I will let the title act as a trigger warning. Today’s post will be frank and a bit heavy. Proceed with caution.
I am not sure the age I was when suicide first entered my brain. At least before I was raped by my stepfather, I had no concept of it. I distinctly remember thinking the lyrics of “Seven Spanish Angels” were such that “the rifles fired again” was her own rifle, not suicide by enemy. That was pre rape. I also remember my most major attempt at suicide. I was fifteen. The day after my first PIV sex. It was consensual. I met him that night. We fucked in the van for troubled teens who live at a ranch to modify their behavior. He was a “troubled teen.” I swallowed two bottles of pills the next day.
It was in front of my friends which is essentially the same as calling my parents myself. Never mind if I really wanted to die, or if I just wanted the attention. I literally took two bottles of pills having no idea what they are, hoping they would somehow break me.
But that wasn’t the first time I thought about it. I know I started cutting at least a year or so before. I remember a few times holding the knife precariously at my wrist vein. I remember dragging a sharp rock across making tiny cuts into bigger cuts until I was too scared to continue. I remember lying to my parents that I fell on some rocks that caused the scratches. So it wasn’t the first time.
Nor the last. Jarreg could tell you better about the time on the bridge. He held me back. Who knows if I would have jumped if he wasn’t there. Something always seemed to hold me back. Fear. Friends. Something.
But that’s not what I want to talk about.
“I think many people kill themselves simply to stop the debate about whether they will or they won’t ”
Susanna Kaysen in Girl Interrupted
I was college age when I read the above quote and book. Fuck, did it hit home. I knew this debate well. I played the cat and mouse game practically my whole life. With out knowing the words every action seemed to be centered around a crucial question: Will I manage it this time? Will I fall, jump, shoot, swallow, cut? Will I die?
I call it a game. The sides of me competing make it seem like a game at times. Especially when the sides stand so much to lose. Every telephone pole on every road becomes a question, an option. “If I could just turn this wheel.” And the images start. Crumpled metal. Sounds. Tears. Phone calls. Gurneys. Death.
Then my husband. My kids. Who will pick them up from school today? Will they have to wait. They never have to wait. They won’t understand why I am not there. Will someone call Jarreg to get them? Will he have to leave work? How will bills get paid then? Silly thing. Worrying about who will pick the kids up and how bills will get paid if I drive into a pole. Silly, tiny piece of doubt that keeps my wheel straight and me alive.
Obviously, I haven’t killed myself yet but sometimes the “yet” is what breaks me. Knowing suicide is always there, an option, a crutch, a perpetual dare makes me want it over. Makes me want to die just to end the part of myself that wants to die.
Is that meta?
Sometimes suicide is my friend. Kind of ashamed to admit that knowing suicide is always an option, keeps me in control of my destiny. I know how petty and selfish it is. You don’t have to tell me that sitting in the bathroom with a knife while kids laugh and play isn’t selfish. I know.
I have never been able to imagine properly people who don’t share this dance with me. I know they exist. I just don’t know how. How is it not a question for them as well? Do they just not know that suicide is always an option for them too? How can I forget it is an option for me? Something I am still trying to figure out. I guess, when I do, the debate will finally be over.