I wanted to write about suicide today. Actually, I didn’t WANT to, I felt compelled to. I have had two friends commit suicide. two people who have been very dear to me. Two people who I thought the world of, and who I saw as incredibly special, wonderful people. Two people I miss to this day. It is such a difficult topic, with so many stories, and so much emotion.
As an autistic, I thought of suicide a lot when I was younger, as I suspect many autistics do. There are those times (I still have them) when things that seem SO important to you seem so incredibly impossible, and it is just overwhelming. You are incapable in those moments of seeing how life could ever be worth living again. But if you wait, and you weather those moments, then it is. And the more times you are in that despair, and the more times you come out the other side to the light, the more you begin to realize that the light will be there again.
In those moments of despair light seems so distant. Yet it is in those very dark moments that you most need to find that light. What I have learned, what I am learning, is that you can’t look for things in those moments that you don’t recognize before them. You can’t hope to dig your way out of the depths of despair when you cannot draw upon tools to help you dig. And to draw upon those tools you must realize, even in the darkest times, that you have them. You must have such a strong hold on those tools that you can find them, even in the darkness.
And the hope might be, that in finding, gathering, and building those tools, that the very reasons to think of suicide might vanish, banning those dark clouds before they can even gather. So there are books and books written about finding happiness, and these rules and that concept. But I really think it all boils down to two things – or maybe one. The two are gratitude and love. The one is love.
Love hurts, they say, and it certainly has hurt me in the past, and in my weakest moments does still. But the love that hurts is the love that I imagine missing from my life. Not the love I have, the love I hold on to, the love that is in my heart – the love that makes up my very being. That love does not hurt. That love never hurts. So that is where I build my foundations. Every time I hurt, the thing that rescues me is love. The tools to dig me out from the depths of despair are tools built of love.
When we hurt – we forget to find that love within us. We look for it outside. And sometimes when we can’t find it, we fail to believe it is there. We forget we have seen it before. We deny it, we disbelieve it. We lose faith in it. But the tool we must build to fortify ourselves in those dark times is the understanding that the most important source of love is inside us. That it is OUR own love that is our strength. Our love that is the source of our greatest joy – and that love is ALWAYS there to draw on.
I began, when I was hurting, to find that love in nature. I love the outdoors. I love sunrises, and birds, and water, and sky, and the wind whispering through the trees, and dappled sunshine through the leaves, and catfish jumping, and so many little gifts that nature gives. Thus began my term “feather presents”, those gifts that cannot be held in the hand or tied in bows, but are presents none-the-less.
But the more I came out of my shell in a hole in a tunnel under dark clouds, and finally admitted it, my biggest joys are in people. I love people. There are so many feather presents found within each person I know, and they truly delight me. They make my eyes sparkle, and tears of joy well up in them, and my heart feels warm and there is so much that is joyful there. Yet, when I am hurting, I manage sometimes (for shorter times now) to forget all that. For those times, I just feel like I am alone, and there is no love to be had for me. And I hurt.
I want still to believe in things I may never have, to hope for accomplishments I may never reach. And there are still those times that those “nevers” are painful, and overwhelming, and feel so permanent, and so lacking in hope. But more and more now, I manage to remember that life is not all about those “nevers”. It is about the next time – undoubtedly soon – that a feather present from the world puts a sparkle in my eye, and even hopefully a tear of joy on my cheek. And those times will come. And they come more often the more I look for them. And that knowledge is what lets me know that I will not ever think of suicide again.