to get over my self. Not myself. But my self.
Why did I want to do it? Well I fucking hated my life. I hated my reality. Maybe not in it's entirety, but enough that I had got sick to death of it. One key factor that I often replayed in my head, but one that I now have developed the ability to counter is this. When it comes to life - human life - 1 plus 1 can equal 3. So when the 1 and 1 that made the 3 aren't together anymore you question whether or not the 1 and 1 should ever have been together in the first place. If you haven't figured it out, I'm talking about my parents divorce. Then the spiral begins as you question - EVERYTHING! But largely your existence. That's where you develop your care free, fuck it attitude. If you didn't have that you wouldn't be able to counter the '1 plus 1 equals 3 and that's the way it should be' perspective. And believe me, it's out there in the world - and gets put to you on the daily basis. Marriage, babies, couples, religion. It's all a bit heavy, and it doesn't help when you are trying to justify your existence.
I know of a few people that have committed suicide. But I'm not going to write about that. It's not my place to. The point is when it comes to suicide and mental health, and there is a lot of talk about it these days, in my opinion it's ok to want to talk about it, but in my opinion it's equally ok to not want to talk about it. And it's usually at that point where you can gauge whether or not someone is struggling. Based on how they respond to wanting to talk about something or not. Me, I make a point of trying to be prepared to talk about anything, any time, any place, with any one. Shit, if you want I could even write and perform a song, play or film about it. I'm probably a bit over-prepared. But given the choice - no suicide is not a topic that I'm desperate to talk about on the daily. I'm very wary that doing so would arguably glamorise the topic. It's not something I care to glamorise. Would I rather glamorise or deglamorise it. Deglamorise it. So yeah, as a general rule - suicide - equals not good. Read more on that a little later.
For what it's worth - the whole - 'it's ok not to be ok thing'. I don't really dig that either. I think we have enough of a struggle as it is these days with labels and people not wanting people to refer to things as this and that. How can not being ok be ok? In terms of definition it simply doesn't make any sense. You can sit on the fence, by all means, feel indifferent. But let's not kid ourselves - not being ok, is not ok. 'It's ok to not be ok' is like reverse psychology, I get it. It's reassuring when someone tells you it's ok to not be ok. But lets try applying some straight forward psychology for a change. I bet you we have better results. And don't lie, 'don't say everything is going to be ok'. Because you don't fucking know that - if you are a mind reader go and win the lottery and give me some of the cash. That'll make me feel better. What someone wants is support, tools and a clear strategy to help them get from A to B. THAT is the only time when it's ok to not be ok. When I've got a fucking game plan. A game plan that I understand and know how to execute. Not just empty words that say, oh its ok to not be ok. Fuck off! If you don't have the skills to help someone, then direct them to someone who does OR better yet. Go and get yourself skilled.
But if you aren't ok, what do you do? Well I'll tell you what I've done from my experience. You don't quit, you don't give up. You pursue attainment and achievement. You look to contribute to the betterment of yourself and that of others. You also define ok and accept that you aren't ok. Honesty is absolutely key here. Do not lie to yourself. You are not ok. BUT YOU CAN MAKE A PLAN TO BE OK. It might even be that within your definition of being ok and not being ok you realise that you can never actually attain what you think the true definition of 'being ok' is, OR perhaps better put never attain what is culturally recognised as 'being ok'. See 'culture' and you often have a different perspective on things.
So fucking what?! All of these things are just a state of mind, and that is only ever temporary. That is what people are going on about when they say - learn to enjoy the journey and not the destination. Because, this is the fucking destination, you are on it, it's fucking called planet Earth. You can define your own version of ok. Dare I say it, we all have to do that anyway. Just don't settle if it doesn't sit right with you.
Maybe a better way of looking at it is to recognise it as an element of cognitive dissonance. If you don't know what that means, go and read up on it. One, because like all things, the topic is so massive - so I don't fully understand it. Plus, what does it matter what my interpretation is of it. What's important is your interpretation of it. The fact will be, you look it up, read a bit about it, then you and I will both know about it and then have some common level of understanding afterwards.
Who am I to say all this stuff? Have you not just read what I've written? 20 years. 20 years of experience of learning how to live with this experience. Learning how to weather it. Learning how to cope. Learning how to strive and achieve all at the same time as struggling. That's who I am to say this. It's my opinion. It's my perspective. It's my experience, and I'm sharing it with you. You're welcome.
Obviously I can't categorically say what goes through each persons head that has ever committed suicide. But from my experience I can say, it's about choice. I was lucky enough to be able to make a choice, to have been given an upbringing and an education that allowed me to make the choices I made. The scary bit and that sad bit is that I figure, those that do commit suicide feel like they have no other choice OR that suicide is the 'right' choice. I mean, we can touch on the topic of assisted suicide and euthanasia. But even in those circumstances I'd like to think you can still find hope. Trouble is 'time' or rather existence and reality can be really tough to deal with. The longer something goes on for the harder it can be to deal with. That's why you seek tools and skills to cope and deal with things. I believe for every problem there is a solution. But only if you want there to be. You have to be open-minded about it. Unfortunately, the solution you need may not have been discovered yet. But that's why you just keep searching. If you believe it is there, it is there somewhere. All I know is that it doesn't have to be suicide and you can create the alternative solution that works for you and allows you to live a happy and prosperous life.
Remember, I'm a syncretist, so I entertain the idea of the afterlife. But I'm quite happy living the life I have thanks. I like to gamble, but I don't like the odds of there being something after death. So I won't bet my life on it.
And the other thing I know is, that I was never alone in all of this, and if ever you are struggling neither are you. But the mind is a complex tool and you can get wrapped up in your own thoughts before you even come close to realising you aren't the only one who has to deal with this. Thing is, a lot of other people have a religion that helps them to deal with this. It's not like I reject religion, I just reject choosing 'just one'. We all have to deal with it. Literate or illiterate, you have to deal with this topic. And you are more than welcome to deal with it however you please. EVEN if that means 'not dealing with it'. But this is how I've chosen to address it on this occasion, in this S is for Something blog.
One thing that I've used as motivation over the years is my home town, Wolverhampton. The motto of the city is Out of Darkness Cometh Light. Seeing as I didn't grow up in Wolverhampton from the age of 8 I think I only really became aware of this when I was at Uni. But either way it means a lot to me. Like all things, I think it can be easily misinterpreted. You don't have to actually experience 'darkness', you can just imagine what it would be like and see things from that perspective and how much better 'the light' is in comparison. But to me, it means, through all the shit, there is still good times to be had.
And those that are from Wolverhampton know we are having some good times at the moment! I've just watched Cav make it 2-0 against Bournemouth! WOLVES AY WE!!
As for dealing with me now that you've read this. Well, why should you change just because of what I've expressed here? Maybe it was just me that needed to change. For the record, just going to put it out there, 20 years. I didn't need to do this. I don't think I needed to change. I've been doing pretty well thanks. But I wanted to do it.
I have no doubt, life will feel and be a little bit different now. Be yourself. Carry on.
If any of this post isn't easy to read and follow - well - that makes two of us! Haha!
S is for... Samaritans
IF you want more help, this is where to go. I never have, but I fully support anyone that wants to - why else would I put it on this page?
Call: 116 123 in the UK or ROI
Write: RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA
If you like outside of the UK or ROI
Who doesn't love a good quote?
"People who die by suicide, don't want to end their life, they want to end their pain." - Unknown
Songs to listen to now:
Still Hungry - DJ Format and Abdominal
Hurt - Nine Inch Nails or Johnny Cash
Last Resort - Papa Roach
Paint It, Black - Rolling Stones
Everybody Hurts - R.E.M.
Basket Case - Green Day
Loser - Beck
Rock Bottom - Eminem
Suicidal Thoughts - The Notorious B.I.G.
This Is A Low - Blur
Mad World - Tears For Fears
Pennyroyal Tea - Nirvana
Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd