I’ve seen a lot of stuff on social media about suicide lately, so–as a person who was tempted by this in the past–I thought I should add my two cents.
I’ve been there. I’ve been in the depths of despair and thought they’d never end. I had no weapons, so I contemplated taking a pencil to my wrist or stepping in front of a car. Or I longed to get some terminal disease. But I couldn’t actually go through with any of it, fearing that my soul would go to Hell where the torment would never end, and probably thinking of the grief of my parents. That, and there just wasn’t a way to do it. Where I was at the time had no means.
I think this happened about three or four times in my life, after losing a friend or boyfriend and feeling devastated. I still get depressed now and then, though nowadays I can regulate it better than I did back then. Having NVLD can be very trying for many people, because you have this disorder but present as “normal,” so people think you’re just weird or stubborn or deliberately hurtful or defiant. It can lead to social ostracism, or at the very least to difficulty making friends and getting along in the world.
But after the first time I felt suicidal, I began to make friends and have fun experiences with them. I realized that I would have missed out on these things if I’d gone through with my thoughts. I found a husband, worked, had a baby, wrote books and a blog, had a life. I still have trouble making friends, and there has been a cycle of them in and out of my life, but I’ve found a few who have stuck around. Facebook has kept me connected to old ones. Now, if a friend has trouble with my husband (usually not with me) and drifts out of my life, I do feel the pain and wonder why they left. But that’s only a few of them.
The more things I experience, the more I realize that I would’ve missed out on all of this if I had given in to suicidal thoughts 30 years ago. There was another temptation in 2010, but once again, I stuck it out–just kept putting one foot in front of the other–and more good experiences have come. Now the cause of my depression has flipped, especially during the pandemic as death surrounds us: Now I dread death. Once I longed for it; now I do whatever I can to keep it away as long as possible.
I also learned–probably related to my Celtic heritage–that life is a wheel: Sometimes it’s up, sometimes it’s down. Nothing lasts forever–not the good and not the bad. I once saw an article that young people have a harder time seeing this, while older people understand it and it helps them get through depressed periods. But once you get it, it reminds you to stick it out.