Suicide Isn’t Painless And Probably Not A Choice
I read John Donne and I like the poem Death Be Not Proud. But what is a proud death exactly? My best friend for almost thirty five years was paralyzed in a motorcycle wreck when he was twenty five. Instead of killing himself he moved heaven and earth to live as much as possible and made it for thirty seven more years to the age of 61. He made sure he had enough pills around to kill himself just in case he got really bad off, he asked me not to tell anyone he had them and asked me if I would help him if he needed it. I said yes but he never used them and quietly went off into that good night without any help. He is my hero and I miss him every day and I would say he had a proud life but not everyone has the same strength.
“Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
What’s courage? Is it to keep on living when every fiber in your being questions why you are doing it? Or is it being able to let go? Being miserable doesn’t seem like a reason to kill yourself but it sure doesn’t sound like a reason to live either and if you feel like you are already dying then maybe it is.
When you think about it having a person die when they are youngish and not at an age one would naturally hope to live to is a tragedy. When someone dies at an age over what most of us can reasonably hope to achieve, no matter what the reason, it is much easier to accept when the death occurs no matter how it happens. When death comes from random incidents, whether it is a car accident or murder, it feels much more tragic when the same death happens to a young person than a seventy year old person. Think about it, it’s true. When someone who has cancer dies we feel it’s sad, because cancer is unfair but we understand they didn’t want to live in pain and suffering any more. That really isn’t any different that when a person who is suffering from extreme depression or mental problems kills themselves, they are already dying in a way that only they can understand. If they had cancer you would forgive them.
The first friend I had that killed themselves tried to first do it at the age of thirty by stabbing himself hari-kari style and he somehow lived through it. Russell was struck in the mouth with a baseball bat when he was a kid playing little league and it broke off his front teeth. His family was poor and couldn’t afford to fix his teeth. He grew up being teased about his broken teeth and was afraid to smile. He became a drug addict and eventually shook that and got a decent job. Russell was painfully shy and insecure and fifteen years after he stabbed himself in the stomach. Eventually he finally had a good enough job to afford to get his teeth fixed and he came by and showed them to me and told me how much better it made him feel. I was happy for him. A month later he hung himself, he couldn’t shake the feelings of being a worthless person after spending most of his life looking at a man in the mirror with broken teeth. It was too late to fix him.
The next friend that killed himself was a man who had cancer. He had successfully fought it off fifteen years earlier but when it came back he was tired of fighting and couldn’t do it a second time. He came to visit me a few days before to let me know it was his time. He was at peace with his decision and so was I.
The third person I knew that killed himself was a schizophrenic, when he was twenty one and in college he started believing that people were following him and watching him. He ended up moving back home with his parents. Roger told me he knew he was crazy and that he was making his parents miserable. A couple months later he lay down on his stomach on the back of their property and drowned himself in a foot of water. It was a noble and sad thing as the medication he took never seemed to help him.
Just a few weeks ago a very outgoing and friendly girlfriend of mine hung herself. This was after trying carbon monoxide poisoning a year before and a friend found her and stopped her and six months ago she took a bunch of pills and someone else found her and stopped her. I suspect she was manic depressive but I guess it doesn’t matter, she finally picked a way to kill herself when no one was around to catch her in time. I hope she is finally at peace, whatever that is.
The first suicide I ever had to deal with was when I read that Pete Deuel shot himself. I was a young teenager and I couldn’t understand how a good looking young actor who was successful could be so miserable that he would kill himself. I had never been involved with the world of suicide before this and it totally blew me away. As I got older I grew to understand the fragile nature of life but I still struggle to understand giving it away willingly.
I watched a television show about the band INXS and the suicide of the lead singer by hanging and after I found out that he had a traumatic brain injury that left him without a sense of smell or taste I thought that this would be a rather horrible fate to have. No matter how bad things in my life get I always loved to cook and eat and I am not sure how I would react if that was something I no longer had. No one knows of course what he was thinking in the end.
I don’t understand how someone with a nonfatal debilitating disease would kill themselves because I was born with one of those diseases 57 years ago and still choose life.
Suicide is a synonym for madness and maybe that’s exactly what it is. The people who are suffering from their madness don’t want to be and they are not intentionally trying to hurt you. Forgive them for wanting to leave their suffering and walk towards the light. You know not what they are going through. No one chooses the suffering they go through that leads them to kill themselves.
Walk into the light always and if it grows dark do everything you can to bring the light back.
There is a local paper that publishes a semi-annual restaurant guide and I was looking through the one they published last month online yesterday and was saddened to see how many of my old friends have died due to this bad economy that we are still stuck in. It made me sad to know that I will never sit on the patio of one of my favorite restaurants down town and eat marvelous food and people watch, or that the only time I will have my favorite dinner in town will be when I recreate it myself at home. I am very glad that I have the ability to eat a meal and taste the ingredients so that I can make it at home, but the main reason I liked to do that is I don’t get out to eat as often as I like to eat some of the dishes that my favorite restaurants make, not to replace my favorite restaurants but at least by my ability to eat and cook a dish I haven’t lost the dishes forever but it isn’t the same ambiance when I eat it at home even if it does taste the same. The bad economy has caused some good changes in a nation with greedy tastes but unfortunately the real losers are the middle and lower class citizens because the really rich people seem to still be really rich and the poor are more plentiful than ever, how sad that a country like ours has such disproportionate wealth, and how sad for all of the small businesses that have gone under.
When I was younger, I am now 56, I had a couple of friends that seemed to have strange habits. Like the friend who compulsively had to schedule every single thing that he did, there was almost no way he could spontaneously go out to dinner if I called him. I, on the other hand always scheduled things that were important that I knew about in advance but if someone were to call me up and ask me to do something on the spur of the moment I would always do it unless I had something else I had to do. As I have gotten older I find I have less “free” time and more things I have to consider before doing something but if all those bases are covered I still can say “yes I will meet you for lunch”. I now find that some of my friends, that used to think the same friends were weird that I did, are now developing strange quirks and I am wondering why. Am I the weird one because I don’t compulsively have to close the refrigerator after 2 seconds because it might use a pennies worth of electricity or is the friend who now does who used to buy the most expensive stereo on the market without price shopping? I feel like anyone who can’t explain why they emphatically do something to have an obsessive compulsive disorder and I wonder how it happened to people who never used to be that way. I remember noticing that some older people were a bit eccentric when I was a teenager but the people I am now seeing these eccentric qualities in are under 60, which I don’t think is old but maybe the people I thought were old when I was a teenager weren’t as old as I thought they were. Just wondering!
This wasn’t quite as dramatic as in the movie and this actually happened before the movie but when I watched Thelma and Louise for the first time again in a lot of years the scenes of them getting hit by the guys made me think of this incident that happened to me and my girlfriends. One evening when I was about 24 years old I went over to visit with a girlfriend who was about four years older than me whose husband had been killed in a car accident the year before by a man who was crazy and trying to kill himself and ended up driving his car across the center lane in an attempted suicide and he ended up killing my girlfriend’s husband and living through the whole thing, unfortunately. Ray was the love of Kaye’s life, they had gotten married when they got out of high school and they had an 8 year old daughter when Ray died in the horrible head on car crash that Kaye ended up with a broken pelvis and Ray ended up with a crushed chest. Kaye spent most of the year physically and mentally recovering from the crash. She had just bought herself a brand new baby blue firebird with power everything for her birthday and we wanted to go out and have a nice dinner and some drinks to celebrate. Kaye invited her sister Joanna along. She was recently divorced and was about two years older than me. Joanna had gone through a pretty brutal divorce and all 3 of us were just looking to go out and have a nice dinner and some drinks and conversation afterwards. We went to a local western themed steak house and had a nice dinner and then afterwards we went to the bar at the restaurant to have some drinks and talk. We were having a nice visit when a group of 4 guys started hitting on us and wanting us to dance with them. We politely declined but they wouldn’t take no for an answer so we all 3 danced with them in an effort to appease them and get them to leave us along. It had seemed to work as after we got done dancing they left us alone as we had asked. Soon after that the bar was closing for the night so we left. We went to Kaye’s brand new car and right after we got in the car one of the guys in the bar walked up to her window and knocked on it. She had power windows, this was in 1982 and it wasn’t all that common on my car’s or those of my friends, and she opened her window partway and the guy stuck his arm in and tried to grab Kaye. She quickly hit the power window button and closed it on the guy’s arm. He started yelling and she told him to pull his arm out. He did but when she went to back the car up his buddy had her car blocked with his truck. We were beginning to get a little worried at this point since there were 4 of them and 3 of us. She pushed her car against his truck a little so that she could position her car to jump the curb so we could get away. When she did so one of the guy’s started yelling that she ran over his foot, she yelled out if he moved out of the way she wouldn’t have to drive over his foot as we managed to jump the curb and drive off. The guys all jumped in the pickup and chased us but Kaye was more familiar with the back roads of the town and we managed to lose them. We got home safe, sound and really freaked out. The next morning a cop came to the house and told us a guy turned Kaye in for hit and run on his pickup, apparently they had written down the license plate number while they were trying to chase us down the night before. When we told the police what had happened they left to go talk to the guy and we never heard back from them. Couldn’t believe those jerks had the nerve to assault us and then when we got away to try and make the whole incident our fault. None of us went out again for quite a long time after that and it did leave an ugly taste in my mouth. Pretty fricking scary and we did nothing wrong except to try to be nice the wrong guys.
I am mad as hell. I have the most common inherited neuropathic disease there is and no one has ever heard of it and it is called Charcot Marie Tooth. Isn’t there something wrong with that? One in 2,500 american s have this disease and I bet you have never heard of it have you? Apparently no one famous has this disease or if they do they haven’t told anyone that they have it. Which is actually very common with people who have this disease, we can almost pass for normal (if you don’t go hiking or do something that requires physical dexterity) if someone isn’t real observant or doesn’t ask personal questions. The reason we don’t talk about our disease a lot goes to the horrible problem that we all have to deal with, that problem is that being different is not a good thing! We are taught this from the time we are children in grade school and we got made fun of because of our physical weakness. I was always the slowest person around the track, I couldn’t pull my weight up with my hands on the monkey bars but because when you looked at me I didn’t look that different no one understood what was going on and trust me, neither did I. The problem with this disease is that you are not just different, life if you are gay you are different but you are not disabled. The cruel truth of Charcot Marie Tooth is that you can look the same as everyone else but you are crippled physically and kids will make fun of you no matter what the reason is that you are “different”. I spent my whole childhood trying to do as many things as the rest of the kids could do physically. The only salvation I had was that I was smart so at least I could excel in that area and I became book worm because it was my world to escape to. I do believe that growing up different is bad for everyone who feels they are different, no matter how big or how small the difference is, it is apparent to me that if you feel different you are different but there is a reality that having a physical handicap by all rights should be a worse problem to deal with that thinking you look weird or different than someone else. I do believe from watching what happens with screwed up people that they seem to have as many problems as people who can barely walk but I have a lot of trouble understanding it. I would give anything to be able to walk up stairs without pulling myself up one stair at a time and then I read about someone who can’t deal with not being beautiful. I would give all of my looks for the ability to physically function. Maybe all disabilities are the same in that they are disabling but I would give every thing I have to be ugly and be able to walk. I have a lot of trouble understanding how someone can be so screwed up over some of things they are when the rest of us are just struggling to put one foot in front of the other one, literally! If I am missing something please enlighten me as I spend my whole day trying to physically get to the store and buy my own groceries so I can live. Since I have been disabled from the age of 3 to 56 I am getting tired of the struggle, but getting tired does not mean I will give up. But those of you who have a choice please appreciate what you have that so many of us would give anything to experience. Growing different is very painful no matter what the reason but if you are not disabled I think you should learn to appreciated the beauty of having a body that works and get over the things that made you different while you were growing up if you grow up to have an able body. I would give anything to have your able body and I don’t think you would give anything to have my crippled one! People need to learn to get over the small things that kids tease you about, because once you grow up you should be able to leave those kids behind, and parents should spend a lot more time teaching kids not to be cruel. A lot of children’s problems could be helped immensely if parents really addressed the issue of their children making fun of other children. Being different as a child should not be a life sentence!
I come from a dysfunctional family in which alcohol played a part in the dysfunctionality of it. But I have always felt that my family members that were, and are alcoholics, is that they used alcohol as a crutch to able to live with how screwed up they were as human beings. They weren’t screwed up because they were alcoholics they were alcoholics because they couldn’t live with how screwed up they were as human beings. But something that i am having a hard time dealing with is a friend of mine that I have known for almost 40 years that is solely screwed up because he is an alcoholic and it seems like such a stupid thing to allow yourself to let it ruin your life, yet he just got out of the hospital for near liver and kidney failure because of drinking excessively for most of his adult life. He didn’t drink like my mom and stepfather which they did because my step father molested his blood daughter and two stepdaughters as young teenagers and my mother who allowed him to do it until I went to her and demanded that she stop it, my friend just drank because he had inherited the disease of alcoholism. It seems amazing to me that you could throw your life away like that but obviously it is something that true genetic alcoholics don’t have any control over. Having never been an addict I don’t understand the disease, when I was a teen aged kid I tried cigarettes and all they made me do was cough and feel dizzy so I never smoked enough to form a habit, though my younger sister did. I have an inherited neuropathic disease that has made me disabled for my whole life so I have a very hard time understanding people choosing to be disabled when I would do anything to have normal bodily functions so it is very hard to understand how someone who has a normal body can choose to let themselves be disabled by something they can choose not to do. But I guess that is the rub, they apparently cannot choose not to drink! From the experiences I have had through the years of growing up in the era of marijuana, cocaine, and other illegal drugs I have seen far more people disabled by alcohol than all of the illegal drugs combined. That seems like a sad state of affairs that the only legal drug is more dangerous than all of the illegal ones!
I am in favor of legalizing marijuana and having growers pay taxes like everyone else has to do when they make money. Weed is way too lucrative a crop being illegal than it ever would be if it were to be legal to grow. If it were legal more people would grow it, the price would go down, and even some of the allure of using it would disappear. So why wouldn’t everyone want it to be legal like its most dangerous legal cousin “alcohol”, they are first cousins as they are both used for the very same reason, to dim reality and pain, so why is one better than the other? It is and it isn’t. Alcohol is actually far more dangerous, marijuana when used casually involves smoking it and that has cancer causing effects, but the real difference is that when you smoke marijuana you only get so “high” and with alcohol you can keep drinking it until you become a blithering “still walking” idiot and then that blithering idiot gets in a car and drives and is essentially “driving blind”. That doesn’t happen with marijuana as well as marijuana doesn’t make you aggressive, ever, as alcohol frequently does to the people who are “addicted” to it, and yes they are addicted because why else would AA exist? I have never ever heard of someone getting high and beating someone up, it just doesn’t happen, period. I have been watching the show “Weed Country” and I had initially hoped it would show the reasons that marijuana should be legal and instead it is ridiculous. It is another stupid “reality TV” show and it is just as stupid as all of the rest of them. I am highly disappointed, I was hoping they would show the reality of what is going in this country regarding the use of marijuana instead of the stupidity of the average person, it is very sad. They show a “circus” world of actors in their drama. There is the couple with the straight looking “boss” of the operation with a stereotypical “hippie” wife, it is right out of a comic book, I grew up knowing this lady and unfortunately she really does exist and I have met several women just like her. My feeling is that is you want to justify marijuana being legal all you have to do is show the difference in the kind of impact alcohol has on families and society against the impact of families with marijuana being the major drug. I guarantee that you are going to see many more horrible incidents caused by alcohol than by use of marijuana. Now this would be a real “reality show”, alcohol versus marijuana, alcohol would win hands down! That is not a win to be proud of!