Thursday, February 21, 2008

suicidal ideation as a form of stress release and fun

In California we have the 5150, which is the legal code number for the states ability to hold on to you and observe you for 72 hours if you PLAN to hurt yourself or someone else AND have the means to do so. If you just have vaguely suicidal thoughts you're fine, no one can lock you up or pull you away from the rail at the Golden Gate Bridge, as long as you don't verbalize a plan. (I guess if you were at the bridge you would have means at your disposal but I digress and I love to digress)
I bring this up because my family read the first post of this blog and called me to see if I was OK. They did the right thing and I appreciate their love and concern immensely but the fact is as someone who has assessed hundreds of people for possible 5150 referral to an emergency psych unit aka PES, my statements would not have warranted the blinking of an eye, so everybody can just chill, ok?
Here is my personal take on suicide: I have had thoughts of suicide probably close to a million plus times in my lifetime, but I am sure that the chance of me actually, overtly, intentionally, hurting myself are close to nil nada zilch zero. My personal belief is that I'd rather be in excruciating unending pain (which I have been in many times for long periods of time) than to cease being a sentient being here in this social construct we call reality. That includes emotional pain, physical pain, spiritual pain; you name it I'm not going out like that over it. I'm ok with watching the apocalypse and smiling as the mushroom clouds rise (hopefully) in the distance. Even if it is my own apocalypse I'm curious to see what happens next. I have the ability to examine and question the multitude of strange and terrible thoughts that float through my head rather than act on them (I'd have been dead a long time ago otherwise). I am grateful to be a witness to my own process, there are many who do not have that luxury, most of them Republicans.
The people who successfully commit suicide rarely talk about their plans to anyone. The good docs down at SF General PES have used their powers of intuition many times to hold on to people who swore they did not want to kill themselves. They did protest too much. Unfortunately they can't always guess right because a determined suicidalist will find a way. I remember stories of patients being discharged with a cab voucher to take them home and telling the unsuspecting driver to take them back to the bridge to complete their task of hurling themselves into the icy waters below. I have several bridge stories to tell but they will be individual posts of their own.

1 comment:

Mollena said...

jogoddessI myself thought your use of the word "seems" in your mentioning self-destructive thoughts was resonant.

Even since childhood I remember the uncanny almost overwhelming urge I would occasionally have sweep over me in a tsunami of oddly compelling curiosity whenever I stood watching a train pull into a station. I would watch the light draw nearer, the stale push of air ahead of the Uptown 6...and wonder "what if what if i jumped" and I would sometimes tightly hug the I-Beam or battered pillar on the platform, hoping to stop myself. I never wanted to die...I simply, like all living beings, crave, in some small way, that oblivion. It is a curiosity that is almost irresistible....and I never stand close to the BART these days.