Parched though I am for something to do I have not felt like doing much. About a month ago I “sort of” cut a third of my finger off. I say “sort of” because the band saw saved a thin section of skin on the palm side.
When you’re struggling and tripping your way out the door of the garage that small bit of skin is more terror than tendon. It is human nature to attempt to survive. I have had many moments of being suicidal and have made attempts at ceasing my life. I am claimed to have died in an ambulance and have a healthy will to live as a result. Very few get a second chance. Even still I cannot always claim this. There are days when I wish I was not here and there have been times it would have been easier not to exist.
There are times when I get out of bed not wanting to get out of bed. There are moments I can’t see a spec of anything much good in myself or anything or one around me. Most days I would rush from the garage holding a dangling finger. Most days I am on some level aware of at least some blessings and I am able to immerse my soul into life. I have never truly had a reality not worth existing in but I have experienced deserts as I wander in an oasis. Here I cannot see the water and my mind is incapable of manufacturing a mirage. The mind becomes a cocoon to what truly exists. For me it’s like being high beamed by darkness. For a period all I can perceive is the darkness but eventually my sight adjusts and I can at least see the light in the rear view mirror. There has been good. If something in the past was good is there not the possibility that it can at any time exist in the future?
Don’t get me wrong; today and most days I notice and experience mainly mercy. I am surrounded by people, pets, projects and even possessions. I often fire out of bed. My soul can be nourished by even the barbs of life.
The stigma surrounding suicide seems unfair. It is not a symptom or situation a person would choose. People don’t run their fingers through a band saw on purpose and no one pulls the life out of themselves on purpose. Suicide can happen to anyone. Who chooses to one day find no hope in tomorrow? Who would decide to find the point where suffering is the absolute? It seems a blindness brought on by a spiral of swirling thoughts that pull in more darkness than light. Depression is becoming less stigmatized but we stigmatize those who tragically make an irreversible action as a result of depression.
When I was in emergency for my finger the doctor advised me to have it completely amputated. I didn’t crash through the garage to have it cut right off! I thought about typing, more woodworking and being able to continue being a terrible guitarist. It’s a lovely piece of finger, maybe the surgeon didn’t want to be at the hospital on a Saturday night. Maybe the surgeon had no use for that third of my finger but I was thinking of some as I waited in emergency.The second time they unwrapped it and let it dangle for the next doctor to see I was a little proud. It was on a perfect forty-five degree angle. It was probably better than any piece of wood I had purposely tried to bring to the same angle.
Suicide is not a simple inability to perceive it is a matter of being pulled away. There is no humour to life. It’s a bit like having the wind knocked out you. There are moments when try as you might, no breath can be pulled in. Desire is not enough; it is a moment of complete incapacitation.
I plan on pointing my finger around fairly well. If part of it falls off I will figure out how to do a guitar trick with what remains. Today Iike most of us I’m trying to save every inch of myself. I kind of get a kick out of life most days. I want to be able to pull my finger out and proclaim the miracle. Life is a miracle; every inch of it. After I supposedly died in the ambulance I spent three years in jails with a mental illness and seven years navigating the forensic system. Laughs can be found in both but I would not call the circumstances of my life during this decade easy.
The word suicidal was washed from my mouth by the correctional system. I was suicidal many times in jail but I would never have told anyone. I said the word once and they put me in solitary confinement. It was only one night that time but being suicidal was preferable to solitary confinement. I cannot condemn someone who doesn’t reach out for help as I have rarely done so myself.
When you can gauge the light and dark of things and you have the ability to perceive some blessing, you can focus on one small piece of light. It always blocks out a certain amount of darkness. When I have the ability to perceive something small in my life that has value I am like a crow with a coin. I flip it about and other small bits cling to it. Eventually I end up with a wonderful wife, a generous mother and stepfather, three brothers and even the jerk across the road is more friend than pain.
I wish I could say I never lose sight of all this but something I don’t wish for makes it all vanish. I have spent days in solitary confinement knowing full well no one but the authorities knew where I was. I had an orange jumpsuit, no hair, no eyebrows and no shoes. I paced an 8 by 8 concrete box. I sat on one blanket and I had a Bible. I received no mail or phone calls and a shower or toothbrush were nowhere for days. Depending where you’re standing it would appear I didn’t have much going for me. The big screen was on the fritz and as much as I searched the walls, floor and ceiling I never did find a way to recharge my Smartphone. I wasn’t sure of time itself but not once did I imagine taking my life. I did not try to drown myself by plugging my toilet. I played with its leak until the guards were stepping in water when they came to peer in my four inch window.
I have lived in solitary confinement while psychotic but I was not suicidal during this time. Some of my time in solitary confinement was fairly content. I had things to do. The people guarding my box needed me. I made friends and told a few I loved them. I shared my spirit with one of the nurses quite innocently and was shipped to another jail. I was robbed of everything I owned when the two fellas returned to drive me back to the jurisdiction of my court. I was warned by the lieutenant and permitted back to my original quarters if I promised to profess less love. I obliged and did so only in French and sign language on jail property from then on. I was banished from banishment’s to the bowels of a system where I was seemingly powerless. Had I owned a suicidal perspective I would have spent my hours forming my head to fit far enough down the toilet to drown myself.
Instead I drew my daughters face and guessed at what years might have done to her features. I imagined my ceiling contained all the stars. My food slot became a patio door and I wrote what I found meaningful on the walls of my cell. I had the ability to notice and converse about the flowers in the nurse’s office. They became a flavour in my mind that remains still. I cannot rationally explain why when I was most likely to be suicidal I was instead fully alive any more than I can explain the opposite.
There are moments where some cannot notice the fragrances of life. I don’t think it remains for others to condemn someone for that inability. I usually ride out my suicidal feelings. This too shall pass works for me. Eventually and always I return to some point where I find that one good thing. I can once again see the significance of saving even an inch of a finger. What if that little bit comes in handy? What if it has a use or a purpose? Can it not touch a face?
For now it has reattached itself as something to write about. I don’t have a remedy for suicide but maybe something I have written dusts off a little peace, humour or hope for someone.