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avatar falling for me – stepping away from the ledge

(I would like to preface this post by saying that a portion was originally written a while ago right after my neighbor/acquaintance committed suicide, but I wanted to “re-post” the portion about myself after speaking with my friend Victoria.)

i spoke with a dear friend yesterday who told me that her best friend’s daughter committed suicide. 38 with two kids. she dropped her kids off at school, came home, and hung herself. and i can’t remember who found her, because at that point i was sitting with my hand over my mouth catching the tears. from what i gathered, she had a good life, along with a deep depression that stayed with her since she was a teenager. she was on medication and apparently, although i’m not 100% sure, she was getting off one anti-depressant and going onto another, and she was unaware that there would be some awful horrific moments in between the weaning off of one, and the adjusting to the other.

she just couldn’t bare it anymore.

i hope this helps someone – even one person – who feels sad, or desperate, or ashamed, or fearful, or doubtful, or worried, or scared, or unfulfilled or frightened or lost or unlovable or unlikable or alone:

a friend of sorts (more like an acquaintance) committed suicide recently. a neighbor. he lived a very honest & true life, he was gay & very open & very loving, and he created a very successful business. he had a great passion for community, in the true sense of the word. he was loved by many and loved many in return.

and when he couldn’t bare it anymore, he took his own life.

i wonder about that moment: you know, the one that makes you GO THROUGH WITH IT. swallow the pills, pull the trigger, hang yourself? what point do you reach, one that feels so intensely weighed down with no end in sight. is it fear and doubt that creeps in and finds a home? is it a secret that is buried for so long and then makes it’s way out into the world, is it the weight of unbearable? is it an illness that grabs hold and begins to ravage you and you think, no more… no more, on my terms now. is it just that life feels so overwhelming, the bills pile up, the debt is mounting, the phone doesn’t stop, the race will never be won, there is no light at the end of the tunnel?

what is it that makes you stop and say, no, time to go. i can’t anymore.

i had some fierce days not so long ago. weaning myself off anti-depressants was horrific at best. HORRIFIC. my god, a wrong dosage can throw you into a major spin and not let go. it’s painful and frightening and ‘crazy’ isn’t a big enough a word to describe the rollercoaster ride. i felt as if i couldn’t take it anymore. i went to the local hampton inn, and booked a room, and sat in that room wondering how ken would survive without me. i replayed all and every scenario in my mind. and i realized that ken was the type who would mourn for a month or two, but then he would need to be with a woman. he would. that’s who ken is. and i don’t fault him for that. i personally would want a huge amount of alone time, like months and months and months. maybe even years. but not my ken. he likes the company, and he’s such a treat and such a good man, he shouldn’t be alone. and that would be his choice. i racked my brain thinking, who who who… and when none came up that i would find suitable as an “amy” replacement, i gave up on the whole idea. fuck it i thought, and then then then… one person came to mind (these are available women, not women with partners/spouses/wives/husbands): liz randol. she is truly the cats meow. sexy, funny, smart, gorgeous, vibrant, edgy … a dream girl. whew. that’s one less thing to worry about. but then i started thinking of other friends who are available, marcia, and claire … and i decided that this was too much, it was making me even crazier. thinking of single woman for my husband.

i sat there and i thought awful thoughts, bad thoughts … suicidal thoughts. i felt like i had no control. but and this is a big huge but, i also knew deep in my soul, that no, no… i didn’t really want to die. i just wanted the pain, the suffering to die, to go away. this was not an unfamiliar feeling… i had it many times before. feelings of sadness, of unworthiness, the black holes. the big bad black holes, but mine always, always, with a tint of grey.

and, i wonder now, what is it, that moment when it goes completely black. no hope, no belief, no way out. do we really think that life would be better without us? do we really believe that folks wouldn’t miss us like crazy and somewhere in their soul blame themselves for something unsaid, undone, misconstrued. i am all for people choosing how they die. i am. i think it’s the most important part of life — the end — everything we do is about that last moment. it is. it all comes down to who you are at the end of your life. it says everything about you. were you kind? loving? generous? greedy? selfish? nasty? cruel? unforgiving? vibrant? spiritual? god fearing? mean spirited? will you be alone at the end of your life? will there be friends and family talking about you with great appreciation AND LOVE? will it be SRO at the church, the synagogue, the buddhist community center, the shrine, the temple, the mosque…?

as i sat on the edge of the bed at the hampton inn, thinking about my life, i thought about my friend jeannie who had died of cancer. she loved life. she ate life. she could make anyone feel like they swallowed the sun. she wanted for nothing, and didn’t have much in terms of materially, wealth, you know stuff.. things. but… she had a partner who loved her like crazy, a swell house, a small business she poured everything into because she loved what she did. she had friends, and family and died much too young. she was diagnosed with lung cancer and i don’t know, a month, five weeks later, she was dead. i thought about her as i sat there feeling so blue and sad and scared and disconnected and i remembered her saying that she loved her life even when it was unbearable.

i wanted that.

i didn’t want to die.

i wanted to love my life even when it was unbearable. i got up from the edge of the bed and decided to try and fall in love with myself.

so, i drove home, and yes, the unbearable stayed for a while. it took up residence. and slowly i am falling for me. slowly. surely. some days are better than others. i mean, it’s like any and every relationship, some days i think i’m the cats meow, others not so much.

but as i sit here today i am reminded of that hotel room on that evening not so long ago, my head throbbing from so many thoughts & fears & doubts & worries, filled with the should i & could i & what ifs. and my god, i could understand the weight of the pain & torment that runs through our hearts & bodies when we are so very scared, so very confused. and i wonder, could a word have made a difference? an action? a smile? a hug? a kiss? a phone call?

yes, for some, it does matter.

for some, maybe not.

i often felt so ashamed about my sadness and darkness, and self-doubt, but i know now – right now, this minute – it’s a life saver because someone else needs to know that they are not alone in that darkness, in that unbearable darkness.

while we’re here, while we have each other, while we’re touchable and kissable and huggable and lovable, we ought to let everyone & anyone know they are not alone.

period.

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Category: Uncategorized 7 comments »

7 Responses to “falling for me – stepping away from the ledge”

  1. avatar
    kristine

    As a kid I lived with the threat of suicide. It seemed to be an option for grief and pain. As an adult I still live with the threat of suicide…someone I love not being able to bear the pain, the loneliness, the ceaseless yearning for something different. I too have entertained the option…I think that happens to kids affected by suicide. What I find though in those darkest moments are memories of lighter ones. It’s the lighter ones, the dear, unforgettable lighter ones that bring me back and offer a shred of hope in that darkness to hold on to. That, and the voice of someone who cares.

  2. avatar
    Madge Woods

    Death is all around me this week. Some choosing to die with cancer than be treated anymore and some young and wanting to stay for their children even though death is upon them. Remember the most important part of one’s death is the dash between the dates. Between birth and death is where life sits so think about your – (dash) and let joy and peace in.
    Sorry Amy you were in such a dark place. I used to be there (not ever wanting to kill myself) but choosing the right anti-depressant worked. I can’t engender hopelessness ever now and it suits me just fine. I hope you find that place in the dash.

  3. avatar
    Amy Ferris

    madge:
    i have found that dash in between.
    thank you for your gorgeous words, as always!
    i adore you.

  4. avatar
    spring Warren

    I used to think that feeling like you couldn’t bear it anymore was rare. When I was young with a ruinous marriage and an infant child and felt like even my child would be better off without me, and I, myself, would certainly be better off without me, it also seemed shameful. Now I think many people, perhaps even most people seriously, seriously at some point, or many points in their lives think they can’t bear it anymore. Life is painful, brain chemistry is fickle, and shame doesn’t help the situation at all. I am so glad that dark time passed for you, Amy, and glad that people can talk about these feelings, it can only help.

  5. avatar
    Hollye Dexter

    oh Amy. You did it.
    You talked about the Hampton Inn.
    I am so proud of you. You have just given voice to the fear in countless women and men’s hearts…you have no idea how your courage heals others.
    This is a beautiful piece. I’m sorry you had to write it, but glad you did.
    With great love and admiration….

  6. avatar
    Barbara@TheMiddleAges

    I echo the words in your comments: it’s terrible that you had to go through this but wonderful that you can (and did) write about it.

    The mother of my daughter’s best friend committed suicide and this girl (at 14) had to find her mother dead from an overdose. We all wonder over and over if we could have done something to prevent it, if things could have been different, if only… But her circumstances were much like your friend’s daughter.

    I dearly hope that these rising voices like yours will reach these people who are at the ends of their ropes (literally and figuratively) and remind them that tomorrow it might not be so bad…

  7. avatar
    Linda tears

    Amy – You are a life-saver – your willingness to put it out there saves lives…thank you


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