This has the potential to be a bit of a stream of

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Belongs to: Therapist analyzes Su!cIde by Ren
This has the potential to be a bit of a stream of consciousness from me. I don’t even know where to start. Something about the lyric of trapping (his) youth in a trunk really resonated in different levels and caused me to understand a little more about myself. For context, I’ve been struggling with depression since before I was a teenager. Father had depression thanks to his boss (who was later taken to court by other people for her having caused mental trauma in multiple other employees), I got yanked out of my home and taken to a different country where I had no friends, and was on the wrong end of constant xenophobic abuse from my peers all throughout my formative years, with a family life which was not a mentally safe environment to put it mildly. Growing up with someone who was extremely unpredictable in behaviour gives you hypersensitivity to physical cues. As a result I am hyper aware of social situations, because learning to read tone, body language, etc. and then fleeing when I sense things are going to a bad place became my chief coping strategy, and has caused deep social anxiety in me. I was spared any physical trauma, because even broken as my father was by what had happened to him, he was never physically aggressive. Mentally, and emotionally, though, my growth was all over the place. My flight (particularly) and freeze impulses are very highly developed, my fight impulses… well, less so.

My only ‘safe place’, so to speak, was on a football pitch when everything else other than the sport disappeared for an hour, or an hour and a half.

Eventually, in my twenties - ten years or more too late - I admitted to myself that I had depression (which was a big thing for me to own up to, because I had seen what it had done to my father). And the mental health care in that country at the time was worse than useless. It made things worse in many ways, other than one sole therapist doing CBT with me (because that was the only thing being offered), who told me rather bluntly three quarters of the way through that CBT wouldn’t be helpful for me because I do it already - it was one of the coping strategies I had taught myself. She then spent the rest of the sessions doing more traditional talking therapy.

Anyway, there came a time when I was standing on the roof of a tall building. Had a decision to make. I made it.

And in making it, I locked a part of me away inside a trunk. I locked my youth away - the two, very important friends that were the sole bright sparks in my life haven’t heard from me in years: it’s too painful, and too much of a catalyst. I locked away hope. Hope makes you believe that the hurt can stop, and that is too alluring. I locked away the illusion of choice, because again, that’s too dangerous. It turns out that I did choose suicide that day. I had the choice of killing all of me, or killing part of me. I chose the latter. Equally, I locked myself away completely that day, too. Part of me is in that trunk referenced in the song, the rest is locked between my pain and any escape. Having forbidden myself suicide because of what it would do to those who care about me (misguidedly as it sometimes feels), I’ve left myself completely trapped.

I’ve felt for a long, long time that the way we talk about suicide as a society is counterproductive. I’ve been told on multiple occasions that suicide is selfish - because apparently the feelings of the well matter more than the feelings of the sick - presumably we’re just lost causes; and it is the one thing most likely to push me over the edge. Instead of society telling me to think of what it will do to the people left behind - I know, goddamn it! I’m not stupid - and then getting on with life when the ‘crisis’ is ‘averted’, maybe society should think about the pain someone has to be in where the only way out is to do the one thing we are evolutionarily trained not to do. But we as a society, as a species, are too scared of the topic to actually address it, and talk about it openly and compassionately. There’s a particularly misguided (in my opinion) belief in much of society that to talk about it, to acknowledge it even, to destigmatise it, will somehow cause more people to choose suicide. Even the words we use about it, like ‘commit’ screams that belief. All that means is that the only people who grapple with the problems are those people who are the least able to cope with the subject emotionally. Those of us who are considering it.

That isn’t me dismissing the pain of people left behind, either. One of my friends (in so much as I had any after stepping down from the ledge, more an acquaintance, because I couldn’t let myself get close to anyone) took his own life. I understand the guilt - in my case there’s also a particularly pernicious and illogical thought that it should have been me instead, as though I could have taken his pain on mine, because he had so much more to live for than me. I truly get that - it’s the sole reason I locked myself away. If I could rewind time and press a button to prevent my existence, then I would. But I can’t do that, so here I am.

Stuck. Trapped. Locked in a trunk.

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