Suicide (Ain’t No) Solution

Where to hide, suicide is the only way out
Don’t you know what it’s really about

Ozzy Osbourne – Suicide Solution

In 1980, Ozzy Osbourne sang about deliberately drinking to death in the song Suicide Solution, from the album Blizzard of Ozz. Purportedly about the death of AC/DC singer Bon Scott, the song’s lyricist, Bob Daisley, eventually revealed it was about Ozzy Osbourne himself.

In 1986, John McCollum shot himself to death, allegedly after listening to the song. He was nineteen. The band was taken to court, and ultimately the case was dismissed; it was deemed unforeseeable that a song about suicide might incite someone to do it.

In 2017, a girl near my home in New Jersey,  Mallory Grossman, killed herself after being viciously bullied. She was twelve.

This past month, two well-regarded celebrities – Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain – ended their own lives.

And last night, I found myself wanting to join them.

Here’s the thing: the decision to end one’s life is one’s own alone. Nobody can make that decision for you. The reasons for making that decision are as varied as the colors of a rainbow, but in the end it boils down to a single feeling: despair.

John McCollum felt despair. He was certain – absolutely certain – that his life would never get better. Did Suicide Solution lead to his despair? I’m certain it didn’t, and it isn’t really clear if he even listened or paid attention to the song. He was known to be depressed, and most likely suffered from a chemical imbalance common to millions around the world.

Mallory Grossman also felt despair. She believed in her heart that her life was worth nothing, and that nothing would ever improve. Her despair was brought on by severe mistreatment by her peers; perhaps she came to believe their insults, or perhaps they crushed her soul to the point where she saw no escape. But in the end, her focus narrowed to a single solution.

Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, almost certainly, also felt despair.

And so did I.

To make a long story short, I recently made a mistake regarding a family trip that cost several thousand dollars and led to us being unable to travel together. In the grand scheme of things it really isn’t a big deal, but the realization of my mistake renewed in me a deep depression. I felt it coming; I could almost see myself slipping away from the outside.

And last night, as I lay in the dark with these thoughts whirling through my mind, despair revisited me. I felt my focus narrow, a long black tunnel with only one exit. None of the solutions that my family – who were only trying to help – suggested were acceptable. I longed for escape. I was between a rock and a hard place. I wanted to go somewhere no one could ever follow me. I wanted to die.

It was a fleeting moment, withered after a night’s restless sleep, but it’s a feeling I haven’t had in a long, long time. It isn’t gone yet, but it’s simmering in the background for now. And while I can’t stop the depression, and I can’t stop the despair, I can stop short of ending my life. I can do this because I have a lifetime of experience that tells me all things pass with time. I have been here before, and I survived.

Our children, our teenagers – they don’t have this. All they know is that once they were happy, and now life is unbearable. How could you see a way out when every fiber of your being tells you nothing will ever be worthwhile again? How can you possibly weather the storm when the storm is all you know? How can you know the difference between passing rain and the end of the world?

They also don’t have a strong support network yet. When I cried out last night, literally dozens of people rallied to me. I received texts and messages from people I hardly know, offering advice and talk and a friendly ear. Knowing there are people in the world affected by me helped. Young people only have parents who don’t ‘get’ them, and friends who are too wrapped up in their own struggles to see. Very few teenagers have a rock to anchor them.

But I can promise you – I hold this in the highest regard, because I don’t make promises often – that things change. People come and go, and the terrors of your life today will only be memories tomorrow. I know the struggle is unbearable, and there will be days – weeks, or maybe years – when you simply can’t cope. When all there is to do is hide, and fuck the consequences. And that’s okay. Hide. Sleep. Weather the storm in whatever way you can.

To finish with another quote, despair is really a mistake. You can’t ever truly know what the future is going to hold. And however bleak it seems now, there will be a day when you’ll be able to look back and gather strength from the fact that you made it through. If you kill yourself … you’ll never be able to see it.

So despair is not only a kind of sin, theologically, but also a simple mistake, because nobody actually knows.
In that sense there always is hope.

Patrick Curry – Defending Middle-Earth: Tolkien, Myth and Modernity

If you or someone you know feels at risk of suicide, please reach out. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, talk to someone about it, and seek help.

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoRyan Olson

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18 Replies to “Suicide (Ain’t No) Solution”

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences so openly. I believe for many despair really is at the bottom of suicide wishes, and for many of these, depression will be what plants this despair in their hearts and souls. It colours all potential that is so obvious to someone on the outside bleak and darkens all other exits except one. It is difficult to turn from that one lit up path and more difficult to not regard anyone trying to help with anger, frustration or sadness. They don’t understand. But oneself also doesn’t understand that depression is a lying bitch. It feeds itself and eats up the soul in the process. I’m happy you did listen to those around you rather than that ugly, dark thing trying to steal your hope and joy. Money should never be a reason to lose all hope! It doesn’t deserve it.

    I don’t want to say my depression is different, but my suicide thoughts have always grown on something else but despair. They grow on… boredom doesn’t really catch it, insignificance, maybe. I know I’m important to a few people, I have a wonderful family, happy childhood, privileged living conditions, lots of talents, and yeah, I’m unique in the universe, etc., etc., but ultimately I’m less than a little blip in the cosmos and in about two generations there will probably be nothing left of me worth mentioning. It is okay if I can just bide my time and make those who love me happy by existing rather than ending my existence, but whenever life gets bothersome, and it always does, everything seems meaningless. It’s not despair, despair is hot, fierce, screaming, it’s much colder than that. A frozen center that is very hard to ignore if going gets tough. I described it as boredom because it feels like I kind of got to know what life here is like by now and I want to switch the channel. Sounds a bit sad, really, but that’s what it comes down to. I’ve known love, sadness, anger, happiness, serenity, despair, wonder, boredom… I have things I want to see and do and learn, but it’s really more of a past time.

    I tried finding people with suicide thoughts like this but so far even the span of the internet has offered nothing. Maybe here something knows how I feel..?
    Sorry for the long comment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When I was a teenager, this same sense of insignificance was a major influence on my depression. It grew on some of the philosophies that were being studied in school – existentialism, nihilism, etc. – and I came to genuinely believe that the world was insignificant, that nothing mattered, especially not myself. I lost all interest, lost all emotion, and for lack of a better term, because a rock.

      I understand your description of it; cold, frozen, empty. I’ve always envisioned despair as blank, black and numb, but everyone will see it somewhat differently. At the end of the day, what’s important is finding – if at all possible – a sense of meaning. For me, that didn’t come until I started writing. As an author – even a pretty much unknown author – the knowledge that my writing can impact other people for the better is something to live for. Something to give my life meaning.

      I don’t know what that can be for you; only you can figure that out. But I would point out that, if insignificance is what leads to your suicidal thoughts, then by giving up you’re essentially proving it. Don’t let that happen. Don’t allow yourself to be forgotten in two generations. Find a reason to be remembered. Find a reason to live.

      Those reasons are out there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had some really dark suicidal thoughts myself this past week. It was rough. Did you see the stats that came out that suicide itself has risen 30% since 1999? Something is terribly wrong with our world today, not just us…at least that is what I feel.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m sorry to hear what you’ve been going through. Suicide is definitely an epidemic, something worsened by the lack of compassion and tolerance festering in our society today. The United States has one of the highest suicide rates of any developed country; it’s no coincidence that it also has some of the highest poverty rates, depression rates and violence of any developed nation.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You hit the nail on the head with this one. This so describes my own feelings. Every time I hear about another suicide it does something to me. Unless people go through this, it is very hard for people to understand these feelings of despair. So many feel we should just be able to pull ourselves up. Where as it is quite true that we all see tragedy, and many have suicidal thoughts, but we don’t all go through it the same way. I like you, have a great deal of experience with suicidal thoughts going all the way back to childhood and I am far from immune from them now. I’m 53. As you have said, there is some comfort to just hold on through the storm knowing full well that I survived many battles within my brain. My thoughts scare me especially when some of the people who are taking their lives are not just teenagers. Like Ned Vizzini, he knew and accepted his depression. He wrote a successful book about it which became a movie “It’s kind of a Funny Story.” He was a motivational speaker for those struggling with suicidal thoughts. But even he ended his own life. I know there is some debate about Robbin Williams’ death, but there is little doubt he struggled with depression. But both of these people and many others found very effective ways of dealing with their depression, but it still got them. Psychiatrist represent the medical side of things. I’m convinced most of them go into the field seeking answers for their own depression. They have the money, the success, the knowledge, still Psychatrist have a high suicide rate. It scares the Hell out of me. Right now I’m having a decent day, and I can hardly imagine suicide. I wonder why I had such severe thoughts of hopelessness. It almost always comes at night and it is directly tied to insomnia. I’ve tried everything I can, but still sleep is a struggle for me. If I go with little sleep for several days; I know it’s coming. Knowing this doesn’t help. The thoughts come on like an alternate personality. I refer to these thoughts as my demons and I have written several poems about them which seems to help me thought. Quite frankly, I don’t always know that I will pull through. But the best I can hope for is to hang on.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for these thoughts. I agree – despite knowing that one has weathered depression and suicidal ideation in the past, it doesn’t change one bit the absolute gut-wrenching feelings of dread and despair when depression hits and drags you into the abyss. It doesn’t matter that, logically, you know things will improve; the BELIEF that they won’t still leads to the same consequences.

      We hear about celebrities’ suicides more openly, but the little ones that die by their own hand every day – the ones that never make the news – are in no way less tragic. In some ways, the story of Mallory Grossman – 12 freaking years old – is far more painful to me than Kate Spade, who at least had a life behind her. She deserved better – they all deserved better – and the world was a cruel enough place not to give it to them.

      In the end, sometimes all you can do is hang on for dear life, and hope for the best. There will be the days you can’t get out of bed; the days you can’t get to sleep. There will be days when it really is too much, and you can’t even look out of your window, never mind go to work, interact with family, etc. And for me, all I can do is let those days pass me by, and hope tomorrow dawns a little brighter.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Your welcome, you have a moment. I need some opinions and advice for a suicidal family member, who’s special needs.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t have any suicidal exp, and it’s a more complicated situation, since her adoptive mom is very religious and doesn’t believe in putting my FM on meds, and no therapy or support. I let her mom know how concerned that I am. But yet, she doesn’t want to help her and says she will pray for her. I am now in a spot and will need to do a call to their state and have a wellness check on my FM. Am I going in the right direction and I have messages as proof? Please help, ty

    Like

    1. Please email me; I would love to help, but I don’t feel these comments are a suitable forum for this discussion. Also seek professional intervention; I’m not a psychologist, and I would be apprehensive of doing more harm than good.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I apologize, I am on Android and says Icloud isn’t compatable with my device. I would need to download it on my Android. Any other emails that I can email you on?

    Like

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