The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling. -David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest).
September is World Suicide Prevention Month, and this quote is an excellent introductory exposition of what it’s like to deal with the paralyzing anarchy this dreaded S word conjures in a miserable person’s head.
Normally I detail my own amplified, drawn-out personal experiences in blog posts of this type, but I already (sort of) did that for this topic a year ago—click here for that post. This time, I decided to play off the momentum of my last published poem and write some more crazy, free-formed ones. Please, if you feel compelled, share them with anybody who may need them.
Sip, Slip, Sleep
Depending on the deep end of the deepened casino,
Bleak as the threatening thoughts caught circulating barbarically between his ears,
He lifts his languid eyes up and hallows this timeless, dreamlike isolation—
A desolation, it lofts lightly in this aimless, ambient atmosphere.
He never expected to watch his spirits slip swiftly in a brimming, brief big bang,
Being disgusted by that bad, gun-slinging fad since he last held his stiff, crumpled dad;
So his sole, sullied smile strikes sweetly for the darkness that drags his drooping eyes
Down and tosses him into a deep, infinite pit of inescapable, permanent darkness.
Darkness: dishing out deep, deceptive death to the depressed off the dealer’s desk,
It grins a sigh of relief; as the man relieved of reliefs—reliefs relieved all because of an
Impulsive inkling of an idea: to sit with a losing hand beneath his lip and sip with his lip
Some spirits until his slipping spirit seriously slips—slips into a silent, ceaseless sleep.
Tear-stains slink on her rosy cheeks, forming an insipid pool of anguish,
The white pillowcase a canvas for a Pollock of scarlet rain,
As she massages the rugged depressions hiding beneath the red stream.
This liquid velvet wrist dress: a relief from her mess, a distraction from her bane;
And yet again she drags under her hand these 200 grams of a shiny, yet dim, dream.
His inestimably valuable head reeks, screeching a hapless growl
For someone, something, anything to pull him off the drain at the base.
The immediate, foregone pounds of both his heart and head (hangover):
Lonely, sickly responses he’s so accustomed to that they go by unnoticed.
Hidden in plain sight,
Like the nose stuck in the middle of his awestruck sight.
So he gazes into the eyes of his invisible disease and takes a swig,
Watching this cold, mindless liquid-state steal his bygone fate.
It rattles her core.
“Fishing for likes”;
But did those ‘board warriors see her boy’s strikes?
So she dresses poor,
Dreading every opened door,
Putting on her spikes,
Checking bruises in the mirror, saying yikes.
And she shoots highs up her veins through a needle,
Scurrying to part from the ground like a beetle;
When the chemicals recede she drops like a crate,
Withdrawals and misery—their synergy: her trait.
Not even her parents understand,
So tonight she’ll take a stand;
Jabbing the chair with her hand,
The beetle dangles above her treacherous land.
Knights of the Night
Knowing only her torso area, they rapidly drop their pants: a race—
The sickly, objectifying words outmatching her mace.
They treat her like a disgrace,
Like she’s nothing more than a car chase.
She covers the misery with her embellished face, her armor,
Knowing well to never showcase the disgrace
That lingers in and out of her bodily trace;
Alas, she floats in an insecure, unsecured space.
This one man sees her obvious outward pain.
He sees the beautiful ideas that sprout from her brain,
But she buffers his friendly attempts, forcing his influence to wane.
Always playing defense against the men, she is used to the disdain.
A genius in the lab, a wizard in class, she’s valued only in bed: bound by a chain.
Wanting help, she still pushes him away, literally and figuratively, like he’s a strain.
This one man could be her one man, but she’ll never know—stuck in her own lane.
A beautiful, neglected girl—and the moth trying to share her light—they end in pain.
Miserable, lonely creatures—devoid of each other—they surrender the fight,
Using all their remaining might to lose all in their lives that is right.
Two lovely people blinded by blight, they slip away—violently—into a gentle night;
A dagger to the heart, a smite, and each falls to the floor like a wounded knight.
Sarcasm and jokes:
The bottle in which he,
Yet another clinical depressive,
Sends out his most plangent screams
For someone to care and help. DFW knows.
But he’s losing signal, like AT&T is conspicuously out to get him.
Like everybody around him is so shady and shallow.
Like, with each line of his poem, he loses a bar.
Like this writer’s world is miserable.
Like his work is worthless.
But I’m not, nor are you. It sounds cheesy but it’s true. Many of us—of all human forms and types—struggle with suicidal thoughts, attempts- everything. You may be lonely and desperate and depressed, but you’re not alone; other people with similar feelings are out there, and they’ll be happy to dig into some of life’s uglier trenches alongside you. And despite our many struggles, we should also remember that suicidal feelings are often the emotional byproduct of one fleeting phase or event, too, so acting on them would be shortsighted. I’m not an old wise man with all the answers, but these are a few things I’ve learned in my short life’s journey. Please, everyone, remain perseverant and keep talking, keep breathing—keep living.
Thanks for reading and please squeeze those precious seconds of your day to like, comment, share, and follow if possible.