FEBRUARy 1, 2020
What does being suicidal mean to you? And if a person does what may seem unthinkable to many and attempts to follow through by acting on those darkest of feelings, but is physically prevented from doing so in that very moment, yet the overwhelming hopelessness that drove them to such a point persists, what comes next? Think about that. Really think it through. Do you imagine someone continually and unrelentingly attempting to take their own life 24/7 without pause, such that the sole way to prevent self-inflicted harm or death is to have said person taken by law enforcement to a hospital and physically restrained in a straightjacket during an involuntary psychiatric hold or 5150? No, I know no such thing. That has not been the case for me. Nothing is black and white, this or that, clear cut in any manner whatsoever — not even when you are living it. Which I know. Because I am. And only wish to speak from personal experience.
I don’t want to take my life right this very second. And haven’t felt as such today. But that neither means I am “over it,” having found some miraculous and wholly fictitious stroke of divine magic that instantaneously heals a traumatized body and brain, nor means that suicidal thoughts, tendencies and actions or the responses that such imminent threats necessitate are consuming my entire waking existence. This is hard. This is messy. And yes, this is serious — and is being handled as such. Doctors have been involved, as have emergency calls and police officers, which I cannot believe is my reality, nor that I am putting those words to paper.
All of this is incredibly alarming. Unfathomably worrisome. Frightful beyond comprehension. And tragically real. When I don’t know how I feel or how to feel, what to make of complexity or anything at all, where I go from here or even can go, lacking any remote sense of that which comes next on a single front… I write. Like now. Like at many challenging times throughout my life. Like for most of the past five months since my accident. Like throughout the horrific moments this week. And I have never felt anything as grave as these past few days; I've also never shared as vulnerably in my life — personal truths without filter as it flows unedited and uncensored from my fingers.
But I am still me — breathing, eating, puttering about, seeing the sunshine, speaking coherently, brushing my teeth, changing clothes, listening to books, preparing meals, walking to the car, going to appointments, smiling even, laughing sometimes. It’s not all acutely dangerous, though is dire all the same. I haven't been alone in days, surrounded by my mother and a friend who answered a call in the middle of the night and has not left since, two earthly embodiments of angelic forces I do not deserve — like every. single. human. who has reached out to me. I have been largely away from my phone and computer, though at select moments have seen messages from YOU — my family, best of friends, greater community, ancient acquaintances, even total strangers across so many platforms. I've read words that lifted my spirits and rattled me to my core, heard voices that brought me back from the brink, saw faces that remind me of brighter days, caught a comment that resonated with shocking intimacy. I've been primarily and rightfully focused on my health, security, safety and survival, but from even the tiny fraction that I have read to date, am abundantly grateful for the outpouring of a depth and range of love I didn’t think was possible, let alone existed, let alone could be articulated, let alone could be channeled in my direction — through language, prayer, voice, thoughts, energy, anything, all the things.
I don’t write at every second of every day. It is never my intention to capture everything, nor would that even be impossible. Life is a bewildering, unexplainable, infuriating combination of light and dark, terrific and treacherous, heavenly and hideous, amazement and abomination, extraordinary and ordinary, fascinating and fucking awful and the full spectrum. Of late, to the greatest degree since my accident, I have been seeing, feeling and experiencing more of the positive, which makes the negative that much more devastating. When anything good used to happen, that was a rarity. Now, the littlest wins are not always noteworthy, but the spikes in agony or prolonged despair are utterly dreadful, highly distressing and potentially destructive. I am sad and scared — and can only guess how concerned and afraid those around me have been and remain. I know full well that I merit and require holistic, communal, spiritual and professional help — and cannot, nor am not going this alone.
There is nothing enjoyable about facing unbearable pain and hardship, about grappling with the most unimaginably terrifying of situations, about finding oneself perilously close to an edge that seems entirely foreign to the mind-body-soul I recognize as my own. But she is me and I am her. I know not what yesterday’s, today’s or forthcoming realities, surprises, triggers, doctors’ appointments, treatments, test results, medications, tinctures and integrative approaches to healing will achieve individually or collectively, but I do know that the potent prayer, good wishes, profound wisdom and boundless love, as well as voicemails, texts, WhatsApps, DMs, comments, photos, memes, emojis and more that have been generously sent my way (all still in need of reply) certainly cannot hurt and only offer opportunities for hope. With the harshest of pain managed presently, currently free from asphyxiating panic attacks, as the light of daytime still surrounds me, benefiting from the graces of people and forces I have known a lifetime and those I may never know specifically, though appreciate all the same, I am putting every iota of whatever I can muster into focusing on, shining light upon, working diligently for and finding my way to the Erin I trust, believe in and cherish. I hurt immeasurably, unabatingly and ferociously, but I make that promise to myself, to my mother, to my blessed circles, to the universe — and pray to be able to stay true to that earnest desire. Oh how I pray.