Thoughts about suicide

I don’t normally put trigger warnings on shit, for reasons that I am too exhausted to talk about, but I will admit that I can see how this might be upsetting in a sense, so please, if you are one of those people who might get all upset about suicide, don’t read this. It’s better for you, and better for me.

Dear Tianyu,

I think I’m a little pissed at you this year. Not because of all the stuff that I should be pissed at you for—making a decision, ending shit, missing out on crap, though yeah, I am sure you would have liked a bunch of stuff that’s happened in the last nine years, but also because I feel guilty for being sad that YOU missed this crap. Like I should feel bad for YOU. What I really want is to feel bad for ME, and I feel guilty about that. So a bunch of thoughts in no order.

1. Your kid is awesome, but it becoming increasingly obvious that she is missing you. I mean, I could be the greatest mom ever, but she is aware that you are not here. The other night I ALMOST told her what you did, but I thought you know what? No. Let her have a few more years not knowing that you did this of your own free will, because finding out that your dad plugged himself rather than be with you (which, all arguments aside, is what it looks like. It doesn’t matter what you intended, a. I got pregnant, b. You killed yourself—you can do your own PR on that, graveside) isn’t something that ISN’T going to fuck you up a little, and she has enough to worry about (and she does worry. About EVERYTHING.)

2. The Avengers was pretty fucking cool. Seriously, there’s a lot of cool shit out here now, and you would probably hate most of it, and then love the rest. Phones and touchscreens and all that shit? You would have hated that. *I* hate it. A lot. I also hate Twitter, though I say I love it in my ephemeral moments of entertainment.

3. I wonder what you would think of gun rights now. Because I think you would have changed your mind. I did, and that’s after about four years of defending them even after your death, so it’s not about that.

4. Financially, I am fine. I don’t have a house, but Jesus, who wants a house. I get that now. I mean, yeah, we could have built a projection room, but that’s just stuff, and none of that really fucking matters in the long and short of things, really.

5. But I was thinking about how things are different since you died, and it hit me, as I scrolled past news and shit, that one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is that the world gets better. It doesn’t. Not really. Once you get over or forget about a problem, or if by some miracle it’s fixed (and that’s really only about 10% of things), there’s a whole new crop of shit to be upset by. I used to agree with an old X-Force/X-Factor quote that some people weren’t happy unless they’re kvetching, but the truth is that no one is happy even when they’re kvetching, and that’s most of the time; and if they are happy, it’s because they’ve managed to block out all of the shit that’s upsetting (or they are a Zen monk—I think those guys aren’t for real, man.), so it’s not really gone. They just aren’t listening. Maybe I should just move to a shack in the woods.

6. I have a suicide plan. Oh, don’t get all stroppy.

And by that I mean readers, now, because I pretty much said what I wanted to say to Tianyu, and really, he’s not here, so there’s no point in talking to him anyway.

A long time ago I read this Nietzsche quote: “The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a dark night.”

Now I have always been depressed. Who knows what the fuck the reason is—genetic, probably. I have tried medications, and I am one of the lucky few in which they work, but when I go off them, I have a period of about 6 months of okay before whatever chemical bullshit makes my brain haywire starts again, and then it’s a matter of time management before I have to go back on them, because I manifest physical symptoms of anxiety.
If I didn’t have the anxiety, I would never medicate the depression, because I LIKE the depression. It’s not PC. I don’t play my depression for points (#notallpeoplewhotalkaboutdepression), and while I sometimes write about it, it’s not something I talk about. I don’t like quantifying it. I know a lot of people suffer with it. I am not one of those people.

I like my depression because I write better on it. I slow down. Okay, sometimes I sleep a little too much, but not really. Because mine is cyclical. It comes in waves—I have a few weeks of HATING everyone, of utter meh numbness tired crap, but it’s not a problem because I know that in a month or two I will not feel that way at all. It’s an intellectual exercise, recognizing that it will get better. It almost always gets better. I could go on and on and talk about depression, but it’s tedious and boring, like explaining Game of Thrones to anyone.

Several years ago I was in one of my phases and I was upset about….something something internet and I decided that I was going to delete all my internet stuff, then I was going to clean my basement, and then I was going to kill myself. Well, I said that in my head, but it was more of a “they’ll ALL BE SORRY” thing, which is less about suicide and more about having a tantrum. So I got a bottle of wine and started organizing my basement, convinced that when I was done, my house would be in order and I could just take a header off the Westinghouse Bridge or summat.

But see, the basement never got clean. It got cleaner, but not to my satisfaction. I have boxes of books to give to the library, see, before I could POSSIBLY kill myself. I have to burn all these fucking teenage notebooks, and edit everything I leave behind. I have filing cabinets in the upstairs that need to be sorted, and clothes to give away. I have SHIT. TO. DO.

Because it’s not about the killing myself. It’s controlling my own existence. Because really, at this point, it’s one of the only things I have that I can control.

I can’t control anything about my kid that matters, not really. I can’t do anything about stuff that’s “important”, like racism, or my taxes, or going to war in Syria, or even what laws the governor passes. Blah blah, lemme skip ahead because this is boring.

I have a whole suicide plan, and I find it comforting because I’m not sure I would ever use it. Like Nietzsche, I find thinking about it comforting. It reminds me of Robert Fulghum’s yearly practice of visiting his own gravesite with a folding lawn chair—I feel at peace with the knowledge that if I wanted to, I could wrest control of all of this and have the final say in what I and my body do and go, because pretty much everything else in this world is incomprehensible.

The trick of getting depressed and starting to clean the basement (it’s a thing. I do it a lot now), is that I inevitably start to feel better about life by cleaning the basement. I am Getting Shit Done. Things are cleaner. Outlook: improved. Abort suicide plan—let’s go to Denny’s for a breakfast skillet. Then the basement goes untouched until the next bout. And in that time, the basement gets cluttered with crap I toss down there—boxes and tools, and all that shit, not to mention the dust and kitty litter that settles everywhere, and the boxes I reopen to get at things, and the stuff that’s STILL not boxed because I haven’t got around to it yet. I have shelves to buy and that filing cabinet upstairs STILL has tax forms in it from 2001.

So yeah, I have a plan, knowing that it’s not a plan, though sometimes I really mean it. And in those times, like now, I really do feel better thinking about it. I am going to slip away somewhere, quietly. It’s not going to be a fanfare or an announcement. I might leave a note for my kid. Actually, I will leave a note for my kid, because I know from experience that NOT LEAVING NOTES IS BAD.

Anyway, it’s okay to think about that and say it, because odds are I would never do it. I’ve planned myself out of it. Maybe in the past, when I didn’t have a kid, and I didn’t understand where my cycles were or when I hadn’t thought long and hard about what I would be leaving behind with my house the way it is. Maybe when I was younger. You are more impulsive when you’re younger. Or maybe I never really meant it ever.

But I like to think about it. Today, at least.

Ps: I am not talking about this in person or over the phone.

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About Amanda Ching

I write. Fo' you.
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2 Responses to Thoughts about suicide

  1. Liz says:

    I get all of this. Completely. But I think we we’ve been clear about at least that much since HS.

  2. pghbekka says:

    My suicidal ideation fix is that I can go at a certain age. Yours gets your basement cleaner though, so I vote it’s superior.

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