Tag Archives: Suicide

My Dad, My Father


Image: Rory Bristol

Image: Rory Bristol

I throw a couple of words around a lot on this blog. My Father, and my Dad. They are two different people. Two very different people. My Father and I shared a name until after his death several years ago. My Dad, however, is a dear man whom I have known for over a decade now. They also have very different roles in my life.

My father was a kind dude. A little odd, a little too loose with the law, and terrifyingly racist, but a kind man. I didn’t know him as well as I’d like, but I did have a relationship with him. He died just over four years ago, and his funeral was a wake-up call for me.

I went to honor a man I’d called Daddy all my life. Up to that point, I thought I’d had enough of a relationship with him. When I spoke, though, I didn’t have a lot of stories to tell. I have gallons of memories of sitting with him, fishing, talking, working, so many memories that fill my heart with love, but aren’t easily shared. As I listened to his friends speak, though, I learned that my father was a deeper man than I’d ever known.

I learned that he’d once broken the jaw of a large dog, while rescuing a little girl from it. I learned that he’d kept his childhood friends for his entire life. I learned that he was gracious, and didn’t leave a favor un-returned. I learned that he’d struggled with mental illness his entire life. I learned that the responsibility of his eight children weighed heavily on him. I learned that the last thing he did before he killed himself was to go to his mother’s bedroom, and tell her he loved her.

I learned that I wanted more. I wanted my Daddy to come back and tell me more about his life. I wanted to tell him we loved him, even though we lived so far away. It wasn’t his fault our mother moved hundreds of miles away. I loved him, dammit.

Six years before my father died, I met a man on a writer’s forum. His screen name was something boring like Andy67, or whatever. (I’ll call him Andy here. Why not?) He and I became good friends over the years. A few months before my father died, Andy’s mother died. It hit him really hard.

We already talked every day by then. We already checked in with each other. But after Andy’s mother died, he was more alone in the world. He has credited me with being there for him when he needed it most. I’m honored that he thought me worthy at the time. I was able to be there for him as he recovered, and learned to accept his grief.

Then I got the worst call of my life. My Grandma called me to tell my that my father had died. I didn’t have much of a support network at the time. My then-boyfriend was at a loss as to what to do, but I figured I’d handle it alone. It was one of the hardest weekends of my life. Thankfully, my many brothers and my sister were there for me, and I was there for them. We mucked through it.

When I flew home, I got some bad news. My boyfriend’s dad had cancer. A week later, his mother was in a car accident, and a few weeks after that, she fainted at the bank and was hospitalized. It was a crazy summer. By my birthday in August, I needed a break. I went on a weekend vacation with my brother and some friends to just chill.

A week after that, I found out that our bills hadn’t been paid in months. I had faithfully given my boyfriend’s mother the rent and utilities, and she hadn’t paid the bills all summer. My relationship with my boyfriend had been suffering for most of the year. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I left.

I moved to Arizona, with the help of Zooey, the magical friend of mine who provided a plane ticket when I couldn’t get one. I moved over a thousand miles away. I moved in with Andy. I got a job, started college again, and found the best friend I’d known to that point.

Over time, several people told me I looked like Andy. We’d jokingly introduce ourselves as “Dad” or “son”. It stuck. At some point, I told him that I did feel like he was a “dad” to me. We discussed it. Then we took a break. Then we discussed it again. It just felt right. I started calling him my dad all the time, and we care for each other very much.

Now, my Dad will never be my Father. He’ll never be “Daddy.” He can’t go back and fill the gaps, and he can’t make me miss my Father any less. It still hurts when I think about him. But it is nice to have a friend like Andy. Someone who cared enough to take me in when I was down. Someone who has cried on my shoulder, too.

I can’t go back and do nice things for my Father. It’s too late. I still have a strained relationship with my mother. We’re working on that. But I can do something nice for my dad. I can make his life better, just because.

Just because. If you need a reason bigger than that to do something nice for your parents (or kids), then take a hard look and see if you can reach out, or accept the reach from them. It might be worth it. Your call.

Committing Multiple Suicides [Now Theoretically Possible]

Screenshot of video

Screenshot of video

So, here I am, working away my day, and my beautiful and amazing wife shared a video. It was cute, and lovey, but also super sciencey. Science-ish. Sort of related to Science. Well, actually quite scientific. Aha! Scientific is the word, there. “…also super scientific.”

Check it out, it’s only a few minutes:


Now, if you’ve been paying attention, you will notice that I have stumbled upon a theoretic ability to commit suicide a bazillion times. Unfortunately, this would (as you saw) leave a trail of inexplicable corpses in my wake. Not at all acceptable. As a conscientious commentator, I hereby forbid the practical applications of science in reference to time travel. Either get on the Fantasy bus, and make it magic, or GTFO. Capiche?

On a more serious note, this all might be moot to you, but for me, it’s a new way of looking at death, and life, and the possibilities of science in affecting me. Hell, I take a small collection of compressed chemical substances to tell my brain what to do. “Don’t see this. Do feel that. Look what you did!” All that jazz.

Science is awesome, and we aren’t done yet. Hopefully, we’ll reach the point where we can fine-tune our emotional regulation. I don’t want a button on my belt that delivers “happy”, and look like Vader. Nor do I want a multi-dimensional-death-machine. I want something simpler, like, maybe, one or two fewer pills a day without reduced function. So if you could do that, Science, that’d be great.

TL;DR: It might be theoretically possible to commit suicide multiple times via time travel, but I don’t suggest it for, well, anyone. Get a magic wand, or a time-turner, and do that shit right.

I’m Not Okay: Help!

Jenny sent me a link to the article included below, and it made me happy inside. It will forever live on a wall in my house, because I need perspective too. If you have something that helps you, tell us about it! Share in the comments. We are all learning different things that help, and I could use some advice too, you know.

From Eponis.Tumblr.com, this article was originally published and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Are you hydrated?  If not, have a glass of water.

Have you eaten in the past three hours?  If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs.  Perhaps some nuts or hummus?

Have you showered in the past day?  If not, take a shower right now.

If daytime: are you dressed?  If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas.  Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.

If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep?  Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain, and close your eyes for fifteen minutes — no electronic screens allowed.  If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again; no pressure.

Have you stretched your legs in the past day?  If not, do so right now.  If you don’t have the spoons for a run or trip to the gym, just walk around the block, then keep walking as long as you please.  If the weather’s crap, drive to a big box store (e.g. Target) and go on a brisk walk through the aisles you normally skip.

Have you said something nice to someone in the past day?  Do so, whether online or in person.  Make it genuine; wait until you see something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it.

Have you moved your body to music in the past day?  If not, do so — jog for the length of an EDM song at your favorite BPM, or just dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song.

Have you cuddled a living being in the past two days?  If not, do so.  Don’t be afraid to ask for hugs from friends or friends’ pets.  Most of them will enjoy the cuddles too; you’re not imposing on them.

Do you feel ineffective?  Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an e-mail, loading up the dishwasher, or packing your gym bag for your next trip.  Good job!

Do you feel unattractive?  Take a goddamn selfie.  Your friends will remind you how great you look, and you’ll fight society’s restrictions on what beauty can look like.

Do you feel paralyzed by indecision?  Give yourself ten minutes to sit back and figure out a game plan for the day.  If a particular decision or problem is still being a roadblock, simply set it aside for now, and pick something else that seems doable.  Right now, the important part is to break through that stasis, even if it means doing something trivial.

Have you seen a therapist in the past few days?  If not, hang on until your next therapy visit and talk through things then.

Have you been over-exerting yourself lately — physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually?  That can take a toll that lingers for days. Give yourself a break in that area, whether it’s physical rest, taking time alone, or relaxing with some silly entertainment.

Have you changed any of your medications in the past couple of weeks, including skipped doses or a change in generic prescription brand?  That may be screwing with your head.  Give things a few days, then talk to your doctor if it doesn’t settle down.

Have you waited a week?  Sometimes our perception of life is skewed, and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly, and there’s no obvious external cause.  It happens.  Keep yourself going for a full week, whatever it takes, and see if you still feel the same way then.

You’ve made it this far, and you will make it through.  You are stronger than you think.

End quote.

Remember to love yourself. You deserve it, motherfucker. If you want to download a printable version of this for your home, you can download it here.

Top 10 Reasons to Not Commit Suicide

Image: Rory

Image: Rory

Many of us have faced this problem: Will it even make a difference in the world if I die? Would it be a net loss for the world? If I commit suicide, will I be missed?

I’ve had this internal conversation more times than I can count. In the end, each time I came back to the decision to keep going forward. There are hundreds of reasons to keep living, but I’m going to share the 10 I come back to most often.

1: Your story is not done.
Sometimes I felt that I was out of options, and that there was no reason to keep trying. Each time, I held on, and my story continued. Every tiny little victory has been worth it. Every time somebody laughs at a joke, or smiles because I randomly waved at them on the street, I know I have furthered my story, and that it is worth it.

2: You are the only you.
A person is nothing more or less than their total experiences in the world. Nobody shares your experiences. They are perfectly unique. As a twin, I often despaired that my life didn’t matter, because my twin could make up the difference. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized how wrong I was. Even if I don’t know why, my experiences are building towards something, and nobody else in the world will have my exact perspective.

3: You can help.
Coming out on the other side of a mental health crisis is a trial. I know better than many. It hurts to come back to real life, especially if people know what happened. As I’ve gone through this a few times, I have learned that most people struggle. Nobody is exempt from the difficulties of mental health. By knowing that you have come through, people can take solace in knowing they aren’t alone.

4: You aren’t alone either.
The world is built on the successes of the crazies. From Edgar Allen Poe to Mary Lambert, crazy people have a constant effect on the world. Whether you have Bipolar Disorder, or you are suicidal, there are literally billions of people who know. They can’t possibly know every detail, but they don’t need to. They have literally been there, and can understand your struggles.

5: You can make somebody else’s life better. / The world is better because you are in it.
Whether it’s being there for somebody you know personally, or writing articles, or even your own blog, you have the ability to help others feel less alone. You can be a member of a peer group, or volunteer at a local behavioral health facility. You can also make somebody’s life better. Every time you make someone laugh, you have made their life better. Every time you express your gratitude, you make that person feel special.

6: You are on somebody’s top 10.
I’ve practiced writing down my top 10s many times. The top 10 people who changed my life. The top 10 people who I am thankful for. The top 10 people I would miss if I died. Well, guess what? You are on someone else’s top 10. Whether it’s because you make them feel special, or because you share a unique friendship with someone, somebody out there has you on their top 10 list(s). When I started making my lists, I realized that many of those people weren’t in contact with me anymore. They had no way of knowing they were on my top 10, because I didn’t treat them that way. Just because somebody hasn’t told you that you are on their top 10, doesn’t mean you aren’t on there. It just means they haven’t told you.

7: You deserve to live.
So many times, I have felt that I didn’t deserve to live. This is a downright lie. Depression, anxiety, hallucinations, they all lie. You are worth every second of your life. Every emotion you feel now, or will feel later, is potential that you can only unlock by living to feel them.

8: There is more to learn.
The greatest thing about this life is learning. There are an infinite number of things to learn. Whether you are taking classes, watching television, reading, or just talking to someone, you can and will learn something every minute of every day. Each time you learn something, you add to yourself. You make yourself bigger, better, stronger. You will never be done becoming better.

9: You are not the sum of your failings.
I have spent hundreds of hours beating myself up for my mistakes. I decided at one point to make my mistakes right, no matter what. I learned a hilarious thing about mistakes: Nobody remembers them like you do. I’ve apologized for inappropriate actions, mostly to find out that the person I’m apologizing to has no idea what I’m talking about. This isn’t 100% true, and isn’t an excuse to behave irresponsibly. But it is something to remember in the dark. We are truly our own worst critic. No matter how much you feel like nobody cares, nobody truly feels that you should die.

10: You have your own reasons.
Your passions, your loves, your friendships—they are yours, and nobody else’s. If you don’t know your own reasons for living, search yourself. Meditate, pray, or talk to someone (even yourself) to help you figure it out. Somewhere inside of you, you have reasons to keep living. Nobody can take those away. Nothing is worth giving those reasons up, and nothing negates them. Your reasons to live are a sacred part of who you truly are.

This list is not perfect, and it is not complete. Remember that you are not alone, and that the world will be diminished without you. If you feel like nobody cares, remember that you are reading an article written by a broken, sad, and desperate person. And I care, God damn-it. I pray for your heart, for your compassion, and for you to keep making the right decision. If you need to know I am thinking of you in particular, leave me a comment. It can be anything. When I see that comment, I am thinking of nothing more or less than you. You are loved. Don’t give up. You’ve got this.

Asking for Help

The most universal thing about mental health is this: You have to ask for help to get better. Whether you talk to your spouse, your children, your parents, friends, or your doctor, you have to get some kind of help to get better.

The first time I asked for help, I was 20. I told my boyfriend that I needed help adjusting my behaviors, and that I just wanted him to be open to me being a little odd as I tried to change. Unfortunately, he’d never clued in on to some of those behaviors on his own, so when I talked to him about it, he started seeing them everywhere. He started treating me differently, up to the point where the situation was becoming abusive. I had to leave.

This set the stage for years to come. I was afraid of talking to my friends, my family, even my doctors. I was ashamed, and I didn’t want people to think that I was crazy. I had several bad years (including a failed marriage) that were just one big loop of me not getting help.

Then my father killed himself. It was one of the biggest blows I have taken as an adult, but not for the normal reasons. I hated my parents. They were drug addicts and alcoholics, and they had entirely too many children between them (10 born to one or the other, not counting step/half siblings). They were terrible people, and it was easy to dismiss both my parents because of that. But then my father died, and I realized that my parents weren’t just bad people. They were people who weren’t getting help.

That’s when I really decided to get help. I went to talk to my doctor, and I started talking to my friends about it. I started taking medications, and I started seeing the world differently. I realized that my behaviors made me a really unpleasant person sometimes. I realized that I was becoming an abusive person, and I spent a few months trying to fix a broken marriage. Finally, I left. I moved across the country to live in Arizona.

Here, I have been committed to the hospital three times for wanting to commit suicide. Each time, I have reached out for help, and I have found it in great store. I have had supportive doctors, friends, AND family. My brother has opened up to me about his mental health care. Together we are learning what tools work for both of us, and giving each other feedback on what doesn’t work.

I have had to develop a set of skills though. It takes time to learn how to ask for help. It takes knowing the people you need that help from. I have learned that if I need to go to the hospital, I just say, “Can you take me to the hospital?” If I just need someone to talk to, I tell the person I want to talk to that “I just need to talk, I don’t need you to have answers, and I don’t need you to fix anything. I just need to talk.”

It hurts when that person can’t be the one to talk to me. In the moment, it feels like I’m being ignored, or being deliberately thrown under the bus. Usually, though, I can look back at the situation, and realize that the person in question had other things going on, and that it might have been hard for them to listen. I have learned to respect that, and take it for what it is.

I make a point of sharing my situation with as many people in my life as possible for a lot of reasons. The biggest one, though is this: I don’t want to be embarrassed any more than I have to be, when it’s time to ask for help.

Opening up is hard. But opening up all at once, and pouring it all on one person is one of the worst things you can do, especially if you are putting them in the position to help you, and they feel like they don’t get a choice. If the person you ask for help has no idea that you might one day need that kind of help, then they will be put in a position of confusion, and fear. However, if you talk to someone about your illness, going to them later for help is so much easier for both of you.

Having working conversation skills about my mental health is the only reason I’m alive today. Being able to tell my friends, and Jenny, that I need help, has been incomparably liberating. We have a dialogue. I know better what they can handle, and they know better what I might need. I rarely put people “on the spot” when I go to them for help these days, because I know who can listen, and I know who can’t, and I know who can handle a crisis and who can’t.

It’s all about communication, and opening yourself up. Yes, you will get burned. There will be people who treat you like crap, just because you tell them. But, it’s worth it. I told over 100 people about my mental health issues, before I started this blog. A few of them treated me like crap, but most of them took me for who I am, and many more opened up back. Now there are hundreds more people who read about my issues, my growth, my struggle.

I’m glad you are one of those people walking with me on this journey. Thank you for being a part of this experience for me. Carry on, dear reader.

So, it’s September

And that means that it is suicide prevention awareness month. This is an important part of the year for people, colleges, mental health facilities, you name it.

I want you to all be aware of this, and remind you to encourage your friends with mental health issues to reach out, and begin their healing journey. If you ever needed a reason to talk to a friend about their mental health, here it is.

I know, I know. Starting a conversation about mental health can be awkward. It can be hard. You feel like you are prodding into someone else’s private life. Because you are. But you should do it anyway, because it could literally save a life.

If you have mental health issues yourself, take this month as an opportunity to talk to your friends about it, especially if you have had suicidal ideations ever. Save your own life. Free yourself from the burden of doing it all by yourself. Your friends care. I care. And if you don’t feel like you can talk to anyone else, please talk to me. Email me, @ TerminallyRory@gmail.com.  I am not a professional, but I do care. If you feel suicidal now, please call the suicide prevention hotline. The number is below.

You have friends. We all do. Some of us just never have met our friends in person. You are not alone, and you don’t have to do it all by yourself. The world wants to take care of you, because you are precious. To the Universe, to your friends, and to me. I value you all so, so much.

Listed below are some other resources you can use:

NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

http://www.afsp.org/ is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Committed Again

TRIGGER ALERT: Jenny here. This post is full of triggers, I promise. Rory’s still in the hospital, but hand wrote this post, which I am posting on his behalf. He wrote it his first day in the hospital, before they gave him any new meds. Needless to say, he was still extremely suicidal at the time.

There is nothing quite so thrilling as thinking, “I’m going to die, and that’s okay.” It’s a relief to not give a fuck. That’s right. 0 fucks given, folks. Don’t worry. I still love all of you. I just feel like I’m finally allowed to hate myself. In fact, I encourage you all to hate me back.

Now, I’m not trying to be all emo. I just really think I deserve to be hated. I let you all down, and chased myself down the rabbit hole. I’m really not the sane, safe, boisterous person most people meet. I’m a spite-filled imp. I hate people that are happy, because they are ignorant. I hate people that are sad, because they are unappreciative.

Anyway, I have a sense of impending doom all the time. The world isn’t ending, but I’m dying. Faster, rather than slower. There is a headsman’s axe hanging by a thread over my head, waiting to pass its violent judgment. I can’t stand the anticipation. It makes me sick inside, to the point that I become physically ill.

All I want is relief. All I want is an escape. An easy button. I want the trigger of a gun, and the release my father took in my place. I want to die, even when I’m not suicidal. I want to be done. But life is hard, and I don’t get that. I’ll be back soon. loyal follower.

Pray for me?

Rory’s in the Hospital Again – Day Three: What Does the Future Hold?

How do you possibly wrap your head around losing the one you love? By their own hand? I just don’t know. I can’t fathom. I mean, I have pictured it so many times in my head, because it’s always been a concern. Rory told me, even before we started dating (hours before, but still), that he had tried to commit suicide once. It had been about a year earlier, at the time. But then three months later we hospitalized him for being suicidal. And now six months later, again. But if it were to actually happen, I’d be devastated. He knows this, but it doesn’t matter because that’s not how being suicidal works. You can’t just say, “But think of all the people who love you.” That doesn’t matter. I get it. I really do. But I don’t have to like it.

He’s explained to me the thought process that goes on when he’s suicidal. The fact that your brain sees reality in a completely different way. Your brain makes it so that the only logical course of action is to die. And it totally makes sense to you at the time, in a special-twisted-kind-of-logic kind of way. I’ve had similar experiences, albeit not involving suicide. Your brain gets convinced of something that isn’t actually reality, but that doesn’t matter. It’s reality to you at the time. The key is to stay safe during those times. But how to do that isn’t always clear.

My hopes for the future are these: I hope Rory comes home with a renewed determination to take control of his life, keeping up with such things as exercise, meditation, breathing exercises, and a more proactive approach to his doctors and his care. I will do what I can too, of course, but I’m only support staff. Rory would be the first person to say that it’s his responsibility to take charge of himself. But I hope to keep him on track. If his medications are working, this should be possible.

I can’t wait to see him again tonight. More group visiting, with others, though. I long to see him by myself. Maybe I’ll get to do that tomorrow. Or maybe not until he’s released. Who knows.

Rory’s in the Hospital Again – Day Two, Continued: A Visit

I got to see him! I love how I’m always hit with how adorable he is when I don’t see him for a while. Like, how lucky am I to have him!?!

He forgot to bring the blog posts he hand wrote to me, so we’ll have to put those up later.

He was acting pretty much like himself, and was in good spirits. A couple of our friends joined me during the visit, so we all had a great conversation. He’s had some visits with doctors, nurses, and counselors, so I think when he gets out, we’ll make a few changes around here. He’s gotten a lot of benefit from meditation, so I hope he continues that once he’s home.

I’ll see him again tomorrow. I miss him so much.

And that’s it for now. More tomorrow probably.

Rory’s in the Hospital Again – Day Two: I Finally Get to See Him!

He called me last night after the usual visiting hours. I couldn’t visit him yesterday, because patients are supposed to be there for 24 hours before getting any visitors. The perky charge nurse whom I talked to turned all soup nazi when I asked if Rory could have visitors last night. “It hasn’t been 24 hours! No soup for you!” But I left a message that I loved him and would see him tomorrow (i.e., today). I suppose the message got passed on, because he called me. It was good to talk to him. He was still suicidal all day, but they hadn’t given him any new meds. Last night they were supposed to give him the new med combination experiment. They’re keeping two of his meds, just increasing them, and changing one out for a new one. Or that was what I could piece together from our slightly cell-phone-y reception.

I’ll be going by visiting hours this evening, along with some friends that he requested. I was very pleased that he had specific people he’d want to see, and that it was a small number. We got all this worked out while I was at the emergency room with him. I knew the drill from last time, so we worked out some details before they took him away.

Rory also said he wrote out a blog post in the hospital, so after I see him tonight, I’ll type it out and post it for you all. I’m as anxious to read it as anyone.

And thanks to everyone for the outpouring of support, both for Rory and for me. You have no idea how much it means.