‘Suicide is painless,
it brings on many changes,
and you can take or leave it if you please’.
I often get comments saying I’m brave in what I write. Although the comments are lovely honestly I’m not. I’m just as scared as the next person. ‘The road back’ wasn’t what I wanted it to be because, on the day of writing, the fear took hold. Today the sun is literally and metaphorically shining. Today I have the strength to write.
‘Suicide is painless’ was written by Johnny Mandel. It became the theme tune to M.A.S.H. Johnny was 14 when he wrote the song. I remember hearing the song as a child lying in bed as my parents watched the iconic show in the lounge downstairs. Looking back now, knowing what I know I have to say what kind of 14 year old writes a song about suicide? The answer to me seems clear. I think a lot would, if they could. My ‘suicide head’ started about that time.
I work in a school. I work with a lot of 11-16 year olds. I see anxiety and depression all the time and what I don’t see is somebody willing to say ‘it’s okay; you can talk about it openly’. If a 14 year old can write a song about suicide back in the 1970’s why then can’t we talk about anxiety, depression and suicide now? Is it the religious connotations? Is it that by discussing suicide we have to accept the existence of the ultimate demon? Is it simply because to do so simply hurts to damn much?
Whatever the reason I’m now 47 and this is my time. Many years ago my fried committed suicide; I’ve mentioned him in a previous blog. For him it was a choice. When the pain of living with his head simply became too much he chose to take control. Perhaps that’s what suicide is to some. Control. I will choose to make the decision. I will choose to take that path. When I think of how dark things have become for me at times I can’t deny I too have seen suicide as an option, a choice, a method to stop the perpetual noise. Imagine walking along a mountain ridge. On one side you have calm, on the other ultimate chaos. Imagine walking along that ridge every day with only brief moments of respite. It’s the itch you can’t scratch.
Except I can.
I managed to get out for another run at the weekend. It had been snowing heavily; we’re talking a good 4 inches. I layered up, got out the trail shoes and ventured out. It was a repeat of the first run post illness. Although this one felt different as I was just that bit stronger. Just that bit more confident that my body would respond, even in the harsh conditions.
Within minutes I settled into the run and the transformation that happens every single time I run happened. That’s the best way I can describe it. A transformation. Every step I take I feel suicide recedes, just one step. It can’t keep up. I say it because it has a presence, it has a sense of being, it has a life force of its own. Yes, it’s malevolence scares me because I know it won’t go away. Not completely. It drifts way back into fleeting consciousness only to return when life gets just too damn hard. But when I run an energy courses through me and shouts screw you I can do anything. Inwardly I shout this is worth living for. This sense of overwhelming freedom from everything that brings me down.
I have no desire to let the beast win. I honestly believe I am here for a reason. I’ve been told my writing is a gift. It’s a gift I will pass on by writing in the most honest way I can. However, my gift is also a curse. The same head that allows me to write as I do rarely lets me rest. Unless I run.
Suicide can’t run as fast as me. Even when I plod.