On my Facebook page, I receive a lot of posts from Mental Health pages and sites about HOPE. “Never give up hope”, “there is always hope”, etc…I get them almost every day. I seldom re-post them to a page that I co-manage, called Riders Against Mental Illness Stigma.
Hope may mean different things to different people depending on their circumstances. Mostly, the posts I receive probably mean that there is will be some reason to continue to live; hope that tomorrow will be better, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that someone really does love you, or will, that you will feel better about yourself.
I do get it. For most people, HOPE is all about believing there will be a better future than when the world feels like crap and you feel like worse than crap. When I am experiencing suicidal thoughts however, HOPE takes on a totally different slant. When I am suicidal, my hope becomes what some may perceive as a dark and irrational concept. Well, when I am suicidal I am therefor not rational, right? (or am I?) It is really quite difficult to explain.
I have lain in bed countless nights and sincerely HOPED that I would just not wake up – have an aneurysm or a stroke or something. I have HOPED that I would have a single car accident and die in it. I have HOPED for these agents of my demise as opposed to active suicide so that the stigma and misplaced guilt would not affect my daughter and it would be more of a relief rather than a source of grief. Often, I try to figure out how I can stage my own death by “accident”. Driving my car into the rocks or over a cliff, freezing to death in the bush, “falling” down a steep embankment and cracking my head open on a rock are a few of the ideas my desperately depressed mind has conceived.
Failing the luck of having an “accidental” death, the HOPE I have, should I perform a more direct approach, is that I will actually succeed. A botched suicide would result in me becoming MORE of a burden on society than I already am, because during this time I do believe that I am an incredible loser, and to quote myself from an earlier submission, “a waste of time, space and oxygen”. My belief is that everyone would be MUCH better off if I was to just disappear.
To become something of value to the universe through death is my HOPE. The beauty of a sunset over the lake brings me to tears in HOPE that I may become a speck of dust that gathers moisture and refracts the light from the sun in prismatic glory. I believe that there is immense value in becoming fertilizer for a majestic Eastern White Pine or for a Douglas Fir in the Cathedral Grove, or in dissolving into the nutrients for the plankton that feeds the krill that feeds the magnificent whale.
When I am in a suicidal state, my HOPE is not that I find a reason to live, it is that I die well and in death, relieve others of their suffering of me and become of some use to the cosmos. I do not think that is what the HOPE posts are trying to convey. To a person who is suicidal though, the word HOPE may be quite the opposite of what is intended. People need to consider this possibility when postulating that as long as there is HOPE, everything will be OK. It depends on what a person believes at that time to be OK.
About L. Song
L. Song is a middle aged professional who has been struggling with Bipolar Disorder II since her teens. After finally being properly diagnosed and prescribed the correct medication at forty-four, she has dedicated herself to helping others who suffer from the stigma of mental illness through her work. To try to make a difference, L. Song supports organizations such as Mood Disorders Society of Canada, CAMH, as well as HMC. As an avid “horse person,” she also follows and contributes to a Facebook page, Riders Against Mental Illness Stigma. She plans to someday work with people and horses in a therapeutic capacity and publish a book about her experiences living and recovering from the disorder. You can follow her story on HMC's Supportive Minds blog.