Thursday, June 24, 2010
“Terminal uniqueness.” Thursday, June 24, 2010.
“(I had) a disease of terminal uniqueness. Nobody had ever suffered like I was suffering.” -Marian Keyes
Here Marian Keyes was talking about alcoholism. But she could easily have been talking about depression, anxiety, bipolar, borderline personality disorder, cutting, recovery from sexual abuse, suicidal ideation … you get the picture.
We, every one of us, is unique. That’s a blessing; what a bland world it would be if we were all alike. But when we suffer, our primary feeling is that of isolation. Our entire lives revolve around our pain, and we feel utterly alone.
It doesn’t even help to have people try to validate us with platitudes such as “I know exactly how you feel!” Because we know they don’t. The ultimate “alone” act is suicide. Suicide is something that can’t be shared with anyone else. Even if we die in a pact, each individual dies alone.
So why do we isolate ourselves just when we most need to be reaching out? Why do we feel so unlike other people that we are quick to dismiss their suffering rather than find solace that someone else has gone through what we have been through? Because we allow the devil to wallow in the details. “She’s not like me. Her abuse happened when she was 10. I was only 6.” “He slit his wrists the wrong way. He didn’t REALLY want to die. I do.”
If we really want to heal, we need to start looking at what we share with others who suffer. We need to find areas of similarity. This is not so we can bring each other down, but rather to build each other up. We all have different life histories, and various diagnoses, but we have one thing in common – our suffering was so severe we made a choice to end our lives. And we all survived that choice.
We can learn from one another. That’s why we’re here in this group. Let’s soak up every bit of hope we can get – including the hope that if someone else achieved happiness, we can, too.