Darkness Into the Light

Disclaimer: This post is really isn’t about writing, and it’s not gonna be up-beat. If you’re looking for writerly stuff, or a pleasurable read, ya might wanna give this particular post a pass. But, then again, it deals with a stigmatized subject: suicide, which needs to be talked about, rather than whispered and kept under wraps. So, not only do I now disclaim my disclaimer, I double-dog dare you to read this; and then talk about it with the people you love and/or would like to love.

I’m a powerful introvert who lives alone, is neither dating nor seeing anyone, and keeps pretty exclusively to myself. Other than work, I don’t have much in the way of a social life. Things have been incredibly busy, last month or two, at work. I work in the kitchen of the local hospital, and our patient count has been running high without any breaks in the action. It’s hitting everyone, stretching and stressing all of us out. Me, I’ve been wondering whether anything that I do matters; and by association, whether I matter, myself.

This past Tuesday (day before yesterday) was the end of my workweek, and after finishing my duties for the evening, I email our HR Vice President, venting my frustration at feeling the hospital administration had me in a no-win situation: I had to avoid overtime, but I’d be in trouble if I worked off the clock, and likewise if I clocked out on time, but left my duties uncompleted. I was tired, angry, frustrated, etc and etc, so the email was long-winded. Buried roughly halfway through it was (I felt) a passing comment about my contemplating suicide. Yes, just the afternoon before I’d spent my lunch break in the hospital’s chapel, considering using the razor knife, which I carry, to slash my wrists; but that’s as far as it’d gotten: just thinking about it. I hadn’t taken the knife out, hadn’t even felt my pants pocket to confirm that the knife was there. I’d thought about it, not done anything further, and had gone back to work and finished my shift; and had even come back to work the very next day and, once again, completed my shift. No biggie, right?

Well, it turned out to be a major biggie. Yesterday morning, I was out and about around seven o’clock, not getting back to my apartment until 11:30ish. Wedged between the door and its frame was the business card from one of our police detectives. (Turned out, he’d also entered my apartment in order to physically check on me.) My answer machine had two phone messages from our HR VP, pleadingly asking me to call her the minute I got her message(s). I called her back, immediately, and was then quickly swept up in meeting with a counselor, followed by an even longer and more engaging meeting with the VP in her office—toward the end of which, my manager joined us. I left the meeting on the verge of sobbing.

I was already better, the morning after sending the email. And I was better, still, this morning. It’s easy and simple for me to say this has passed, but that’s how I’ve done things before, and it’s clearly not working, persisting to pull myself up by my bootstraps. To be sure, yes there were indeed, as I mentioned at the beginning of yesterday’s counseling session, several steps separating my thinking about slashing my wrists and its execution; however, I had already taken far way too many steps in the wrong direction in the “just thinking about it.” The fact that I went no further than contemplating killing myself is not a comfort. Rather, it is both chilling and horrifying. And, this is not such an anomaly, either, for me. It’s at least the third time, that I’m willing to admit to myself, that I’ve thought about “ending it all,” within the last two or three years. I have work ahead of me. And it’s not to be done alone. Tomorrow, I’ll be meeting with the HR VP, again, to discuss getting me that help.

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15 Comments

Filed under No [One] Is An Island, Suicide

15 responses to “Darkness Into the Light

  1. Teddie Sterle

    Ed, dear one, you aren’t the only one who has considered the “alternative”. You are an amazing person, an amazing friend, amazing co-worker and a complete joy to be around. You do brighten my “darkness” and my son adores you. You are a true talent and many of us would be lost without you. Ethan and I love you, Ed. HUGS N LOVES Teddie

    • In more ways than one, Teddie, I know I’m not alone. And part of the reason I post this was to get the subject, suicide, more out in the open, get it out of the whispered hidden conversations.

  2. Eduardo, I’m glad you are reaching out. Sometimes Salida, those small mountain towns can be really lonely and isolating. Big places can be too, like San Diego where I live. When I was single there it could be really difficult. Friendships help, but you still live alone and ponder the big questions by yourself. You are in my prayers, not the kind that try to change you, but the prayer that knows who you are, a reflection of your divine creator, a polished picture of your origin. Come on through, brother, come on through. We love having you here with us.

    • I am on my way out of the dark forest, Jude. Such a inundation of small town love and support has been crashing about me. It was always there; I just kept not seeing it.

  3. Eduardo, you make life my life better because you are in it. Sending you love.

  4. And you’ve made my life better, Rosemerry! Looking forward to seeing you at Talking Gourds, this coming October. As for now, onward and ohmward.

  5. Mary R

    That took guts. XXX OOO

  6. Wonderful essay Eduardo, You really have way too much more to say to go anywhere. And I’m looking forward to reading it.

    • Huge thanks, Paul. In so many ways, I’m seeing things differently. The world has opened itself more. For whatever reason(s), if any, I wasn’t seeing an open-with-possibilities world, last week. And just one of those openings is, indeed, I’m not finished saying what I have to say. No by a long shot.

  7. Finally got a chance to get to your blog and read this. I have way too much email and sometimes the significant gets buried under the mundane. In any event, I hear you. I, too, am considered an extreme introvert and while I cherish my alone time, that can sometimes be isolating as well. There have been at least two times that I’ve “thought about” suicide, though the first time maybe doesn’t count because I wished someone else would do it for me. That was over 40 years ago. The second time was a few months ago and most likely related to some medication (since discontinued) that I was taking. I’ve often heard it said that suicides really don’t want to die, they just don’t want life to go on as it presently is. Could be. But I got past those dark times and I’m so glad to hear that you’re heading back to the light, too. It can be a very diffuclt journey. Blissings.

    • Aye, I got behind, myself, with your blogposts, Sam.
      As for suicides wanting life to continue as it’s presently doing, I agree. I think a huge part of it is not seeing viable options, which can easily segue into actually wanting to die. And as I said, even if the act isn’t followed through, it’s still a long way down the dark hole, getting to where it’s being seriously considered. And life is meant to be so otherwise than dark and bleak. Indeed, ’tis a journey, with some days being circling back to where you’ve walked away from before. (That’s the big possibility when you’re lost: You keep going in circles.) Hopefully, you still continue toward the light and open air.

      • Just keep going, Ed. I like to think the “circle of life” is not just a circle but an upward spiral and that by continuing onward we’re also going upward. It can be difficult to believe that because the dark night of the soul is so convincing. Be well, my friend.

  8. Pingback: Quiet | Write. More. Now.

  9. Thank you for sharing, Ed. I had no idea you also struggle with anxiety and depression. I can relate, as I was in the same place you were, contemplating suicide, 3 years ago…feeling depressed and like my struggles were solely my own. I’m so glad you’re here with us today – you have so much to offer by just living as you are. Love reading your posts…I find encouragement in your writing. Just remember you are loved by a great many people here and elsewhere. Keep being you, Ed!!

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