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So, up front. This is not a call for help. This is not a request for care. I am perfectly capable of committing myself to professional care if my ideation goes from, "well, that'd be nice" to "let's do this." I'm good at means reduction and putting safety measures in place. So please refrain from any helpful actions. That is not what this is about.
A friend of mine took his life a couple weeks back.
He wasn't a "close friend." I'd only known him for a few months, and we'd really only played a tabletop roleplaying game together once a week. Almost all of my deep conversations with him happened digitally.
His death has floored me.
Like kneeling on the floor at work weeping kind of floored. Lying in bed for hours staring at the ceiling kind of floored. Desperately grieving kind of floored.
And, the thing is, I know that my reaction is outside of normal grief. I don't feel comfortable butting into the grief of his close friends and family, because my grief is so disproportionate to our level of relationship.
And yes, a lot of my grief is over lost opportunity to spend time with him. Sadness over the impact that he might have made, and never will. Sadness for the fact that I will never again run imaginary hijinks with him. Some of the sadness is that ever lingering question—I knew he was doing badly, I knew he was withdrawing. Could I have prevented it? Could I have helped? There is a hole in my world, and it is in the shape of him.
But I know that there is another part of my grief that is only tangentially related to him.
Because my own suicidal ideation has been running wild lately. It isn't a plan. It isn't even really much more than that singular longing for everything to stop. But it has consumed whole days of my life over the last couple of months. Some days it is bad enough that I have to enforce my, "no driving while suicidal" rule, because while I don't have the energy to actively poison or hang or whatever myself, driving 65 mph past semi-trucks is too conveniently easy.
So yes, some of my grief isn't over his loss, but over the fact that I feel unable to follow his steps. It sounds insane, perhaps, that my grief is not just over the abrupt ending of a good life, but also a mixture of admiration and awe at the courage and strength and commitment it took to actually do it. Relief that he won't have to push through the endless sadness, that depression and anxiety and hopelessness anymore. Not to mention a lingering taste of envy that he did it. He ended the misery.
It sounds callous, unkind. In the face of the loss and suffering that his friends and family face, the idea that his death could be anything but a horrific tragedy, is one that I would never—could never—express.
And it is a tragedy. But, when I am in that place where the literal end of existence is preferable over taking one more breath, where I am dreaming of being able to just stop my heart by wishing it, when the thought of getting out of bed for one more day feels like torture, it also feels like a triumph. It doesn't feel like he lost the battle against depression. It feels like he denied depression control over his life anymore.
I know that's unhealthy thinking. It is part of why suicides are contagious. But that feeling is still there.
I understand why suicide is bad. I've been there through the loss with more than just this friend, and I wouldn't wish that trauma and disaster on any of my loved ones.
But it has been a long, bad year, in a series of years that get worse than the one before, and I don't actually believe that things will get better. Different maybe, but without divine intervention, not better. And 60-plus years of different, but not better—and maybe even worse—sounds a lot like something not worth doing.
Still, as The Latest Kate has said, everyone dies eventually. There is no need to rush. Miracles might not happen, but some interesting stuff might. I might as well hang around to at least see.
My friend has ended his suffering, and I dearly hope it worked. He deserved better than our kind of shitty universe offered. I just hope that the tear he made in my world will result in good things. Good things, like he might have done. Good things, that might make all this worthwhile in the end.
Read More of My Meltdown
Last Week's (Pt. 9)