I have what doctors affectionately refer to as “persistent idealizations of suicide” too. I suppose that’s just the DVM for it, so they can bill my insurance. Anyway, I was seriously checking out bridge abutments along my drive to work, and looking for ones that were installed badly so if I hit them just right their safety devices would fail, and by end would be over before I realized what happened, and my family would get my insurance.
And then a friend successfully committed suicide. He jumped off of the Lake Street Bridge of Death in Minneapolis, into the Mississippi river. 70 feet to the river. Guaranteed death.
But the river was low, so instead of pancaking into the water and drowning he smashed into a bank of mud and sand that was just an inch or less beneath the dark surface of the water. The corner says that he died of hypothermia. He froze to death. His internal injuries were not enough to kill him but he had broken both legs and a hip so he couldn’t move. He probably laid in that mud for three or four hours waiting to die.
And another was in a car accident that was basically the way I’d planned to do myself in - smashed into a power pole along the freeway, rebound into a semi, ended up across the barrier in incoming traffic with the front of her car missing, still belted into her seat, her legs and thighs being dragged across the pavement with the car on top of her.
She lived. Made a bunch of newspapers and became a kind of spokesperson for seat belts.
That made me wonder about all the ‘certain deaths’ I had planned. They seemed less certain, and more like the thing that would land me in a hospital or a wheel chair, or consign me to just dying in the cold over the course of hours.
So I started just sitting in the snow naked until I didn’t care any more. In Japan that’s ok - it’s called “Shugendo”. There’s actually a cult for that kind of thing. Sitting under waterfalls until someone else has to help you get up, hanging over the edge of a cliff holding onto a chain until you can’t get yourself back up, sitting on a rock on the side of a mountain waiting to die.
That’s a thing you can do. It feels like dying, but isn’t dying, and then when you get up (or someone helps you get up) you don’t mind whatever it was that was the problem before.
Like Dr. Drew used to say about people who’d survived jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, “The second they let go of the bridge, they realized that all the problems in their life could be fixed. Everything had a simple solution, or wasn’t something that they even really cared about. Except for that ‘letting go of the bridge’ thing. That they couldn’t fix.”
So the last few seconds of their life were spent thinking about how simple their problems really were.
Makes me think that the human brain is somehow intentionally designed to fuck with us. It’s a joke, but it’s not funny.
Sometimes people say “it gets better”. I don’t know if that’s true - but, for me at least - it stops being a problem. Like, it just becomes the background noise. I realized that most times trying to kill yourself just makes you more of a burden on others, or is a distraction from the sometimes remarkably simple solutions you just can’t see.
Because if you’re ready to let go of it all, you’re powerful. You can let go of relationships, say goodbye to toxic people, move to a different city, change your name … become someone else.
Your brain comes with, so that doesn’t really mean things will be ‘fixed’. But if nothing matters, then anything is possible.
And, if you are eventually able to see all that noise in your head as background noise, other things can get louder. Like seeing a flower, or drawing a pony, or talking with one friend, or playing a game that really hooks me, or hearing someone tell me how great their day was.
Or, helping artists on places like here or in my day job.
I still have persistent idealizations of suicide. That’s just how my brain is wired. I can’t change that - it can’t be ‘fixed’ because that’s how my brain wired itself as a result of the shit that happened when I was growing up.
But it’s just background noise now. It really only joins the party when I am choosing new music to listen to.
Odds are the pain won’t end. That’s just where you are now. It’s what you have. It’s like losing a leg or being born without an eye - it’s where you are.
But you can still climb mountains and paint.
I hope that you find a way to change the volume of the suicide stuff. Or find something louder.
And, like I said, I am glad you’re still in the world.
You’re the only one of you we have.