Monday, September 27, 2021

Michael Cherry Memorial 5k, A run for Suicide Awareness and Prevention




I'm running this. I've never run before 2021. I have had depression, even recently. I have felt this hopeless. I didn''t know Michael. Please read about him. He was important. 

   


I knew Ed Hopkins. I was in a band with Ed., I lived with him at the University of Delaware. I hung out with him in Boston, the place he died. We got into a lot of trouble. Some of the trouble I really can't talk about because....well, legal. I know his family. They still want to know why.  Ed took his life 30 years ago. He was just a kid. He suffered. It's been that long. I still think about him.

  






 I knew Frank Heiss. Frank helped me get sober. We were in Year One together. The guy would have broke through a brick wall for me, and me for him. These people are rare. I don't have people like Frank in my life anymore. The night he died he spoke at an AA Meeting. He spoke about hope. He spoke like everything was alright. No one there knew he suffered. Six hour later he was dead. I miss him. This was difficult to write. 

    




I know Barbara Legere. I didn't know her son Kevin. Kevin was an addict and decided to take his life. He suffered with the stigma of addiction and mental illness. The pain of living was greater than the pain of dying to himself and others. My heart goes out to Barbara, who I know, and Kevin who I didn't. (Barbara's essay in regards to this opens the book  The Epiphanies Project: Twenty Personal Revelations. It's a fantastic read. 

   I am running for Ed, Frank, Kevin, and Barbara. I'm running for Michael's family who will be there. I've never run before. This is my first 5 K. I'm not sure I know how to do this. All of this. Sometimes, I'm not sure how to "Life".  

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So why am I talking about this? Why am I running? It's important to talk about. Talking to someone may save their lives. I had a conversation last night with, good old, NAME REDACTED. We spoke about suicide---and I'm not claiming to be any expert (in fact, I am probably wrong at points here), nor is this intended to be any guide,  but I'm pasting the conversation because by example it's all about understanding or attempting to. It's about asking hard questions and maybe reaching out to someone. It's a real conversation on messenger. Here it is:


Other Person

May I ask you a hard question?

 

I sent

sure

 

Other Person

Ok, just say so if you can't answer

 

I sent

k

 

 Other Person

A friend of mine tried to take their life this year. Thankfully, unsuccessful. I have been at very low places in my life, but don't consider myself suicidal. Why would someone do this? I'm trying to understand better so I can be a better friend.

 

I sent

I've been suicidal.....it's basically, the pain of being alive is too great to endure. it's less painful the act of suicide than to continue for another second. That’s the general. The specific is about people, places and things. The isolation. They not feeling importnat.

 

Other Person

What does the pain come from?

 

 

I sent

the pain, according to Durkheim, which I believe is from living in the random and not having specific connections. Possibly by people places and things.

 

 

Other Person

Listening. Thinking.

 

I sent

sometimes it's caused by a desire to do the act "at someone" or "at the world" but often it's the person's inability to connect, and function.....again outside and persoanl events, or individual chemistry

 

Other Person

do the act?

 

I sent

attempting suicide

 

I sent

"the act"

 

I sent

sometimes it is a cry for help, or to be noticed from the invisible but the later  step is the desire to stop the pain

 

Other Person

So, feeling so isolated, misunderstood, undesirable, and failed that you wish to punish the world for not "seeing" you, but turn on yourself instead? Yes, I understand the pain part

 

I sent

well, end the pain of those feelings

 

Other Person

Yes. Exactly what I would assume.

 

I sent

and I'm sorry about your friend

 

I sent

many of us are suicide survivors, a term for loved ones of the deceased

 

Other Person

 I have felt all of that, but seem to have some sort of gage that recognized "evil" in the world and doesn't turn on self. Or realizes what I need to do to reorient and not turn on self. I've been through hell. I should be dead. I think my friend will be ok. But, I worry. And very much want to understand.

 

I sent

I don't know if it's turning on oneself, but more like an "off" button. Flip off the pain switch

 

Other Person

Interesting. That's why many addicts do drugs. An off button

 

I sent

Exactly, also, as I considered it today, why addicts kill themselves rather than relapse---or right after relapse

because doing the drugs is a lose, and not doing them is also a lose

 

Other Person

Sure. A bind.

Ok, so its just (I don't mean that lightly) another coping skill

 

I sent

the lowest common coping skill, in a way, yes

 

Other Person

Because the pain persists

 

I sent

suicide--it's too painful to live and not to live at the same time

 

Other Person

Sure. But a legit coping skill. We need to legitimize is more.

 

I sent

therapy can only do so much for my depression

 

Other Person

I agree

 

I sent

coping by lacking athe ability to cope?

 

Other Person

As my first therapist said: therapy is great but friends are better."

 

I sent

I agree with that

 

Other Person

Coping: (of a person) deal effectively with something difficult: Suicide is "effective" when you are in that much pain.

 

I sent

I agree

 

Other Person

 I'm not going to shame it and call it ineffective

 

I sent

you'd have to define "effective" in that original definition

 

Other Person

New, "healthy" coping skills don't deal with pain. It's the pain that needs addressing

 

I sent

most coping skills somehow are avoidance

 

Other Person

I'm just trying to show that "coping" is not a healthy goal. I have a lot of good coping skills that are not avoidance. But I also address my pain. The coping will only sustain me long enough to address pain.

 

I sent

but what's the alternative

  

Other Person

Love


“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”


― M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth

 




   


2 comments:

Mark Mc said...

Thank you for sharing this, Tim!
Good luck in the run!

Peace & Love,
Mark

Bar L. said...

Thanks for running and including Keven. He was a very guarded person and didn't trust many people but I know he would have really liked you if you had ever met.