Brooke saw suicide as a solution.
Suicide would stop the pain and relieve the burden. She felt powerless to make money. She felt powerless to change her abusers. She felt powerless to improve her situation, but instinctively she felt like suicide was at least worth a thought or two. She even felt like talking about it with people in her life.
And that’s where it all started going wrong.
Everyone Brooke told kept giving her bullshit advice.
I mean, like, the worst f***ing advice.
“We need to get you to a hospital.”
“We need to put you in counselling.”
“We need to get you drugs.”
Oh sure, they meant well, but they were all coming from a place of fear, not love. They all feared death. They even fear someone close to them raising the topic. (Which is pretty silly, we all die, so why fear the only assured, guaranteed thing that exists?)
And no one’s gonna call these peeps out and say “Hey, your advice sucks and you’re not showing love” because they’re all in positions of authority. Brooke’s circles were made up mostly of confused, timidly small minds, who fear death and… well… give bad advice.
Parents, teachers, friends, cops, case-workers, etc.
They all thought they knew what was right. So they talked at Brooke, even though they’d never experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings. They discouraged her, but they’d never sought deep understanding of birth & death, or power & powerlessness.
Brooke shared her thoughts with her case-worker, Jill and boom…
That’s not what a suicide-focused person needs.
Suicides need love.
Knee-Jerk Discouragement Isn't Love.
Brooke showed huge courage.
Surrounded by people who didn’t understand, she stepped up and took action.
She wrote someone who cared.
She wrote to me ’cause I’ve had my own brush with suicide and I’ve written some open-minded pieces on the topic. She felt I may have valuable experience to offer. And I do.
And it’s encouragement.
It’s an open heart, mind, and ear.
I encourage people to feel their feelings and explore their thoughts, even if they seem dark.
That’s what helped me when I went through it.
Planning my own suicide saved my life.
‘Cause the truth is, considering self-death is actually powerful thing to do.
I don’t recommend it for a good time, I don’t wish it on anyone, but if life gets to a point that is unbearably painful, with no solutions in sight…
…considering suicide can be a way to regain power, acknowledge that there’s at least one choice that will end the pain, and to realize that no person, society, or circumstance has power over how we live, or if we continue living at all.
When things are chaos, realizing we have the free will needed to end it all, can be empowering.
It can be a calming, helpful thought-process — or at least a step in the right direction. It can move us away from powerlessness, towards self-empowered solutions and a way to end pain.
And exploring thoughts like that are okay.
Angelina Jolie’s done it.
Eminem’s done it.
I’ve done it.
Many great people have felt and thought dark, suicidal thoughts, and come through it to touch the world in a major way.
Maybe it’s part of someone’s life path. Maybe their brush with (self)-death will make them a better person. It’s arrogant to think we know what’s best for someone else.
And it’d be arrogant to think I know what’s best for Brooke, but I can share my story.
I was an arrogant know-it-all when I was a teenager.
I always thought I knew best.
And I still pride myself on knowing a lot, but I don’t know everything, and certainly can’t predict someone’s life path or future with any certainty.
I can’t know what thoughts and feelings are right for someone, and I never try to talk them out of their own experiences.
But most people let fear dictate their response, and they instantly assume that thinking of suicide leads to acting suicidal, leads to the most horrible thing in the world… their friend’s death.
Assuming Their Future Ain't Love.
Jill acted on reflex.
Soon as she heard the word ‘suicide’ come out of Brooke’s mouth— mental images of gun barrels, oncoming trains, and pill overdoses popped into Jill’s mind.
She’d been a caseworker for ten years now, but she really hadn’t helped many with many ‘cases’ suicidal tendencies. In fact, she had more experience watching violent movies and prescribing pills than she did with honest, heart-to-heart talks about choice, death, and the mysteries of human emotion.
Jill cared about people. She cared about Brooke. And she wanted to do her job well, but the only way she could tell if she was, was a pat on the back from her supervisor for meeting her quota.
She was ‘trained’ by school on how to handle self-harm, but schools —in all honesty— suck.
And it’s not the schools’ fault, or Jill’s. She was raised by a repressed western society, a broken system, totally unfit to meaningfully discuss any topic relating to bodily functions, let alone our fragile lives.
Being raised in a society that can’t talk about natural things like excretion, sex, or mortality, for the average person, means being crippled in those same areas.
Someone who’s never even considered suicide themselves, or expressed such feelings out loud has a job helping suicide-focused peeps.
Talk about the blind leading the blind.
It’s not right, and it makes things worse.
‘Cause when Brooke’s going through hell, she doesn’t need a panicky ‘counsellor’ hearing the word ‘suicide’ and calling in every government agency they can.
“Ambulances! Police! As many scary, disconnected, government workers as possible! That’s what Brooke needs, right?”
As if giving badvice to suicidal peeps isn’t enough, Jill uses her position of power to physically relocate ’em.
Uninvited— Unwanted— Without even checking what Brooke wants— relocation.
Jill has the cops yank Brooke out of her normal life and toss her into alien, unfamiliar territory.
Ugh. Like that’s the kind of treatment a person caught in anxiety and despair needs.
It hurts to even think about.
Brooke doesn’t need jarring, chaos-causing, environmental transplant. She needs gentle, compassionate, understanding LOVE and acceptance of her feelings.
At least that’s what I needed.
And damn, I know Jill means well, but the truth is…
Panic-Calling The Hospital Ain't Love.
It’s panicking at ‘pre-crime.’
Brooke hasn’t done anything wrong.
Is feeling wrong? Thinking? Sharing? No.
But someone’s always eager to play Thought-Police and go all Minority Report when The S-Word is dropped, acting as if it’s the worst crime possible to even breathe the word out loud.
Jill practically called in the military.
One moment Brooke’s in the familiar environment of school/home, basically in charge of most of her time and hobbies, with comfortable clothes, her smartphone, etc., and then —one uttered word later— she’s in a sterile prison called a ‘hospital.’
There’s nothing wrong with her. She’s a person, born, living, and… now thinking about tapping out of life a bit early.
You know what?
That’s totally allowed.
It’s normal to think about it when anxiety’s amped to eleven.
“People say suicide is selfish and cowardly. That’s bullshit. It’s more selfish to expect someone to go through life feeling like shit, just so you can keep them around because they make you happy or some shit. It is not their duty to keep you happy whilst they go through hell, you fucking morons.”
This guy on Urban Dictionary gets it.
People are free to feel, and think, and yes… ditch life if they want. They don’t owe me, you, or society a thing, and they can leave this planet if they want.
But oh no, let’s label Brooke crazy, hazardous, and fragile. Let’s put her under watchful guard. Make sure she’s near-toxically medicated, and if she so much as picks up a utensil to eat some food let’s all go crazy.
Ugh. Great. Woo. Well done. Fantastic call, Jill.
Thank god not every culture behaves this way, but that still doesn’t help Brooke.
If Jill’s first response to Brooke being open, honest, and vulnerably sharing private feelings of despair and thoughts of suicide…
…is to get a bunch of strangers with uniforms, weapons, and sedatives involved— she’s way off base.
It’s not helpful, and it’s basically ensuring that Brooke never comes to her for help of any kind again.
Jill wasn’t showing love.
And I don’t expect to change the Jill’s of the world. They already believe they know the best way to handle suicide. They’re not seeking advice and wisdom. They’re not hungry to be better people, to ryze.
But the Brooke’s of the world are.
When I was feeling like ending it all, I was desperate for any love, compassion, or value that would uplift me.
I was ready for anything that came from the heart, including my own painful feelings.
The reason most of society avoids this whole thing, is that emotions can be confusing, powerful, and scary.
The feels can be messy.
But Feelings Are Easy, Too.
Easy doesn’t mean fun.
Feelings of self-harm aren’t fun. Suicidal feelings aren’t fun.
But they are easy.
It took me longer than I’d like to get this, but it’s true. There’s no effort involved in feeling things. Even dark-ass emotions like anxiety, despair, and depression.
You can feel ’em if you’re busy, or feel ’em if you’re not.
You can just lay there and feel ’em.
I laid in a park for days at a time, just feeling worthless. Maybe I’d punch the ground or throw stuff. I didn’t hurt anyone (‘cept maybe my hand).
And most importantly, I took control, I made an impact in my own shitty little world. I expressed myself.
I plotted. I planned. I marched toward my own death.
And the same way life brought me to my knees, once I really felt my feelings, instead of running from them, life brought me a leg up.
All my painful feels eventually passed, though it seemed like they never, ever, would. The thing no one teaches you is that feeling those feelings and really embracing ’em, is a game-changer.
Mine took extra-long, ’cause I was too scared to really dive into ’em and feel ’em.
Most peeps fight their feelings ’cause emotions are messy, and it scares those around us.
And if we share our pain with others, they usually jump in and try to fight ’em too.
Brooke needed an open-minded broader perspective. She needed someone who’d listen and understand.
At least, that’s what helped me.
When I was going through my darkest times, I was alone, broke, and homeless with only a single friend on the planet who I felt comfortable baring my soul to. (besides my Mom :P)
You can’t express your wounded heart to just anyone.
A truly kind, loving person changes everything.
But sadly they’re pretty rare.
It’s not like they’re exploding out of every nook and cranny.
You’re not gonna bump into one every 2 seconds on the street.
Most peeps are living in fear, and are to be avoided on topics that matter.
But be aware that loving souls exist, and it’s easier to find them when you stop interacting with ‘the masses.’
This is another scary thing to do. To abandon old, familiar circles, jump into some level of isolation and loneliness, and explore and reach out to a different type of person.
Brooke wrote me for example.
One day later I post this, inspired by her.
People like me exist.
People who genuinely want to help. People who don’t fear death. People who realize there’s no point running from it or walking on eggshells around it.
And even if you can’t find one, it’s cool, they’re not necessary.
People are powerful, even on their own.
You can write poems, make art, make music. Express suicidal feelings in all sorts of ways that are valuable to society. Silverchair created a major hit at 18 years old with their song ‘Suicidal Dream.’
It’s possible to navigate the pain of suicidal thoughts by ourselves, but it’s sooo much easier with someone to confide in.
And I’m super blessed to have had someone.
Jennifer was the only open-minded, compassionate, and neurosis-free friend who really embraced my feelings.
I told her I wanted to kill myself, that I’d gotten extremely far along in my plan to do it… and you know what she said?
She didn’t pull a ‘Jill’ and jump to conclusions, make assumptions, or reflexively dismiss me.
Instead she said “J, I obviously don’t want that”, but that she “understood” and she’d “help me feel better any way she could” but would only as long as “I was open to it.”
She didn’t want to scare me, judge me, manipulate me, or push me into anything. She didn’t want to change my feelings or rush me through them, she just wanted to help.
Jen chose to just be there.
She was someone I could vent to. Someone I could share deep, messy feelings with. Someone I could count on for real talk, straight from the heart.
It makes me tear up just thinking about it.
One friend like that is better than a hundred cold, bureaucratic government agencies. One friend like that is worth more than all the hospitals in America.
Suicidal Thoughts Aren't Actions.
Jen knew that thoughts aren’t actions.
She didn’t run from my intense expression, like most people.
Most peeps just walk on eggshells around the topic and repress their thoughts and feelings about it.
Just thinking about X doesn’t mean we’re gonna act on X.
So, like, instead of automatic discouragement… maybe LISTEN? Seek to UNDERSTAND? Allow us to EXPRESS our feelings without jumping all over them or trying to talk us out of them?
Everyone has thoughts that are a bit off-putting.
EV. RY. ONE.
I’ve fantasized about punching drivers on the road in their ignorant faces, I may or may not act on it.
I’ve fantasized sleeping with multiple women, I may or may not act on it.
I’ve fantasized living in castles, high-rise condos, beachhuts in the Maldives, I may or may not act on it.
Chances are everyone you meet has fantasized about one or more of these things.
Should we discourage each and every one of them from their thoughts? Should we assume they’ll ACT on them?
Of course not.
Why is it cool for me to fantasize about the above things, and even share those fantasies with others, but if I express a single thought about ending my life, society goes bonkers?
It’s ’cause people assume that if you talk about suicide, you’ll commit suicide.
And anyone who jumps to that conclusion is someone I personally, stay away from.
I need people who are understanding and open to my expressions, thoughts, and feelings, even if they’re dark or controversial, and I’d rather be isolated and alone than be around discouraging, soul-crushing, invalidating authority figures who are supposed to be helping me but really are just full of fear.
Brooke was smart, ’cause she realized her people couldn’t advise her well. They don’t understand the topic.
To uplift someone you have to come from love, not fear.
I’ve fantasized about taking my own life, and even acted heavily on it. I mean, I researched methods, found places where it’s legal, sourced materials, saved up money, invested, and went very, very far down the suicide road.
But I’m still here, helping others.
Hopefully, What I Learned Can Help You.
I’m no expert, but I learned a lot.
I’ve experienced, imagined, and dug deeper than most people on the topic of suicide.
And my intention is that what I’ve learned flows out of me, clearly and kindly. And that all of it, or some piece of it, sparks something for Brooke.
I’d love for it to bring peace, relief, soothing, and ease. I’d love for it to put things in perspective, and help her ryze.
But there’s no guarantees, so I’ll just share what I learned.
And the lesson I learned from all of it was that intense, scary feelings are part of life, and [gasp!], they don’t automatically lead to tragedy. And they tend to happen to the truly great among us, helping to forge us into strong, inspiring people.
Dark emotions may show up. It happens. Here’s my trick for them.
Fighting feelings causes pain.
Sharing ’em with most people exacerbates ’em.
Allowing feelings causes change.
Sharing ’em with someone loving soothes ’em.
Try it and see.
Our Choices Are Power - Choose Wisely.
No one can deny Brooke her choice.
And anyone who tries to is shitting on her gift of free will.
Worse, they’re pushing Brooke towards self-death, ’cause when a human being feels option-less, out of control, and powerless to change their destiny… suicide gets reeeeal appealing.
If I want to help someone who’s close to suicide, as much as possible I don’t fight them, push for my agenda, or physically interfere with them.
Instead, I help them see their own power, and sometimes that’s the power of choice.
Brooke has the power of choice, free will, and the option to opt-out of life, just like every person does, and I want her to know that.
I want her to know I see her as a beautiful, powerful, inspiring person, and I’m blessed that she exists in my life in anyway, and that she doesn’t owe me or anyone else anything, and that if she really, truly, feels like exiting gracefully… that’s her choice, not the choice of a whole bunch of strangers or western laws.
She can cut her self, or make plans to end it all, or impulsively jump off a building.
Personally, I don’t recommend actually doing it. I think the world is better off with Brooke in it. sharing her views and inspiring long posts lie this one, but it’s her call.
I bet not many people are cheering her on, believing in her, and acknowledging her power.
Maybe she has the shittiest life I’ve ever come across. I don’t know. I do know that she didn’t ask to be born.
None of us consciously ‘asked’ to be born, but we can consciously choose to leave.
Admitting that is power.
Brooke has power.
I hope she realizes her power.
And I don’t want her to take my word for these things, or anyone else’s.
I encourage Brooke to explore ideas and choices for herself like so many legendary personalities, great men and women, and the empire builders of the world.
I’d prefer she choose to keep inspiring peeps here on earth, but if she chooses to leave, I understand.
I believe she’ll choose well.
Find Someone Loving And Trustable To Talk To.
Most people haven’t really explored the heart of the matter. Life, death, emotions, destiny, souls, afterlife, purpose, etc.
The best ‘normal’ U.S. writer I’ve seen touch on the topic is Tim Ferriss’, and while I don’t agree with his views and advice completely, I do respect his intelligence and intention to help people, and he offers a ton of resources to counsel suicides at the end of his May 2015 article here:
P.S. I’d like to dedicate this piece to Brooke, who inspired me to share the #ryze view on suicide, and Jen, who helped me through my own dark times.
P.P.S. I don’t know how this story ends, but I do know that it led to a positive response. Brooke wrote me to say:
*Brooke also sourced the anxiety/depression photos used throughout the post, and most other one’s are just ‘found’ images, happy to credit or adjust if needed.
Bonus: Evan Carmichael's video on 'Depression.'There's a few different takes on the subject in here, some gentle, some intense.