As I prepare to write my memoir, the more significant circumstances I’ve felt have come to the surface and this is one of them. I’ve kept my mouth shut for years, but recent happenings have forced the sharing of this story.
Suicide is an interesting topic. I’ll never forget when Robin Williams committed suicide. I was in a meeting in Southern Marin while it was happening with a Sheriffs officer who got clearance and notified the group. I was devastated. He was an actor who I loved and played Patch Adams, one of my lifelong idols (yes Patch Adams is an actual person). The hardest part was when people started posting about how selfish he was for committing suicide.
Suicide is not and never has been a selfish act. While I don’t remember word for word, I made a significant post after his death speaking to the inner turmoil of constantly having to show up and entertain others. It’s hard, tragic, and at times unbearable. As soon as you feel that you are faltering in your “expertise” all else seems lost. If you can’t show up 100% life starts losing its value. If what defines you is somehow a struggle than what else is there?
I know this feeling. I know this story. What does it feel like to be “suicidal?” It doesn’t matter how many friends or how well liked you are. It doesn’t matter how successful or privileged you are. Severe depression or the like that causes suicidal thoughts is detrimental to your existence. I hold this confident, powerful, and strong female identity which in fact takes away from my real feelings and pain.
So what does it look like? There is no clear definition. Ask my friends, not many of them would have thought I was in a bad situation the last few months. So what did severe depression look like? Well it looked like me. While I was social, out and about, and engaging, I was severely suffering inside. I planned and listed what it would look like if I killed myself. I mentally had the list of steps necessary in my mind. I woke up every day wishing I didn’t. When I did wake up I was in a level of inner turmoil that destroyed my appetite and my serenity in general…and no one knew. This is where things get dangerous. Those of us who are in dire circumstances are told we are crazy, off the wall, unlovable and the like...so why seek help?
At age 31 people see me as this confident and successful business owner but on the inside I struggle with the perpetual feelings of inadequacy and pain. It mostly has to do with my life course, but it persists. The feeling of never being enough, the feeling of being surrounded by people but having no one to talk to. This was my life for months. The inner turmoil is tangible to me, but I couldn’t dare say anything or share. After all I’m me and have an identity to uphold.
In my mind there were events that led up to my demise, but in hindsight none of those rationalizations actually mattered, the inner turmoil would have shown up eventually. I don’t think people who have never experienced the severe depression or the like that leads to suicidal thoughts understand. Those are who say it is selfish. Me not knowing how to live was never selfish. All I have ever wanted my entire life was to be normal and the inner turmoil of understanding I never will be is awful at times. I don’t know how to communicate, co-habitate, or trust people. Most of what I do is live for others, but there is little return.
It wasn’t until I had a totally unexpected channeling experience with someone who lost her life well before her years that I was pulled out of my situation. I didn’t actually know her personally but in that moment the conversation had to happen as much as I tried to fight it. In the moment I was hysterical, because I wasn’t expecting to be pulled into a different realm in that moment, but it shook me back to reality. For that I am forever grateful.
I feel like I’m trying to explain the unexplainable, but I feel like it is such an important story. I never thought in my 30s I’d be back in this dark place I had experienced in my adolescence. The good news is, I’m recovering, but for so many they won’t. I challenge people to think different through this story. Would you call me selfish?