The Narrow Blade

“Suicide is painless, it brings on many changes. And I can take or leave it, if I please.” -Theme from M*A*S*H  

This song lyric makes about as much sense as suicide does. People who see suicide from the outside, people with no sense of severe depression, often cannot comprehend it. There is no logic in suicide. But there’s no logic in binge-eating or self-mutilation, either.

That is the first fact to accept about mental illness: it doesn’t make sense.

Except that it does, IF you know the person’s entire story. I know because I walked on that knife’s edge for nearly 20 years.

The depression of my childhood deepened with each year. Passive suicidal thoughts began around age 9. I believed I was nothing good to anyone, and at that age I began to believe that everyone’s lives would have been better if I had not been born at all.

Within two years, it occurred to me that I had the power to make that happen. I could erase myself from everyone’s lives, ease their troubles by removing my hateful, troublesome, useless, irritating, stupid self. I lived with this murderer in my head, this nearly constant, intense self-hatred, until I was in my mid to late 20’s.  

The fact is, I will always walk that narrow blade. Once depression has settled into your brain, no matter how healthy you become, it is never far from re-occurring.

So, you’ve never been there.  You have no knowledge of this knife’s edge existence and it baffles you. What can you do?  Be kind to each other. It’s not easy to do, but do it anyway. Kindness saved my life.  

“Kind” means something like, it means finding common ground, it means similar.  When you are kind, you treat someone as tho they belong with  you. They belong in your circle, they are your peer, could even be a friend.  

Being kind is expressing the Golden Rule.  It’s behaving in the way you would like others to behave towards you.  Doing what you think others should do for you.  Living in the way that makes the most sense to you, and sharing that sense with your neighbors.  

Of course, the first person to be kind to is yourself.  Set your own standard and then treat everyone in kind.  

Please do this.  Be kind to everyone.  It’s the only way.