Author: Violette Kay
Being suicidal while manic is probably the strangest thing I’ve ever experienced. Normally my manic self would think “I would never kill myself. How could I ever be so cruel as to deprive the world of my light?” but this time was different. As I went over the details of my plan to end my life and played it out over and over again in my mind, it became increasingly clear that I could not go through with it. But not for the reasons you’d think. Not because I thought the world – or anyone in it – still needed me. Not because I no longer wanted to die. No. What made me step away from the proverbial ledge was the thought that no matter what I do… it won’t kill me. There’s no way I won’t survive it, I’m far too powerful. Yes, stable me cringes at the self-importance. But hey, it kept me alive, so I’ll take it!
Being suicidal while depressed made more sense. Not that the inherent logic of it made it any more bearable, far from it, but at least there was logic. At least I didn’t feel like I was wrong for wanting to put an end to the pain I was feeling. Who wouldn’t? But even so, I thought suicide would be far too dramatic. I mean I never thought of it as “dramatic” coming from other people, no way! I just thought it would be if it were me. I didn’t want to make a scene, cause any trouble. I didn’t consider the emotional impact my suicide would have on the people in my life, in fact I thought there would be none. What I couldn’t reconcile was the logistical impact it would have on them, the bureaucratic hoops they would have to jump through. Actual tangible belongings to dispose of, all that manual labor… forms to sign, repeatedly scrawling my impossibly long last name in print characters… job postings, screening emails from candidates, interview questions spouted through gritted teeth, all just to find my replacement. It was far too much. All I wanted was to disappear quietly.
When I think of suicide from a place of stability, it seems so nonsensical, so far past the borders of my rational thinking, and further yet past the borders of even my most creative thinking. I would never kill myself. I enjoy living far too much.
But of course it’s only that easy to resist suicidal ideation while you’re – get this – not suicidal. What keeps me going now might not have kept me going back then. It might have been too much, or not enough, or just different from what I needed to convince me to hang on just a while longer. It was a whole other brain chemistry, a whole other me. And to that version of me I say: whatever works. No matter how small, no matter how esoteric, no matter how judgmentally you know you’ll look back on it later. Literally anything that keeps you here is good enough.
When I’m depressed, I’m bored because nothing is interesting. When I’m manic, I’m bored because nothing is interesting enough (i.e. nothing is as interesting as Me). And I thought stability would be the boring one! When I’m stable, I don’t need a reason to live. I don’t need a life worth living, but I try to build one anyway so that it’s there when Manic Me or Depressed Me needs it. I see so much beauty in my life, I see it without even looking for it. I try to capture it, burn it into my mind’s eye, flag it to remember it later, to trust that all that beauty is still there even when I can’t see it, and to somehow find my way back to loving life and knowing it loves me back.