I just wrote all of this, and then I crashed Microsoft Word and LOST.THE.WHOLE.THING. So here is round two. Let’s hope I’m as smart as I was twenty minutes ago.
I was going to hold off writing this until suicide prevention month but then two things crossed my mind:
1. If there is anyone else out there going through what I have then I don’t want to wait to talk abut this.
2. If there is anyone reading this who is thinking, “suicided is going to help my loved ones, they will be better without me,” I want to tell you YOU ARE WRONG. In fact, it’s been EIGHTEEN YEARS, since my father killed himself and I’m still impacted by it. You are not doing a good thing, you are not making your loved ones life easier, you are not helping anyone. In fact, in the end, there is a good chance your loved ones will end up really really pissed off at you. I wouldn’t give up my husband and kids for anything, but there are a lot, A LOT of moments in my life that sucked, that I can look back and say with certainty would never have happened had I never been involved in a suicide. There are things I did at school, trust issues I have, things I’ve done to my family, people I’ve let walk on me and stuff that I’ve experimented with that looking back at my life I wish I hadn’t. So please, read this and take a moment to learn what, in my experience suicide does to your family, to your loved ones, to the life you are leaving behind, and then maybe think again before making the choice you are about to make.
I was twelve when my father killed himself. That is young. That is a very impressionable age. Eighteen years later I can say that I kind of wish I never knew. I wish people lied to me until I was older, old enough to say, “meh, really he killed himself, gee I never knew.” Instead of being that young and doing every single thing wrong beginning the day I found out. When you are twelve you don’t fully understand loss. What you do understand is that people are suddenly really nice to you. As a kid I learned that the boy I had a crush on was nicer to me for an entire week because my dad had died. I learned that the mean girls were nice for a few days, and I learned that people around me were saying, “go easy on her, she just lost her dad.” Not every twelve year old would react like me, but my reaction?
I CAN GET IN AS MUCH TROUBLE AS I WANT TO NOW BECAUSE NO ONE IS REALLY GOING TO GET MAD AT ME.
Can you see the flaw in that thought? I was never grounded, I never really got in trouble, teachers walked on egg shells around me and I spent years thinking I never had to be accountable for my actions. I made horrible life decisions, acted radically, was mean and pushy and a stuck up little brat. Why? Because my dad killed himself and who was going to dare argue with me.
Having someone commit suicide in your family, and then listening to the whispers makes you start to wonder, “he was my dad, he was crazy I must be crazy too.” I’ll never know why but I do know that my coping mechanism was to embrace that. It made me WANT to be crazy because obviously it was my legacy. If I got dumped I over reacted and publicly cried and acted like an idiot because that is what someone “like me” should do. If my friends did something I didn’t like I was horrible to them until I got my way, or until they felt sorry enough for what they had done. I was a horrible friend OFTEN.
Let’s talk about the biggest impacts suicide had on me.
The first one I only discovered recently while talking with my husband. After talking to him about it, I recognize a pattern in every relationship I’ve ever had. In order for you to understand you should know the one biggest thing that happened first. One month before my dad successfully killed himself he had a failed attempt. My family chose to tell me. When he got out of the hospital he called me and this is what he said, “I will never do that to you again, I love you princess, I PROMISE I will never do that again, I am so sorry.”
Like any eleven year old (He tried it within a week of my birthday) I believed him.
One month later he was dead.
Because of this I’ve always found it very hard to believe someone could love me. This is a nasty cycle though because before they could love me, I would get so consumed in being loved that I would try every stupid thing to make people love me. Because I craved love, from guys. I didn’t realize it until years later that I was trying to fill a void, trying to convince myself I was capable of being loved. It wasn’t until a year ago that I found myself saying out loud, “My own dad didn’t love me enough to stay alive, what did I do wrong to deserve that.” On the off chance I convinced a guy to love me I spent the rest of the time doing two things:
1. Thinking they were cheating on me, or just about to leave me because in my mind, someone had already broken a huge promise to me, and I just couldn’t believe that I was really able to be loved, because if so then why wasn’t my dad still alive?
2. I would destroy the relationship. So, while I was spending half of my time convinced they would leave me, I was spending the other half of my time giving them a reason to. I would cheat on them, or just be obnoxious, or accuse them of cheating, or not caring enough. Because when it all boiled down, as much as I wanted to be loved I was happier when the relationship ended.
Why was I happier? Because it proved me right. “I knew you never really loved me,” became a comfortable place to be. While half of my body was dying to be loved, the other half already knew that no one loved anyone forever, guys broke promises and relationships ALWAYS END. I was cute in high school, guys liked me, that meant sadly, there was never a shortage of guys to torment me as I turned around and tormented them right back. Each serious relationship would end and the first thing that always came to mind was suicide. Because when you are young it doesn’t occur to you that a high school breakup after a month is probably not serious enough to warrant a night of crying let alone a suicide. But when your father has killed himself, it becomes a logical and rational response to a child.
I’ve been with my husband for ten years. He has more patience then God to deal with me. It doesn’t matter that he’s never cheated on me, that he never will, that in my mind I KNOW HE WILL NEVER CHEAT ON ME, that doesn’t mean that the little girl in me doesn’t spend every day waiting for the other shoe to drop. I expect him to find someone less crazy, or someone who loads the dishwasher right, or who has a devout love of folding laundry. I’m honest with him and have admitted that when he goes to the gym there are times I’ve used the Find My Phone ap to see if he was really there. Then I’ve even admitted that my head is so fucked up I’m sure he drove to the gym, dropped off his car and his phone and got in the car with a girl and left so that when I checked it would say he was at the gym.
MY GOD IMAGINE LIVING WITH ME.
But, there is a reason I married him and one big reason is that my husband has always let me be as crazy as I want to be. He’s listened to me, he talks to me and he understands that after what happened in my life, at such a young age it is hard to believe that something is really going to go right in my life. I’ve taken him to my counselor before where I admitted that I don’t believe my husband can love me. I have so many flaws. I don’t love me. I mean, how can I love me if my own dad couldn’t love me. How can my husband love me when my own blood couldn’t? But alas, my husband just shakes his head, tells me I’m crazy and gives me a hug letting me know it’s all going to be alright. I can’t tell you how hard I’ve pushed him away. Before our wedding, in fact the night before I almost ran away. I didn’t believe that I was getting married. I didn’t believe that someone could want to be married for life. I was going to leave, not show up. But that same night, after dinner, with no inkling I was going to run he looked at me in a parking lot and said, “We don’t have to get married, I just want to take care of you, that’s all I want.” Those words were enough to convince me to marry him, and boy am I glad I did, but that doesn’t mean I don’t make life hard on him every day. After all, I will never load the dishwasher his way.
When someone so close to you kills them self after PROMISING they won’t you start to expect the worst. The worst becomes a happy place. When the worst doesn’t happen it is confusing. It’s almost impossible to understand. Happiness becomes an uncomfortable place to live. So you self destruct. You find ways to get in trouble. You find ways to make life hard. You search for depression and let it envelope you in because it’s all you know and it’s comfy, like hot cocoa and peppermint schnapps on a cold day. It’s hard living life like that. It’s hard waking up every day waiting for the other shoe to drop. It is a strange existence to live in a world where happiness is hard, and when bad things finally happen it feels like a relief. Like you can breath again. I’m the kind of person who used to do homework and then not even turn it in. I would do it because I knew I could, but I wouldn’t turn it in because I knew it would get me in trouble, and after a while I was more comfortable when I was in trouble. When I met my husband he never yelled at me. He never got mad at me. I couldn’t handle it. I remember fighting with him on the porch of his house once, and he would just get silent and want to walk away and all I could think is, “Please start yelling at me I would rather have you yelling and mad then walking away from me.” Then he would yell, and I would cry but it was soooo much better then watching someone walk away, even if it was just to take time to cool down.
I started to expect that everyone around me was going to kill themselves. I remember my mom and my step dad (who I refer to only as step dad in this story, I always refer to him as my dad) got in a fight. She went to bed but he went outside. Twenty minutes passed and panic filled me. This was a long time ago because we still had the hot tub out back. I went out back, and looked for him. I didn’t see him. The cover was still on the hot tub. I just knew he had killed himself. I had visions of him in the hot tub, with the cover on floating there dead. Because to me, killing yourself after a fight was logical. I panicked around my room for about five minutes before he came in. He must have been sitting up on the hill in a shadow where I couldn’t see him, but he saw me, and he must have known exactly what I was thinking because he came in my room and told me he was sorry he had worried me and that he was going to bed.
It’s horrible that a girl should think like that. It’s a hard terrible life worrying that I’m going to walk into a room and find a dead person. It’s horrible to assume that any time I upset anyone they would just kill themselves.
Suicide makes loving other people impossible. Since I knew boyfriends would leave it was okay to love them because I knew the outcome. But other people in my life will find me very closed up. I hate hugging. It feels suffocating (my dad suffocated himself). I don’t like being touched. I don’t like people too close to me. I’m not affectionate. This is normal to me. Now imagine being the people in my life. Imagine being my family. Imagine being my mom or stepdad or grandma or cousin that I won’t hug. I’m not stupid, I know how hard that is for them. But I can’t change who I am, I can’t unlearn eighteen years of being closed off and I don’t know any better. So now, the suicide hasn’t only impacted me, it’s impacted the people around me. I’ve had people going through hard times in there life and no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t figure out how to go up to them and hug them and tell them it’s okay. That response is confusing to me. For some reason my husband has always been the exception to the hug rule. I love hugging him, always have. But other guys, would hug me for just a second too long and I would panic, start saying I couldn’t breath, and freak out. When someone does that your natural response is to hug them more, which would put me in hysterics, in tears and otherwise totally freaking the fuck out. THIS ISN’T NORMAL BEHAVIOR. My husband knows about it though. He’s seen someone come up to me and want a hug and he’s watched me back away and try to get out of it. He’s even spoken up before and said, “she doesn’t like hugs,” hoping they would stop, and when they replied, “but it’s okay it’s me,” and kept hugging me he’s gotten in the way before, stopped them, gently pushed them away and loudly said, “NO SHE DOES NOT LIKE HUGS.” How do you tell people that? How do you tell someone you’re so fucked up you can’t even hug?
How do you explain to people all of your irrational fears? I’m afraid of everything, of the whole world. I’m terrified my kids will die. I’m afraid my new puppy will die (because shocker, my last one got ran over and it was MY FAULT), I’m afraid the world is going to end in a few short months. How do you admit that sometimes I’m afraid to love my kids all the way because maybe it will hurt less when they die? These aren’t normal thoughts that normal people have?
On top of all of my own irrationalities I have to deal with those around me. My dads family who refused to believe that even though he threatened suicide millions of times before that he actually killed himself. Instead every time I see them I have to hear about how he must have been murdered. I’ve heard so many murder theories I even believed them for a while. But that’s not real life, this isn’t a book and he really did kill himself. Do you know how hard it was to visit his mom, my grandma every week and watch her struggle between wanting to love me because I was the only thing she had left of him, and not be able to look at me because I looked too much like him? Do you know what it did to me watching my favorite grandma become a shell of herself because her little boy was dead. Knowing that she didn’t feel like me, she didn’t think he didn’t love her enough, that instead she blamed herself, thinking she didn’t love him enough, didn’t give him enough, didn’t bail him out enough, didn’t go bankrupt enough trying to save him? It made family functions intolerable. It made his brother and sister feel less loved. No matter what, no matter how alive they were my grandma still lost my dad and they would never be enough to make her whole again. I learned how to put a wall up the very best from my grandma.
I also have a brother and a sister. Did you know that my dear blog readers? It’s true. They are eighteen and twenty one now. They don’t know me. Because another thing that comes with suicide is that stigma of bad genes. They don’t know their dad killed himself. They think he just died. They don’t know it’s in their blood to be crazy. They don’t know any of the things I know. But their mom does, and because she never wanted them to find out she took them away.
Do the math, I didn’t just lose one person that day, I lost 4, a father, a brother, a sister and a grandma. The hurt it has caused me over the years knowing my step mom harbored such hate for my dad that it bounced off to me has sucked. It sucked when I finally reached out to them sixteen years later and was refused. It hurt all over again. It makes you feel like you must really be a pretty bad person if you can’t even see your own brother and sister.
Suicide will probably never stop effecting me. I will always have these irrational fears. I’ve tried counseling so many times. I’ve tried medication. I’ve tried drugs. I’ve tried alcohol, but none of it has ever covered up the fact that my dad didn’t love me enough to live. I go out of my way to keep friends. I go to far sometimes. Even when they are visibly walking on me I still keep trying because I don’t want to lose them. I have one very close friend in my life, who has been my friend since 3rd grade who has watched it happen. Who has seen me get walked on and watched as I kept trying to please them, make them happy, do anything to keep them from leaving. She is the only one whose ever been brave enough to tell me someone is treating me like shit. While I almost NEVER listened to her I loved knowing that she cared enough to tell me, to pay attention, and to try and stop it.
I’ll never stop wondering what my life could have been. Would I still have been diagnosed bi polar, manic depressive with border line personality disorder? Would I have had postpartum depression as badly as I did after Codi? Would I have dated less guys, studied harder, earned a degree, become a runner who took care of her body and went on to achieve amazing goals? Because it’s hard, it’s hard to love yourself, to lose weight, to care about school, to do anything really if you don’t love yourself. And it’s hard to love yourself when one of your very own flesh and blood parents couldn’t love you enough to stay alive. It’s hard to try and keep all of this in daily so that I don’t turn into a raging lunatic on a daily basis. It’s hard pretending I’m okay when I’m not. It’s hard writing about this and knowing that people in my real life will want to talk about it.
I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT.
I get angry now when people threaten suicide. How dare they. How dare they put that image into their childs head. How dare they play games with something so serious. How dare they re-open those fears and leave me sitting there a scared little girl again waiting for the next person to walk away. HOW DARE THEY!
I get even more mad when someone succeeds. WHY???? Were they so selfish that they didn’t think of what they were doing to those around them? Did they truly think they were going to make their loved one’s lives better? THEY DIDN’T. THEY DON’T. It’s selfish and it’s sickening and it ruins peoples lives. Unlike the person who died we don’t get to just check out of life, we are left here standing in the dust confused, unhappy and hating ourselves. Please, think next time you casually tell someone you want to kill yourself. Think next time you assume you’re doing people a favor. THINK before you ruin some ones life, because I’ll be honest, suicide ruined so many parts of my life that could have been amazing.
I thought for weeks about what to write in this entry. I took notes. I pre-wrote it in my head. The thing that kept stopping me was knowing that my family would read it and want to talk about it and after eighteen years I’ve talked about it enough. I’ve analyzed myself enough. I’ve broken myself down enough. I’ve felt bad for who I was for long enough. I finally decided to write about this though, for the people I haven’t talked this to. For readers who may be wondering why they hate hugs, or self destruct often, or push people away. I’m taking great faith this time that my family will leave it alone. That I won’t have to see that “look” on peoples faces. That I won’t have to talk about what I wrote and dissect it and make myself more frustrated then I already am. But I do offer this, for any readers out there who want to talk, who have questions for me, who need an ear I am here. I would love to talk about it with you. I would love to answer questions, help you, listen to you, anything. I wrote this post today for my blog readers. Not for the people in my every day life, but for the people who have stuck by this blog for almost six years and deserve to know why I sometimes don’t write, why I am sometimes an asshole and who deserve to know a little about who the author of this website really is.