Monday, January 20, 2014

Permanent Solutions To Temporary Problems

That's what suicides are, in case nobody told you.
It's the most brilliant summation I've ever read, and it stabs my soul every time I see another try.

Some people I work with get annoyed at suicide attempts.
I can understand that, and share the sentiment sometimes.
Like when you've attempted to slit your wrists with a dull plastic picnic knife, just to get 3 hots and a cot.
Like when you find out your crippling chronic inability to get gainful employment or panhandle enough change for another bottle of vintage Boone's Farm or Everclear doesn't equal a pressing need for admission to the Callous Bastard Hospital Hotel Bed and Breakfast Inn.
Like when you pull the "I'm suicidal" card out to keep from being bounced out of the gurney by Security at 3 A.M. on a cold, rainy night.

Those times, I pretty much wish they'd let me close the door and kick your ass for a few minutes, and see just how badly you really want to die. Because no one, the doctors, nurses, nor anybody else, has time for your pathetic histrionic shit, and the best prescription for you is about 5 minutes of crotch-kicking and a gratuitous measure of bitch-slaps.

All too sadly, both mostly unethical, and generally against hospital policy.

Then there are the other kind.
The people who really mean it. (Which, if you're keeping score at home, is probably less than 10%. Probably even low single-digits.)

But I get them.
Life will really try to grind you down. Some of us, more than others.  A philosopher once said "Be kind, because everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." He knew what he was talking about. Whether it's physical or emotional pain, one of the things about it is that after a couple of minutes, you can't remember life without it, and you don't know when it's going to end. You just want to make it stop hurting. And in the absence of therapeutic alternatives, when that pain becomes too much to bear, people will do anything to make it stop.

Including kill themselves.

Part of the hidden fail in my job, is that the people I see (mostly) are the ones who aren't serious. The folks who eat a shotgun, jump off the 7th level of the parking structure - helpfully head first - or step in front of a freight train going 60MPH are deadly serious, and 100% successful. So I see the people making either a desperate cry for attention, or the incompetent. By definition, because they make it to the ER.

But the worst are the ones who are serious, and are only semi-competent.
Like the 15 year old girl, who was living in shiny SoCal splendor with a family that loved her, in a house near the beach, with no physical wants on earth, and stunningly model-gorgeous beautiful, who got dumped for someone else by her douchebag boyfriend the week of the prom. So, in a permanent solution to a temporary problem, she decided the remedy to make everyone pay, was to eat an entire 150-pill bottle of Extra Strength Tylenol. On Friday.

And then not tell anyone, like her mom, until Monday.

Seventy two hours later, there's nothing on the planet that will fix the ingestion of 75 grams of acetaminophen by a 45kg teenager three days after the train left the station.

But unfortunately, it isn't a right away solution. She came to us normal, scared, sorry, and a thousand other things. She left the same way, admitted for observation, and then discharged home. Over some months' time, her liver failed, and she got to die a long, slow, agonizing death, with her family at her bedside every step of the way, until long, long after she'd forgotten the pain of being snubbed by another 15 year-old juvenile jackass at school, she died, wasting the promise of her entire life, and emotionally wiping out a loving mother, father, brother and younger sister, and countless friends, with one agonized moment's thoughtlessness that will bear a lifetime of pain long after her passing.

Some things in life you don't get to do over.
So if you're hurting that much, long before you decide on that permanent solution, talk to somebody about other choices.
For the love of God.


  1. One of my brothers' best friends has been missing for a week. They found his body today. He was distraught over career plans. And only heart truly breaks for the families of the ones who mean it.

  2. PS you just got trolled via my blog. One of us should be honored, but I'm not sure who...

  3. That's what happens when you shut them down.
    I deleted a similar comment, almost certainly from the same Anonymous troll, here earlier this week.
    Upset and powerless, It now seeks to pee in your cornflakes instead.
    Delete, delete, delete.