November 30, 2009
A friend invited me to a Thanksgiving “Orphans” dinner this past Thursday. It was really wonderful. We ate, drank and played some games. Even though it was a joyous occasion, I can never seem to escape being reminded of some random topic in my life that don’t need reminding. We played a game called “If,” where we are supposed to complete “If” statements, such as “If you were to become an animal, you’d be….” Some statements were more strange than others, with one being “If you had to kill someone, your method would be…” Upon hearing this sentence, someone shouts, “Let’s make it a little darker. How would you kill yourself?”
People actually started pondering and responding to this question, even talking about where one would need to shoot oneself in order to die instantly (this person was a doctor). Another pointed out how men tend to complete more suicides and that more women tend to choose taking pills as the preferred method. Someone then adds, “that’s because women don’t really mean it.”
I don’t know if it was inappropriate for someone to bring this topic up, but it was hard for me to sit there while people so casually talked about suicide. The thing is, it’s not that hard for me to think about the methods without someone having to bring it up. By discussing this topic, it only gives me more ideas. I don’t know if this is always the case, but once you’ve gone through something like this, you can never act as if you’ve never thought of it; thinking about suicide and death is always going to be a part of me, or at least very close to me.
It was especially uncomfortable when one commented about how women don’t really mean it when they’re attempting suicide. How in the world would he know that? When I made my attempt, I meant every bit of it. I think it also saddened me to realize some people’s views on those who make an attempt. Whether they picked a “successful” form is another matter. The fact that someone went through just the actions of carrying out a suicide means that the person was carrying an insurmountable amount of pain that I’m not sure can be expressed accurately to those who’ve never been in such position. It’s an ache, a sadness that overwhelms me even as I think about it now.
I really did have a great time at this Thanksgiving gathering, but the lingering thoughts from that dinner isn’t just about the lovely evening I had with friends. I’ve yet to be able to have this topic of suicide leave my mind, and I don’t know if it’ll go away anytime soon. Again, I don’t necessarily think it was a bad thing to have this subject brought up since it could use some public recognition, but it’s never easy to have to rethink what suicide means in your own life.
April 2, 2009
It is the second day of April, and night has come. The rain’s been pouring on and off since the late afternoon.
My weekly session with the wonderful psychiatrist, Dr. A, was today. Among the many things we discussed in the hour-long session, there is one topic that is still on my mind and probably will be for the rest of this month. I told her just how much I could not believe it’s already April. Where did a third of a whole year already pass by? (Well, going through ECT would be the answer in my case.) The significance to most people about this time of the year is that there’s the tax deadline. But for me, the month of April is more than just the time to file your taxes. In fact, the tax day is also my birthday.
I wasn’t supposed to be alive on this month. In November, my plan was to not have any plans by the time I would be reaching this birthday month. I meant for me to be dead by this point. But here I am. It’s April, and I’m still alive.
I felt the tears welling up as I began speaking about it. A life that was not meant to be is still here. Had it not been for the ECT, I highly doubt that I would have made it this far, or maybe into 2009 at all. To be brutally honest, I am not ready to declare decisively that I am absolutely glad the plan didn’t work out, and maybe that conflict may never go out of my head. But at the same time, I will say that I felt like I had been given something that I did not deserve to have. The tears weren’t so much from this internal conflict, but rather, a sense of relief and– dare I say it –a bit of joy.
This day is coming to a close, and the tears start to fill up again as I think about then and now. I’ve made it through another day. The rain seems to still be coming down all across the city. Well, April showers bring May flowers, right? For now, I’ll take it one day at a time, but I wouldn’t mind seeing those flowers.
January 11, 2009
Countdown to Obama Inauguration: 9 Days
No reason to countdown to the AFC Championship game anymore. Now that the Titans are out, I’m counting on you, Eli Manning, to see a team I care about in the Super Bowl.
I watched some Saturday Night Live and found myself laughing out loud. As I soaked in that welcome emotion, I began to wonder, if I can lose my memory about events, won’t I be losing my memory of the feelings I felt during those events?
One of the goals of ECT is for my recurrent thoughts of suicide to dissipate. That prospect of such amazing evaporation, in a way, is tied to that main side effect of ECT: memory loss. I am well aware of the likelihood that I won’t be able to recall some events that has happened or will happen during the treatment. Even though I may not remember that the Obama Inauguration happened, I will be able to DVR it or read about it once the cloud of confusion lifts. Things that have happened can be retold to me by others. But what about the thoughts that I had about those moments, or those intensely personal thoughts that I never wrote down or told anyone? It’s one thing to forget events; it’s another to forget your own insight. No one archives our deepest feelings in a catalog which could opened after ECT.
I would be okay with losing the memory of watching Obama’s acceptance speech on Election Day. But if the emotions I experienced on that day become unable to be retrieved from my head, that would be such a loss to me.