2/22/14 EDIT: I wrote this post several years ago but a lot of people still seem to find it. Around the time I was writing it I was starting to figure out just how little I, and many others, know about mental illness. I’ve been at a few memorials of those who have committed suicide and have heard all these questions asked. Now I’ve felt that way more than once myself and since I have, I could/can give answers. This wasn’t a type of suicide note, it was more like an explanation I guess you’d say. If you got to this page because you’re thinking about suicide I have a few thoughts. First, I hope you’ll find that others can relate to some of how you may be feeling. I know it’s a dark place. I still feel exactly the way I described at times. Second, I’m grateful that a few people who cared about me responded with some words to think about. When I’m in a bad place I don’t always see what they see, but it’s worth looking at. Last, I’m still here. God has a plan for my life, I don’t always remember that. I’ve thought I had my own plan down more than once. But again, I’m still here! And I bet you’re supposed to be here too.
Every time a suicide occurs many people say things like… “Why?” “This is so sad!” “This didn’t need to happen!”, or the best… “What a self centered thing to do!” “How could they do that to their family?” “Don’t they know how their death will affect everyone else?”
All those questions and opinions make complete sense and are logical questions to ask… from someone who has NEVER felt suicidal.
I think many assume that a suicidal person must just be incredibly sad. But it’s not always because they’re just sad or depressed. Sometimes, most times, there’s a lot more involved.
Over 1 million commit suicide worldwide every year. One death every 40 seconds. In the US, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in 25-34yr olds. Rates of suicide are 35% higher than the national average in the state I live, Oregon. Suicide rates for those with Borderline Personality Disorder are 400 times the rate than the rest of the population in the US. And the majority of those with BPD don’t commit suicide the first year after diagnosis. Studies have shown that over 90% of people who die from suicide had a diagnosable mental illness at the time of their death.
I’m going to answer the questions above from my own point of view. The answers obviously differ case by case, but I’ll go out on a limb and bet that there are many similarities. If you have been suicidal, please feel free to add your own answers below. The more points of view we have, the better.
MY SHORT ANSWERS:
“Why?” There isn’t any other option. Suicide is the only way to take care of not only my problems, but all the problems I’ve caused for everyone else.
“This is so sad!” “This didn’t need to happen!” Yes, it is sad for those left behind. And yes, it probably didn’t need to happen.
“What a self centered thing to do!” Many times I have felt very self centered and guilty for NOT killing myself, knowing that if I did, my family could move on to a better life.
“How could they do that to their family?” I know it would be difficult for my family, but less difficult than dealing with a wife and mother who isn’t really “alive” anyhow? Whose instability is a source of constant drama? I can’t honestly say that I know which I believe is worse.
“Don’t they know how their death will affect everyone else?” Maybe this is a question “they” should have asked awhile ago. By the time it gets to the point of suicide there aren’t very many “everyone else”s to consider. I do think it would be difficult in the beginning, but people move on. I’m no longer the person who “everyone else” knew anyhow.
I look at the statistics and am not at all shocked or surprised. 90% who die by suicide had a mental illness. Mental illness is such a taboo subject. And very misunderstood. Because it’s hard to understand, hard to accept, hard to deal with… most don’t try to understand, try to accept or try to deal with it. Which leaves many with a mental illness to fend with very little to no support.
Just this week I realized why most people with BPD who commit suicide wait to make the decision for at least a year. In the very beginning it was a shock, and difficult, to find that 3/4 of who I thought I could count on weren’t there. But was also surprised that others who I would never have guessed… WERE there. I got random text messages that just said “I’m praying for you” or “love you!”. The simple comments on facebook, or emails. Those made a difference. It didn’t matter to me if people asked questions or chose to get more involved. It just mattered that they CARED and took the time to tell me. Sometimes one of those things will still happen. Some of those people are still here. But the majority have forgotten, moved on, grew tired… and It’s not fair to spread a burden like me between so few people.
After awhile the shock of the situation has worn off. The hope that I would wake up and even if it was slowly, start getting better, like in a few months… not years, also wore off. I look at my family and see my husband with a pretty badly broken hand who is beyond worn out. He tries to understand. He wants to be there to comfort me, to “fix” me. But he can’t. And he knows he can’t. I look at Julianna, who checks on me sometimes every 5-10 minutes because she doesn’t know what to expect anymore. She wants her mom back. She wants me to play with her, do her hair, just get out of bed sometimes… I look at Bella who at only 3 years old asks me every day if I have to do to the Dr. And for how long. She tells me about her nightmares when I’m in the hospital. I look at the friends who have stuck through it through thick and thin… they know who they are… and know that some are frustrated. Some are weary. ALL are tired. Because of me.
And that’s when it really sinks in. I’m trying to get better. But it’s not enough. I don’t understand what’s going on with me and neither does anyone else. I’m slowly learning how to DEAL with it all the best way I can, but it not ENOUGH. I’m not now, and have no promise of EVER being what many people expect me to be, and others just hope for. Regardless… I’m constantly letting someone down.
Its been almost a year now and I get it. Where is that point where enough is enough? When you realize that you’ve already done enough damage to last a lifetime? When you look around at a room that used to be full of people all the time… but is now empty. And it’s not just the room that feels empty, Its ME that’s empty.
I think times just like THIS is when many make the decision to to die… they wait for awhile. Because for awhile, you can borrow other people’s hope. But borrowing also lasts so long, as does the person you’re borrowing from.
This isn’t a life I would choose. Not for my family.
And THAT is why I have considered suicide.
I’m falling asleep, it’s after 5am. I’m hoping this makes a little bit of sense. If not, I can edit it tomorrow.
For those of you who told me, showed me you cared. Thank you. Just the simple stuff meant JUST as much to me to as the rest. Thank you for giving of your self. Even when it sucked.
I only have one eye open, literally. Goodnight/mornin
PS: So it’s now the following day, and I’m awake. Had I been more awake last night I definitely wouldn’t have been so honest. But I don’t necessarily regret it. There are a few notes though that I want to add.
#1 It’s been brought to my attention that when I talk about others not understanding what its like to have BPD, what I intend to say and what many hear might be different. I don’t want those who haven’t experienced a mental illness to feel like I expect them to understand. The LAST thing I want to portray is that I feel that what I’m going through is somehow worse, or less important than other illnesses. Mental illnesses in particular. And I hate even TYPING this… I do NOT want people to “feel sorry” for me. UGH! I want people to care. But NEVER pity. I don’t EVER ask why this is happening to me. (not that I feel that it’s wrong to question) There is a reason even though I don’t see it yet. Why NOT me?
I’m sorry if I came across that way and you felt that I was downplaying your feelings and the importance of your experiences. Or if you felt that I was telling you that you didn’t have permission to understand or feel the way you feel. That’s definitely not my intent and will try to be more careful in how I word my thoughts in the future!
#2 This wasn’t meant to be a guilt trip. For the most part. :) If you’ve sent me a message, text, call… I don’t care if it just was to say “I care”. That was enough. It did hurt when people who I thought were good friends disappeared. No phone calls, no texts, no emails… It was as if I had never existed. That’s over, I’ve moved on. (ok, it still hurts but I’m trying to move on and don’t have any further expectations) My point in bringing it up was to say that in the future when dealing with a friend who may be suicidal, even those small gestures could make a huge difference. You don’t have to throw yourself into the middle of the situation, especially if it’s something that would be overwhelming and not good for you or your family. But maybe consider just saying that you care. And maybe that will be enough for your friend too.