It’s been a rough six months. I’ve lost so much, learned things I think I would have been happier not knowing, and struggled to keep my head (barely) above water. This week has been particularly challenging with old pains rearing their ugly heads and an attempt at politely pointing out a supposed friend’s cis and hetero sexism blowing up in my face. I have been left wondering if I have a place at the movements I support and love, and I feel like I am letting people down left and right. This week I feel like I am under siege, with no food, water or relief in sight.
I would be lying if the easy path did not appeal, any of the easy paths really, but I am talking about one in particular. Some nights, with my anxiety gripping my chest like a psychotic miser on his purse strings, I close my eyes and secretly hope they don’t open back up. I get over it, but it is not always easy. Doing this, writing, about anything, helps, more than I think most can understand, but it does not make it go away, not entirely.
I don’t give in though, and not because I am afraid. Why be afraid of something that is going to happen anyway? No I don’t give in because that way closes off all other paths. I don’t give in because my life is not my own, not entirely. None of our lives are. We belong to the people we love and who love us in return as well. Sure we are our own first and foremost, but we cannot ignore others’ claims to us. Taking that final ride means consequences for the others that I have built relationships with.
Which is why it makes me so angry when other people try to check out early, especially those I love. I have felt so much real pain, real hopelessness, real oppression as a trans woman. I have had to deal with being in this suck-hole of gender limbo and the way it threatens my safety, makes finding meaningful work difficult, the way it makes finding a real romantic connection near impossible for so long and sometimes it feels like it will never get better and these challenges aren’t just in my head. Still, I face them, I let it hurt and if I cannot find a way to turn that hurt into something creative and positive I at least don’t let it completely rule me. So when you, in a modern world where information is widely available about depression, are so ready to give in, it offends me.
And I am sorry, I know that is being ableist, and I also understand where you are coming from, because I have dealt with legitimate depression as well, and yes, hypocrite that I am, I came oh so close to punching my own ticket (yes, I am experimenting with how many euphemisms for the act I can squeeze into one article.) Help is there though, if not from family, and it is frustrating to think about those that DO have real family support and walk away from it, then from professionals. Help is just a 911 call away if you are thinking of hurting yourself or others.
Because, all respect to Johnny Mandel and Mike Altman, suicide is not painless, though it’s act does bring many changes. It brings changes for families left wondering what they could have done different. It leaves children feeling abandoned. It leaves us feeling like we were not worth fighting for. None of us is alone in the world, and as with every other act, this one has consequences, even if you aren’t going to be around to face them.