August 2013 Archives

3
Lee Thompson Young

Lee Thompson Young

I hate it when people kill themselves. Even people I don't know.

I've thought about whether to mention this week's name or keep it generic, but I think more people might read this post if I spell out the name. Lee Thompson Young. Age 29. Sweet, gentle and full of grace, according to sources close to him.

Most recently, he played Detective Barry Frost on Rizzoli & Isles, a favorite show of mine because of the interaction between a 'get it done' person and a 'this is why/how/encyclopedia' person.

Didn't Lee Thompson Young know people who've never met him would spend the day or the week or the lifetime thinking about why?

Didn't Lee Thompson Young know he was hurting people he'd never met?

These are my random crazy, irrelevant thoughts.

I've contemplated suicide, but as I recall (it was a very, very long time ago), I was more interested in hurting someone else than in ending my own pain. Pain was all I knew. I cannot say pain brought me solace or comfort through familiarity. I felt tough enough to withstand pain and let me tell you: there was plenty of pain. Physical, emotional, and mental (if that's a separate category.)

I like to say the last time I seriously contemplated killing myself, I was 16. But that isn't quite the whole truth. Let me start with the unbelievable thought of why I wanted to kill myself at 16 and why I did not (obviously) do it.

Scenario: My mother had just remarried and I was home from boarding school. Age 16. She accused me of being inappropriate with her new husband. He did like me. And what's not to like about a lithe, teen-age blond girl? He liked the way I ironed his uniforms. My mother thought she did a better job than I but got far less praise. No praise. Same with putting a dinner on the table. Me good. Her no comment.

So she had me cleaning out my closet, getting rid of all the beautiful clothes my older, and rich, cousin passed down to me. Mother wanted me to look dowdy. So I'm clearing my closet of beautiful things while she runs an errand out of the house.

We have a heavy steak knife in the kitchen. My mother hates the thin boning knife. Thinks it's too dangerous. Feels more secure using the tarnished five-inch blade with the hefty wooden handle. I'm sure I can plunge it into my sternum or heart or something before I expire from its effects and be DOTF (dead on the floor) when she returns.

However, there's a problem with this plan. I want to hurt her. To see her suffer. But my religious upbringing says there is no consciousness after death. So I don't get to enjoy her weeping and bawling and rending her clothing for months because her beautiful baby girl is gone. Oh s—!

Another problem: I'm intelligent and not on medication (maybe should be) and have a clear head, in spite of my depression and anger. This is the stupidest part: As I imagine her suffering, mutilated, I cannot see myself inflicting that much pain on another person. D___!

Out of compassion for a person I am intensely mad at, and for good reason, who had no idea what I was going through, I make a firm decision not to off myself. I am mad at myself for realizing, in my own mind, that I cannot do it for reasons of compassion. Sh–!

Deciding not to kill myself gives me a modicum of peace, because I can quit thinking about 'how am I going to deal with this untenable situation'? (Run away, fight back, disappear…the latter is what got me to thinking about suicide. "If I'm so effing much trouble [I did not talk/think in those words in those religious days of mine]), why don't I just disappear? Then you'll be sorry!)

But I give it up. I give in. I cave to staying alive so I won't hurt the people around me who are hurting me so much.

That's my story, and the event I rarely mention anymore that turned me away from suicide for once and for all.

Except 30 years later when I hurt a close friend very deeply. By then I was sophisticated enough to know most suicide attempts do not succeed. And then there's the mess. (Several friends had killed themselves, and it was always messy.) I won't detail my plan here, because if I do, someone will copy it and do it, and I do not want ANYONE, no matter how alone and despairing you are, to kill yourself. I will say my plan involved a complete disappearance including burying the body (mine). I do not recall how I was saved from this fate. Perhaps my friend forgave me. Maybe I forgave myself. I was old enough to know better, and I just hate hurting people.

And that's probably what bothers me about hearing of other people's suicides. They do not know how many people they hurt, how many people cannot think of anything else for a day or a week or a year. Did they want to hurt that many people, or just end their own hurt?

What may bother me more is realizing these people have pains and problems they believe they have no way of solving. And for every celebrity who grabs suicide headlines, there are about 20,981 self-inflicted deaths in the United States yearly that you will never hear of.

  • If you believe your soul survives death, killing yourself does not resolve your pain or solve your problem. You're conscious. You have the same challenges.
  • If you believe you have no consciousness after death, killing yourself does not hurt the people you would like to see suffer. You're not conscious. You cannot enjoy their suffering—and believe me, they will suffer. Sorry. You don't have a ticket to this event.
  • If your only goal is to relieve yourself of existential angst and pain, find a doctor who will give you some soothing, caliming drugs. Better living through pharmacology. It works for millions of people. It might have helped my mother not drive me to the brink. Just make sure you aren't listening to 'old school'—whatever that is. This is a crazy world we live in with polluted water/air/food…and even genes.

You have pain? You have no idea the pains you arouse in tens of thousands of people around you if you take, what might be described, and I don't want to be trite here, an easy way out. You do not know what is on the other side. You do NOT know this is easier. It is not.

___

Please share your stories, experiences and thoughts below.

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