When I was in high school I read a poem by Dorothy Parker called Resume about the methods of suicide and this poem burrowed its way into my head and never let go.
This poem led to the most morbid mother-daughter research project to ever occur. For months we researched the different methods of suicide and the failure rates of each. At one point I toyed with doing a cartoon book of it but then I remembered I couldn’t draw and who wants a book about failed suicide?
This probably sounds terrible to the average person. What kind of mother encourages her depressed daughter to research suicide methods? Well, one who was a depressed teenager herself back in the day and survived it.
This project probably saved my life.
Sounds crazy, right? There I was fifteen years old with a higher than average understanding of suicide methods being saved by that knowledge. The thing is, I hate pain. I am clumsy and have sprained pretty much everything you can sprain so I know pain and I know I’m a sissy about it. Knowing that you can live through shooting yourself in the head, knowing you can survive an overdose, knowing you have to jump from at least six stories and still may not die stopped me on my darkest days from even attempting it.
Once the hormones settled down and I found some new coping mechanisms I realized how terribly selfish suicide is and stopped considering it even on my worst days. I find that one thing to keep moving forward. But at fifteen that was hard. There wasn’t anything I could think about strong enough to keep me going some days so I kept myself safe by knowing I was more likely to botch a suicide attempt than succeed.
As Dorothy Parker said…”You might as well live.”