Suicide Is Painless

So admittedly. I didn't know who the hell [Charles Rocket][1] was until I read that he killed himself. Apparently he was on SNL during the really, really sucky years, after all the original "Not Yet Ready For Prime Time Players" had either died or sold out. And to be quite frank, I couldn't give a shit about his career. What interests me is his method of checking out.I mean, jesus, cutting your own throat. That takes some determination. This motherfucker didn't want sympathy, or hand-holding, or masturbatory therapy, he wanted the hell OUT, and he didn't fuck around about doing it. I have to admire that.It seems to be mostly male trait. If I were an actual journalist, instead of a foul-mouthed blogger with no credentials, integrity, or reputation, I would do the work to quote a bunch of statistics and shit right here. But I'm not, so I won't, and will make sweeping general statements instead. When men commit suicide, they commit suicide. There is rarely an "attempted" attached to the named act, they get the job done. They shoot themselves in the head. They slit their throats, or their forearms vertically. They jump off tall buildings. They hang themselves in secluded locations. They drive their cars off of overpasses. No ifs, ands, or buts, they go all Nike and just do it.Women, on the other hand, are the "attempters". They take a handful of pills and call a friend. They slit their wrists horizontally five minutes before their roommate walks through the door. They talk about it, and talk about it, and then when they're done talking they make a half-assed job of it, then when they get out of the mandatory 72-hour looney ward stay, they talk about it some more.Sometimes, though, we do a better job of it than we intended. Myself included.When I was nineteen years old, I was living with a 40-year-old hairstylist/bodybuilder/ violent alcoholic and his two teenage sons. Granted, he was awfully fucking hot for a man his age, but that's neither here nor there. I was rent-whoring, basically. As those gigs go, it wasn't the greatest, but it certainly wasn't the worst. I didn't have to blow his friends when he got drunk. I didn't take any beatings myself, although the memory of standing hunched in a corner while he beat his sons and not so much as saying "stop it" is one that still haunts my dreams and pops up when I'm feeling like a worthless piece of shit, to taunt me with corroborating evidence. At this time, I was at the lowest point of my life, really. This was the height/depth of my meth addiction. The discovery of said meth issue had recently given my dad a massive coronary, and I am nothing if not guilt-prone. If I left this older guy, I was on the street (okay, I could have moved back in with my parents, but truthfully, and through no fault of theirs, I would have rather lived under a dumpster. It's the FREEDOM thing, you know). I had either fucked over or otherwise alienated all of my friends, save a scant handful who would tolerate my presence for a night or so because they knew it would get them laid. I honestly and truly believed, in my fucked-up little teenaged worldview, that I was at a dead end, out of options, completely hopeless.So I attempted killing myself. It started out as a big Italian-opera "fuck you" to this guy, who had stayed out for the last 18 hours "dyeing this chick's hair". He'd taken all but five of his Vallium with him, so I took what was left. Then I sat at the kitchen table and made a big scene out of taking a couple of handfuls of Tylenol. When that was gone, I turned to my own prescription of Depakote, a drug given to those with bi-polar disorder (which I had been diagnosed with after describing my state(s) of mind over the past six months to the psychiatrist my parents insisted I see, conveniently leaving out the fact that enormous amounts of speed were being ingested at the time). I don't remember being carried into the hospital, but I do remember awakening on a gurney and realizing that I was in a tight dress that was way too short, and not wearing any underwear, and my period had started. Talk about humiliating. The next time I came to, a plastic tube was being shoved down my throat, the better to pump your stomach with, my dear. The next, I was shitting activated charcoal into a bedpan. All in all, I have had more glamorous adventures.See, the thing is, I didn't really want to die. I just wanted it all to go away for awhile. Okay, so that's what I told the shrinks, and it's true, to an extent. I did indeed want to check out, but not from life. Just from my life. I wanted to go to sleep and wake up and have everything fixed.The hilarious bit is, I did almost die. Turns out that overdoses of Depakote do horrendous amounts of damage to your liver. Same with Tylenol. One of my doctors told me that the single leading cause of "accidental" suicide among women was acetamtophine overdose. We swallow it thinking it's harmless as aspirin, when in fact it doesn't take much more than a therapeutic dose to truly fuck your organs up. The two in combination. . . .well, let's just say that the nurses who tended to me when I first woke up in the ICU were much nicer and more solicitous than they usually are when dealing with your average junkie-off-the-street-whose-hospitilization-is-their-own-stupid-fault (and yes, I do speak from experience). It was a close call. But it was also a major turning point. I spent two weeks in the psych ward, then another four in a residential rehab program at Lafayette House in Joplin, Mo. They sent me on my way with a job and an apartment and the beginnings of a clean life. Fuck it, despite a few relapses after I left, I owe them my life. After that overblown fiasco, for which I will never stop feeling ashamed of, things really did turn around. I just wish to hell that I had been an intelligent enough person to seek out that help on my own, instead of committing such a stupid and senseless act of abandon.Which is what it was. I was desperate, I was exhausted, I was disgusted with myself on such a deep level that I no longer considered the commitment of my entire being to be worth more than mattress space. I gave up, although not in the manner that most people think of suicide, or its attempt, as "giving up". I wasn't trying to give up my very life, but I was trying to give up governance of it. I had been doing a monumentally shitty job of managing it thus far; why shouldn't somebody else have a crack at it? They certainly couldn't fuck it up any more than I already have. That act of abandon was, perhaps, the bravest thing I've ever done. Too bad I had to make such a bungled melodrama out of it, and so badly hurt everyone I loved in the process.Over the years, I've played mother-confessor to many, many individuals professing suicidal intentions. Not a single goddamned one of them, myself included, really wanted to die. We wanted attention. We wanted someone to say, "Oh, poor baby, I'm so sorry. Here, let me fix that boo-boo for you." We wanted to hear why we shouldn't do it, why our lives are worth living, why we're worthy human beings deserving of good things.When people want to die, they do it. They do it quickly, and quietly, although not always cleanly. The people closest to them usually have no clear idea that this was coming. It's a shock, a scandal. You rarely hear about someone committing suicide after years of failed attempts, and if you do, I'll bet you good money that it was an accident.But the vast majority of people who say they want to die, don't really. It's not that they don't want to live, it's that they don't want to live their lives anymore. Sometimes it's a bunch of petty bullshit, but sometimes it's truly the only way they know how to call for help. Not waving, but drowning, but really, though, they're waving. Waving their fucking hearts out. Every now and then, though, you get the folks who are really drowning, and doing so of their own free will. I am pro-choice in every sense of the word. If you choose to take yourself out of the gene pool, that's your right, and fuck anyone who says differently. My own personal view of the cosmos tells me that you'll be back around to try and do this whole "life" thing better next time, but what do I know? I know this: when somebody who is not facing a painful death by disease or infirmity talks about killing themselves, what they're really saying is "Help me get out of this life and into one that I want to wake up to in the morning." If someone is saying this to you, then for god's sake, do what you can to point them in the right direction. If, however, somebody in your life ends up dead by their own hand, there is absolutely nothing to be gained by second-guessing your own failure to recognize their declination of second helpings at dinner as a desperate plea for aid. They, like the belated Charlie Rocket, really did want to die. In the end, we are all responsible for the products and end result of our own lives, and those of our children until they're out of our sphere of influence. If someone wants to call forfeit, that is their fucking right. If someone wants to ask for help getting their shit together. . . .well, I only hope that they're smarter about it than I was. [1]:


Aileen Dingus 17 years, 7 months ago

I read the first few paragraphs this morning, and thought I'd be sending a "way to go Misty! What a great way to start the day with a smile." (cuz I'm a sick fuck like that)

Then I read the rest, and damn. I still have the smile, but it's different, more wry. A "Yeah- I've been there" smile.

It made me realise how far I've come.


Way to go Misty! What a great way to start the day with a smile!

Marcy McGuffie 17 years, 7 months ago

Misty--as usual, I'm at a loss for words. When it comes to serious topics, I'd rather refrain from comment (or I'll end up making some tasteless, tactless joke because I have no idea how to respond). So, here's my lame response: well written (as usual).

Terry Bush 17 years, 7 months ago

Anybody know the Headquarters Board of directors? Cause I think maybe Misty should be on it.....

Terry Bush 17 years, 7 months ago

As long as we are offering personal testimony to "the other side", I know (really well) a wonderful woman in Kansas who only recently (and to the complete shock and horror of her family) slit her own throat. She survived, barely, but nothing will ever be "normal" again. Another self-injuring behavior is the whole food is bad cult (anorexia, bullemia, etc.). Used to be purely associated with teenage girls. Now we know it is something engaged in by all ages and genders. Bottom line, while stereotypes exist for good reason sometimes (short hand for statistics) there are ALWAYS exceptions to almost every "rule"!

cvillehawk 17 years, 7 months ago

I'm a guy, and I used to cut myself back in my college days. It was the old "here's a form of pain I can control, unlike my emotional pain" syndrome. I was pretty much failing at everything I wanted to succeed at and sometimes it just felt good to take control and focus my pain.

Looking back, how fucked up though.

17 years, 7 months ago

"Women, on the other hand, are the 'attempters'."

I wonder as well. If you look at how women do it, their methods tend to be less "certain" because they are less brutal. Overdoses, asphixiation. I've never even heard of a woman jumper, though I'll admit that doesn't mean I'm even close here.

Is it because they really don't want to kill themselves? Or because they don't want to leave much of a mess for others to have to clean up?

"People who cut never intend to cut too deep and kill themselves."

I'm horribly confused by the "cutting" thing, so maybe someone here can educate me. I'm almost 40 but before about 1998 I never heard of such a thing. However, my kids have several friends who do (or have done) this and it's pretty common among foster kids as well (though mine are too young for the most part to have done it), especially among those who have serious sex abuse backgrounds.

Is it really as simple as "I need to feel something or control something?" Help me out here... what can I as a foster parent do to avoid it?

Kelly Powell 17 years, 7 months ago

a friend of mine was dating this girl who had not fully divorced her husband......The husband went out looking to kill my friend and the girl, but unable to find them called her on her cell phone and basically said"LIVE WITH THIS BITCH"and blew his brains out over the phone. Now overcome with guilt my friend is still in the relationship because he knows if he does leave she will probably off herself.....And god knows what that would do to her kid. Severe physical illness or injury aside, suicide is a chickenshit manuver that causes harm well after the person is gone......If somebody really wants to do it they should cut off ties with everybody they know and move away, so they can die anamously

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 17 years, 7 months ago

Me, too. For those who are not my mother who want the whole story, will provide the sordid details.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 17 years, 7 months ago

Bill--the most common reason given by cutters for their behavior is that it allows them to "feel something real". Many of them are numb to their surroundings and their own emotions, and causing acute, controllable pain lets them feel something actual that they are in complete control of. It is, like you said, a control thing, most of the time.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 17 years, 7 months ago

Also, Bill--as for women jumpers, well, we're out there. I don't know that there are that many of us with stupid-"oh, god, did I ever fuck THAT up" stories to tell, though. Maybe, someday, I will. Maybe. Jesus, I've done a lot of things in my life with utter ineptitude, but am I ever glad that that was one of them.

17 years, 7 months ago

Well, I for one am glad you turned out to be no good at it...

Bethany Jones 17 years, 7 months ago

OFF topic I had a great time with you last night and why did you wait until after I was married to tell me Phil was hot?

your_mileage_may_vary 17 years, 7 months ago

Wow. I hope sometime you will write about getting started on your road "back." I agree with beatle919, don't know what to say except a lame acknowledgement that this was a strong piece of writing.

Bethany Jones 17 years, 7 months ago

lol, congrats, phil! when's the big day?

you seemed a little surprised i didn't have my hair in braids, and wasn't wearing a flower-printed skirt down to my ankles ;) i decided to leave the black lipstick at home.

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