I wrote this letter to my husband last week.
You told me twice that you had thoughts of harming yourself, and I didn’t respond because I didn’t know what to say, which is why I think people generally don’t respond. I don’t think asking, “Why?” is really all that helpful. I, also, don’t think harping on about whether suicide is selfish is helpful. We are, at our core, selfish people. On the drive here, though, I thought about what would be helpful.
As you know, I’ve had thoughts of harming myself before, the last time being about a year ago. The earliest incident that I remember was when I was about 19. It’s possible that there were other times between that I’m just not remembering because the first and last times are so traumatic. The first time was the worst, since I didn’t know if the depression would ever end, and I was afraid that I would never feel happiness, much less joy, again. I had mononucleosis at the time, and the severe depression did last a long time- somewhere between six months and a year. I never received anti-depressants then. I don’t know if they weren’t prescribed as much or if I just didn’t know enough to go to a doctor.
This last time, I did know to go to a doctor, and I think it helped, although it may have just been time and the fact that I KNEW I would feel happiness and joy again. I, also, know you will feel it again, too. Right now, there are major life changes going on. Give yourself permission to feel the grief and loss from all of them. People go through the loss of a parent and come out the other side. You do lose the padding between yourself and mortality. That alone would make you question your life. Divorce does that, too, I’m finding out. But, you’ve lived a worthwhile life, and the next page is fresh. Avoid going where you imagine hurting yourself and get rid of whatever you see yourself using. That’s why I asked you to throw away the rope. Get outside for 15 minutes a day,even if it’s raining. This isn’t just a platitude, it’s something that works.
You are loved by me, however complicated that love is, and you will make a new way for yourself, however you may have made missteps in the past. You will experience happiness again even if you feel pain, guilt, and loss now. Wait it out, keep waiting it out, and you will see. This is what I wish some one who knew had said to me.