Inside my head I’m hearing a debate. Normally I’m quite a private individual ( some might say unfeeling) but because of a blog I read I felt maybe I should share for once. The blog I read is by the wonderful Paula Acton http://paulaacton.com/2013/05/02/r-i-p-laverne/#comment-4578 @Paula-Acton who posted about her friend Laverne (who was previously Robert) who took her own life this week after awful comments from others and as a result of being shunned by some. People can be very cruel.
I felt it time to admit that I have battled much of my life against this feeling. Maybe it’s why I am prepared to jump on any bandwagon against bullying knowing what the end result can be, especially with the young but also with people as vulnerable as Laverne who needed so much support and was refused it in some quarters by those who felt she was wrong and weren’t afraid to express it. People who have obviously learned to love their own voices more than the old adage , If you can’t say something nice, say nothing.
I saw a psychiatrist on Tuesday because I’m not handling the death of my beloved Julia very well. I don’t seem to have been able to mourn her properly yet. Maybe it’s because I’ve had so many people around me showing great support and being private I’ve had to hold myself together for their sake or maybe it’s because I’m somehow refusing to come to terms with the reality of it. I have to say it’s less likely to be the latter since I’ve had some very dark thoughts since Julia’s death. There may be many reasons I haven’t acted upon those thoughts so far. Amongst them may be the fact my daughter is pregnant or maybe it’s the residual effects of a promise Julia extracted from me some time ago to fight these thoughts as much as possible, reiterated before she left me for the sake of the baby to come.
I’ve never been the best sleeper in the World. I’m blaming my brother for this as he can go to bed at midnight and happily stay there till noon next day. He’s pinching my share so I’m left to sleep four maybe 5 hours a night. Recently even that has been cut and last night was just over two and a half hours. When you’re up at four in the morning the dark thoughts are less easy to fight and if there’s no-one to share them with you’re less inclined to fight. Poor Laverne had so much negativity thrown at her she didn’t stand much of a chance in such a major fight. Knowing that will not give her detractors much pause I don’t suppose and probably no feeling of guilt. Some will have been from the Christian community who felt she had defied some biblical law or other, the same people who write such terrible things about gay people being abominations. Some will just have been from those who attack others for the feeling of power it gives them. Some from the other religions who feel Allah or some other deity is offended by the presence of someone different and who can’t face a challenge that asks for understanding. I’m prepared for the fact that maybe I’ll have suggestions from all those same people which won’t be designed to bolster my self image in the early hours.
I’m very fortunate to have a wonderfully supportive family who understand that the chemicals in my brain are not making personal statements about them when I think about death and when I feel I want to join Julia rather than remain behind. I can even rationalise some of these feelings sometimes and that helps me fight them but sometimes they overwhelm me. I have the knowledge of my support that has recently stopped me doing what Laverne did. I’m not sure I would have managed so well had I faced what she did, and it may have tipped the balance. For now I’m going to try some sleeping tablets to give me some rest and keep me away from the dark hours in the night. It’s too late for Laverne.
If you know someone or hear of someone who has suffered a crisis of identity like Laverne did or who suffers from an illness that leads them to have low self esteem or other issues that lead to suicidal thoughts, I’d beg you to remember. Either say something nice, something supportive and positive, or say nothing. For those of you who believe in a God, consider that you’ll suffer if your comments have been the negative or nasty ones that tipped the balance and cost someone their life for I’m guessing your conscience won’t bother you. For those who don’t believe in God, believe this, somewhere, somehow, karma will get you and pay you back. It’s too short a life to be nasty, try being nice.