A moment of clarity.

In the midst of my frustration with life, I figured something out. Not something particularly useful, but insightful all the same. I don't cut myself out of depression.
I cut myself out of anger.
I can't hurt the outside world, so I hurt myself. It's always nice to know why I do things, even though it solves nothing.
I have been debating writing this node for a long time. Writing any node for a long time.

I am suicidal

There is no reasoning around, no way to ignore it. I am what I am.

But I am not ashamed of being suicidal, there is not shame in that. I am ashamed cause I have no reason to be. I will be the first to admit it. I can not come up with one seriously good reason to end my life.

I am 19 years old.

I have a free ride to college (American University).

I have a girlfriend who deeply cares about me.

I have good friends who would be there if I asked them to.

I do well in school.

I have parents, who though we may not be close, still love me.

I have a life that many people would kill to get.

So why, or better yet, how, can I even justify feeling the way I do? I can't. And so onto the sadness is added guilt. Guilt for not being happy with my life. Guilt for not being content when I have more than I could have ever possibly imagined. I remember the good old days of freshman year in high school, back when I had better reasons to feel like I do. My life has improved beyond recognition in the past 6 years. So why don't I feel better? I wish I knew. I have looked for answers. I searched the Internet. I searched here. I read some touching nodes on suicide, and I read those that were inflammatory. They all just made me cry more.

But there were no answers

There are no answers


I have been depressed for as long as I can remember. I must have been, or at least felt like, the only fourth grader who contemplated killing themselves. It has always been there, in the back of my mind, the final solution to any problem.

If I fail this test, I can always kill myself.

Maybe that does make me a selfish bastard. Maybe I am wrong for how I feel.

I do not know.

I do not understand.

There are no answers, there is no solution.

So I wrote this node, to a group of complete strangers. I could have told my friends, told some people that cared. But I can't. I won't. I have been on everything2 for over a year, and none of you know me. That's fine. Because perhaps that is the only way I can talk to you.

I will not kill myself tonight. I will not kill myself tomorrow night. I might never kill myself. But the thought will always be there, the feeling in the back of my mind. The desire. The urge, to hurt myself. Maybe because I feel guilty for having a lack of problems. Maybe I just want to feel pain. Maybe a chemical imbalance.

I do not know

I do not understand

I am sorry for clutturing the database like this. It is not something I would normally do. But I had to get this out of me. I had to tell someone, even if it was no one I know. The pain hurts, and I want it to go away.

UPDATE: Some studies suggest teenagers shouldn't take SSRIs. I stand by my observation that depressed people conflate their disorder with their identity.

Hey, you! Yes, you: depressed kid! Have you at least tried drugs? It might make a huge difference.

It's unfortunate that the word "depression" is used to describe a complex of mood disorders. Severe depression is unlike dysthymia and both are different from bi-polar disorder. With so many different and conflicting symptoms, I never suspected that I was "depressed". But I was.

Before drugs, that is, for the first 40 years of my life, I did not feel "sad", except occaisionally, just like most people. I did, however, constantly feel angry and irritable. I always figured it was just my personality. I am surly, mean, irritable, a grumpy person. That's just me. Like it or lump it. That was my impression of myself: to others it was a little more clear that I was depressed.

Then in 1999 I decided to quit smoking, and used St. John's Wort to help. Not only did I manage to quit smoking without killing anyone, but I felt better. It was like a buzzing sound in my head, which I had just ignored, was suddenly turned off. Upon consulting with my doctor I switched to Prozac, which is a lot easier (one dose daily instead of four) and somewhat more effective.

Now, when I hear the phrase, "whenever I feel depressed" (followed by some idiotic advice like: why don't you go out and get some exercise?) it sounds absurd to me. Before Prozac I always felt irritable. Always, every day, all day. I could run for miles and I would still feel bad. I could drink and still feel bad. I could snort crank and feel better for a little while, then ten times worse after I crashed. Though the severity of the symptoms did vary somewhat through the seasons, and got particularly bad in the depths of winter, it would be like comparing shadows at night. The difference between before drugs and after drugs is like night and day.

It amazes me when purportedly depressed young people assert they don't want to take drugs. First I think: they can't be suffering from the same illness I do. How can you not want this to stop? Another part of it, though, must be lack of well-established identity. Kids think: that bad feeling is "me", that's my personality. On drugs I would be (or I am afraid I would be) "someone else". For me that sounds ridiculous. Taking Prozac is like taking ibuprofen for sore muscles: you are still "you", just not hurting. Perhaps, though, that's because I have a lifetime of habits and a very well-formed personality and sense of identity. I know who I am. I am not my disorder.

If that's not your experience then maybe you don't suffer from the same chemical imbalance in the brain that I do. Perhaps you have an atypical kind of depression which does not respond well to the usual drugs. Perhaps your problem is your personality. Sucks to be you, I guess.

doubleb747: I, too, can't just throw in a pithy "don't do it!". I think I can tell you there might be an answer where you think there is none.

Maybe you're just not satisfied with the way your life is turning out so far. Sure, on the surface, things look great -- free ride in college, a girlfriend, good friends and family, etc. But are you actually happy with it all?

Having everything the world thinks you should have doesn't mean squat if it's not what you want. I imagine you feel guilty for not being happier because others around you constantly remind you of how awesome your life is, but you just don't feel it. You shouldn't feel guilty just because you long for more.

My pithy suggestion is to seek out that little missing piece. Maybe your life is okay, but some element is absent or lacking. Maybe your life is all wrong and you need to head in a new direction entirely. I dunno. Worst thing you can do is nothing. Methinks it's a bad idea to let suicidal thoughts go unchallenged.

I'm officially sick of being ill. The various colors of the goo coming out of my nose are quite irritating and I'm eager for it to stop.

Our new house is coming along nicely; changes since we last visited on Sunday, July 27, 2003 included working power in several areas (the kitchen, hallways, and closets, but all still connected to the construction crew's circuits and not the house's own electric meter and circuit box), and a massive cleanup that removed everything but a bit of dust from the floors all throughout the house. Guess they're ready for the carpeting now.

Sick as I am of this cold, I'm even more tired of waiting for the house to be finished. Nobody's dragging their feet or delaying stuff or anything; I'm just getting impatient. Every day since we first learned the mortgage was approved, we've both been feeling this apartment's walls closing in on us.

It doesn't help that our new upstairs neighbors seem to spend all their time stomping as loudly as possible almost exclusively during the hours we sleep.

Dear doubleb747,

When I was 15 years old, my best friend committed suicide. Actually, he was the only close friend I had at the time, and the only one I would make for many, many years. I was the last person he spoke to on the phone, and we spoke for four hours. Unfortunately, I didn't find out what happened afterward until several weeks later, when his mother called my mother and Mom broke the news. So I don't remember much of the conversation, and that has always haunted me.

To say that suicide is selfish and uncool is a dramatic understatement, and everyone who's ever contemplated or committed it has heard that one before, so I'll spare you. I will say, however, that while scars heal, they never fully stop hurting - even after (as of this month) seven years of the nightmare. I'm a fairly open, honest, high disclosure kind of person, and to this day I still hate talking about what happened to my friend, even with very close friends. I still have a hard time making those close friends because of the trip one of them laid on me seven years ago. I still get sick with grief on the anniversaries of his birth and death. And I'm still very, very angry that he stuck me (and his family, and his other friends, and anyone who tries to get close to me) with the emotional bill for what he happened to be going through.

But it's likely you've already thought about that, and you don't need another guilt trip. There's another, more practical reason for me to mention my old dead friend. I met him online (the other reason I never talk about him is I hate admitting I spent my adolescence on AOL) and when he placed his suicidal phone call to me, he was 3,000 miles away. And, I reiterate, I was 15 fucking years old. I spent a lot of time when I was younger trying to figure out what I could have done to help him - trying to figure out why I didn't hear the misery in his voice and what magic words I wasn't saying to fix his misery. (Words work for me. I reread the VERY ILLEGALLY POSTED "Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie" everytime I'm feeling low.)

But for a person with depression as severe as his was and yours sounds, there probably aren't any magic words. And that means that people who are nothing more to you than text on a screen are not going to help you any more than I could help my friend when I was a voice on a phone. Whatever magic words we share with you might eventually wear off. The only thing I can really tell you is that you sound like you've been a lifelong sufferer of depression. And situational depression is extremely common in folks in their late teens, especially overachievers like yourself - and biological depression is going to be exacerbated when you face big life changes, which I think you do. So, you may not feel normal, but in that sense, you are. Lots of people go through this, and they come out clean on the other side. My life from ages to 18 to 20 was almost consistently a nightmare. But I woke up. Lots of other people have the same nightmare and they wake up and start feeling OK, too. Ask around. There is no reason that can't happen to you.

But noders, as kind and beautiful and loving and well-intentioned as most of us are, are not the people to make that happen. Dealing with depression is a long, long process. The people who can help you do that are the ones who are there for you on a day to day basis. Those would be your family and friends, and those are the people you need to talk to. They are the ones who can make sure you're taking good physical care of yourself (because, trust me, eating, sleeping and exercising on a regular schedule will help you keep your psychological strength), and they are the ones who can help you figure out how much professional help you need, and your doctors can help you figure out whether drugs will help you or not. Your friends and family will be there to talk to if you find yourself in crisis. The people who are part of your daily life are the ones who can help you straighten things out and feel more normal, by helping you change your routine. Noders are not. Frankly, a lot of us are psychological fuckups, and listening to such characters is kind of counterindicated. And the circumstances do not exist for the stable, good-hearted folks in our number to help you. We can't take you out to coffee and listen to you talk - and even then, we're not as connected to you emotionally as your friends are, so that conversation is less likely to make a difference.

I know the anonymity factor is a big part of why it's tempting to bring such feelings here. But if you really want the pain to end, you're going to have to be brave and ask for help from the people who actually stand to help you. They're going to be somewhat frighened and worried, and you probably hate to do that to them, but you sound like you care about yourself and the people around you enough to cut your damn losses. Scaring your friends and family now is going to work a whole lot better than scarring them later.

Best of luck to you -


Another jumper at the gates.

Interjection. I've often ranted on about how no one's input or advice makes a damned bit of difference to a suicidal person. In fact, advice worsens the condition generally. Unless you've pulled the trigger like I have, you have no idea what you are talking about. Depression and hopelessness are one thing. The desire to do away with your life is another. Reaching the point where you will commit suicide is a completely different ball of wax.

The cold truth of the matter is that the only person who can help you when you are contemplating suicide is yourself. Others may have the best of intentions, but their words are like nails on a blackboard if you are truly suicidal. If you are just talking up suicide as a way of bringing attention to yourself, that is something else. Fuck everyone else. If you are suicidal there is only one person you need to think about and that is you.

Now, stop thinking about everyone else. Stop thinking about their expectations, their demands and their image of you. Now, think about what it is in life that is making you miserable. You are likely on a conveyor belt meeting expections and following a preset course in life that just doesn't make any real sense to your inner self. If you are thinking about suicide, then what does anything you do matter? Take some risks. Throw away the present course and do something completely different. You can always kill yourself later if it doesn't work out, but you will more likely find yourself gaining more power and self-confidence. Drop out of school. Quit your job. Move away from people you know. Get off the treadmill and try something else. The nature of your life is what makes you miserable. Dump your girlfriend. Sell your car. Go to the beach or to the mountains and laugh at the fools who think they know how you should live. Remember that "should" is the worst word in the English language.

You want courage?
I'll give you courage you can taste.

Compare all the things you are afraid to do and all the things you are afraid to lose and give up to death and realize that they mean nothing in comparison. Now, cut the strings and fly. Fuck 'em. Start concentrating on what you really want out of life. Turn off the television. It is telling you what middle of the road morons are interested in. Become better. Become yourself. In the end you will likely decide you want to live. You don't want to be dead and you don't want to be a rat in a maze. Ride all night and laugh at the moon. You are better than this.

A little secret I know:
Death doesn't end anything.
Death intensifies everything.
So, if you are scared in life...
You will now face your fears head on.
Ready for that?
I didn't think so.

I still firmly believe that suicide is the most selfish act in the world.

Perhaps its the anger that I STILL can't get rid of that is seething just below the surface. Perhaps its the fact that I can't talk about Adam for more than a few minutes without crying. Or maybe its because I've watched the destructive ripple effect spread through the lives of Adam's family including mine. Or, better yet, how about this little bit of information: I feel like a shit writing this because somehow, someway, I don't want Adam's suicide to define ME. Do you see how this sort of thing effects people? I want you to understand it.

Go read my write up in Hermetic. That write up took me a year and about a gallon of tears to get out and I still think it needs more insight. Now, go read Panamaus' write ups, Adam Purcell and Don't give up. Or perhaps Tandex's, Waiting for the screen to refresh. Are you starting to get the picture? Try Borgo's write up, or No Springs' write up.

I hate to give you a load of guilt, but I'm going to. I don't think you realize the sort of fall out that suicide creates. Can you imagine your parents' relationship dissolving because of your actions? Or perhaps they lose their jobs because they simply can't manage to drag themselves to work in the wake of your suicide. I bet you hadn't fully considered this.

Should I now tell you that Stepmom, who wrote Thanks from our hearts, and Adam's dad are now separated? Or how about how my daughter still cries and tells me she misses her daddy? Better yet, there's my son who won't ever remember his daddy, but anytime he has a toy that he really likes he still insists that his daddy gave it to him and then asks where his daddy is. So, right now, you're thinking, "I'm not a parent and I'm not married." But you know what? That doesn't matter (and you may someday), my point is the same. Suicide never occurs in a vacuum. Whether it is your friends or family, they will come apart and hurt in the same sad way as I do.

All of the responses above have given you the best advice. Here's my advice:

Stop feeling sorry for yourself and go see a doctor, silly.

Yeah yeah, I know. You're thinking that you don't want to have to talk about this embarrassing personal pain in some strange office with some doctor or health professional who doesn't know you. But think about this, if you had cancer, wouldn't you fight it? Mental illness can be just as deadly as cancer if left untreated.

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