“Whassat he sayin’?” Her high-pitched vowels filled the train car as she spoke to her friend on the phone. “It sounded like rap!”
The conductor was trying to announce something over the system, but a wire was loose and it cut in and out. Another passenger, who had the blessed gift of understanding conductor announcements turned around and told her, “It’s a medical emergency on the tracks.”
She repeated this to her friend, and said, “Why you jump in front of a train? Why don’tchu just jump off a bridge or somethin’? Why you have to jump in front of the train?”
It wasn’t her voice that struck horror into my heart. It was her words.
Because for many days now I’d been battling suicidal ideation.
W-wait, to be clear, I don’t want to die. It’s just that something short-circuited in my brain, kind of like that announcement, and it fixates on certain ideas in an OCDish way.
It scares me with the choices that are available to us.
You know how cars don’t always stop before the crosswalk at an intersection? How they tend to coast to the edge of the curb to see around the corner because the driver is in such a hurry to make a turn despite heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic downtown? (While we’re talking about irrational decisions…)
What if I just stepped in front of the cars, daring them to hit me? I wouldn’t die, but I’d be injured. So my brain goes. The part of me that wants to stay alive and whole then gets into a fistfight with suicidal ideation part of the brain and the struggle becomes apparent in my body as my limbs slow down in response, my legs become heavy, my steps are slow, as I cross the intersection. I’m lost in my thoughts as cars do, in fact, stop before the thick white line.
Another short-circuited thought that is common is, and this is what the lady didn’t know:
What if I stepped onto the tracks right where the train stops? It would hit me but I wouldn’t die.
“Why don’tchu just jump off a bridge or somethin’?”
There’s an idea, part of me thought. I’d thought it before. I could jump from the bridge into the river. It wouldn’t be too dirty at this point. Not too polluted. The fall is high but I wouldn’t die. It’d just hurt.
But I didn’t.
It’s the fear that gets to me though. I’m afraid of the choices that are available to me, options that seem like options even though they aren’t, because what if I snap and actually do these things?
State and Lake has a very narrow platform. All it takes is one stupid slip on the ice and I’d be in front of the train. It’s not hard.
Traffic is crazy downtown. All it takes is one inattentive, rushed driver.
It’s not hard to climb over the railing on the bridges.
All these choices, which don’t even cross other peoples’ minds, wear me out. All these choices to stay alive for my family, and live with psychiatric pain and my wobbly moods make me rather depressed, because that’s a self-preservation reaction–if I have no energy, I won’t do anything stupid.
I made an urgent appointment with my psychiatrist yesterday, and he said that some people live with these thoughts for much of their life.
Can you just imagine? It’s like living with cancer for much of your life.
Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.
Silence like a cancer grows
Silence, like a cancer, grows.
I’d been afraid to say anything. But silence like cancer grows, and if I talk about it, maybe it’ll end the stigma. Maybe it’ll break the hold it has over my mind, while I wait for my medication changes take effect.
Meanwhile, be careful about what you say, unlike the lady on the train. It may be enough to push someone over the edge.
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