So imagine my alarm when I read an eight day-old response from one of my former benefactors who said they had thoughts of self-extinction. What follows below is my response to a human soul in pain who vividly brought home the point that no matter how fucked up your life is, someone out there's worse off than you. That may seem a no-brainer to some of you but it's a fact of which we all have to be reminded from time to time.
Just saw your response today. I generally go for weeks at a time without checking this email account. I only sent off my email last week because Yahoo was essentially calling me a spammer for trying to BCC out so many copies. Google doesn't make such distinctions.
Anyway, your email alarmed me and I hope you have not done anything stupid in the eight days since you'd sent this to me. I'm no stranger to depression myself and I'd wager many of us in these latter day Disunited States can say the same. But the only good thing about depression and serious thoughts of self-extinction is beating them then looking back on the darkness and realizing what you'd overcome and, as a certain nihilist philosopher would've said, how surviving the ordeal didn't kill you but instead made you stronger.
I have Barb and a cat to worry about and if my sons' only surviving parent did a rude disappearing act like that, they'd be devastated and would never forgive me. Neither would Barbara, who completely depends on me to do literally almost everything to sustain her life. Popeye would just lick his nutsack and move on. But I have at least three other people to live for. Suicide, pure and simple, is the ultimate selfish act, one of cowardice and, as the bromide goes, is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. That's a bromide because it is true. And, as permanent as our problems seem to be, you have to believe they are not.
I have less than zero faith this Obama character will lead us out of the darkness. But while things may appear insolubly bleak on a macroscopic level, sometimes we slip through the cracks of adversity and escape some undeserved sinister fate. Sometimes problems really do resolve themselves without our conscious efforts and manna or good fortune or serendipity or whatever you want to call it dispels the black clouds, however briefly, and you find yourself basking in the sun of rare fortune.
You have to have faith things will work out. And this is coming from someone who probably does have more reasons than most to entertain thoughts of self-extinction. I haven't worked in four years. I lost my unemployment over two years ago. Barb lost hers over a year ago. We have no income, resumes answering jobs go unanswered and hiring companies, publishers and literary agents alike ignore and disrespect me. I'm a joke on the internet and everyone ignores me. My best efforts at marketing my three self-published books are an ongoing failure. My next royalty payment won't even buy me two packs of cigarettes. It's as if I'm a splinter in the finger of the world and it's doing its best to expel the anomaly that is me so it can move on.
But, while I do not believe in guardian angels, throughout my life at the worst and lowest points, just when I'm at the bottom of some hideous and bleak valley, something or someone rescues me just in time and absolves me of bad luck and whatever past sins I may have committed to deserve them and I'm treated to a spot of good fortune. I keep thinking of the Biblical parable of Job. While I'm certainly not a believer, I take inspiration from the fact that God's most faithful man, after wading for decades through the shit He'd thrown his way eventually persevered and he was rescued from his personal purgatory simply because he'd refused to give up.
May you also find that inner strength.
Love and light,
RobertAnd to anyone else having such selfish thoughts, let this be your guide out of the darkness. Too many of my readers over the years have pulled a disappearing act and they always haunt me with the possibilities.