Saturday, April 18, 2009

The sweet release of death – all its cracked up to be?

Like many emotionally challenged people, suicide is something that pops up in my mind about as regularly as most people change socks. At these times, the cramped little well that I am sitting waaaaay down at the bottom of generally looks very dark and scary and uninviting. The tiny hole of light at the top is a loooong way up, and try as I might, there just doesn’t seem to be any damned way out.

Scratching and clawing and holding on to life - despite a huge part of me screaming to just give up and fall – is… well… tiring, at best, and I have a huge amount of empathy for those that have given up the battle and figured their own way out.

Unfortunately, I have also recently had the delightful experience of watching a good friend almost disintegrate and disappear into nothingness when someone very dear to her took their own life.

Now, I understand that suicide is a taboo topic to a lot of people, but I have always been kind of blasé about it (well, the thought of it anyway) since it is a subject that has always run through my head as easily and annoyingly as that song that you heard a snippet of last week, and is still driving you crazy.

I don’t want to get all maudlin and morbid, although I understand suicide is not exactly a polite, light topic of conversation. Not one that people would generally discuss over tea and scones at the country club, so to speak. But for someone to whom the concept of ending ones own existence is sort of attractive – in a “not really, but wouldn’t it be nice to just not have to wake up” sort of way – it can be familiar territory that feels almost comforting - in the conceptual realm.

In actual reality what taking ones own life can do is leave a wake of guilt, regret, and usually completely pointless self-recriminations for the people that are left behind.

For anyone that - in that moment – might genuinely believe that the people you love would actually be better of without you – stop. You are wrong.

And if you want to get really down on yourself, you are human, so have probably been wrong before. So accept it, you are wrong. The people who love you will be completely and utterly destroyed by the fact that they couldn’t be the one that made a difference in your life. Every single person that ever cared about you will wonder what they could have done differently, and will blame themselves when they can’t come up with something.

And lets face it, if you are feeling this way you are almost certainly bathing luxuriantly in something extremely inviting and extremely toxic - self pity. Now self-pity is something that I have become very well acquainted with over the years, and I have learned that it is actually not quite the friend I thought it was.

Yes, it feels good in a self-flagellistic sort of way. Yes, you can justify just about any kind of behaviour that you want to. And yes, it will always be there waiting when you meet up with ones of life’s inevitable little challenges. But it also sucks the life right out of you. Motivation becomes a vague memory and regardless of the weather, your world becomes a dull grey colour that cannot be shifted, even with a good drop of red, happy friends and sparkling conversation.

But – and here’s the big bit - it goes away, too.

I recently read that suicide is ‘a permanent solution to a temporary problem’. I have to admit, I don’t think I could possibly have come up with any words that would state the case more succinctly. Whatever it is you are feeling right now is temporary, particularly if you consciously decide that it is going to pass and make a sustained effort to think about the things that you know will help you to get past it.

Knowing and applying this principal can be a bit tricky, but once I figured out that I could decide to make myself feel better, I spent time learning what types of things made me feel better when I thought about them. I felt a little bit more in control. I am still way out of control in a disturbing number of areas of my life, but at least I know that I can consciously try to change my feelings by changing my thoughts. I say try because it doesn’t always work, but it has worked long enough to keep me alive this long. And as with everything, perfecting it is a work in progress.

Are people that commit suicide cowards or are they brave enough to take a difficult step? That is a question that has floated through my mind since I understood its implications. I have come down on the side of cowardice because it is the choice that will stop me from hurting my loved ones more than I can imagine.

But I actually think that’s a pretty good reason.


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Neurons works online from where ever she happens to be a the time.Learn how you can do it, too, by visiting or

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Relationships. What fresh hell is this?

The idea of a life partner to support you in times of distress, and to share good times and bad, is pretty attractive to most people. Its just such as shame that the whole process - from locking eyes across a crowded bingo hall to finding yourself contemplating bloody murder at the local pub - is generally laced with an exquisite form of pain that is at least as addictive as the most popular narcotic (or possibly even chocolate).

As a species, we are hard-wired to crave intimate social contact, and partnering with a significant other is an instinctive human trait. Many animals share this trait, to differing degrees, and all animals are impelled by biological forces to seek out and couple with others of the same species (or, in a few disturbing cases, with members of different species).

The human experience of this ubiquitous trait is somewhat more complicated than most, though, and it is the intricacies of this particular dance that usually has me, at best completely bewildered and at worst curled up in the foetal position wishing the planet would just stop turning.

Like many people with emotional issues, I have discovered that I instinctively seek out partners that are broken and in need of serious and sustained emotional attention. Listening, supporting and fretting over some-one else’s dramas is a lovely, self-serving form of avoidance that is guaranteed to make me look and feel like a sensitive martyr, while at the same time neatly sidestepping any feelings I may have about anything that may actually be going on in my own reality.

So, I am into serial monogamy with people who need constant emotional attention and who are usually incapable of reciprocating and offering any real support in return. This, of course, is something that I do, in fact, need quite a bit of. So you can see where problems might arise. (I suspect that I am not alone in this fun little vortex of mental and emotional instability.)

The dance continues every day, as I try to decide whether to continue the stop-start rhythm of the beat I have been grooving to for the last seven years, or admit defeat, give up on the whole thing and get off the dance-floor (that’s it for the dancing metaphors – I promise).

As everything else in life continues to confound me, I have to decide if I should enjoy the safe haven of being with someone I love dearly - but is clearly giving me more to deal with than I need - or trying to struggle on with life feeling very alone, but knowing it is probably for the best in the long run.

I have friends. I do interact with other people regularly, although less so since I have been out of work. But the comfort of being with someone that knows me inside and out, that finishes my sentences before I have the first word out, and that makes me feel actively loved just by sitting in a room with me, is very seductive and it is very easy to fall back into toxic patterns. I tell myself that, since I know this, I will be less likely to actually do so, but I suspect I may be being a little optimistic.

In the short term, I have opted for the feel-good, but maybe illusionary, safety of a slightly limited form of familiar territory. I do feel a whole lot better for having someone that I know loves me around (even if he does have his own demons that are crazy about going a few rounds with mine). I have no idea whether this will turn out to be a positive long-term strategy, but like everything, I will just need to give it a little time before I can make any definitive assessments.

Depending on my mental state – I will keep you posted.


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Neurons works online from where ever she happens to be a the time.Learn how you can do it, too, by visiting or

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Who knows what will make a difference to your day?

Ok, so life can be difficult.... horrible.... shitty. Just generally not a lot of fun and kind of pointless day to day suffering. Pathetic, I know, but this is the way I have been feeling lately. Turned down for another job today. For the first time in my life I am finding it difficult to find an income. At all. I have no money coming in. I have no immediate prospect of money coming in. And this is very scary, since I also have no savings.

This unprecedented turn of events has been a brutal blow to my already almost non-existent self-esteem. So I am wallowing in the absolute plushness of my own self-pity when I decide to clean out the inbox of my Hotmail account. (Hey, a girl's gotta stay busy somehow. Slitting one's wrists - though good for taking up a bit of time - is also a trifle permanent.)

Now - just as another little piece of background to what is to follow - I am not exactly the type of person that passes on those 'if you don't send this email to 10 other people before noon tomorrow, you will be doomed to a life of back luck' kind of things you get in your inbox from time to time (particularly if you know a lot of the type of people that send those sort of emails).

So, while I am cleaning out my inbox, I stumble across two of these sappy, asinine things, which would, in a different frame of mind, prompt me to hit the delete button immediately. Don't get me wrong, I am not completely heartless. If I had known who these were from, I may have sent some pithy reply. But these were not meant for me. They were addressed to an email address with a single character difference to mine. I could tell this by the trail of previous recipients (another trait that ticks me off, by the way).

Anyway, with the recent experiences that life had provided me, I somehow had a very different - very visceral - response. I think I will just reproduce the emails below, (with the relevant identifying bits removed, of course) and let it speak for itself - for a minute:

Sometimes we just need to be reminded!

A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20.00bill. In the room of 200, he asked,
' Who would like this $20 bill? '

Hands started going up.

He said, ' I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.

He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill.

He then asked, ' Who still wants it? '

Still the hands were up in the air.

Well, he replied, ' What if I do this? '

And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.

He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.

' Now, who still wants it? '

Still the hands went into the air.

My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson.

No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value.

It was still worth $20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way.

We feel as though we are worthless.

But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.

Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased,

you are still
priceless to those who DO LOVE you.

The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know,

but by WHO WE ARE and

You are special
Don ' t EVER forget it '

If you do not pass this on, you may never know the lives it touches, the hurting hearts it speaks to, or the hope that it can bring.

Count your blessings,
not your problems.
' And remember:
amateurs built the ark ..

built the Titanic.

If God brings you to it -
He will bring you through it.

That was one of two, the other was different but the same - you know what I mean. Ok, so we've all seen them, or a variation thereof. But I am telling you that the universe does speak to you, and in the weirdest ways. Today it spoke to me through a chain email.

The fact that I had let it sit in my inbox for weeks, and had chosen that moment to open it was about as serendipitous as it gets, and I felt it - like a weight being lifted from my shoulders.

As long as I just put my head down and keep going it will get better. Its as simple as putting one foot in front of the other, remembering to breath in and out every day and taking some time to share some of the good stuff around. And the good stuff doesn't cost you a penny.

So, in the epiphany that I was having about life, it became very important to pass on this little miracle - for trust me it was a miracle - to the person that had inadvertently provided it for me. Her email name is Kat, so it was to Kat that I addressed my message:

Hi Kat

You don't actually know me, I received your email in error. I think the person you were looking for You just forgot the 'l'.

I have let your email sit in my inbox for a while, since I didn't know who it was from, and have only just opened it while cleaning out my emails. I really felt the need to write you back and let you know that, even though you did not mean to send these emails to me (there was another that came at the same time), I have opened them at a time when I really needed the universe to tell me that there was some worth to my life.

I wont bore you with the details, but life has been a bit shitty lately, and very difficult to cope with. The sentiment in both of the mails, although intended for some-one else, and from some-one that I don't know, has reminded me of the value of life and what is really important at a time when I needed it most.

I just wanted to let you know that a simple thing like forwarding a kind of sappy and silly email can have a profound effect on another human being's life.

So thanks. And may the universe throw you a few little miracles when you need them most. :-)


And then I sat down and started writing this blog.

I feel unbelievably better. Better than I have for days. Not just for having read the words, but also for having acknowledged the affect that they had on me to the person that sent them. I do not know this person, but Kat - thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And to anyone that may actually be reading this blog - pay it forward. Not only does it make you feel great, but it might make someone else feel good and want to pass it on too.

Imagine the world we would live in then.


Feel free to copy and publish this article online, but please include the authors details and link below.

Neurons works online from where ever she happens to be a the time.Learn how you can do it, too, by visiting or