Suicidal thoughts, I’ve been plagued by them for years. I first felt them in 2008, my sophomore year of college, since then they have become a regular part of my life. The idea of not having suicidal thoughts is unfathomable, I mean what thoughts do you have when you’re really stressed? But after staring them down via art I’ve realized how hollow they are, how they are just decoys to distract me from the real fears I have. This had left me feeling relieved and light but with the knowledge that now I have the real boss ahead to fight.
The piece that helped me explore suicide is called, “Suicide Note.” It’s text in the shape of a building, on the right side it says, “Jump to freedom.” and the left side has a story about the time I got closest to actually jumping off. Finishing the piece was very difficult, I got half way through my first attempt with the help of whiskey and then didn’t touch it for a month before starting over. During the second attempt I took my time, I carefully drew the outline, I slowly wrote the text, taking breaks to distract myself from the theme I was staring at. The story I wrote is an embellished version of a flashback I wrote in my journal in 2012 to a time I realized I actually wanted to jump off a parking garage. Prior to that I would simply go to the top of parking garages and look down and everything would become real, this time the idea of jumping is what became the most real.
If you click on the picture and then on the next page click again it again you should be able to actually read the story.
The story at first argues that my suicidal thoughts were just a coping mechanism, but then it ends with the time I scared myself by actually wanting to jump. I showed it to Spaced and she liked it a lot, though she disagreed with my conclusion. She pointed out that my fear of jumping made it clear that I didn’t want to do it, that from her vantage point this was also coping. I had just needed a even more real coping mechanism than simply staring over the edge and having my fear of heights kick in. I needed to actually hold my life in my hands because when you are feeling completely powerless what act is more powerful than saying to yourself, “I have control over something, I can take my life.” I wasn’t ready to delve into these thoughts at the time, I was crying out the reality that I just stared suicide in the face and I think I won.
Since then I have started having self-harm thoughts, when I get overwhelmed my mind goes to cutting myself and how scary that is. It was really not good after I watched the Perks of Being a Wallflower. I loved the book in freshman year of college and read it at least 6 times. I related a lot to Charlie and being a wallflower, but I forgot the major theme of the book he is realizing he was molested as a kid. This was very triggering and I spent the whole movie crying and then immersed myself in the movie culture afterwards: driving through the tunnel he drove through (it’s filmed in Pittsburgh), rereading the book, listening to the music from the movie on repeat (namely Asleep by the Smiths), and thinking about cutting myself. I talked to Spaced that night and she said I give this stuff too much power, suicide, cutting, n’at.
She’s right, I do. I do it because my mind finds those things and freaks out about me possibly cutting myself or jumping off a building instead of what I’m really worried about, essentially it’s misplaced fear. So I looked straight at thoughts of cutting myself and realized how hollow they are, suicidal thoughts held weight, I’ve had those for years and needed to work through them but cutting myself was completely hollow, it was a substitute for suicide but without the personal connection. Then I looked and it was glaringly obvious what I was afraid of. I sighed and admitted that I still haven’t accepted that I was molested by Diane, it fucks with me too much, it wrecks my history and takes away too much from me. I know it happened I know it’s true I believe it, but I haven’t accepted what that means.
That’s my current journey, no more distractions, no more getting caught up in worrying about killing myself or cutting myself. I’m not actually scared of doing either and I have a support network that is fucking amazing, both in Pittsburgh and beyond to support me in actually dealing with my shit. Knowing and embracing the fact that I was molested, possibly for several years, that’s scary, but it’s something I can handle. Remembering that I just got past suicidal thoughts that have haunted me for years, that’s a good feeling. That’s just the momentum I need to take on my next challenge.
So happy to have grown so far and to be strong and ready to grow more. I must pause and be humbled by my support network and by my progress. Looking back I am reminded that 2015 was the best year I’ve lived, and 2016 is looking like it’s going to be so liberating.