And so come the blues.
Something we don’t talk about a lot, because it makes all of us uncomfortable is death. It makes us think about each other dying. It makes us think about us dying. We don’t like it. More than that we sure as shit don’t like to talk about suicide. Sorry, dudes. I’m gonna. Buckle up.
It’s summer, and what that means is my brain gets tired quickly and often. I don’t like to feel left out of activities, and the summer is a flurry of activities. It’s night after night of me yes-and-ing everyone I know.
“We’re going to the park.” “Yes! And I’m bringing a kite!”
“We’re making brunch.” “Yes! And let’s go on a six-mile walk!”
“We’re going to dinner.” “Yes! And we’re all dressing as the food we’re ordering!”
“Hayley, stop it!”
But my brain needs breaks. I give off all of the appearances of an extrovert, because I’m adaptive. And by “adaptive” I mean “quick to accommodate and a people-pleaser.” Don’t misunderstand me, I enjoy the occasional outing. The occasional diversion from my sweatpants. The variation from my porch and beer. But I feel gross if my breaks leave me out. And I feel gross if being out leaves me without a break. It feels childish. It’s a little paranoid. I don’t like being around people, but I don’t want to be left alone.
Let me tell you why.
In the summer I know that left to my own devices for too long my thoughts will wander, and they will wander dark. They’ve done it before, and they’ll do it again. Not because I want them to. Not because I let them. Not because I entertain them. But because I get tired, and I can’t fight them anymore. Because some times it’s two in the afternoon, and all I can think about is the quiet. It’s important to know I don’t want to kill myself. I just think it’d be nice to be dead some times. I think there’s a line in there somewhere. I think a lot of people dance it. I don’t think I’m alone. I just think we’re not talking about it. I’m not telling you this because I want to shock you or I want you to call me concerned in 20 minutes, mom. I’m fine. I really am. I just think it’s important to realize that these thoughts aren’t uncommon, and maybe hiding them is worse for us.
Usually, in the first session with any new therapist they’ll ask you if you’ve ever had any thoughts of suicide. My tendency here has always been to lie. Who the hell is that helping? Not me. Because while I think about, I always have no thoughts of action. No plans. Anymore. But every day is a decision to keep living. I think it is for most people in some way. Some days for me it’s as a simple as choosing to get out of bed and do my job. Maybe you can identify with that one. Some days it’s choosing to eat food to sustain life. Some weekends it is making myself leave the house and be around people to keep myself away from my own thoughts.
There are people in my life that I tell when I think things are getting too dark. There are places that I go to brighten up my life. There are physical places that I go. There are mental places that I go. There are emotional places that I go. O, the places that I go. There are people I text late at night. I let Kristen know that my brain is getting so sad, and I don’t know how to handle the crushing feeling. Kristen knows that I want to feel as strong as people say I am. Kristen understands what it is to have people put that added burden on you. It’s an extra weight we willingly carry, but it gets so heavy. I tell Hannah. She says something smart followed by a string of jokes to distract me. Alex will read the novella of texts I send off to her and reciprocate. Dustin will remind me how far we’ve come from where we were ten years ago. Brett and Erica will do the same. Jeff will call me if he thinks it’s getting too dark and remind me he can come over or I can come there. That there’s an extra bed at his house. That it’s safe there. Casey would be here sitting up with me if he could. Piper now holds my hand and puts her head on my shoulder during poetry readings. Minelli sends me links to adorable animals. Derek reminds me what my passions are and why I love them. Jason and DJ let me be a little baby brat about my stupid feelings and then tell me I’m not even when I know I am. That’s just the beginning of the list.
I am safe. I know I am. The truth is I’m safer than I’ve ever been. But that doesn’t stop these ideas, these thoughts from creeping in. But keeping them locked up in my head won’t help. So I’m letting you know, that I understand that you have them. I’m dealing with mine too. We all are. I’ve been writing daily affirmations for myself that I’ve taken to sharing on Facebook. It’s just one more way I can stop myself and pull myself out of dark spots. Every day I’m trying to remind myself that I’m here today and maybe that’s enough. We’ve got today, and all we can do is use it to the best of our ability. Loving other people. Supporting other people. You’re not alone. Together we’re a hell of a lot stronger and more powerful than we are apart. Please, speak up and speak out about all of your things. You are who you are. There’s no shame in that. We can do this.
And this is important! If you are having suicidal thoughts and considering acting on them please contact either someone you know personally and that you trust or reach out to one of two key crisis helplines. Please, either call 1-800-273-TALK (2855) or text “GO” to 741-741. You are not alone!
This is me just doing my best. At life. At summer. Check in come winter when you’re gloomy. I’ll be on the up and probably more useful, though likely less tan.