Please Scream Rather Than Leave A Note – Suicide In Our Lives

spade

Kate Spade / Anthony Bourdain


The other day, I read a NYT article that indicated suicide rates are rising at an alarming rate since 1999. The same day CNN listed a similar statistic at 25% since 1999. This was the day after Kate Spade had taken her life. I thought it a natural followup of a tragic event. This morning I woke to the news of Anthony Bourdain. His series ‘Parts Unknown’ has been receiving high ratings on CNN for years. These are two prominent members of our society based upon their achievements over decades. Yesterday at a conference, a colleague of mine made the poignant statement, ‘suicide isn’t selective’ in its victim.
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I’m really having a hard time wrapping my head around this. The first time I experienced suicide was when a friend of mine’s lover took his own life because he was terminal with cancer. I remember he lived a block away from me, and I probably could have heard the shotgun had I been on my deck, but I didn’t know about it until the next day. I remember his partner’s grief, and all the confusion that followed.
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Years later, a man named Spaulding Gray wrote a wonderful piece called ‘Swimming To Cambodia’ and I immediately fell in love with his writing, his persona, though I remember being tempered when once interviewed, he stated that when he knows he is too sick to enjoy a quality of life, he will jump in the East river. His body was fished out of that same river two years later. I was devastated. and again not fascinated, more sickened by the reality of such a gesture.
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In my own family, we have experienced such a tragedy, and there are never answers beyond the telling statement that depression is often a leading component in a person’s choice to take their own life. I’ve seen it too many times to count, and I still cannot wrap my head around it.
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I know in my life I’ve struggled with depression more than I would like to admit. I’ve felt the dark moments that I suggest to all of my students as they go on to college or just live their present lives that when those moments arise, they have to call someone, they cannot allow themselves any other choice. I recognize the hypocrisy of my emotional reaction to this terrible outcome in the lives of so many people in our society and world.
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Yet, all I can do today is speak to it from my heart. I didn’t personally know Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, Robin Williams, countless names in the public eye. I don’t know the names of all the people that the reader’s of this commentary have lost over the years. I only know the pain and confusion is real. I only know when my dark moments come, I cannot help but reflect upon the realities that exist around me on any given day.
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I can only suggest that people use the hotline – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255, rather than accepting someone’s final option as the only answer. There have got to be solutions, and more importantly there has to be a greater awareness and acceptance around the stigma that is attached to mental illness and depression.

AP File Photo

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The Poetry of Suicide

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A woman whom I do not know,

not even close,

took her life this morning.

~
It was in the news,

more grisly to the imagination,

than the simple passing,

the mortality of our

human condition.

~
Word was immediate,

she hanged herself.

~
Listen to the words,

hear them

resonate,

like a deep dark echo

on a hot summer night,

when we know,

somewhere,

something is wrong.

~
The thing about poetry is,

we write it as an expression,

sometimes we clear the air,

other times,

the toxic nature of our lives,

unfolds on paper,

the ink a spillage of prophecy,

and yet,

still no cure for depression.

~
Just words again,

words on words upon words,

and

still no cure for depression

~
I tell my kids,

the ones that listen in the classroom,

call someone,

use the phone, text,

use your mind to reach out,

despite the exhaustion,

yet there is that,

the fatigue piece,

whomever the motive

second-guessing

always here.

~
Have you met depression?

~
That dark place where every

misgiving one might possibly imagine

rears its ugly head,

it is incapacitating,

walls that do not exist,

screams that no one might ever hear,

and yet,

they do hear them,

incriminating, defeating, hopeless,

some of the words,

in the mind of the act,

while the rope tightens,

the air suffocating the misery,

the life lost in a couple of

real convulsions.

~
We lost a lot of people

in the pouring out of this ink,

there are more ahead,

tonight, last week, in a couple of days,

hours,

a few minutes from now,

there is someone will

forget they exist in a community,

find the door,

we are all welcome inside.


dedicated to the life of Kate Spade and all suicide victims past, present, future

Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255

(I’ve had my days, we all have, stick together please)

photo – Pinterest

The Passing, of a Day

When begins insurmountable

task,

the waking anxiety,

a desire to burrow

rather than the music of the day.

 

We all seemingly rise to

a pattern

so familiar, oddly routine,

sometimes forgetting

simple beauty.

 

Our lives caught up in the now,

my mother used to say,

he’s a now

person referring to life,

whenever my depression would fail me.

 

Inside the passing

of hours

a remarkable dream,

perhaps a positive

an outcome of smiles.

 

Inside the passing of a day,

so much magic

allows the human condition

to love,

to understand, to breathe, to live.

Passing Cars, Traveling Lives

When I was a little boy,

leaving nose prints on the picture

window,

in the rain, the streaks I’d follow

a free hand, fingertips,

tracing this world in some design.

 

When I was a little boy,

I’d watch the travelers

all of them pointed in some

direction,

a quiet neighborhood,

I’d often know the cars,

know they were watching me,

nose prints on a rainy day.

 

When I was just yesterday,

I wondered about time,

if it were ever really the same,

or if with practice,

would our lives intersect,

like the cars milling by,

the neighborhood

would only speak,

if shouts were ever heard.

 

While I wonder quiet about time,

I watch and hope for every time

the rains fall the glass of windows still

remind me of my childhood, if I will.

I Am Affected

I am affected by maybe one, perhaps two,

often it might be you,

the state of mind I carry through my day,

coordinates with how I feel, how I say,

I’m doing

just okay,

and then the hours creep on by

until later in my own quiet solace,

I realize the two, maybe one,

maybe it is you,

I’m still reeling over trying to segue

into a world without the influence

of a demon,

of a skeleton,

of all that is built upon shame and addiction,

on the throes of our own sacrifice,

I’m affected,

by the simple notion of hurting someone

beyond myself,

based upon some silly luxury of

self abasement,

the notion of realizing just how human

our frailty in life,

has become,

has warranted some rediculous

attention upon the here and now,

even though just a second

ago,

just minutes before the letters even hit

the tablet,

the idea of a beautiful evening,

startlit with sweet mystique

seemed to matter more than any one

judgment created by the simple

anxiety of a singular

emotion.

Some Times While Waiting

Easily we might understand the loss of time,

when we did hope there would be some remind

of a sweeter revenue

in the gifts of our humankind.

 

So often is it true when we wake

from a lesson learned,

an anxious melody of circumstance,

and gathering our senses seem surreal.

 

Walking along the avenue, we notice

a person lost inside their own reality,

yet to the onlooker,

for deep within we know not their serenity.

 

Cast a shadow upon this my truth,

while the world around me does

restore me some time to when in my youth,

I knew only love, only peace … in my youth.

Depression Is A Reality

A frozen state of mind,

clear headed

yet,

stone-walled by fear.

 

When they speak of racing thoughts,

it seems fruitless

trying to slow down that progression,

instead the eyes close.

 

While the strength of depression

wreaks havoc upon vulnerability

the body waits,

an eventual light goes on.

 

Symptomatic to asking

reality to step aside,

while in the moment the struggle

remains the only …

 

So, we fight,

our bodies eventually

find a way

to step off the merry-go-round.

 

As simple as that might seem,

the revolution will never careen.