I once wrote on this subject, “Like a mother holding her child, death embraces us.” Perhaps then, Freud was right, as it is death that I have flirted with. Although not as widely known for it, Freud also wrote on the concept of a death drive. I am inclined to believe in such a drive.
It seems to me that there are multiple stages of suicidal thought. Wanting to die has been a very common feeling for me throughout my life. This is distinct from an urge to kill one’s self. However, the leap from a yearning of death to suicidal ideation is small. The next stage that I have experienced is what I describe as borderline suicidal. This is the point where one thinks about suicide, but doesn’t seriously consider doing it. After this, is a stage where one plans to actually commit suicide. The final stage is where one actually attempts suicide.
A borderline suicidal feeling is not something I have experienced many times in my life. Somewhat ironically, this stage contributes to me being alive today. Anxiety over a girl left me feeling in this state around the 19th of October. I have fond memories of biking to the gravel pit with my father to go fishing in the summer when I was a child. On the 21st of October I walked to the gravel pit (Blue Earth River Aquatic Management Area) to clear my head. I mentioned this online. If it was not for that, my family would not have realized it was where I went on my actual attempt!
Planning suicide doesn’t really fall so neatly into the stages of suicide I just described for me. To be a hypocrite is to be a human! Due to my interest in death, I have planned suicide without feeling suicidal before. To commit suicide requires a lack of any convincing reasons to live. When I was in Mayo Clinic’s Behavioral Health Unit (psych ward/mental hospital) in Mankato, the psychiatrist asked me to come up with a list of 5 reasons to live. I wrote out 5 reasons, but I wasn’t happy with them. The 5th reason was only a temporary reason, and the other 4 could be generalized more. I don’t think most people would share my enthusiasm towards reducing the number of reasons I have to live. The happiness I felt when I reduced the list to 3 reasons was unbounded!
My list was as follows:
1. Close interpersonal relationships
2. The pursuit of happiness
3. To see what the future brings
I feel that reaching this level of generalization is important, because it boils what can act as preventative factors for me down to their essence. Looking forward to the future and remembering that there will be more happy moments in life are both valid preventative factors and I feel that they certainly deserve to make the list, but they are not enough to keep me alive on their own. My list is ranked from most important to least important. If the last two factors were enough to keep me alive alone, I wouldn’t have ever attempted suicide! Every person must die some day, so it is quite easy to discard the third reason when one is feeling suicidal. Happiness is a much stronger reason to live, but it can only take a man so far when he lives in complete isolation.
I realized the most important factor long before I was ever asked for reasons to live.
If I had a wife (and possibly children), suicide would be completely out of the question.
I would never kill myself if I had these kinds of close interpersonal relationships.
I planned a long time ago that if I were to ever have such relationships, I would live for them as long as they were a part of my life.
If I were not to have these kinds of relationships, I would kill myself once my quality of life began to slip away with old age. Medical science has made amazing advances in allowing people to live longer lives, but it has not made nearly as much progress in equally extending quality of life. Choosing when I die after living a long and fulfilling life appeals to me much more than waiting for aging to champion medical intervention.
My suicide attempt was certainly not the one I had planned before. I have not yet lived a long and fulfilling life, and I’m certainly not yet succumbing to old age! It was an irrational decision, and I was well aware of that fact when I went through with it. I was only a drunkard, inebriated by my poison - a one sided love. Like an unsuspecting sailor, I was drawn in by the song of the sirens and crashed my ship upon the rocks. Or, saved like Butes, my family, friends, and the local community played the role of Aphrodite in the Argonautica of my life.
The first day I saw my psychologist, he asked me whether we should use rational thought or emotion in driving our life.
Naively I replied, “…Both?”
He insisted that the correct answer was only rational thought, but I remained skeptical of that claim. I spent a long time thinking about it after that session, and realized that my confusion arose from semantics. When he used the word “driver,” I had taken it to mean any factor that contributed to an overall decision. By analyzing his analogy, I realized my mistake. The analogy was that of a family in a car. The annoying kid in the back seat (emotion) can contribute to the decision of where to drive, but the driver (rational thought) should never hop out and let the kid drive. If you ignore rational thought, you’ll make irrational decisions, which is not a good thing. His point was not to ignore your emotions, but to NOT ignore your rational thoughts! Too often it is the case that a clever idea seems obvious once you hear it. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.
He also described emotion as a neighborhood. When one emotion gets fired up, it has a tendency to bug its neighbor. It is a chain reaction that can quickly grow out of control. Feelings of love and infatuation ran away with me, leading to an obsession. I listened to my emotion and ignored my rational thoughts for the first time here, and essentally became a stalker. During this time I continued to make irrational decisions and made an impulse purchase, buying her a gift that I never had the chance to give. Love and infatuation knocked on their neighbors loneliness, sadness, anxiety, etc. She was the only person I’ve ever wanted to marry, the only person I’ve wanted to live for. She was my reason to live. However, these feelings were one-sided. Continuing the trend of emotionally driven decisions, I found myself driven towards suicide as I fell into depression after the house of cards that was our acquaintanceship tumbled down.
I never realized that I had a problem with depression.
I was misinformed about what depression was.
I thought depression was long term, that it was a medical condition, and that it was not simply a mood.
When I was on SSRIs, I began suffering side effects and wanted to get taken off antidepressants.
“I don’t need antidepressants, I wasn’t depressed in the first place,” I thought!
My doctor explained to me that this was not the case. I was still skeptical but I let him switch me to an SNRI. Reseaching depression after the doctor visit, I realized that he was correct.
I did know that I had a problem with social phobia. However, getting help for social phobia is a bit of a catch-22, so I wasn’t able to reach out for the help that I needed.
If I had only known in July that I shouldn’t ignore my rational thoughts, and that I needed help for depression, I’d still have her as a friend, I’d have >$100 more in my bank account, and I wouldn’t be recovering from frostbite [nsfl/gore]. Live and learn, I suppose. I’m glad to be alive and getting the help that I need, but it really is a shame that it had to happen like this.
On the 24th of November I decided I would kill myself. I wanted something that wouldn’t be messy, but also quick and painless. I liked the look of an exit bag hooked up to a nitrogen tank. The next day I realized I wanted to do it soon, and that gathering the supplies would not be practical. I spent the day clearing my devices, writing my suicide notes, taking pictures for my family, changing my tumblr to reflect my emotions, and researching other methods. Realizing there wouldn’t be a practical method that would be quick, painless, not messy, and something I could do the next day, I decided a bit of pain would be okay and considered hanging, but it didn’t appeal to me for a variety of other reasons. Next, I planned on drowning myself at the gravel pit. After driving out to scope it out ahead of time, I changed my mind after seeing that it was already frozen over. I didn’t want to trap myself under ice, and wasn’t sure what I would do if the ice wouldn’t break! As a last minute decision, I picked hypothermia. I figured it would be a few hours of agony followed by delirium/unconciousness, and I had always heard that you feel warm right before you die. I put a bottled water in the fridge, and went to sleep.
The next day my mom woke me up for breakfast, as usual. Her last words to me were, “I’m disappointed.” After my breakfast I kept my mind clear of rational thoughts (intentionally) with Ambient 1: Music for Airports. I then took a bath, and I didn’t dry off. I put on underwear, shorts, pants, socks, and a long sleeved shirt. After making sure my mom had left, I set up my suicide notes on the table in my room, which I had cleared off the day before. I left three notes on the table. On the left was a note specifying a few childhood items (which sat on top of the note) that I wanted buried with me. Next was a note to my parents, on top of which I left a candle which I lit, and the camera with the pictures I had taken the day before. The final note sat on top of my senior yearbook, which I had placed a bookmark in on the page that had the picture of the girl I had been creeping on. The note specified that I wanted the rock I had bought for the girl to go to her, and the rock sat on top of the note. I cracked open the windows for ventilation, and put on a beanie, jacket, shoes, and gloves. After removing everything from my wallet except for my drivers license and my Blue Cross and Blue Shield card, I stuffed it into my pocket. The drivers license was so my body could be identified, and the bcbs card was for the case in which I was to be found before I died, as it has helpful medical information. I said my goodbyes online (although I kept them vague), and left one of the pictures I had taken on my twitter. I made sure to close my door and leave my computer running, hoping to delay the discovery that I was gone. Grabbing the bottled water from the fridge, I said my goodbyes to the dog, and hit the road at approx. 8:30.
I walked straight to the gravel pit. The clothing I was wearing was to prevent suspicion as I walked past the neighbors. A small dog (I believe it was a corgi) from the neighbors started to follow me. I told it repeatedly to go home, but it clearly was not well trained! Luckily, when I reached the intersection with 330th Avenue, the dog turned back. I grimly chuckled to myself as I passed the “DEAD END” sign, and continued on my way.
Once I reached the gravel pit, I found a nice area to hide in brush. I removed my beanie, jacket, shirt, belt, pants, shoes, gloves, glasses, scrunched my socks down, folded the clothing up, and left the wallet and glasses in my shoes. Proceeding with the plan, I opened the water bottle and poured it over my chest and back, and layed down. I wore underwear and shorts because I wanted to die with a bit of dignity. I kept the socks on because I knew feet would be the first thing to go and if I was to be found early, I didn’t want to lose my feet. The goal was death, not amputation, so I was only concerned with dropping my core temperature. The first few hours I was shivering and very cold, but after a while euphoria set in. All negative thoughts were gone, I wanted to sing and dance and shout for joy. I still intended to die, but I was on top of the world! Soon after this the real pain began to set in. I realized my feet were freezing fast so I pulled the socks back up, put my shoes back on, and wrapped the extra clothing around my legs and feet. By this time it was getting later in the day. I learned the difference between normal shivering and severe shivering, and was very surprised that it was taking so long. I worried that I would be found as I assumed at this point that people were looking for me. However, I was sure that I would not last through the night if they did not find me.
I spent the entire night writhing in agony. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my entire life. My legs completely froze from the knees down, and I tried to rub them to keep them warm. I hallucinated a bit I think, because I thought that I felt blisters all over my legs. I gave up on them and used the clothing I had wrapped around them to rest my head on. When I put on my glasses and looked around I realized my vision had gone all starry, and I was confused. Eventually, I realized my hands were freezing too, so I put my gloves on, and kept my hands rested under my head.
By morning, I was still conscious. I assumed that I wasn’t going to be found at this point because I figured they had been searching all night. I took off my gloves and shoes, and put on my shirt and pants. I wasn’t able to fully get my pants on. I don’t think I was able to get my shoes back on, and I couldn’t get my gloves back on either because I could barely move my fingers and they wanted to curl in. I was putting the clothing on because I wanted to try to move out into the open to make it easier to find my body, and I wasn’t thinking clearly. I couldn’t move enough to go anywhere and ended up accomplishing nothing from that. At some point, I pissed my pants because I knew I couldn’t get up, take my dick out, try to aim the stream, and get my dick back in. Later, I began to vomit every time I adjusted my position. My stomach was mostly empty, so I was just throwing up stomach acid. I later found out that my muscles had been breaking down which was releasing poisons into my body.
When I heard the four-wheeler in the distance, I called out for help. I just wanted the pain to end at this point, and it didn’t matter if that meant dying or being saved. I knew if I could be saved, that would get me out of that state of agony faster than waiting for death. It wasn’t long after being found that they had me in the ambulance. I had been out in below freezing temperatures for over 24 hours. My feet were purple from the ankles down when I reached the ER. It is really amazing how little damage my body incurred. I spent about a week in medical hospital and a week in mental hospital. I got home on December 9th.
I definitely won’t ever try that again!