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Jul 19, 2010

Perfect Demons, Perfect Life

As someone who has fought demons for most of her life, I can understand how, and why life can get too hard, and how the urge to end it all can be overpowering.

For me personally, attempting suicide was one of the best things I ever did. I know, I know, it seems completely irrational, but for me, trying to end my life showed me how much I really loved life and wanted it. This lesson was reiterated in the years that have followed my diagnosis: everything gains so much more meaning when you are ill.

But regardless, it is not something I would recommend for anyone else: it is the hard way to learn, and it causes terrible distress to those whom love you.

And they do love you. Maybe not the people you want the most to care: but they care just as passionately, just as deeply, and are just as important as those people. They want you to stay, and will be desperately sad if you go. They will miss you. 

There is no shame in wanting the pain to end, either, I think. When you have had so much trauma, so much crap and negative stuff crammed into a life, it has to come out somewhere. Society doesn't like sadness or pain, and any direct expression of those things are frowned upon. Want to kill yourself? Society says chin up! Cheer up! Move on! If you actually go through with it? Hellfire and brimstone!  Your name will be whispered as "poor such and such", or not mentioned at all. That to me is an absolute tragedy and a cruel and horrible thing to do to those already tortured by life, tortured enough to end their lives.

The point is that in our society, in nearly every society, it is considered a shameful thing to admit that you hurt: that life is all too much pain. It is considered a weak thing to seek help. In society's race to beat the Jones, to be better and ever more perfect, it crushes those that cannot keep up due to no fault of their own. 

The facts are that it is not a shameful thing to admit to pain and hurt, or a weak thing to seek help. It is a far, far stronger thing to face your pain, and hurt. It is a far, far stronger thing to seek help. If you are in pain, acknowledge it. If you are hurt, acknowledge it. And more importantly, don't stop looking for help until you get it. Ignore those that tell you to get over it. Scream and bang at the door until they let you in.

There are still days where I am ready to give up and give in to the voices in my head. But they are few and far between. My depressive, "low" days still exist: and will probably always exist. I still have days, if not weeks, where I cannot handle anything. And that is ok. It is ok, because I acknowledge them, because I recognise that to heal, I have to get the hurt out first, and accept that I am innately imperfect, and that I will never achieve society's expectations of me.

One day at time, I will get there: I will become whole again, regardless of how many set backs may come my way, and have already come my way. But I will be my version of whole, not what society expects.

To the others that read my blog and have demons of your own, remember that you are not alone. Remember that help does exist, and that you can, and will, find it.

Congratulations!  You're not perfect!  It's ridiculous to want to be perfect anyway.  But then, everybody's ridiculous sometimes, except perfect people.  You know what perfect is?  Perfect is not eating or drinking or talking or moving a muscle or making even the teensiest mistake.  Perfect is never doing anything wrong - which means never doing anything at all.  Perfect is boring!  So you're not perfect!  Wonderful!  Have fun!  Eat things that give you bad breath!  Trip over your own shoelaces!  Laugh!  Let somebody else laugh at you!  Perfect people never do any of those things.  All they do is sit around and sip weak tea and think about how perfect they are.  But they're really not one-hundred-percent perfect anyway.  You should see them when they get the hiccups!  Phooey!  Who needs 'em?  You can drink pickle juice and imitate gorillas and do silly dances and sing stupid songs and wear funny hats and be as imperfect as you please and still be a good person.  Good people are hard to find nowadays.  And they're a lot more fun than perfect people any day of the week.  
~Stephen Manes, Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days!~



Jo said...

As usual, you hit the nail on the head. It is essential to keep reaching out when you are hurting. But, it sure is hard to do so.

I lost a cousin to suicide when he was 16. To this day, I can't imagine what sort of pain he must have been enduring to do such a thing. I know my aunt and uncle and his brothers and sisters will never be the same because of his choice. And yet, I cannot bring myself to imagine that, after all of that, God's reaction would be "to hell with you!" It just doesn't make sense to me.

IF there is a loving God, he would never send one of his children, especially one who is hurting so much that he can't bear to live any longer, into Hell.

I wish I had known what my cousin was feeling, I wish I had said something to help him. But he lives an entire world away, and I never knew.

BTW -- I love, love, love the quote about perfection. So true, so wonderful. Love it.


Laura said...

This is a great post. It is so freeing when people can be honest with each other about how they feel. I'm really glad you didn't die; even though I only know you online, reading your blog enriches my life.

And I love the quote about perfection, too.

Susan said...

Bless you. Only someone who has been through the pain understands what it is like. Great post.

Chelle said...

This is a beautiful post. As someone who has been there, I can relate to all of this. It wasn't until I had PPD that I realized seeking help or being on antidepressants wasn't a sign of weakness, and it wasn't by any fault of my own, but rather my biology that I occassional have bouts of depression. My doctor told me that depression is no different than high cholestorol or diabetes. They are all illnesses, and as in my case, hereditary.

A good friend of mine once asked me how we know this world isn't hell? Sometimes, I think it is. And sometimes, I think hell can't be worse than the battles we fight here.

You're right, a strong person is the one who seeks help for depression. They aren't weak because they can't fight it on their own. We aren't any weaker than someone on insulin or beta blockers.

Miss Ruby said...

Only those who have been to that dark place, right to the very edge can even begin to grasp or understand the full meaning and power behind this post - unfortunately I can.


jrs said...

thanks for sharing that "perfect" paragraph, I'd say it was perfect, but I'm sure it wasn't :)

thank you for sharing your perspectives and life experiences.

Anonymous said...

Good post. I have a friend who has attempted it several times, has bouts of self injury, and has an eating disorder. She is a very cool person, too, and I am glad that she is able to vent about her problems. She seems to be doing better for quite a while now, maybe because she does talk about things more to more people. She has also gotten professional help and it really is a good thing.

A cousin of mine also attempted suicide once in Jr. High. His parents still don't know, but fortunately he is no longer depressed. I never knew until years later and was so glad he didn't go thru with it.

I went through a period myself where life was so painful and miserable that it just seemed logical to me that it would be best if a drunk driver just hit me and I could go instantly, and a drunk driver would be taken off the streets, doing some good to the world. I never made plans, but I wished every day that it would happen. It took me months to realize that qualified as suicidal. Shortly after my life started getting back together I WAS in a car accident that was not my fault and that made me realize just how much I wanted to be alive. So I know what you mean, Jo, by saying attempting was one of the best things you ever did.

Oddly, when you are in that state of mind, you feel like it would be best for everyone if you just disappeared, but I have NEVER felt anything but sadness at the thought of someone I know doing it to themselves. Sometimes it's easier to love other people, but we are worthy of love too. And HAPPINESS! Which is possible! Like the song says, "If you're going thru hell, keep on going', you just might make it out before the devil even knows you're there."

Terry Elisabeth said...

Cheers to you and your powerful post.
Wanting to die and planning for it was what woke me up. I didn't attempt anything, it was a battle all the time between my suicidal thoughts and my other thoughts about clinging to life. But the planning ? I realized I needed help.
We really need to talk more about our pain. Thank you for your comment on my blog.
Happy ICLW

Jenny said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. Although I've never been in that same situation, I think I do understand where you're coming from. Sometimes a really terrible experience is the way we can learn so much about what life means to us and what truly matters. All things do work together for good.


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