Ah, Google. Google is like god: ask and ye shall receive. My oldest daughter wrote a book last year entitled “Searching”, the premise of which was that she typed questions, big and small, mundane and profound, into the ubiquitous search engine and crafted poetry from the most popular results these searches engendered. It’s stunning work; I urge all of you to read it–the author’s name is Meghan Maloney.
What I discovered yesterday was that if you ask Google what the most efficient way to kill yourself is, you will actually find out.
Oh, believe me, all those articles have a disclaimer: “don’t do it! Call a hotline, get a doctor! GET ON MEDICATION!” But keep reading, ’cause once you get past all that bullshit, they’re gonna tell you what’s up. One of these articles actually has a chart that claims to give you success (if you can call it that) rates, estimated time to execute (haha!), the deed, and the amount of “agony” you will suffer in the process. I wonder how they figured THAT out? Obviously, interviewing survivors…but they only have so much information, you know? The people you really want answers from, well, that ship has sailed, so to speak.
I’m not gonna leave you HANGING here (omg see what I did there? So FUNNY!), so yeah, pretty clearly I was looking for information on committing suicide. Now there are many reasons for wanting or needing that information: perhaps one is writing a scholarly article on the subject. Perhaps one is researching suicide to better understand the death of a friend or a loved one. Perhaps one is writing a blog whose ostensible raison d’être is a discussion of mental health and physical fitness. Then there’s the real reason, which of course is that one is considering suicide.
Unless you’re new here, we all know that Jenny’s been off her meds since June 2014. Is anybody new here? Lemme bring ya up to speed: 334 lbs, sleeping through life, dead inside, blah blah blah. Jenny goes cold turkey off the medication, starts to diet and lose weight. Jenny starts taking turmeric to deal with chronic pain, is able to return to the gym, lo and behold, slightly less than two years later she’s reached her goal weight. She looks great! She exercises like a fiend, she sings, she dances. She can wear a size two! She writes a goddamn blog! Wow, things are going great for Jenny!
Wanna know what else has resulted from the Big Experiment? June 2014 through November 2015: oh my god, I feel amazing! I’m losing weight! Now I’m working out! This is amazing! They said it would work, and it works! This shit is fucking amazing! LIFE IS AMAZING!
November 2015 to present: wow, I don’t feel as good as I used to. Maybe if I work out more I’ll feel better. Or, ooh, I know, I’ll have more sex! That’ll do the trick! Shit, it seems my partner doesn’t really WANT to have sex 24 hours a day 7 days a week in order to keep my endorphin levels from dropping. Who could have foreseen THAT? Maybe if I work out a little harder. Maybe if I drop a few more pounds, finally make it to my goal weight, I’ll be happy. Yay, I reached it, NOW I’m happy, right? Right? No? Well, what the fuck now? I know, I’ll sing in a band. I’ll sing with my husband. I’ll join a dance troupe. I’ll write a blog! I’ll keep doing and joining and working and writing and that will all distract me from the fact that I’m miserable and oh yeah in a lot of pain again (where the fuck did that come from?) and frankly, once again, as I have since I was 13 years old, want to die. Again. Even though I did everything they told me to do. I still have depression and I still want to die.
And that ain’t all, folks! One of the little known symptoms of chronic depression is irritability. I’m pretty much low-level pissed off ALL THE TIME. Everything, and everybody, makes me want to fucking scream. My default mood setting is “nails on a blackboard”.
So imagine how much fun I am to live with.
I will give you a clue. I am not at all fun to live with. I’m mean. Impatient. Snarky. Bitchy. Let’s top that with a biiiiig helping of incredibly emotionally needy, weepy, super-sensitive and loonily obsessive. And, now that I’ve yelled at you, sniped at you, complained about you, cried over how mean you are to me, and mentally picked apart every single conversation we’ve had in the last few weeks, hell, maybe years, searching for evidence of how much you actually dislike me and really want to live alone–yes, now that I’ve done all that, what the heck, wanna fuck? No? Boo-hoo, you don’t love me anymore!
And so, of course, the inevitable happened. The thing I’ve been dreading and predicting and fearing and resigned to and hysterically terrified of. I’ve been asked for a divorce.
It isn’t nearly as pleasant as being asked to marry. An odd coincidence is that both of these questions were asked of me while standing in a kitchen…but that’s neither here nor there, just one more of life’s little absurdities.
The other strange thing here is, that is not the worst thing that happened this weekend. The worst thing that happened is what I did after that question was asked. I did not indulge in any of my addictions, but I did act out in a superbly inappropriate manner, and I frightened my son, my husband, and myself rather badly. Oh, and made my daughter the poet so angry that she informed me that we won’t be speaking again until I get back on medication.
But if you’re not new here, you’ll know that I didn’t stop medicating because I felt a little sleepy, or gained a little weight, or felt a little numb. Nobody stops medicating for a life-threatening illness like depression because of “a little” anything, not me, especially–things have got to get EPICALLY BAD before I’ll change. I think I may have discussed this with you before. I DON’T LIKE CHANGE. Not good at it, never happy about it, nearly always have to do it kicking and screaming. Going off meds definitely happened in a more organic fashion than that, but it still took a really long time to come to the conclusion that they weren’t working for me anymore and that I needed to do something different.
So what now, when things have obviously gotten epically bad all over again? When my thoughts and behaviors have gotten this out of control? When meds don’t work, but no meds doesn’t work either? When the path I’ve chosen, despite all visible evidence to the contrary, seems to lead nowhere at all?
What now, as I’m researching the most efficient and painless ways to kill myself?
Is suicide a viable idea as a means to end suffering? Certainly euthanasia is being looked at around the world as a compassionate, dignified way to allow those with a terminal illness to meet death on their own terms when there are no alternatives available, when the question is not if, but when.
Is depression a terminal illness?
As of right now it’s incurable. Some forms are chronic and life-long, and mine appears to fall into that category. It’s painful, debilitating, and it not only causes suffering to its victim, but to its victim’s family and friends, either by being in the sufferer’s immediate vicinity and so falling prey to the symptoms of the illness (the aforementioned constant irritability, anger, and irrational behaviors), or to the illness itself, as depression can definitely be catching.
I know that I’m afraid. Afraid of death, and afraid of life, too–of continuing to live with this death sentence, and alienating all my friends and loved ones in the process. Of ending up, finally, alone–which I what I always guessed would happen, anyway. Why drag it out another 20 or 30 years? How much more damage should I be allowed to inflict? Isn’t it infinitely kinder to just end this now, while I still have a little love left?
One of the things I’ve been saying for a few years now is that I won’t hand my kids the shit sandwich of suicide. I don’t want them to kill themselves, and statistics say they are more at risk for it if I do. But that might just be genetics, too–depression and other mental illnesses seem to be hereditary. So maybe it doesn’t matter, and the shit sandwich was already served up, piping hot, at the moment of their births. Who knows?
I’ve done a lot in 53 years. Survived a lot–physical and emotional abuse, my own drug abuse, painful losses of people I loved–nothing that many others haven’t experienced and lived through, as well. I think the reason I’ve managed to get through it thus far is that I have the biggest “fuck you, life” attitude of nearly anyone else I know. I laugh at it and curse at it and get mad at it and FIGHT it. I get angry and I beat it up–it’s how I lift, too. Get angry. Beat it up.
I’ve never been able to figure out how to do that with this illness. Instead it drains me. Saps all my energy. And then it makes me angry with others, with people who love me, and turns us against each other.
I need to be done with it.
So, what now?