Icing on the cake…it has never made much sense to me. You could say, “Oh, you started drinking after 28 years of sobriety! That’s just icing on the cake!” or you could say, “I had never expected to win the lottery after all these wonderful things have been happening in my life! It was just icing on the cake!” The thing is for me, I never really cared for the icing. I liked the cake much better without it. I’ve had icing that was too sweet. Icing that was too thick. Icing that was spread too thin. Too much icing. Too much sickly sweet disgusting calorie-dense icing that I usually scraped off to get to the good part…the cake.
There are very few people who know what I’ve been going through these past few months. I have given them the cake part of it all…but I never told them about the topping…that icing that swirls about like the tip of an iceberg. You see it in the distance and think it’s not all that bad. Underneath, however, awaits a block of cold, frigid, indestructible despair and agony that cannot be explained. I have tried. No one gets it. They don’t need to. It is my cross. We carry our own heavy crosses and there is no one who can carry them for us. They see you bent over from the weight. They see you sweat from the effort. They see you failing in other parts of your life because of this huge task at hand. But they can’t know.
These are the words I am not saying: Every single time I write here, it is a suicide note. These very words are intended to let everyone know, after the fact, that I am just done. I have no desire to keep fighting this fight. I have been fighting depression and anxiety and mania since I’ve been a teenager and I. am. tired. Right now a few things stop me after I’ve hit “publish” on this blog from getting up, going downstairs and hanging myself from the basement rafters. The main thing is Sophie. But there are other things as well. I would never want anyone to say, “Oh, my god! I read her last blog post and got worried but I never called her. I didn’t reach out!” And then there is the fact that TD’s best friend hung himself and I can’t put her through that again. And my mother would be devastated. And some other people might be upset.
A thought turns over and over in my head on a continual basis: “One day, very soon, none of those excuses keeping me alive will matter.” This is why people commit suicide. They wake up one day and the pain of living chokes the fuck out of their commitment not to hurt the people they love. This is why the trigger is pulled. This is why the noose is fashioned. This is why they jump off bridges onto busy highways. Suicide, in a way, is perhaps the most articulate expression of self-preservation.
I have been thinking about suicide since I was 13 years old. It has been a running dialogue, a conversation that has no end. I did have one near-success years ago where I spent four days in an ICU. When I think about it, it still feels like unfinished business. When the depression comes, when the mania is ripping the scalp off my skull, when the writing has me so deep into a place that I can neither acknowledge or ignore, when that cloud of emptiness descends…it is a familiar discussion that is no longer uncomfortable or awkward. It is a friend who has stopped by for coffee. “Okay, so, where are we? Is there a plan? Are these just vague ideations? Do you need to submit a safety contract to someone? If you had a gun in your hand right now, would we still be talking? Maybe you can solve all those concerns of hurting other people by just making it look like an accident? There’d be less chance of survivor guilt that way. No one could really blame themselves. You’d have no survivors chained to a lifetime of ‘Why, why, why?’ Let’s talk about some of those options…”
As usual, there are song lyrics that break the resolve. Lately it has been Art Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” These words…
“Sail on, silver girl. Sail on, by. Your time has come to shine, all your dreams are on their way.”
It is a promise that things will get better. I’ll stop thinking stupid things. I’ll get out of my own head. I’ll stop being selfish. I’ll finally wake up one day and I will no longer have these black, terminal thoughts.
Still, it is this song that speaks to me deeper than any other song has spoken. It actually should be the “Moments Before the Trigger is Pulled” suicide anthem. Funny thing, though…I find it very comforting. (“Weather Channel” by Sheryl Crow.)