Shopping for helium.

WARNING. If you suffer or have suffered from clinical depression and/or suicidal ideation, do not read this blog.
I fucking mean it.
Actual blog is in the comments.


One thought on “Shopping for helium.

  1. So last week a friend of mine killed himself. It was entirely out of the blue, though he’d suffered from depression since forever. Last time I spoke to him, he told me that he was doing “better than ever.” That was months ago.

    …and that signals the moment when I made his death about me. Everything circling around me. Should I have seen it coming? Did he sent any cryptic signals I missed? Did I do or say something wrong that pushed him? I posted an article about suicide rates in the trans community recently… Is it partly my fault?

    Because, obviously, the fact that I may or may not have to consider myself responsible is the important thing here, not that a man is dead. What a fabulous human being I am.

    It gets worse. He was one of us – one of several people I know who suffered with depression. He was highly functional with it. We all are. From a point of view that’s good, because lookitus, lookit how we’re managing to have perfectly good-ish lives despite our not-so-glorious struggle! From another point of view it sucks balls, because people, even doctors, use symptoms to judge the severity of your problems. For many, no symptoms = no problems. For a diagnosis of clinical depression, the good folks of the Mayo clinic tell me that “Your symptoms must be severe enough to cause noticeable problems in relationships with others or in day-to-day activities, such as work, school or social activities.” They hasten to add that “Symptoms may be based on your own feelings or on the observations of someone else.” Problem is that nobody sees the inside of anyone else’s head. Kinda hard to make the point that you’re really feeling so bad that you have no words to describe it when you’re getting on as normal, or perhaps even doing better than normal. Depression rates are high as hell in gifted people. Over-achievers are the opposite of immune.

    So yeah, you can try and tell people. You can tell people till you’re blue in the face, and they walk away from you because they’re fed up of hearing it. Because folk wisdom dictates that those who talk about suicide never do it, anyway. If they were really that way inclined, they’d have done so already. Because suicidal ideation (such a fancy name tag for the tabooest of taboos) obviously means that you’ve lost all your faculties, if you ever had them; that you’re weak or stupid or entirely incapable of rational thoughts or self-control. Or you talk about it just to gas. You couldn’t possibly be desperately trying to find a lifeline because you can see the edge of the chasm getting closer and closer, and it would be so much easier to let go than to hold on. So much easier.

    (Oh, did you know that if you call the Samaritans and tell them straight that you’re NOT suicidal, which obviously must be the truth because who the fuck would lie to a perfect stranger about something like that, they make you put the phone down? “Thank you for ringing us and please remember that you can ring us again if you need to talk.” “But I’m trying to talk to you now.” “Thank you for ringing us bye.” Ask me how I know. They do the same online, so you can read it again and again. Feels real good to be told you’re not worth speaking to unless you’re trying to off yourself. Cos you need that inducement, obvs. Do they gotta make quotas or something?)

    The other increasingly popular advice is that if someone tells you that they’re thinking about suicide you should report them straight up. If they’re lying to attract attention that’ll teach them. If they’re not, they’ll get the help they need. Because someone who’s desperately trying to keep their shit together really needs the fear of having all agency stripped away from them if they so much as mention it, because being imprisoned and having your brain fucked about without your consent and against your wishes is not anyone’s idea of a nightmare. Way to help encourage people to speak out.

    Meanwhile my friend is dead, and I can’t be mad at him for it, because I understand. I can’t be mad at him because I was ok before and now I’m not so sure. I can’t be mad at him for making me question my own recovery and wonder if he’s just the first down the hatch, if the Big D has started doing its rounds and is coming for us all. He was stronger and braver and smarter than me and he always did his best. If he can go, we all can go. Fuck it, that’s not it: if he can go, then I can go. So I’m not mad at him, but I’m still mad as hell.

    I muse about the impossibility of starting a blog or even a conversation with “When I suffered from clinical depression and suicidal ideation… No, not that time, the other time…” because those words will never work. The people who will get it don’t need my shit. They don’t need me to be the first domino to teeter. The people who won’t get it will tell me everything they need to believe about mental illness and life and desperation. Look at the bright side. But you’re doing so well! Have you tried taking supplements?

    And I KNOW that I should be thankful that they give a fuck, but I’m not. The weight of the suggestions I’m unable to take – because for fuck’s sake if that worked for me we wouldn’t be having this damn conversation; my brain is broken and trying to kill me, but I’m not stupid – is just another load I have to carry. Yeah, normal people can see a bright side. I vaguely remember that. It must be lovely for them. Yes, I am doing so well, but I feel fuck-awful and I don’t know if I want to take this anymore. But apparently that doesn’t matter to you or anyone else because you just seem me as the sum total of the services I provide for my fellow humans. And you can take your fucking supplements and shove them up your ass. Thank you.

    And I know that I’m being an asshole because most of us have a black dog at some point in our lives. I should want to listen to their experiences and their feeeeelings and rejoice in the common bond of humanity. But I have a black wolf that’s tearing my heart out right now and I’m kinda busy with my own shit and will you PLEASE STOP putting your shit onto me and trying to tell me that I should sort myself out because I’m trying, I’m trying so damn hard but it’s not going anywhere and I’m terrified and I can’t tell you because you’ll either not listen or you will. And neither thing will do any good.

    Fucking cry for help. As if I could cry and as if you could help.

    So we don’t talk about it. I have no idea right now sitting here how many of my friends are going through the same, or similar, because we don’t talk about it, because we can’t. I’m fine now (no, really, and please don’t ask me again, but thank you) and my life is Perfectly Manageable(TM) and I have no idea if this is recovery or a lull in the storm. Because my friend is dead now, so I have proof, actual proof, that it can happen to the best of us. And that scares me into a rage. Which is grand, because it affords people the opportunity to tell me that I shouldn’t be so angry all the time.


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