A queer and homeless acquaintance posted a suicide note on FB tonight.
He was an activist and friends were able to mobilize and locate him. He is now checked into the hospital.
But I just saw him last night at Free & Queer film night. He sat beside me and laughed and blew bubbles as we watched Saved!
I knew he was struggling, but I had no idea how much.
And I’ve been there. Staring down the barrel (as it were – I never had access to a firearm).
I’ve sat in a bathtub with a kitchen knife in my hand, sobbing.
I’ve walked beside the railroad tracks, wondering what it would feel like to sit down between them and never get up again.
I’ve swallowed too many of the wrong kind of pain pills and checked myself into the hospital.
I did a QPR training in graduate school (https://www.qprinstitute.com/) and the statistics were startling. Much higher than I ever would have anticipated.
We end up thinking we’re alone.
But how many thousands of people feel this way every year? And how many don’t leave notes so their friends can’t stop them?
I know I didn’t.
And I know I can’t blame myself for not seeing because I know how hard I worked to hide it.
But I just keep thinking that there must be a better way to help people.
I don’t know what it is or might be.
But I know that suicide hotlines always felt like a joke. I tried calling one once and just ended up hanging up because I didn’t know how to explain myself and decided I didn’t have the energy for a debate about my choices.
My sister came to stay with me the week after I got out of the hospital. The look in her eyes when she told me she didn’t know what she’d do without me and asking me to promise not to try again… for at least the next six months my love for her was a large part of what kept me going. Kept me trying even when I still didn’t want to.
What about people who don’t have that kind of bond?
The stigma around suicide keeps us from discussing it in any real way. Keeps survivors from admitting to their pasts.
In a broken system where there doesn’t seem to be a way to win… when struggling with depression… there has to be a better way to help.
I just feel so lost right now.