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Suicide and 9/11 (Volume 80, September 19, 2001- January 2, 2002)

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

September 19, 2001

I told her how suicidal I’d been during August. I told another friend when I talked to her earlier in the evening. I’m not sure why I’m telling people now. They don’t need to know that.

They both said they’d be devastated if I killed myself. Maybe I told them so I’d hear them say that. It’s so horrible, how I was able to completely block out any thoughts of my friends while I was planning my death.

I have trouble explaining to people the overpowering force of that compulsion. The best illumination I can come up with is that I got stuck in one little corner of my mind — the part that thinks the only solution to setbacks or problems is to KILL YOURSELF. I couldn’t extricate myself.

Now I think, OH MY GOD. Thank God I didn’t go through with it. Can you imagine how awful it would be for Ellis to be grieving, out here all alone, and then having everything that’s happened since September 11th occur? I would have missed a world-changing event. Of course, that might have been a good thing.

October 2, 2001

What a relief. A city dweller could never believe how it’s possible to stress out so much over hay, even in the wake of the events of September 11th. (As we’re inevitably forced to resume our daily lives, petty worries creep back to about the level they were at before the terrorist attacks. Not living in New York City, not knowing anyone personally affected, I have that luxury. Enough time has passed now that every remark which smacks of self-interest need no longer be prefaced with “Not that this is important compared to what happened in New York, but…)

October 12, 2001

A third person has been found to be infected by Anthrax - that’s two in Florida and one in New York City. Tommy Thompson was on the news, discussing steps the CDC is taking to track and investigate each and every case.

October 15, 2001

Twelve people have been exposed.

We’re still bombing the shit out of Afghanistan. What else is new?

I have two friends who act like, of course they don’t need an anti-depressant, only someone as fucked-up as myself could possibly benefit from a psychotropic drug. They’ve both spent years bursting into tears at the drop of a hat — but they’re not depressed — they can’t imagine what that’s like.

I believe they can’t imagine what it’s like to be suicidal. Being suicidal is an entirely different animal than merely being depressed. Suicidal thoughts reside in a tiny interior room, accessible only through a maze of increasingly narrow passageways of depression. Suicide is the end of a thought-journey, an arduous journey that relatively few people successfully complete. I find it very difficult to describe the suicidal state of mind to someone who hasn’t experienced that level of obsessive despair.

Christmas Day, 2001

Last night I lay awake wondering, is it possible to suffer post traumatic stress disorder after having been extremely suicidal?

Could you suffer later from almost having committed an act of violence against yourself?

January 2, 2002

I asked Beth my question about suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to previously being suicidal. She thought about it and said it was more likely that I’m just now far enough out of that experience to be able to realize how horrific and frightening it was. I told her I was having flashbacks at night. I keep flashing back to that drive up to Minnesota when the insistent voice in my head kept trying to make me fling myself out of Ellis’ van onto the pavement. Ellis held both my hands so I couldn’t open the door.

I keep thinking about how awful Christmas would have been for Ellis and my family, and to a lesser extent, relatives and good friends, if I’d succeeded in offing myself. I hope I get some credit, whenever this life time of mine is reviewed, for doing the right, more difficult thing and opting to continue the struggle.

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