Feel in between the lines

People who feel suicidal or end up committing suicide are people who don’t feel that to live is safe. They feel an inordinate amount because of what those with robust egos have discarded or pushed away from their awareness to retain control and their worldview. And because others aren’t engaged in the bigger reality that unites us all, they can’t connect with them – these canaries in the coalmine-in the trenches to at least keep them company as they g(r)o(w) through encountering new facets of reality.

There’s no mental acknowledgement of the process of spiritual alchemy that transforms the individual through uniting the opposites that clash. There’s no interstitial space afforded those initiates called to go deeper into the spiritual abyss on behalf of humanity.

It’s like seeing the faint outline of raised waves on the horizon, and going towards it to explore what this anomaly is signaling to then warn the others of the inevitability.

Because what’s causing people to feel so suffocated that they opt to go against every natural desire to live is a symptom that affects us all collectively, whether we tune it out or not. And it’ll steadily eat away at the fabric that holds us together and keeps us sane until it reaches monstrous proportions that we no longer can avoid. We realize what the waves were when the tsunami has already crossed the shore.

Shared vulnerability

“Again, in the midst of our endemic ‘doing’ and ‘fixing’ culture, we may feel powerless to help. And this is when we need to know how to be with someone who is feeling suicidal rather than doing anything with them or to them. It is the very concept of doing and fixing that creates a bigger gulf between those who are trying to help and the very private and untenable hell of the suicidal person.

Within the ‘doing and fixing it’ mindset resides the fear of our own powerlessness to alleviate the obvious hell the sufferer is enduring. In admitting our impotence we are being very human, because the more we pathologize and psychotherapize, the further we move away from our basic humanity. Empathy and sharing space with the suicidally depressed will have a much deeper impact than words. Often in the admission of ones own powerlessness is to walk beside a soul as a fellow traveler and a friend.

The best thing is to do nothing, but be with someone who is suicidal in much the same way as one is in learning how to be with someone who is depressed. There is an erroneous belief that getting someone to speak about their suicidal feelings will drive them over the edge. This is a myth. Dr Daniel Plotkin, a Los Angeles geriatric psychiatrist, says ‘When suicide is brought up, it’s a relief to the person contemplating suicide. It doesn’t push them over the edge’.

[…]

The only thing that stands in the way of it is our own fears which, in turn, are driven by deep societal injunctions and an overwhelming sense of responsibility.

The more we are able to get ourselves out of the way and be open to the other person not as someone with inconsolable, suicidal feelings, but as a fellow soul on the path of life, the more accessible we become to the energies of the Self which are endeavoring to emerge in our midst. It is absolutely essential that we hold the situation within the ‘healing field’, because suicide is often a desperate attempt to return to the Source, even though this may be wholly unconscious; deep down, the suffering soul has a longing for spiritual connection. Holding that connection for them may be the most valuable gift we can give.

Remember that the success is not necessarily in being able to talk someone out of suicidal distress, but in being with them in their place of distress. In this sense, it is more important to have shared that intimacy of communication than preventing them from committing suicide.

What to do:

•Empathize.

•Questions open up consciousness, helping us to access levels of understanding that might not have been available before. Never be afraid to ask key focal questions such as, ‘What is it like for you?’ or ‘Is there anything you need that I might be able to give or help you with?’

•Stay with the process and the discomfort you may experience around this. Remember those feelings of powerlessness you are experiencing may be what the suicidal person is experiencing themselves.

•Never underestimate the power of presence, of staying with the feelings that can be unbearable.

What not to do:

•To avoid facing the unbearable, steer conversation onto safer common ground, which will send client into not being heard, deeper shame and self-disgust.

•Fixing/mending/finding solutions.

•Make comments like ‘You have everything to live for.’

•Make the person feel guilty in an effort to manipulate the situation.

– Stephanie Sorrell, Depression As a Spiritual Journey

My grave became roots

My heart and a willingness to seek and serve the truth is all I have. The rest of me is a shell, a ruin, fossils of intentions and wishes. And I’m tired, so incredibly tired. Whatever fight left in me that I have is funded by Allaah. The mortal me has died long ago. In installments of 6 suicide attempts. Allaah brought me back each time, for reasons unbeknownst to me because as far as I could see I was a waste. I was holding up immense weights and taking blows to protect and retain an innocent heart. I was prepared to die and pay the consequences of that in akhirah, relying on His forgiveness because He knew how dire my silent suffering was. I wasn’t going to live a half-baked life where I compromise my heart. I preferred going extinct if the world wasn’t a conducive environment.

When I think about how my parents may be disappointed in me or how others view me, I think to myself that I would have been 6 feet under by now. Had I had my way I would have been a memory, for years now. Someone who had a lot of potential but tragically, her life ended too soon. I would have had janaza done on me. Someone or some people would have washed and shrouded my body. I would have a marked grave somewhere.

My parents know only of 2 attempts. And those were the very first, when I was 15 and 16. I went secret and silent after that. Preferred to bury my shame.

Wallaahi, only Allaah knows the pain that sits disjointed in the darkness. I keep pushing forward, not for me, but to create a world where those who weren’t as fortunate to survive or got entangled in dissociation or drugs to numb the unimaginable pain, could thrive. A world that doesn’t asphyxiate the heart and doesn’t aim to corrode the truth. Only someone who has endured their suffering and not attempted to bypass it or skip past it will know how it has nothing to do with you. It’s because we think we have to do something to fix it that we destroy ourselves even more when in all honesty, you need mercy, and love and hope. And you need to have that in your heart to seek it from Allaah. I truly believe that if there was one thing Allaah had mercy upon me for, it’s because no matter how messed up and in despair I was, I had so much love and mercy for others. I just couldn’t have it for myself. And perhaps the ducaa of someone I helped became a means. I don’t know. All I know is that I’m not supposed to be here, but I am and that’s not because of me. I believe that my suffering is archetypal and representative of countless others around the world, throughout time. And I’ve decided I won’t pass the buck. I won’t compartmentalize. I won’t make sense of a messed up world. I won’t accept that this is normal. And I’ll either fight to transmute that or die trying. In the end, there’s no joy to be sought when countless are suffering in abject darkness and silence and isolation. I made it out, and it’s my duty to be a wholesome human being. No gimmick, no goals, no glory, no nothing. Just being.

Through my veins

I’m not afraid of death. I’ve died so many times. Not fully, of course.

When you experience clinical depression or anxiety as a teen, it’s unsettling. You’re already unsettled by the transition period that marks one’s mid-teens, having your world in disarray from shedding your childhood skin, and trying to figure out how to fit into your own. Sometimes it creeps in gradually, like the transition from summer to autumn to winter. Often it comes abruptly, like waking up to dark rain clouds on a June morning. It sits in the place where your inner sun rises. Your limbs are heavier, you run out of words to say in conversations. It’s like the brightness on your phone display going from 100% to 0%. You fade. And the worst part is, you can’t conjure an out.

I read somewhere that depression is the inability to construct a future. So you’re stuck. In an apparently endless, eternal loop of emotional agony. Add to that the prodding questions of those around you, the perplexed faces that fail to understand your reason for not having been out in over a week, the lecturing, the advices dipped in condescension. They don’t say it, but you read in between the lines that they think that you’re weak and lazy. Or is that a projection of your self-hate? Probably. You loathe yourself so much at this point that no one can beat you to it.

When you can’t foresee a future, you start to die. You wither like a flower at the end of August. People think that you die of your suicide. Nah. By the time you take that step, your soul has died long, long before your body.
Anyway, you start to lose life. Like a phone battery. You’re being drained, and you don’t know how to replenish yourself.

The day, the moment the thought of suicide pops into your mind, it’ll be the first lively thought you’ve had had in a long while. Because death *is* a future. Your head gets all tingly at the thought of something so extreme. And although you’ll dismiss it, there’ll be a part of you that holds on to it. Just in case.

You won’t know it, but you’ll revisit that thought daily. You won’t notice the thought because it’ll be like a quick glance. A nanosecond.

And then one day, the thought would have garnered enough strength to come to the forefront. Comes knocking on your conscious mind. And it seduces you with its snake oil selling points, and because you’ve been a mental zombie for so long, you won’t know how to resist the lucrative prospect. And that’s when the machination starts.

You start to plan, research. It’s ironic that in this period you get more active. People comment on how much better you look. You smile and nod, with a tinge of guilt for what’s in store. But you convince yourself that it’s for the better because you’re useless and worthless and they are better off without you.

It’s like you’re in a burning building and your only options are to burn to death or jump. You just want to escape pain, that’s all.

Often, you don’t want to die. You want help. But you’re afraid of the invalidations, of the mockery, of the humiliation of asking for help. You want to live, but you don’t know how.

You’re 15, 17, 19, 22. How *can* you know? The decisions of the rest of your life rests on your shoulders in that period. And you’re out here trying to decide if your shoe size is 39 or 40.

You choose your method matter-of-factly, as if you’re paying bills or doing an exam.
Once you’ve crossed that threshold whence there’s no return, you feel a sense of …peace, for the first time in a long while. The dark clouds are no more. You’re left to enjoy the clear skies for a moment longer. You relax. Close your eyes.

And because it’s not your time to give up, you instead end up violently sick, stitched, scarred, bandaged, and the questions. Why? Why? Why? The blaming. The crying. The hypervigilance. The limping, the staring at the ceilings, the bland food you’ll have to survive on. Survive, when all you wanted was to be let go.

People will never look at you the same way. ‘The One Who Tried to Kill Herself But Failed Because She Probably Did it For Attention Seeking’ aka ‘The One Who Was Going to Go to Hell Had She Died’

And you retreat even deeper into yourself. You give half-baked excuses to get people off your case. You smile, shake hands, do what’s required of you to rid them of their dread. Pretend you’re fine. That it was a hiccup. You learn that you’re all that you have, that others will never understand the pain that drove you to the precipice of life.

The momentary peace you felt as you awaited death was actually you letting go of all that was troubling you. The bizarre irony, huh? So now you really do have a second chance, a clean slate. And although you’ll revisit that precipice five more times in your bumpy journey, you eventually learn how to survive yourself. Literally, survive your mind.

And years later you’ll write about that pain, you’ll explain that pain to those who feel it but can’t understand it. You’ll teach people how to turn away the snake-oil salesman who comes selling you toxic thoughts. You’ll teach people how to live, all because you learnt how to die.

A Heroine’s Journey

badassery

The title is a play on Joseph Campbell’s monomyth The Hero with a Thousand Faces. It’s been brilliantly depicted through an INFJs perspective here.

It’s very painful. I don’t know how to explain what’s happening other than through an analogy; it feels like I’m giving birth whilst having my skin ripped. Everything I’ve grown attached to and used as a crutch has been dissolved and I feel like I’m falling into a dark pit where annihilation awaits me. All my abandonment issues and repressed pain come out of the woodworks now that I have nothing to suppress them with,and it’s all too painful. Physically painful. In all my years in this heroine’s journey, I have never known a greater pain. And I think it’s because the very last part of my false self is dying. Ego death they call it. I feel nauseous, and a strong wish to just die. But then I realize I don’t really want to die, and that past suicidal thoughts and attempts have been desperate attempts at abandonment. I always jump ship before anyone can abandon me. Always. I have a knack for seeing when someone’s turning on me, growing sick of me. I sneak out like a thief in the night. They’ll never know what hit them.

In a way, that’s what I used to do to myself when it got overbearing. But I’m sensing a fundamental change; a separate identity from the one in pain has emerged, so the pain is compartmentalized. I can feel that what’s dying in me isn’t me. I don’t know how to explain it.

Now I know why most will never undergo this transformation. Why unconsciousness is so alluring. Why people prefer to be comatose.

Not only is everything I’ve grown accustomed to dissolving in the light of consciousness and maturity, but my true self is emerging.

Mothers, is this how giving birth feels like? Excruciating pain and being torn apart to give way to another life. I think I’ll opt for adoption.

It’s my fault. I have this morbid curiosity. I keep prying into my unconscious, when it nudges content my way either through dreams, intuition, or crossing paths with others.

If my soul was a person, it’d be covered in tattoos, be a chainsmoker, pierced all over, but a really kind person. LOL

I just turned 26 this month. I haven’t had time to pause and reflect on all the shit that my unconscious has thrown in my path. It’s like a videogame. I choose to go to the next level, and the next, and the next. I can’t stop. Like, in the past, I’d be lying on the floor, with blood in my mouth,and pills in my system and the first thing that crosses my mind is to analyze my suicide attempt. I.keep.attracting.lessons. No wonder I couldn’t hack school; I’m enrolled in an intensive crash course in life!

Simplicity is the most difficult thing in life. It involves searching,sifting,choosing,discarding. I feel that the more pain and metamorphosis I undergo, the more child-like I become. You’d expect that with everything’s that happened that I’d become more cautious and closed-off. Nope. I laugh at the silliest things, I’m very naive in that I can’t conjure the evils of others, I give and trust unconditionally, and I believe everything’s possible. But I’m also very fearless when it comes to standing up for what I believe in, in asserting my own truths. Maybe it’s my fearlessness that allows me to be child-like? Because I don’t have to watch my back?

 

The unconscious is not a demoniacal monster, but a natural entity which, as far as moral sense, aesthetic taste, and intellectual judgement go, is completely neutral. It only becomes dangerous when our conscious attitude to it is hopelessly wrong. To the degree that we repress it, its danger increases. But the moment the patient begins to assimilate contents that were previously unconscious, its danger diminishes. The dissociation of personality, the anxious division of the day-time and the night-time sides of the psyche, cease with progressive assimilation.

— C.G. Jung (The Essential Jung: Selected Writings)

But if we understand anything of the unconscious, we know that it cannot be swallowed. We also know that it is dangerous to suppress it, because the unconscious is life and this life turns against us if suppressed, as happens in neurosis. Conscious and unconscious do not make a whole when one of them is suppressed and injured by the other. If they must contend, at least let it be a fair fight with equal rights on both sides. Both are aspects of life. Consciousness should defend its reason and protect itself, and the chaotic life of the unconscious should be given the chance of having its way too – as much of it as we can stand. This means open conflict and open collaboration at once. That, evidently, is the way human life should be. It is the old game of hammer and anvil: between them the patient iron is forged into an indestructible whole, an ‘individual.’ This, roughly, is what I mean by the individuation process.

— C.G. Jung

Apparition of a life

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I’ve been trying to get my shit together for the past 7 weeks now. I keep thinking a solution is an article,talk,theory away. I don’t want to write until I’m ‘ok’ whatever that means. OK is a place I visit. I don’t belong there. Between the black hole in me that consumes all hope, and the daily pressures of doing stuff, I’m trying to stay alive.

Some days ago,things turned awry. I was in the strong clutches of suicidal thoughts; a place I hadn’t been to in years. It’s like the bermuda triangle, you can’t swim away. The force is so strong and hope is so frail. I let myself be carried away. I didn’t see the point in expending energy in trying to get away when there was no shore in sight. I was on the precipice; an ironic calm washed over me as all thoughts left my mind. I was surprisingly cool headed. I picked out the method and the only thing that occupied my mind was my self-consciousness due to my body dysmorphia. That’s all. I didn’t think about anything else. I felt I had no one and nothing to live for anymore. All my struggles in all my years I’ve mostly kept to myself, in my mind. The thoughts,the tears, my true self would come out at night, under the cover of darkness. I guess because I’m so aloof very few truly know me.

I had one friend, a really good friend hold on to me that night, and refused to let go. He saved me in the nick of time, truly. Just writing about it makes tears well up in my eyes and cloud of sadness gather in my chest, because I still feel that I’m no one and that my existence doesn’t matter much.

I feel that I need to lean on something or someone in order to make it through the day. If I try to detach and stand on my own, I picture myself slacklining in a wobbly manner with a black, gaping abyss beneath me. I don’t want to fall and die. I’ve gone through the false sense of hope and motivation where I held the ludicrous thought that I could make it to the other end of the line, unscathed, one too many times to know that it’s a farce. At least that’s what I’m convinced of. I don’t know how to brace myself to feel emotional pain without clinging to a crutch like coca cola or repetitive mind-numbing activities. I feel sleepy typing this because I feel a cloud of discomfort coming over me, and I must seek shelter before silver bullets rain on me.

I am a ghost, a faint idea of a person who once had dreams and lofty hopes but they died long ago and I linger on hoping for something, refusing to pass on. Every now and then I catch bright streaks moving in my peripheral vision, a flicker so brief that it very well could be my mind playing tricks on me again.

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