On Suicide

My earliest memories of being depressed are in the third grade. I remember my teacher taking me aside and asking what was wrong, that I looked so unhappy, like someone had died. I wanted to please her so I said yeah someone was dying. It happened to me a lot over the years that someone would sense something was wrong and offer an explanation and I’d go along because it was easier than trying to admit that nothing was wrong, per se, but I was really upset. I felt like a fraud which just made the depression and loneliness more severe. I remember wishing I’d never been born and wishing I didn’t exist often as a kid and I don’t know when the idea killing myself first came up. I know that by sixth grade I was fully suicidal. I thought about it everyday, I gave things away and wrote wills, cut up my arms with a steak knife, I kept a journal and it was always written as if someone would be reading it soon because I’d killed myself. In grade 7 I was being sent to therapists and put on anti-depressants and it only reinforced the sense that I was being punished for being sad and that I was a burden. By grade 8 a few times I’d taken a handful of pills and washed it down with alcohol, all I got was sick and while my family knew what was happening they chose to ignore it until finally I got so sick I had to go to the hospital. For a little while people saw how serious it was and were able to give me what I needed for a bit but then it just turned into more resentment than before and the suspicion that I wasn’t really suicidal just manipulative.

A couple years later I moved to Calgary and slept in a freezing cold, mice infested basement. I was having breathing problems, anxiety issues, and got kicked out of school. I made a noose out of a guitar cable and most nights I hang it from the rafters and just look at it, sometimes I’d get a chair, stand on it and put my neck through. I’d look at the scene in the mirror and think about how terrifying it would be to hang there, kicking my feet and choking for seven minutes. I got into a new school and while I was actively suicidal anymore I was still depressed very often.

My last serious suicidal phase was a couple years ago. In the apartment I’m in now, I’d go out on the balcony and climb over the railing. It would be one second of air rushing passed then impact. Nobody knows if a jumper feels the impact or not but I’d imagine my chest hitting the ground and caving in, turning to mush. I stand out there until I got cold. I never get over being suicidal, I just push it back. Not tonight becomes not this week then without realizing it I have plans months in advance and suicide is an idea, not an urge, that pops up when I have nothing good to focus on in the near future.

And that’s why I like to have plans and it’s why I’m driven to make music and even to blog because I know what it’s like when someone dies. You want to make a connection with part of them, hear their voice et cetera so I want to leave a lot behind and not be afraid to put myself out there so that what’s left behind is honest.

I don’t feel like a burden anymore, I’m no prince but most people who know me are better off with than without me. And the urge suicidal people have to shock everyone and be remembered forever I’ve turned into artistic ambition as best I can.

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Singer/songwriter, jerk.

Posted in Pragmatism

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