Editor’s Note: Suicide

NOPE. NOT IN THE LEAST, BROTHER.

NOPE. NOT IN THE LEAST, BROTHER.

We’ve had several posts recently that have examined the topic of suicide. It’s a very complicated issue, and a difficult one to parse out in an environment where anonymity can sometimes bring out the very worst (and sometimes best, I admit) in people. Thankfully, the Disinfo crowd is a pretty civil one.

If you’ve followed my podcast (and writing) here, then you know that I’ve always striven to be honest with you, especially when it comes to my own personal issues. I have a very long family history of suicides, and I myself have dealt with depression and anxiety my entire life.  I talk about those things because I feel like they’re nothing to be ashamed of, and by speaking up then there’s a chance that someone else might not feel like they’re alone in dealing with this stuff.

If I had not resisted those self-destructive impulses (Let’s jump off the parking garage… Let’s drive the car into a telephone pole… Let’s eat a bullet… ) and the negativity (You’re doomed… You’ll never fit in… You’re an embarrassment… ) and spoken up, I would have missed out on a ton of stuff, and I don’t even mean the usual “sunshine and bunnies” things. I never predicted the Internet, and a future in which all of the weird things I liked no longer made me an outcast but instead made me valuable in an cultural environment that finally “caught up” with me and the other weirdos. I never predicted that I’d be working with the Disinformation Company, or Joe Rogan, or Random House, or Sure Design or any of the other things I do. I never predicted that I’d be a podcast host, or be a writer, or travel to New York or San Diego or any of the places I regularly go. I never predicted that I’d marry someone who really, really gets me, or make brilliant, creative friends who consider me family. I never predicted that at 40 I’d be  a happy, self-employed, tattooed, media-obsessed, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast with his own show instead of the boring, miserable guy with boring hobbies I was worried I’d become. In other words, life has a way of surprising you. True, not all of those surprises are good ones, but if you can stick it out, things usually go the other way at some point.

If you’re depressed and thinking about hurting yourself, then I want you to know I don’t want you to do so. Chances are that I can’t be where you are to give you the reassuring hug I’d like to extend, or spend the day with you or to go with you for moral support if you choose to see a professional. I can’t even buy you a coffee or invite you over for a meal, if for nothing else to convince you that you have “family”. That’s frustrating to me, because I’ve got a caregiver streak that goes into overdrive when it comes to this kind of thing. Maybe just knowing that I care and have been where you are might be enough to get you to reconsider for one crucial minute. Maybe not.

There are probably resources around you. You’d be surprised how many people really do give a damn if you’ll just give them a chance. Open up and let them know what’s going on. Maybe it’s not your family (God knows I’ve got a couple of destructive, shit-for-brains blood-relatives…thankfully not all of them.), or the people you might even consider “friends,” but they’re out there. There are also professionals who might be able to help. Look around, and find one that you like. I’ve been seeing the same guy for over a decade, and he’s one of the coolest and most helpful people I know, but sometimes you have to look around.

You’ll have to trust me on this. I got through it, and you can too. My struggle isn’t entirely over; I don’t think it ever will be, but things can get a whole hell of a lot better.

 

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Believe it or not, this cheers me up sometimes.

You can also give me a shout on Twitter or by email at matt AT disinfo DOT com. I’d recommend the first option over the latter. I’m a Twitterin’ fool.

Bill Withers also has some advice for you.

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    Seems a good note on which to rest this round of the debate.

    Kudos to you, though, for taking the topic up to begin with. Most outlets avoid such seeming unpleasantness like the plague.

    • Matt Staggs

      I’m expecting a good bit of abuse, but it’s a small price to pay if I can reach even one person going through what I’ve been through.

      • howiebledsoe

        C’mon, you’ve got a forum of freaks here, you’re in good hands! :D

        • Matt Staggs

          GOOBA GABBA GOOBA GABBA WE ACCEPT YOU ONE OF US!

          • Tuna Ghost

            ugh how many times is a crowd of freaks going to scream that at me today

  • Juan

    Excellent, thoughtful and honest piece, Matt.
    I’ve also had to deal with all that depression, anxiety, and deep existential despair over the years myself. While I was always too chicken to actually kill myself, very glad I struggled to get better and not give in to total despair.
    As you suggest, it remains a constant struggle. But things are certainly much better than they were.

    • jasonpaulhayes

      Though we often disagree, I’m glad you’re here to find me disagreeable.

  • howiebledsoe

    Nice man. I notice that heavily depressed people tend to be the warmest, kindest people. I guess thats why we crack so fast, it’s hard to take such a violent, greedy, effed up world. Glad you made it through, bro.

    • Matt Staggs

      Thank you.

  • CosmicAmazing

    This is so weird.. My Cousin committed suicide just two weeks ago. It’s been extremely hard on my whole family. We don’t know whether to be sad or angry. Maybe a little of both.. I’ve been struggling with so many emotions since then. I’ve even thought it was a good idea after looking at the world up and to this point. How do you deal with something like this? How do you even begin to understand?

    Just to lend some perspective here.. In less than two years I’ve lost my grandmother, grandfather, father, aunt, and now my closest cousin. My grandmother was lost to cancer, my grandfather, emphysema, my father, cancer, my aunt, cancer, and now my cousin, suicide. I’m so tired of being sad and depressed that sometimes I think my cousin had the right idea.

    And I just realized i’m venting to complete strangers on the interwebs. :(

    If anyone has some idea’s on how to deal with this bullshit please help me out.

    • howiebledsoe

      You gotta move forward. I lost my family 2 years ago, and was a mess. (OK, still am at times.) But you have to. dont feel bad about it, just focus on yourself and the things you care about and love and always look forward. When you start to heal you can go back and start thinking about them again.
      But dont dwell now, otherwise your wasting time, energy and much needed power. God Bless.

      • CosmicAmazing

        It’s a complex situation. Moving forward is not as easy as you may think. My father, brother and cousin were all connected in a way which affects both my life and my brothers life in an extremely negative way. Much too much to explain on the internet. Trust me, I wish it were that easy. I wish I could just “move on”, but certain things are preventing that from happening.

        • Juan

          I suggest you find a therapist to talk to. Just being able to vent to someone who is especially trained to listen can be a great relief. It may take awhile to find someone you connect with. Keep trying.
          I found also that diet and exercise are huge and important aspects for keeping emotionally balanced. I know if you’re feeling shitty, it can be hard to drag your ass to do anything. At first you have force yourself, but as you start to feel better, and you will, it gets easier. It helps if you have a sport or sports that you love. Swimming and surfing (falling off board, trying not to drown or get hurt) have done wonders for me.
          Hope you feel better soon.

        • The Well Dressed Man

          One day at a time. Sometimes one minute at a time. Every moment you make the decision to fight on builds strength.

    • echar

      I understand what you are going through. The best words I can offer is to keep on your path. It will get better with time. Cry if you have to, punch pillows if you have to. If needs be, you may consider talking with a counsellor. They are professional listeners who can provide supportive tools.

    • jasonpaulhayes

      I’ve struggled with my mental health since I was 8yrs old and almost took my own life at 15. I suffer from schizophrenia and a long history of severe depression… what has always kept me going is that I ask for help when I need it and lend it when I can. It’s going to be okay if you allow it to be, I’m sure those that you’ve lost would want the same for you.

      We’re survivors… if life in this place and as an evolved being demonstrates anything, it demonstrates that.

    • emperorreagan

      Are you talking to a counselor someplace? You need to find and connect with someone to help you work through things.

      http://www.goodtherapy.org/

      • CosmicAmazing

        I’m so busy with work and trying to find a new place to live. Finding time for a counselor is not so easy. Then there’s the financial issues to deal with.. The weight of everything is just crushing me.

    • Calypso_1

      You can be, should be, both sad & angry. It is devastating. That you can look at his perspective and know something of what he saw shows you how deeply he was suffering. That is a beginning to understanding but it does not need to be the beginning of a path you are going to travel yourself. It is an illness, it is a real disease and it radically alters how you perceive, feel & think about the world. Mental pain is as real as physical pain, the mind cannot distinguish between the two at a fundamentally level and it damages the mind & body.

      Grief and depression flow from such trauma but you have experienced a tremendous number of losses in a short time and that makes recovery very challenging and you are at risk for a major depressive episode.

      Even though you may desperately want to understand & don’t know how to cope right now, these will come to you in time. Asking for idea’s, for help, shows that you know there is a way to heal. It is there for you. You are not alone. There are people who can help you, who understand, who have been through this and are devoted to both counsel & medicine that can treat depression. The understanding will increase as you yourself heal.

      I strongly urge you to call a counseling center in your area. All you have to do is talk. They will listen. If you need further treatment they can help you consider your options. You can call the Suicide Hotline #1-800-273-8255 even at the current level you are experiencing depression.

      You can get through this.

      • CosmicAmazing

        Thank you :)

        I’m usually tougher when stuff gets me down. My tolerance for stress is higher than most people I know. It’s just the repetition, the avalanche of horrific events that are all connected at both the macro and nano levels. Each one breaking a portion of life away with it, an interaction, an experience, a home, something that will never exist again. There were just too many losses in such a short period of time, its making it almost impossible to cope with.

        It wasn’t that long after my father passed away from lung cancer that my cousin decided to pick up his 9mm sig sauer and put it in his mouth. My brother and I are both younger than my cousin and already lost so much from our father passing. My cousin was helping us, giving us a place to stay and giving my brother a job in his construction company. My cousin’s decision crippled everything.

        Then there’s my job… I used so much personal time from the first few relatives passing away that I don’t have any left to clear my head from the last two that passed away. I’m working my fucking ass off and I have to pretend that I’m just fine and dandy, when I’m really NOT! It’s fucked up… Then as a government/military contractor I have certain clearances. If I enroll in any type of therapy I could lose those clearances. Which, in turn, would make me lose my job.

        I’m just so tired of it all.

        Anyways, thank you everyone, for the encouragement and your kind words. Just one more reason why I love this website. ;-)

    • The Well Dressed Man

      Change seems to have a way of happening all at once. Give yourself the space to feel and work through this. Your emotions are real. This corner of the internet is listening.

  • Dingbert

    Going on the Internet when experiencing suicidal ideation is a big mistake. People being helpful are often just as bad as people trying to hurt. However, this article is absolutely brilliant:

    http://thechrisgethardshow.tumblr.com/post/31345619495/for-gethard-anonymous-asks-gethard-i-know-youve

    I’ve found unconditional support from the Church, too, but I think this varies greatly based on denomination (mystical and prayerful is likely better than scholastic and ministerial). Sadly, some of the most insulting things I’ve read have been from religious people.

    Thanks for this post.

  • DeepCough

    How good you feel depends entirely on how good you actually are. You are only as

    suicidal as your circumstances are inimical.

  • Heath

    Understanding, sometimes there is never a clear answer. Coping mechanisms, talking leads us to some level of insight. Sometimes the difference for those is having support, family good friends. NAMI has excellent resources and a hotline if the latter isnt available. Apparently if you are so inclined disinfonauts have shoulders to lean on, myself included.

  • $24170503

    “I never predicted that at 40 I’d be a happy, self-employed, tattooed, media-obsessed, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast….”

    Besides the show, are you me? :)

    For the betterment of myself, I started with a support group today for my bi-polar issues and described myself to the group as you did above.
    Weird…
    Anyhoo, the words above mattered and I passed it along to somebody who needs it as well.
    Cheers..

    • Matt Staggs

      Maybe! Let me know if you ever come down to Mississippi. We’ll roll. And you’ll beat my ass. :)

  • The Well Dressed Man

    Thanks, Matt!

  • Gabriel D. Roberts

    You sir are the man.

  • lifobryan

    Thank you for sharing this.

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