Monday, April 24, 2017

Suicide, Selfishness and Social Media

The news of Aaron Hernandez's death reached me on Wednesday afternoon.

For those of you who do not follow football in any way, Hernandez was a professional football player.  He was also a convicted murderer serving a life sentence without parole for 1st Degree Murder.  Aaron Hernandez was a handsome and talented young man with opportunities.  He had the opportunity to get a good education, to make lots of money, and to make good choices. He did not choose to be a good person.  He chose to hurt, and in some cases kill, others. I can't say what kind of spouse or parent he was.  Maybe in spite of his criminal convictions, he was a loving husband and a good father.  On April 19th, he was found dead in his cell, having committed suicide by hanging himself.

Some say that the tragedy isn't his death but the way he lived his life.  His death has also been called selfish, righteous, and "karmic".

The "jokes" regarding his sad passing followed only a few hours later. I'm feeling many of the things I felt when Robin Williams died. But it goes so much deeper than that now.  Now, not only am I saddened and angered by the thing I see posted but I'm heartbroken.

I lost someone I loved very much in the last year.  She died by suicide.  It's been 328 days and I've thought of her every single day.  I didn't speak at her funeral.  I could have, but I was too busy trying to wake up from the nightmare I thought I was having.  I haven't talked about it publicly or written about her in an open forum in the 10 months and 24 days since the day she died because I just can't.  I'm not ready to really talk about her.  Not yet.

What I can tell you is that I didn't gasp with delight when I got the message that she died. There is nothing giggle-worthy about the sight of her mother's tears.  My sides do not ache from laughter at night when I'm asking myself "what if" and "why". I don't share side-splitting stories about her funeral, the hilarious eulogy her mother gave, and the delightful sight of her grief-stricken teenage friends. I don't guffaw at the fact that I have known the pain of depression and considered suicide in the past.

Nothing about her death has been funny.  I am not a stranger to the death of loved ones or the grief that follows.  This, however, has be unlike any grief that I have ever known in my life and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Which is why the "jokes" about Aaron Hernandez bothered me so much.  Suicide isn't funny. There's nothing funny about it, especially to those of us who are suicide survivors, who struggle with self-harm, and those of us who have lost someone to suicide.

Thank goodness for the people who try though.  The people who try to explain to people who have been so untouched by depression and suicide that they can joke about it and when confronted can say, "They chose to be selfish and make that decision".

Selfish.

I keep hearing that suicide is the most selfish decision a person can make.

This week I learned that it isn't.  Because if you tell someone that the joke they shared about a celebrity suicide bothered you, they'll tell you that if you don't like it you don't have to read it and they can post it because of the 1st Amendment.

No one is arguing rights.  It's about compassion and empathy.  It's about being a decent human being.  Somehow, claiming 1st Amendment rights in the face of grief, sadness and tragedy seems a lot more selfish than suicide does.

















Friday, March 31, 2017

I Hate Everything Right Now

I hate everything right now.

Picasso had a "blue period" and I hate him a little for only feeling "blue". I, however, have been obsessed with the idea of painting everything from the walls to my waterline the same dark, inky black I feel swirling inside of me.

Rolling Stones' "Paint it Black" is my anthem right now. And I hate it along with everything else I hate so much right now.

All I want to wear is black.  I don't have any strong feelings about what I want to eat and when I do it doesn't matter because everything tastes fucking blase.  I want to curl up in my bed and just lay there until I feel better about life, but I don't want to be stuck at home in my house. My job has been easy lately, but I want to call in every morning. I have work I have to do around my house and I walk past it every day because I don't want to do it.  Every day doesn't just suck, it suuuuuuuuuuuuuucks and drags it's ass doing it; My days are so long that each one feels like an entire shitty week to itself. 

I want to be held and cuddled and cherished.  I want someone to look at me like a snack cake. I want to be wanted. I want someone to be madly in love with me.  And I want everyone to leave me the fuck alone.  I want to eat all the things and the thought of eating makes me nauseous. I want to go out for dinners and coffee with friends, and I want to delete all of their numbers from my phone and deactivate my Facebook - anything to avoid commenting what I really think on their next infuriating Vaguebook status. I want to do everything and nothing and I want both "everything" and "nothing" to fuck off.

The worst part?  The truth is that most things are moving along just fine in my world. There are things I could be doing better. There are things I would like to be different. But, those things are always there. There's a dark, angry undertone to everything I feel right now that I'm struggling to understand. What people see is someone who complains and is angry all the time, but what they're seeing is a mere fraction of the black, bubbling angry magma that is inside of me right now that I keep shoving down to keep from spewing all over everyone.

I've been blaming my Seasonal Depression.  My depression traditionally makes itself known through sadness, tears, thoughts of self-harm, general malaise, and a need to sleep for 10-16 hours a night. This is a different monster.  I feel like someone should slap a Mr. Yuck sticker on my forehead because I'm toxic to other people right now.

Other People.

Sometimes when I sit down to write, what comes out is a stream of thoughts without a designated structure, style or plan. Some days, my writing is it's own animal. Some days, my writing is a trail that leads me down a winding path of thoughts and emotions until I reach the true point.

What is different about this year's bout of Seasonal Depression is that so much of what I'm thinking and feeling has to do with other people. It's one thing to be unhappy and hate yourself, it's another to just be upset at everyone and everything and I had to ask myself why. The toxic bubbling inside of me that has risen past my throat and is pushing against the inside of my lips is of my own creation.

I haven't been honest with people when they've done things that bothered or hurt me.  I've let people talk down to me. I've let people be abusive and disrespectful towards me. I've accepted "less" from people... less than their best, less than what I deserve, and less than what I want. I'm confused as to whether I'm more upset that I let them treat me that way or that they thought it was ok. 

I've been holding on to things that I should have let go a long time ago.  I believe in forgiveness because it's good for the soul to forgive.  I spent years trying to understand acceptance and learning how.  Letting go, forgiving, accepting... they're exercises that need to be done regularly and I feel as though I've been failing because it's become so hard to do these things. 

I'm irritated because I let myself become a victim to another person's struggles with substance abuse and mental illness. They're now doing "better" and I'm still cleaning up the mess their illness stirred in me. I'm struggling with being expected to be "supportive" and "happy" for them when their recovery has brought out a person who is completely different than the person I knew and loved.  They take pride in the new version of themselves, I see someone who is sober but selfish, less kind, less loving, and arrogant. I see someone who made great progress and change, but instead of choosing to help and enlighten others to what they've learned has decided that their new "enlightenment" is a pedestal to judge others from and somehow I find that someone who came from ignorance should be less quick to judge someone else for being in the same position. Then I hate myself for being judgemental.

I'm angry because there have been so many times this year where I offered my help to someone who just wanted to feel sorry for themselves. It's frustrating to me when I try to help or offer a solution to someone and they are so hell-bent on being mad that something went wrong that they take it out on me instead of working with me to make it right.  I'm angry that I didn't walk away from people who just want to be verbally abusive instead of being helped.

I'm bitter because there were times when I offered to do something simple for someone and had them turn it into a convoluted waste of my time, and I still did it because I offered in the first place and didn't want to back out after saying I would help.

I haven't just said "no".  I haven't been taking time to do things at my own pace. I haven't been acknowledging my need as an introvert to be alone. I haven't been doing any of the hobbies or things I do to occupy my time that bring me joy.  I haven't been taking care of myself in ways that make me feel good. I haven't been taking the time to do the things I have to do, choosing instead to be "fun" instead of responsible, and I can no longer ignore the laundry list of things I have to take care of.

I'm so mad at myself right now because I let all of these things build up inside me and I'm left feeling like I need a detox.  I feel like I try so hard to do good and be good and have good things in my life.  My energy, time, things, money and love.... all these things I try to share with people generously because I know that I am so fortunate and so blessed to have an abundance.  

And now I'm burned out. 

I've had some symptom of illness for the last 20 days. It started with a head cold that took my voice.  Then bronchitis that left me coughing so hard I peed myself. Then the stomach flu followed by chronic diarrhea followed by another round of the flu. 

It's been really fun at my house. I've been humbled by this bout of illness in ways I've never been before. The one thing that has really struck me though is the way that it just keeps happening and at some point I have to stop and consider the fact that it doesn't matter how much I sanitize things if I'm sick inside.  

I'm a really sick girl.

There's a list of things wrong with me.  It seems I have the passive-aggressive flu.  My introvert has been hyper-extended.  I've got chronic Facebook fatigue, emotional constipation and asthenopia (caused by too much eye-rolling). 

I haven't been taking care of myself emotionally, psychologically or physically and I'm paying for it.   By letting things build up, by not standing up for myself, by not forgiving and letting go... I've let negativity make me sick inside.  I haven't been exercising my mind or my body in the ways I need to in order to be healthy and sane.  I haven't been doing the things I need to do to feel like myself and it's taking a toll.  I haven't been taking care of myself and as a result, my body is forcing me to. 

I guess the first step is realizing the problem.