I have to write again. I have too.
While my life has seemingly caught onto some sort of steady pace that leaves me content, if not at times optimistic and joyous. I look around and I can’t help but continually see struggle all around me, especially back in my hometown, where two very good families have gone through some of their own heartbreaking tragedy.
Years ago when I started writing about my own mental health it was to harness my own traps. When it caught on, I gained readers and feedback from all over the place. It made me feel like I was serving a real purpose, and helping, I felt good. As time carries on, I begin to feel like it had become my responsibility to routinely check in with some kind of a post, or conversation. Like it had become my call of duty to help, and connect with others.
Ultimately, I know there is nothing I can do, this illness is so much more complex, and so much greater than the solution being in a story you might read online, and I know that… But there’s a vicious circle that continually thrashes around in my mind.
“Well what if they would have read something I wrote, what if they would have felt some connection, or perhaps a family member, or friend could have and they maybe would have recognized a sign…. what if… what if… “
It’s the question that haunts everyone that has ever gone through losing a loved one the same way we have. What if. The truth is, there probably is no what if. Depression, Bi Polar Disorder and the many other varieties of mental illness have the potential to be so deep, so complex and ultimately the tragic end is all that’s left, there is no what if.
When you lose someone to just about any other disease, it isn’t without a series of medical attention. You lose them when everything else has been exhausted and there is simply nothing more that can be done. This is where suicide is different. As friends, and family members we probably have exhausted everything without knowing, but that’s the terror that haunts your forever… We will never know if we tried everything.
If I wouldn’t have told Jen I was too busy to talk to her a week before, would she be here today? The answer I come up with is still probably not, but there’s that what if… maybe she would have been here for another week or even just a few more days had I not said I was too busy? And damnit, trust me… though the end is ultimately the same, what I wouldn’t’ give for just one more week, one more conversation. Just one. I don’t mean to compare ways of loss to one another as more tragic, or devastating. I just don’t think it’s possible to ever truly come to terms with losing someone to suicide, simply because you just never really get that closure. There’s always that one staggering question left rotting in your mind. What if.
Again it’s as if I have put this unfair expectation of myself to become this mental illness ambassador for those around me. Though this is unrealistic, and impossible and again goes back to the depths of mental illness, especially when the ultimate result is tragedy, but who knows… maybe something could have held on to them for just another few days?
The last several weeks, I have been beating myself up about this, and every day I have this conversation with myself…
“Man, you have to write something”
“Write what, what do I write, I have nothing I can write”
“Just something, it’s your duty, you have too. People might be waiting for something, people might be looking for some help, they might need you”
“But…. right now…. I’m happy. I don’t want to gloat. ”
“You never know who is reading, and who it helps. Just write. Don’t be selfish”
“Ok, I will… I will tomorrow…. What if I don’t….”
Every day. This conversation runs through my head, sometimes over and over. Now, seeing what has happened to some friends and their families, or friends of friends… I can’t help but feel a small bit of my own guilt, like I need to apologize to them in some fashion, which is completely foolish of me.
Chances are… they have never read a thing I have written. When I struggle(ed) with my own depression at it’s darkest times, it was those two life traps that gave me the greatest difficulties. Unrelenting Standards, and Failure. Through extensive therapy sessions, personal activities and a lot of trial and error I eventually learned how to manage these life traps, and harness in a way that is more constructive to me. Part of that is done with this blog, what I didn’t expect was for it to eventually create it’s own life traps for me, which I’m slowly learning about as tragedies around me begin to unfold.
Somehow i’ve put this pressure on myself. I know that there is probably nothing I can say, or nothing I can do that will ever make anything better, or help take someone out from those depths of depression… but, if I can help them hang on and fight just a little bit longer, I will fight to do just that. God knows, I still today, would give anything to just have Jen for one more week, and it will always be what if… It’s the worst question you can ever ask yourself. But, when suicide impacts you. It’s often the only question you will ever ask yourself. What if?
My sympathies to those two families back home. My thoughts are with you every day. Stay strong