I feel bad that I’m posting so much negative crap on here all the time lately, but this depressed cycle I’ve been so unbelievably suicidal. I was in a really dark place yesterday, so I’m warning you in advance that this post is going to reflect those thoughts and feelings I was having. If you are in a dark place yourself, I urge you not to read any further. I feel like I should preface this by saying, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Still, where there’s life, there’s hope, and I am still alive so there must be some hope left in me.
This story starts the night before last, when I learned that Chester Bennington, the lead singer for Linkin Park, had killed himself. I didn’t believe it. I smiled when I told my husband, that sort of twitchy faced smile, the kind that happens when you’re trying to keep a straight face, but you just can’t commit to the lies your telling.
As the night wore on, and the news sunk in, I asked myself why. He had a wife and kids, an epic career, and he was famous. So why would he do that? Was it really because he missed his friend Chris Cornell, who had also hung himself earlier this year, and who’s birthday it was? Was there something else going on with him? If someone as successful as that can’t find a reason to keep going, what hope is there for me? If I become a world famous novelist and I hit the top of the New York Times Best Seller List, all my money problems are solved, and I can afford to raise the family I desperately want with my husband, will I still wake up one day and out of the blue put a gun in my mouth and pull the trigger?
It made me feel guilty and foolish, but I couldn’t stop obsessing about his death. There will never be a new song sung by Chester. I’ve never seen Linkin Park in concert, and now I’ve missed my chance, because even if they find a way to stay together and move on, it won’t be the Linkin Park I knew. Chester’s voice got me through some of the worst experiences of my life, and singing along with him helped me verbalize the anger, sadness and confusion I was feeling. Now he’s gone forever, and it feels like he took a piece of my soul with him.
I wrote a post about how I was feeling, but as I wrote I just felt worse and worse. It was supposed to be a memorial piece, but instead it ended up just being about how angry I was that he did it, how stupid and immature I felt for feeling anything more than a passing regret, and how I wished I had died before he did, so I could shake his hand in the afterlife, if there is such a thing, and tell him how much he had helped me throughout my life.
I decided to switch gears and instead wrote about one of my most cohesive memories where listening to Linkin Park helped soothe my raging teenage soul. That helped a little, but I was still massively depressed and I just wanted to drown my sorrows in the music, so I looked up the band’s music videos on YouTube, and began binge watching them. Now that Chester is gone, they are all so much more poignant, and the whole experience was nothing short of surreal.
When I got to the video for “Breaking the Habit” it almost felt like Chester was in the room with me, singing directly to me, begging me to break a habit of my own. I have this nasty habit of telling myself that I’m just wasting everyone’s time with my suicidal thoughts and ideations. I tell myself that if I was serious I’d just do it already, and that I’m not worth saving. I tell myself that all the people in my life would be better off without me, and I should just get it over with already so they can all move on. However, as I listened to the lines of the chorus, I decided to break the cycle of talking only to myself, and take the advice that I’ve given so many others: Ask for help.
I don’t know what’s worth fighting for
Or why I have to scream
I don’t know why I instigate
And say what I don’t mean
I don’t know how I got this way
I know it’s not alright
So I’m breaking the habit
I’m breaking the habit tonight
It took me almost an hour to actually do it, but at about 4:45 A.M. yesterday morning I called the crisis line for my new therapist’s office. It was a really weird experience. First of all, I was expecting to get a crisis councilor the second they picked up, but instead I had to wait for one to call me back. It only took her about ten minutes to call me, but it felt like an eternity. I spent the whole time going back and forth between two thoughts: “I need this,” and “I should just say it was a mistake and hang up the phone.”
When the crisis councilor finally called I ended up somewhere in the middle. I started off apologizing, and told her that my social anxiety was making me nervous, so I wasn’t sure whether or not I was in crisis. Then I blurted out that I was just really sad, and that my sister made me promise to call someone if it started getting really bad again.
She asked me what had prompted my sister to encourage me to call, and so I told her about my pathetic attempt at cutting, and the incident with the whiskey.
“Are you thinking about hurting yourself right now?” she asked.
“No, I’m just in a really dark place,” I lied.
I don’t know why I lied to her. The whole point was to talk about what I was feeling so that she could help, but I was too chicken to admit that I was really hurting. She asked why I was feeling so bad, so I told her about how blue I was feeling about Chester’s suicide, and how ridiculous it was because I didn’t know him personally. What right do I have to feel this way?
“But you listened to his music, so, in a way, you did know him,” she told me, adding that it was ok for me to be upset. After that, I started feeling a little better, and just a bit more comfortable with talking to her.
I asked her if it was okay that I called, because I had thought that unless you had a bottle of pills in your hand, or a gun to your head, you should leave the lines open for more urgent cases. She told me that it was absolutely ok. She said, more or less, that if you wait to call until you’ve got a plan and the intent to follow through, that would be a hospitalization scenario. They would rather you call before it gets to that point.
We talked for a little while about what merits hospitalization. Basically, if you have a plan, you don’t trust yourself to be alone, and there is no one there to watch you, you should call 911. She gave me the following hypothetical scenario to illustrate:
“Let’s say you have a bottle of pills, and the intent to use them, and you called the crisis line. I would have you wake your husband up and have him watch you. If he needed to go into work, he should drive you to the ER before he goes in, because you would need to be watched at all times.”
She said that my new therapist will probably work out a “safety plan” with me when I see him for the first time, and that it will include devising strategies to take away any items like knives and other things that I might hurt myself with or find different ways to store them that would make them more difficult to access. Once she had answered all my questions about hospitalization, and crisis line etiquette, she told me to tell my sister and husband what I did, so that they could celebrate my preemptive action with me.
When I texted my sister she was still up, so we talked for a little while about it, and she told me how proud she was of me for calling the hotline and thanked me for doing it. My husband was still asleep, it was only about six o’clock, after all, so I decided telling him could wait until later.
I honestly thought that I was doing better. I went back to watching the music videos, determined to just let myself feel my feelings, and not try to control them. I hadn’t slept a wink, but I didn’t feel tired. I just wanted to watch the videos and cry. So that’s what I did. I didn’t even cry this much when Robin Williams died, though to be fair, I still haven’t been able to bring myself to watch any of his movies.
After a few hours of this, a random thought hit me from out of nowhere. You should try hanging yourself. This thought presented itself, not as a means to end my own suffering, but rather as a means to better understand Chester’s last moments. My exact thought process went like this:
You should get some rope and make a noose. You know how, you learned it in Boy Scouts. Just tie the other end to the shower curtain and see how it feels. You can just try it out, you don’t have to commit. Just tie it off and lean into it. You might slip and break your neck, or loose your footing and be unable to get back up, but so what? What’s the worst that could happen if you died right now. It would be over for you, but the rest of the world would keep on spinning.
I didn’t want to call the hotline back, because that would just be too embarrassing. Instead I let my dogs outside, and went into the room where my husband slept and put his feet in my lap. He woke up a little, but I told him to go back to sleep, I just needed to not be alone right then.
As he slept I kept myself occupied by trying to play solitaire on my phone, but either the daily challenge was extra hard yesterday, or my brain just wasn’t cooperating because I eventually got frustrated and just quit. I considered listening to some music on Pandora, but then my brain told me, “You could wrap the headphone chord around your neck and strangle yourself that way, while he’s asleep and can’t do anything about it.”
I still didn’t think that I was feeling particularly suicidal, just that I was considering engaging in reckless behavior that could lead to accidental death. After a little while my husband decided to get up, so I told him everything including the random thoughts that had scared me into seeking him out. He agreed that I shouldn’t be left alone, so he took me with him to go get some breakfast from MacDonald’s.
Not terribly long after we had eaten sleep overcame us and we ended up napping on the couch for most of the day. When I woke up, I expected the thoughts to be gone, but they were still there, nagging at me from the back of my mind. My husband left to run an errand, and I was alone in the house. I went up to my bedroom and got out the rope we use for bondage play and tried to remember how to tie a noose. It took me a few tries, and a web tutorial, but eventually I got my technique down so that it slid easily back and forth.
I slipped my head through the loop and pulled it tight. I could feel the pressure building in my head almost instantly, letting me know it was in the right place, and it was tight enough to do the trick. As I sat on the bed wondering how long it would take to die or at least pass out, I heard the front door slam.
I yanked the noose off, tucked it under my pillow and rushed into the bathroom to check my neck for signs that I had just been strangling myself. There was only a thin red line, fortunately, so as long as he didn’t se me right this second, he would probably be none the wiser.
I shut the door, and less than thirty seconds later he knocked on it. “Can I come in?” he asked.
“I’m pooping,” I lied.
“Are you sure?” he responded.
“Seriously?” I thought. Out loud I said, “Yes, I’m sure.”
“Ok then,” he said, and left me alone. When I came out he was lying on the bed, head resting on the pillow that I’d stuffed the noose under. I kept waiting for him to reach up and find it, but he didn’t. We talked about how tired he was feeling, and about the things I’d been thinking. He asked if I was doing ok, but as I tried to lie to him and tell him I was fine, that same stupid twitchy grin came over my face.
I felt so betrayed by my body. Usually I’m a much better liar, but my poker face was shot. Sheepishly I pulled the noose out and handed it to him. He stood up and put it away, telling me how much he loved me, and assuring me that he wouldn’t be leaving me alone anymore today.
I went with him while he ran the rest of his errands, and then sat sullenly in the living room while he and our friend that lives with us cooked pizza for dinner. I ate a single slice of cheese pizza, but the bacon on the other one made my stomach churn, so I didn’t indulge in more than the one piece.
My husband suggested that we build something out of Legos, but I was feeling pretty sick, so I excused myself to the bathroom, and told both of them that I’d probably lie down for a little while after. My husband stopped me to ask if I was going to be okay, but my face started twitching again so he announced that he would be up to check on me in a few minutes.
As soon as I got into the bedroom I moved the noose back under my pillow. I really was feeling ill, though, so I went in the bathroom and hugged the toilet for a while. When I came back out, I used my phone to check my nest cams for my husband’s location, and since he was staring at his phone and looked like he would be there for a while, I pulled the noose back out and put it back around my neck.
As the pressure started to build up again, I decided to stop myself and look up how long it would take. I did some googling, and I pulled up my stop watch app. This time when I pulled the noose tight I started the stop watch, but something was off, and I wasn’t getting the right amount of pressure, so I took it off to retie it.
I was going to secure the other end to the bedframe so all I would need to do is lean forward, but no sooner than I had finished tying the noose again, my husband surprised me by coming in. I pulled the rope so that the noose came undone, but it was too late, he had seen me with the noose in hand, ready to strangle myself.
He snatched the rope from my hand. “Do you really want to die?” he said, wrapping the rope around my neck and pulling tight.
“No. I don’t know,” I mumbled, tearing up. I was shocked at this turn of events, but I didn’t struggle, or fight back.
“You really want to feel this pain?” He asked, wrapping it around my neck again, and pulling even tighter. It really was starting to hurt, and he was scaring me. I never thought for an instant that he would kill me on purpose, but I was starting to worry that he might pull too hard by accident, and crush my fragile larinx. I truely did want to die in that moment, but I wanted it to be by my hand, not his. Never his.
I started to struggle and he let up. “I’m sorry if I scared you, but that was the point,” he said. “I wanted you to realize that what you’re doing is stupid and painful. I want you to decide to live.”
“Okay,” I told him, with tears in my eyes. “All that did was make me realize I can’t talk to you about this,” I thought.
“Are you okay now?” he asked me. “Are you going to try to hurt yourself again?”
My face was practically break-dancing all over the front of my head as I tried to say no. We talked for a while. I tried to explain to him, that I wanted to kill myself, not be murdered, but he kept getting hung up on the details, and I couldn’t make the words come out right. He tried to sexualize the situation, I think it was an attempt to make me feel something other than depressed and suicidal, but it had the opposite affect, making me feel empty and cold inside.
He suggested we watch a movie, and I acquiesced. It was fun, and I forgot my troubles for a little while, but when it was over, and we went back upstairs the thoughts returned. We laid in the dark for a long time together. Eventually we even fooled around. I initiated it this time, because I wanted to feel close to him.
After he went to bed, I got the rope back out and started working on my noose. The best way to do it would be against a door, I decided, so I tied a monkeys fist at one end and retied the noose at the other. I put the rope over the bathroom door and tried it out. My knots were holding, but the rope was too long, so I tied an alpine butterfly loop in the middle and adjusted it so it was just the right height. I would need to stand on something to get my head through the loop now, but it was finally perfect.
I’m not ready to die yet. For today I want to live, but now I know that when I’m ready, my perfect noose will be ready too, and there’s something supremely comforting about that fact.
I know this will sound like a do as I say, not as I do situation, but I really want to encourage you guys and gals to reach out to the people around you if you’re feeling like you might hurt yourself. The number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255, in case you need it. Please call.