A while ago I came clean and posted to this website about my suicidal tendencies. A very sweet reader emailed me recently and said they were “glad to see they’re not affecting me anymore.” It’s incredibly sweet to see me not talk about it and assume I’m cured of feeling like that, and even sweeter to email me about that expressing the relief. I almost hated to respond letting them know I still suffer from those tendencies and desires, but they deserved to know the truth.
Afterwards I realized the same sort of thing could be done with my writing. In chapter 11 of The Good, The Bad and the Molly, Molly tells Aaron she was a secret alcoholic for a while. It made me go back and reread chapters 1 and 2. My subconscious ‘always’ knew this was the case but I never actually consciously read the first few chapters again knowing she was an alcoholic, and it made me very sad. One could similarly reread Being More Social knowing that the entire time Adam knows Nicole, she’s cutting. It’s sad stuff, and yet, when you and I first read/wrote it, it wasn’t sad at all. Somehow the concealing of the sad is the most tragic part.
I’m sure many of us can relate to this. A lot of us have had friends that turned out to have dark secrets. You’re friends with someone for years then you find out they have depression or an eating disorder. Your world… kind of falls apart. It doesn’t make sense. Why didn’t they tell you? All this time they were talking to you like they were fine and everything was normal. Even if you never had this experience with a friend, even finding out a celebrity died by suicide or even finding out about my own struggles… it changes everything. You mentally go back to Chapter One of your relationship with them and review what they said and what they did. It hurts. It’s hurt me once or twice, and it’ll probably hurt me again. If I hurt anyone with my own revelation, I’m very sorry that I did.
I’d like to say that the reverse is true and sometimes you can be surprised by good things, but it doesn’t impact us the same way, does it? Not a lot of happy moments carries the same power as sad moments. Maybe that’s what makes my subconscious want to bring out the sad in stories. Odds are, I’ll never know.
Enter “Breathe.” I know this piece is definitely the darkest thing I’ve ever written, and I’m… me, so that’s a lot. I won’t talk about anything specific in terms of its content, but I’ll just let you all know that I wrote it over 48 hours when I was doing terribly and had a suicidal episode. It’s loosely (emphasis on ‘loosely’) based on things that led me to be so unstable I decided to come clean to you all about being suicidal in the first place. It’s… definitely unique, and not easy to read. I’d advise people who are easily disturbed to maybe skip this one.
As much as I try, I can’t make the bad feelings go away. Sometimes they go away for a bit but then something triggers me or even they just creep back slowly. So I decided to turn this particular episode into inspiration and write this mess. I’d rather work with my demons and keep writing than allow them to stop me and just be radio silent for months. Most likely this was a big reason why I’ve been silent for months at a time in the past, and now I’m saying, “No more.” After getting it out of my system, I’m doing fine. No need to worry about me. And by all means, feel free to find the piece fascinating. Don’t worry too much about how it was a byproduct of my pain or whatever – I’m fine now. By all means, if you’re the type to have a perverse fascination in my darker work, go to town. It’s what I write for. I’ll talk to you all next week.