(Trigger warning for suicidal ideation.)
So at my last job, I had a client who had jumped off her third-floor balcony in an attempt to commit suicide, but instead she survived, spent months in the ICU, and broke most of her lumbar vertebra, resulting in near-constant pain. She had a painkiller problem before that so finding medication to treat her ongoing pain that she wouldn’t get addicted to was a challenge, but she took to it with aplomb. We were all very surprised and proud of how different she became after her jump.
I live on the third floor.
I’m sure you all can see where this is going.
Aside from the whole “that would be REALLY traumatic for all the sweet neighborhood kids” and “I can’t do that to my family, especially my poor sister who’d have to come ID the body” that I already use as dissuasion techniques when I have suicidal thoughts, I started thinking about how a third floor fall might not be enough to actually kill me and I’d wind up like that client, but at half the age. As it is the idea of another fifty to sixty years of the special brand of misery bipolar disorder brings makes me depressed; I can’t imagine adding some physical pain to top it off.
So my imagination went to bridges on Saturday.
I live in Cincinnati, which coincidentally has a river- you might’ve heard of it, the Cincinnati river? Yeah. So there are a bunch of bridges downtown. I don’t cross them often and to be honest I’ve never really checked to see if they have fences to dissuade suicide attempts, because whenever I have ideas like this I keep my sorry ass home rather than going to look. There are four major bridges between downtown Cincinnati and the parts of Kentucky we’ve essentially annexed, one of which is a pedestrian bridge. I do know that one has fences because I’ve crossed it before during the NAMI walk a couple of years ago. …That adds a special sort of irony to my thinking, to be honest.
Any time I think of suicide, though, it’s fairly easy to talk myself out of almost any suggestion the illness suggests because I am really, really not a fan of pain, whatsoever. I can imagine what sort of pain any attempt could lead to and my own squeamishness takes over. Hell, I can’t even see someone with a broken limb without feeling that weak-kneed squeamish feeling, and I feel sympathetic pain to the area. My own instances of pain- like falling down the stairs six months ago, or the repeated spraining of the ankles I did all through middle, high school, and college- actually leads to nightmares that are akin to the PTSD nightmares and flashbacks I have.
So basically, if there’s a chance I could survive, but mauled or otherwise in horrible pain, my squeamish nature is not going to let me do it. And anything that would hurt at the time of doing it, such as the much more effective types of suicide like shooting myself or jumping off a bridge, are also right out. I guess it’s a good thing, but it does make evenings where the thoughts won’t go away really, really uncomfortable, as I end up so squicked out I want to vomit.