I’m gonna say it: today was strange. A person I worked for last year committed suicide on Monday night. While I know their reasons, they aren’t mine to share, but I can understand and sympathise with their underlying motive. That I can talk about.
There are a million stupid “think about the suiciders!111one” posts floating around social media. They’re stupid, forgettable circle jerks that exist to make you feel good about having done something. You clicked the share button? Go you.
Choosing to commit suicide is…seductive. All the stupid painful shit in you life rolls right off your back because it doesn’t matter anymore. There’s a profound sensation of peace which makes it easier to go ahead.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Thing is, suicide is the unhappiest path reached at the end of successive, branching, unhappy paths. To be there means you’ve gone past all the normal pressure failsafes of friends and family and escapist video games where you’re a mighty manly Shaman.
The problem with these failsafes is that Ireland makes it easy to not talk: The family said nothing about suicide before, during or after the funeral. The priest who gobbled on about gods and bosoms and coming home didn’t mention suicide. The friends had heard nothings; there was visible shock when I related how and why to some of them afterward They were shocked because nobody had said it.
It’s 2016. Ireland has gay marriage, fairly-okaish recognition of the transgender rights (compared to Saudi Arabia), and a growing movement to repeal stupid abortion laws. We have super duper fast hyperspeed Internets and one of the highest qualities of living in the word.
And for all of that people are still dying because they are afraid to talk about mental illness. Fuck it, talk to somebody.
Nobody told me how hard it is to be an adult. When I fucked off out of school at eighteen with the dregs of a Leaving Certificate clutched in hand, there were no expectations laid down. Like, I was a graduate fuck-up whom no college or university would touch. I fucked around for six months in a computer-oriented Post Leaving Certificate course before I submitted to the retail grind for the next seven years.
Even after I went off to the United States and had children I maintained a kind of disassociation from an adult mentality. First I trusted the Adult Stuff to Mariah, and later I abdicated it to my breakdown and suicide attempt.
Even later still, after I met Eadaoin, I kept up the pretense of separation: I’ve had all manner of awful shit happen by-and-by, ergo tiny ginger woman is better at Adult than me, ergo she should have the keys to the car.
Belatedly and painfully, I’ve come to discover that this doesn’t work. Worse; it is a selfish act: I made my own happiness and well-being Eadaoin’s responsibility.
At the end of this, I feel like I stood still while life overtook me.
Caira turned ten last month. She’s turned into a quietly-intelligent girl full of a love of the natural world.
Garrett is seven and already on on the path to being a techie by way of Minecraft.
Posts lag behind reality because the month past was intense, being both stressful and tiring. The pair of us climbed Bray Head on the Monday of the August bank holiday weekend. So Eadaoin thought I was mad in my insistence that we wear proper outdoor gear for the walk. Some little girl, on our way up the trail, laughed and said we looked like Bear Grylls in our getup.
Well, where was that little girl when the rain and clouds rolled in?
The weather was shit; we could barely see our hands in front of our faces at the south peak, let alone enjoy the magnificent views of the Irish Sea and north County Wicklow. But with the gloom and wind and rain came an unexpected silver lining: Eadaoin and I had the top of Bray Head to ourselves despite the bank holiday. There was nary a sinner to be seen, nor sight to be had of anywhere off the hilltop, leading to a magnificent feeling of isolation.