Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

This post needs raindrops

There’s something personal I’ve been trying to post about that I’ve actually not yet figured out how to talk about.  Instead I’m gonna talk about something even more personal because it kept me up last night.  I’m gonna talk about suicide.  Don’t panic, I’m fine.

When Aaron Swartz died I cried for days.  I didn’t know him personally, though I’m all but certain everyone reading this has touched his work, and there was a sort of 2-degree social separation.  I cried for Aaron, yes, but I also cried for what my social circle, and to some degree my generation, had lost: one of the most brilliant minds we’d had.  More than that I cried because suicide scares me.  In fact, the whole experience of depression makes me panic; I remember October, each and every October, when I lived on the East Coast and before Seasonal Affective Disorder was a thing people treated, was a frantic time of doing everything I wanted to do before the following March because next would come November with its crying fits and paralyzing fear.  Despite having broken this time-bound ritual, I’ve given up exercise plans because I associate my lowest adult weight with my worst years, and I watch for the creeping signs of depression with a level of vigilance most people reserve for late-night muggers.  But suicide scares me…differently.

I consider suicide to be a fundamental personal choice tied into bodily autonomy, and at the same time I consider it to be a collective failing.  As much as I tell myself that depression is a lying bitch and no one is at fault, I keep coming back to how did we as a community leave one of our own so alone?  Not one, also this one.

Suicide, and it’s more genteel cousin “end of life decisions,” typically reserved for ending a terminal illness early, are things I’ve been aware of since childhood both in familial and social context.  It was such a ubiquitous occurrence that after the 9-11 attacks, at least one person I know thought the heightened police presence had to do with “another MIT kid jumping off a roof.”  I remember not being at all moved by that possibility.  That should scare you, it does me.

I don’t think suicide began to scare me until after college, until I realized the depression and alone-ness that’s tied into it.  And that’s also when it became both a personal choice (again, not mine) and a communal failing.  Because depression is a lying bitch, and because our inability or unwillingness to see eachother’s pain gives credence to those lies.  And so I’m wondering (actually stayed up last night wondering) how do we find ways to support people we love, or people we care about, or hell people who just happen to be in the same spaces we’re in, without concern-trolling.  How do we acknowledge other people’s pain without making them explain themselves to us?  How do we maintain a presence while allowing space?

On the flip side, how do we ask for support?  If you’ve never had an illness that goes on not for weeks but for months maybe it’s hard to picture just how carefully you start curating your asks in a vein hope to not burn out your support structure.  How do we build more supports, and more security around those supports?  And how do you let go of your own past failing as part of a community that let one of its own slip through the cracks?  How do I?


Written by kinkinexile

May 21, 2013 at 11:58 pm

Posted in community, headspace

3 Responses

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  1. Sensational blog. If you do ask these vital questions, how can WE do better, to help those in need?


    May 22, 2013 at 8:38 am

  2. I have wrestled with depression on a personal level. I have often said that I have never considered suicide as a personal option, but I understand perfectly why it is an option for some people. That’s a scary place to live.

    My problem is this: When my depression is growing, I do everything I can to fight it off…and it doesn’t seem to help. Then I reach this plateau where I just can’t fight anymore. I give in to it, but not so much that I can’t get out of bed and do what I need to do. As with suicide, I realize why this is the route some take, but it isn’t a route that is open to me – so far. I worry about the day when that may not be true any longer.

    Unfortunately, I can’t answer your questions. Perhaps I have yet to develop enough space to look at it objectively. Perhaps the truth is just too scary for me to speak openly.

    Tomio Hall-Black

    May 22, 2013 at 11:12 am

  3. […] for example.  And I lost someone I know.  And it was the anniversary of Aaron Swartz‘ death […]

    Kink in exile

    January 12, 2014 at 12:28 pm

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