How many times have we heard that a disproportionate amount of suicides are carried out by spiritually sensitive people who felt lost in this world, like they didn’t belong? Well, I can’t speak to the statistical legitimacy of that, but I can see it in my personal past.
I used to be that teen. That teen who was the good listener. That teen who understood his friends. That teen who hid his mental scars from childhood in self-effacing humor and by picking on his best friends. That teen who, every day after school, would come home to an empty apartment, turn on The Doors or The Beatles or The Smiths, curl up on the couch, and fall asleep crying for himself.
Suicide was with that teen and followed him to his twenties, through college, and into New York City, where he traded the couch for a park bench and musical variety for the Nine Inch Nails album, Further Down The Spiral. If ever there were a masterpiece inspiring one to suicide, Further Down The Spiral hit all the right notes.
My depression and in-turned rage must have been so obvious to anyone walking by that on several occasions strangers stopped to ask me if I was okay. Me, a large adult male in a black cashmere trench coat, sprawled on a bench, staring past the darkening sky in the evening hours. Again, in New York City. To say New York is a place where people tend not to stop for the concerns of such a one is an understatement.
I smiled at them, always. Told them everything was fine, I was just listening to music. Thanks for asking. Have a good night. All the while, imagining how I would erase myself from this world and chastising myself for being too scared to follow through.
When we feel like something’s missing in us but haven’t a means to articulate it, and are mentally stuck in our cheap cultural context, we are likely to feel trapped, or detached, like an outsider. We feel compassion for a world that cannot understand us, and we hate that world. We resent everything, because we love so deeply a place so shallow, and we know we are the problem, too. It’s like we know we’re all in this together, but nobody else gets that. They’re all oblivious to their own lives. We care more about them than they do.
We become a confused, muddied mess inside, a stabbing depression, self-important, yearning after an invisible, intangible meaning that avoids the tip of our tongue—just yearning. And if we’re at all intelligent, we know how to deflect your attention from the obvious problem you picked up on. Because you can’t help. Because you’re the problem. Because I’m the problem. Because what’s the problem? Who the hell knows? Please keep moving.
Though we may mouth the words, we can’t truly recognize that there are others just like us and others, still, who have worked through this exact dilemma. Everyone else is just… everyone else. “They.” A motley crew of lessers, although I might not admit this because it’s me I hate.
The focus is always on me. My depression. My death. Nobody understands me. None of them. Because I don’t want them to. I don’t want to let anyone in, for that would strip me of my power as the capstone on this upside down two-person pyramid called, The World Against Me. It’s a real narcissism, this suicidal impulse.
We mistake the urge for the death of self as the call to murder ourselves. We need the self to end, but we don’t live in a society capable of even saying that out loud, so we naturally mistake this for wanting our lives to end. And we don’t want to be told what our problems are because we want to die. We don’t want to work on it, we want to die. Narcissism? Me? Are you kidding? How is that possible? I want to die.
But if we just hang on….
Just hang on for the sake of hanging on….
Just understand all of this without running into the caring arms of another or out of life entirely….