I get behind on “Doctor Who” — being cable-less will do that to you — but this week’s episode was being widely touted as one of the best in years, so of course I had to make it a priority to watch. When “Doctor Who” is good, it’s really, really good; it is at heart a celebration of humanity, and as much as The Doctor’s companions can be cast as his accessories, he’s often also their foil, the vehicle by which they have the opportunity to express their humanness.
I’m not too cool to admit that I’ve taken life lessons from “Doctor Who” — I abide by John Green’s definition of “nerdiness” as “unironic enthusiasm about the miracle of human consciousness.” (I’m also not so pretentious that I consider my opinion on it invalid despite the fact that, no, I haven’t watched the original series, so there.) I named my blog for a quote from “The Power of Three.” I have “Allons-y!” tattooed on my leg. I think one of the show’s strengths is its zeal for adventure and discovery, not just in terms of travel to distant places, but in terms of introspection and self-discovery: see “The God Complex,” or really any regeneration. The show’s protagonist has to find out over and over who he really is. Keep reading »
Ever since I heard about Robin Williams’ devastating suicide, I’ve been thinking about this post and how I was going to write it. I’ve thought about it as I was drifting off to sleep. What did I want to say? How did I want to say it? Would it come out right? Would I even know what to say? What sorts of emotions would this stir?
The word suicide is even like a black hole of sorts. It’s expansive, never-ending and dark, and no matter how much you talk about it, there’s always more than can be said. Always. I wish I could say that you can’t relate, but unfortunately, I know far too many of you can. Maybe you’re even grappling with what to say and trying to find the words to comfort a family member, a friend and even yourself. It’s been 11 years since my father’s suicide, and I still fumble to find the right words every single day. So today, I will write them. Not just for my father. Not just for Robin Williams. But for me and for you — and for the millions that live with the effect of suicide every day. In my darkest days of grief, these are the five things I’ve learned about suicide… Keep reading »
“‘Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor… I am Pagliacci.” — ‘Watchmen’ excerpt via Patton Oswalt
I want to talk frankly about how to support people who are suicidal, from the position of someone who has been suicidal at times herself in her teenage and adult life. It can be incredibly difficult to be a support person for someone struggling with these issues, and I get asked a lot what to say or what to do. I’d also like to create a basic support guide for someone with daily mental health issues like depression or anxiety, but that’s another post (and there’s some resources out there).
I’m someone who has often been told that I’m just so strong and so many people look up to me and I shouldn’t ever consider suicide because people need me, etc. etc. etc. I know it’s all meant well, but it makes me feel like an animal in a cage, unable to express how I feel because I’m constrained by other people’s opinions of me and my own reputation. It’s not healthy for me, or for anyone. It’s ok to break down sometimes. It’s ok to reach the end of your rope.
And we need a community to help prevent this from happening over and over again. Keep reading »
Selfish (adj.): Lacking concern for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.
Death is not profitable or pleasurable. It’s just nothing. It’s just not suffering. It has nothing to do with benefiting or not benefiting oneself or others. Saying that someone was selfish for having committed suicide is like saying that it was selfish of a person caught on fire to scream in agony.
When the topic of suicide is brought to the table, my primary concern isn’t to address people who have suicidal ideation. Everyone else is already doing that: They say, if you’re depressed or thinking about suicide, please seek help. Keep reading »
I have struggled with depression and suicidal ideation for years. My darkest period was as recent as 2013. In fact, there was a day last September when I let my guard down for just a few minutes. It was enough time for me to walk into my kitchen, pick up a large knife, and touch the blade to see how hard I would need to press down to cut through my skin.
Sometimes that’s all it takes. If I hadn’t scared myself and snapped out of that headspace as quickly as I did, I might not be writing this right now. That’s the truth.
I’m not telling you this as a plea for sympathy. I’m telling you this because Robin Williams is dead, and like everyone else on the Internet, I am deeply sad about that. Yes, part of my sadness is because I grew up watching him in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Aladdin,” “The Birdcage,” and “Dead Poets Society,” and it’s awful to think of someone as talented as he is gone so soon. But another part of my sadness is because suicide is always heartbreaking. I know people who have committed suicide. I know people who have attempted and considered suicide. I am someone who has considered suicide. It is a serious problem that far too many of us know all too well. Keep reading »