Tonight I am angry. Tonight I have been incensed, by the cruelty and ignorance that for too long I have ignored. I read tonight an article surrounding the phenomenon of ‘suicide contagion’, which if you’re like me and tldr: describes the spike in suicides after a highly reported and detailed suicide has taken place, usually relayed by the media duplicating and publicizing the information en mass. Now, I am not usually the one to take the offense. I am not the kind of person who rises to some sort of high ground proclaiming a social justice defender stand point commentary surrounding a socialist/mentalist/vegan/whatever-is-in-vogue these days ideal, but this? This I feel right to my gut. I have felt it too much and too hard. I have not been honest with most of you.
I have not been the most open person these last 5 years. Ever since I left school I have been struggling with something inside of me which I could not, and still can not, entirely explain with my own words. But for this, I will try. The idea of ‘suicide contagion’ is that when a suicide is highly publicized within mainstream media or online media, it becomes so pervasive that it encourages copy-cats to emulate that particular suicide. I do not at all condone nor condemn these people. They emulate because the initial victim is regarded as a saint, as a milestone and paragon of a particular idea. Who doesn’t want to be remembered as being bigger than themselves, as a crusader, as a god? Suicide though, in itself is one of the most horrific things I can imagine a person being driven to. It is to me a perceived lack of total loss of control in life that leads to an act that at least has a semblance of control in death.
I have seen this, even if I have not been conscious of it until this time, the depression and anxiety, the overall futility of existence combining to create a weight that when one person of your ilk dies, and then is deified by your peers, inspires a step that seems more meaningful than a continued life of the individual self. This deification which I see absolutely, everyday online, of depression, of anxiety, of introversion, of beyond the social norm. IT SCARES ME. It terrifies me, because there is almost no alternative. It is reasoned by the media and by peers as the only thing to do in that situation. They say in not as many words but usually in more, that this is the only way to be seen, to be recognized, to be loved, This is so, so wrong.
Personally I suffer from psychosis. I do not a have a mental disease that can be idealized nor glorified. I do not own a disease that you can make pretty for consumer consumption. I hear voices, I see things, I am not someone who is looked at with envy in a tumblr post or pityingly in a facebook announcement of prescription pills. To be honest I scare the hell out of the people I tell. Even those with prior experience in psychotic conditions I terrify, not because they think I will hurt them, but because they have lost too many already to my particular disease. Worse still, some won’t believe me.
When you think psychosis, you think schizophrenia, you think violence, you think ‘crazy’ and not in the ‘dances on tables sometimes’ kinda crazy. You think domestic violence, assault, you think padded rooms and solitary confinement and for the extremes of my behavior honestly you aren’t wrong. I try hard though. I take my medication, I go through therapy, I swallow my anger, and resentment and fucking incomprehensible dissociation’s of reality on a daily basis for the one goal of getting better. You could not even understand how much I fucking try to be a member of society do you understand? Yet I hardly ever say anything about it. Why?
Do you know how much it hurts me when someone says their friend is ‘psycho’? Do you know how much it hurts to sit through conversations and TV recitals condemning me? Do you know how much it hurts to know that at one point I wanted to lock myself away? That I thought that confinement was the only way to keep the people I love safe from me? Do you know how much it hurts to take down the barriers of my ego to tell you about myself and have you sway away from me? As if an inch between our faces can stop it from being catching. It’s not fucking Ebola. I am not ashamed, and I have worked hard to be where I am today, but when I see another mental illness being made godlike on TV I quiver, I shake, I almost feel like vomiting because you have no idea. Because I am not the media version of okay, I am not someone in a spreadsheet of beautiful women who have been empowered by their struggle through mental illness. It is because I know how hard it is to be better, to go through the stages of recovery, yet I am the plague to those same people who lift others to a godlike ground.
Every time I admit to my illness I am treated as septic. Like I will infect. I have wallowed in the despair of depression, I have existed in the purgatory of extreme anxiety, I have lived what others have lived, yet because I imagine a world that does not exist I remain an untouchable.
Imagine day after day you had your father, your lover, your best friend rolled into one telling you to hurt your loved ones, badly, because maybe, just maybe then they might need you and you wouldn’t be so pathetic and useless for a while. Imagine your mother, your sister, your brother rolled into one telling you day in day out to hurt yourself, that a knife through the foot, a cut to your arm, a needle through your hand wouldn’t be the worst thing you’ve done this week, it might even be the best. At least then you would be out of the way, at least then someone might notice you. Imagine that every day, every hour, every time you get stressed, every time you relax, letting go for just one second means the voices comes back. I remember a week when it grew so loud, and so strong, in all the timbres of the people that I loved and adored, telling me to kill myself. Telling me I wasn’t good enough. I knew it wasn’t real, I knew they weren’t saying those terrible things but it was just so strong. It felt so close underneath my temple, just behind my hair and skin that I began to scratch. I began to pull out my hair and dig into the skin because it felt so close to the surface between my brain and bone that I might just be able to dig the goddamn voice out.
There is blood beneath your fingernails now.
You lie about a cut.
You walked into traffic, wanting anything to be louder than what’s in your head, please let me go, please.
You’re in the emergency room now.
You get home from a walk you cannot remember.
You talk to your parents.
Rinse and repeat.
Camus talked of Sisyphus, the man the gods condemned to roll a rock to the top of a hill just for it roll down again, thus the futility and absurdity of life itself. We of the mentally ill are condemned to repeat our mistakes indefinitely. So what is the point of living? In my experience, with blood beneath my fingertips and a multitude of bad decisions bruised everywhere else on my body I ask you this.
Why do you want to be like us? Why would you ever, EVER want to walk the road that we do. Ask yourself what is so empty in your life that you must create a reality in which you want to exist in ours?
Then realize, you are so so good just as you are. Please. Please do not think of me badly. I am just a girl who envies you. I want to be better. I want to be good. I want to exist in a world that loves and accepts me at least sometimes for who I am. I have no one telling me I am okay just as I am, only people who say that someday I will get better.
I will live through my entire life on field separate from your own. I will not ever be you, there is no pill nor therapy strong enough. So I ask now, and forever more. Do not love us, the mentally ill, because of our faults. Love us in spite of them and never, NEVER, make us your goal, for you are ours already. You have already won, and I shall at least forever envy you that.