Lighting A Candle For You | World Suicide Prevention Day 2021


They say, “Life is fragile.”

And, I thought I knew that.

I thought I knew that before.

But it seems like I didn’t. Or, the weight of it, it didn’t fully occur to me.

You know that I’m reaching out to You. Into this vortex of the Universe. Because I couldn’t be there for You when You felt so alone, when You were struggling so deeply, and I pray, I pray so hard that You’ll be here again for me to do better, do better by You, do better for You.

I am so, so sorry my dear that you were hurting so very deeply.

I’m so …. lost.

You’re not gone. Not quite, not…. not yet.

And it’s hard to be here without You when I can’t be with You.

I’m so sorry, my dear, that You were in so much unfathomable pain. That You felt so lost, so dark, so dull in the night sky filled with other bright stars–unable to see how brightly You, too, shined–because You don’t see how important You are, how loved, how needed, how necessary for THIS life You are, not the next one.

And I pray, I pray so hard that You don’t leave us here alone so soon. You are needed. You are wanted. You are worth the world.

And I wish You knew, I wish You knew how much Your brain is lying to You. That You DO matter. That You are cared for. That there are hundreds of other people out in the world who want to meet You, who will love You, who will accept You. Who want You to experience everything there is out here in this life.

So I sit and cry in my bedroom, trying to find the words for something so inescapable. Something so large. Something that posed so much of a danger to You, my love, so much of a danger to me, to Your family, to Your friends, to Your followers, to everyone You had yet to meet, to the other animals You had yet to love, a life You had yet to find faith in to live by and thrive through–maybe I should have seen the entity lying behind Your eyes. Maybe I should have known to listen to my gut when at 1a I thought of You. Maybe things would have been different.

If I’d just reached out. Reached back out to You through the dark, showing You that the clearing was just up ahead and You were going to make it, You were always going to make it there. And I don’t know what You thought. I might never know what You thought. The way You uniquely would have phrased it, the way Your brain made excuses for Your actions, the pain, the deep chasms of pain that blinded You to everything before You. Everything that would lay in Your wake.

And I don’t mean to guilt trip you. I know that’s not helpful.

I just hurt, too. And I’m trying to process everything and doing jack shit to be able to.

It’s just so hard.

And You don’t know yet what I’m thinking or what I’m feeling. And I pray, I pray so much that You’ll be able to find out about this. About everything.

I wish You knew. I just wish You knew.

I wish You knew how I’m feeling right now, how much I’m praying for You, how much I’m trying to piece together hope and a semblance of normalcy and struggling all the same. I wish You knew how desperately I’m looking for the signs that You weren’t okay online, that I’m wishing the happy events to come weighed more than the pain deep within Your soul. I wish You knew that I was writing these words, that I pray You’ll see them one day. That You’ll be able to comprehend them. I want so much more than this for You, and I know that You can reach it, You can make it through, it’s just hard. It’s so hard.

So I’ll light a candle for You tonight and every night until You come back to me. Come back to us.

And I won’t know how to live without You. I won’t.

And I don’t want to ever have to find that out.

….yet I know that this is ultimately Your choice. And I can hope, I can pray, I can be there for You to the best of my ability and encourage You and love You and want so much for You, for everything I, too, have found, I’d want that and more for You, and ultimately… I have to accept that this life and this fight is only Yours to make. You can choose to live or you could choose to die, but you cannot do both. And some people make it through their suicidal ideation and live happy and healthy lives. And some don’t. And I don’t want that ever to be the case that You are the latter, but, I don’t necessarily have a choice in that matter. That is Yours and Yours alone. I can’t choose to live for You, only You can do that for Yourself.

Yet I want You to know that You still would matter. That Your absence will be fully noted, fully recognized and fully mourned. I would miss You so, so much. I would long to look into Your eyes again, to hear Your laugh, to feel Your hugs, to love everything about You, to see You bake again, to have the opportunity to hold You…

So, You’ve gotta pull through, to give me that type of moment. Your story isn’t over yet, it’s so very, very far from being over. And I know that while resources can be limited, that that does not mean You shouldn’t do everything in Your power to survive, to live, to thrive. You’ve got this, my love, You’ve got this so much.

Please, please know that You can live. You can.

It’ll be so hard and it will be worth the entire world. You are worth the world. And I’m not ready to say goodbye yet.

So if the candle extinguishes before I get the chance to say it loud, to cry it for You to hear, from the vortex of my Universe, from the walls of my bedroom, with the warm tears streaming down my face, praying I get to see You one day again soon (one last time), I will cry:

I love you. I want you. I need you. Please stay. Please choose life. Please don’t go. Not yet. It’s not your time. You’re going to make it through this. And when you struggle to find the light, you need only raise your hand and I’ll part the curtain, and force the trees to move and then you’ll see, then you’ll see–you will be found.

Rest up, my love, this battle will be long and hard and I’ll be with You all along the way.

Music I think the Reader should check out:

  1. You will be found by Ben Platt; from Dear Evan Hansen
  2. Why by Rascal Flatts (trigger warning)
  3. Hero by Faouzia
  4. Black hole by Griff
  5. 1800 273 8255 by Logic ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid
  6. It’s okay by Nightbirde
  7. Run like a river by Jamica

Thank you so much for reading about my grief. Please do your part and hold onto your loved ones an extra bit longer tonight. And tell the people you love that you do love them. And let them know in a card or a text how much you appreciate them. This life is, in fact, short, and you don’t want regrets and you want them to know because in an instant, they could vanish. Take care of yourselves, my friends. I will be planning to update and write more in the oncoming future. May the Universe bless you endlessly. xxx (I’m going into more Mr. Ballen Youtube videos to sleep tonight. Sending all the best.)

**May all those we’ve lost rest in peace. And all those still here to find the determination, the strength and the perseverance to choose to fight another day. Your efforts are recognized. You are doing amazing. Keep up the good work.

Let’s Talk about Suicide Prevention… My Response to Landon Clifford taking his own life (RIP)

Trigger Warning: Suicide death, mental health, addiction, discussion

Themes: Recovery, hope, positivity, wellness, light in the darkness, a couple of resources

I haven’t done a blog post like this in years. I also hadn’t intended for this to BE a blog post. I spend over an hour and a half crafting a lengthy Youtube comment on Tamron Hall’s video interviewing Camryn Clifford, the content creator behind a million and a half subscribers on Youtube’s channel Cam&Fam, but I had so much to say for her video, no place to put it and decided I’d just leave it under Tamron’s instead.

However, upon crafting it, reading it over and editing it, adding the final touches…. the comment button told me it was too long and that I needed to shorten it.

Granted, it was long. I wrote about 3,000 words and either the channel itself or Youtube just wasn’t about that life. I get it. I understand.

So I went about highlighting and copying a part of it, after I copied the whole thing, just in case any slip of the keyboard happened and I’d lose all my work.

So I did that. I made the comment. Then I went to reply to it.

Except Youtube was all “this reply cannot exist” like a big middle finger to my work and I refreshed the new tab to see why….

My comment was not listed under new.

Visible confusion settled on my face.

But how could this be? Maybe it just hadn’t loaded yet?

So I hit refresh, and refreshed. And refreshed. And nope, whatever happened, whatever Youtube or the channel didn’t like just wiped it clean as if it never even took place (which is strange and hey, maybe it’s possible there’s gonna be a delay of some kind, which I hope not but I guess it’ll have me checking back in later regardless).

Anyways, I decided, “Well, okay then.” and mentioned it on Twitter, pasted it to a Word document and now I’m going to share it here because I wrote it, I spent all that time on it, and why the hell not at this point.

So, here it is:

For some further backstory (and there will be a TL;DR at the end, don’t you worry!) I found out all about this story yesterday at, ironically, a doctor’s appointment for some other physical health issue. It was on TV and the show had spoken about the memoirs of a family generational thing about bipolar I disorder. It was interesting, a bit stigmatizing at parts, but interesting. The next story was about Camryn’s family, her life and her husband’s Landon, untimely death by suicide. It was very moving and awfully sad. I found the video today where she spoke about the suicide in much more detail, which I’m hesitant to share directly here because it does cover explicit details of the suicide, the method and her reaction (which my heart absolutely goes out to her and I want her to know that it wasn’t her fault, she didn’t know and couldn’t have and hindsight is always so much brighter and understandable than the worst thing happening right in the moment, and my wishes go out to her to get through this hard time with the support of her fans, friends and family) which was very sobering and somber and pretty responsible while still be potentially triggering. There are some flaws in it, of course, which I tried to cover in my recanting of my own story and experiences. I’ll see you guys at the end:

“;”;”

Hello to anyone who finds this comment in the forest of other comments. I’d like to add my thoughts and share parts of my story on the matter because Camryn’s main video on the subject was showing disabled comments. The opinions I’ll be sharing are my own and have been carefully laid out in my mind this morning since I watched her main video discussing Landon’s death. Most of my thoughts are backed up by regulations and experiences with suicidality and suicide prevention measures. For now, feel free to skim this comment or if you have the time, read it word for word (which I shall give you a ray of sunshine for!)….

So, as far as myself, I am a mental health advocate deep within the throes of sharing my own story living with mental health conditions across professional and personal endeavors. I’ve been doing advocacy since Mar. 2016 and am still going strong. I’ve lived with OCD on self-harm and suicide obsessions (not genuine intent, rather intrusive thoughts that I feared would equal action even when the last thing I wanted to do was hurt myself), secondary depression, genuine thoughts of hurting myself, Borderline Personality Disorder and most currently trichotillomania (hair-pulling) and dermatillomania (skin-picking). I became involved with advocacy in 2016 through my state’s National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) which is all about sharing stories of recovery, hope and the darkness in order to de-stigmatize these conditions and spread the message that recovery IS possible and better days are ahead and our lives inherently matter. I also used to write publicly about my recovery journey in my university’s newspaper. At the time, I really struggled with my mental health and trying to find peace and freedom and over the course of three years I was hospitalized for suicidal ideation 12 times. The longest I went being hospital free was in 2016 for 9 months. I relapsed and in 2017 was hospitalized a total of 5 times. I’ve made three minor attempts on my life and one moderate one.

In 2018 the depression came back worse than ever after about two months of stability/symptom free management after having six treatments of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). When that depression hit, everything got very, very dark. I stopped believing that my life was important and that things would get better. I wrote about 7 articles for my paper that were all shrouded in darkness and chronicling how I felt so alone and so worthless and so intent on ending my life. My parents called the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and it kicked off my 11th hospitalization and note-worthingly, the first time I ever didn’t ask for help myself. I went in to that hospitalization and came back out feeling no different. I was still intent on my plans and preparing my method, carrying it around everywhere I went on the chance that something would “push me over the edge” and it would all be over with. I felt this immense amount of calm. I was so happy and it felt like I could breathe again for the first time in a long time. I knew I wasn’t going to have to face tomorrow but even with these feelings… I would still question my decision, I would still be ambivalent and wonder “But what if… What if tomorrow everything changed? What if I feel differently in a month or three or a year?” but I was scared. I was scared because I felt in so deep. Like, I had wasted all this time planning my death, going over every excruciating detail, setting up fail safes–ways to reach out in the end just in case I changed my mind–and it was an agonizing process.

The game changed for me when one of the articles I wrote….came off darker and more concerning than I ever thought fully through. My uni called me directly while I was attending a long term day program, and it was a mixture of freaking out thinking I’d have another wellness check waiting for me at home, the chaos that was erupting at school, the fact that some of my peers at the day program were honest about where they were struggling and how that reminded me that /I/ used to do that and it made me wonder if I could do that again (be open and honest about my struggles)…

I wound up talking with my friend from the paper at school the next day and it was really that conversation, that moment of hope shone into the darkness. My friend said how I wasn’t myself and my articles had taken such a dark turn. That normally in all the time before this my articles would shine with hope and positivity but they were lacking in that now. For me, fearing that nobody would notice or nobody would care if I died meant everything so even just having this insight that my friend wanted me to be okay and wanted me to live to see that day meant the world. I decided, after talking with another friend who seemed off around me, that I could either tell them what was happening, go to the counseling center on emergency or I could talk to my day program the next day. I decided I’d wait another moment and the next day I was driven to the day program, for easier phrasing I’ll call it Passages, and at first I was still going to go along with it but then I got a little triggered by something that was said and then I got angry and upset and I was adding another method to my plan and was already planning my exit strategy when in, I think, a group therapy instance it was asked directly if I was safe and I said, “No.” The group leader, who happened to be my clinician on my case, said we would speak privately after.

When she and I did, it was determined I needed to get help right then and there. The thing people don’t always realize is that mental health and especially in cases of suicidal ideation, they are public health emergencies. Just as someone having to go to the ER for a heart attack, the same is true for suicidality or homicidality. There is an excellent acronym for warning signs of suicide from the American Association on Suicide Prevention called: IS PATH WARM? Luckily, over time I had managed to learn when I needed help and when a hospitalization would be more necessary.

I was still afraid. I was afraid to let go of what had become so… comfortable in order to trade it in for a life that felt uncertain to take a risk on. But I did go. I got picked up by ambulance and taken to the ER. I was stripped of my clothing and items. I waited in there for a few hours, was assessed by the crisis team and deemed necessary to be admitted. I honestly don’t remember that much from that instance but I remember the last hospitalization I went through. I remember the weekend psychiatrist made a remark that I found relatable and hilarious when he said, from the hospital previous that had actually decreased my antidepressants, “They kinda fucked you over, didn’t they?” And that’s exactly how it felt. I was hospitalized that last time on Feb. 14th 2018.

Hospitalizations for mental health aren’t like a lot of the movies. There aren’t padded cells and a lot more of the people there are broken internally and just need help and support. Everything is watched and documented and we aren’t allowed laces or belts or strings or spiral bound notebooks and in some places not staples or pens. It all depends on the place. The rules in some places are more strict and in others more relaxed. Sometimes it’s a shit show, other times it’s a moment of restabilization and where the story is just beginning.

I got out of the hospital about a week later. The better days didn’t start right away. But by May 2018 I was recommended to join the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Intensive program at Passages. This meant that (and I should probably mention for anyone who doesn’t know, this day program meant that I’d go three days a week from 9:30a – 2:45p and go to various groups like art therapy, mindfulness, group therapy, DBT therapy groups, goal groups, communications etc.) I would only see a therapist on site at Passages, I would be in the Intensive program for 6-8 months as one cycle and that I’d have to complete homework assignments each week and fill out these things called diary cards that would track my moods and behaviors each day.

I made the decision to enter into it and began it. It was hands down the best decision I ever made. DBT covers four main modules: interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, mindfulness and emotion regulation. Across this time frame I managed to enter my final semester of schooling, I wrote again positivitely and healthily for the newspaper, I ended a codependent friendship I was in (which was so hard but so, so necessary; I didn’t even realize it was codependency until a year later when my friend mentioned they had noticed that pattern, when I told my therapist and family about it and when my family therapist, June, finally said straight up that if I continued with the friendship I was going to wind up back in the hospital, and at the time, I didn’t want that.) I also made the realization with this codependent relationship ending that: “No one and no thing is worth being suicidal over.”

It was such a profound statement that I never could have anticipated would be such a game changer. I went from chronic suicidality to an issue that faded away. I still get urges or I can still get triggered but through DBT and learning the skills and practicing the skills and telling my story and building that life worth living–I don’t ever want to go back to the darkness. And it’s still hard sometimes because my brain likes to glorify those dark thoughts and suicidal ideation was always about fantasizing it in a way for me, I guess like how others would fantasize about sex, I just did it with the ultimate avoidance which was death. Not exactly the healthiest or happiest relationship, by far. But every day I made it closer and closer to being out of the hospital, closer and closer to finding health and happiness and stability, the further away I made it from my struggles.

It took a lot of work. It took a lot of effort. It took a lot of handling pain in a different way than ever before. It took definitely something about signing paper ‘safety contracts’ that always had a great habit of me having that voice in the back of my head saying “I can’t hurt myself because I said I wouldn’t. I meant what I said. I can’t go back.” So I wouldn’t.

I wound up graduating from college. I wound up getting retrained for a few NAMI ventures. I ended the DBT-I in January 2020 and moved on from Passages by June 2020. I got a relief job at a trauma informed residential for youth and, besides NAMI, it’s been my longest standing job (Sep. 2019 – present). I’m so much happier now. With the pandemic hitting in 2020, it was probably the best time for things to go to shit. Because by then I had all the skills, all the time and the effort and the training to be able to handle it in a creative and healthy way.

Sure, I still struggle nowadays with hair pulling and skin picking and avoidance in other ways and procrastination and all of that. But I finally found a life worth living. I spend my days making Youtube videos (though I’m seriously behind in the editing process!!), reading books for fun, blogging, writing fan fiction, journaling and shopping and working.

As of 2021, I’ve been hospital free for 3 years. I know life can be unpredictable and I have come to accept I may need further treatment and support like in a hospital setting in the future. I am wary of it but I know, too, that if I need it, it’s there. I plan to one day become a Certified Peer Specialist and to share my story more through videos, blog posts, public speaking and writing and publishing books. I have SO many dreams. So many things I want to accomplish. It’s been such a hard road here and I’ve faced recovery burnout last year and it still marinates into today at times however I wouldn’t change anything about my journey because it all lead to this moment. I’ve made my mistakes, sure, and I’ve been slow to accept that these times were traumatic, yet how I handle my emotions today is so different than 3 or 4 years ago. Now, stability is my baseline. Now, I’m happy and I’m so grateful that I didn’t end my life. That that didn’t have to happen.

I know suicide, a lot of the time, because of mental health conditions, seems like freedom. But in death, can we truly be free? Because in death, we can’t experience anything really. Nothing good, nothing bad. Just dead. I believe that knowing pain makes appreciating life and the beauty in it–recognizing that it can be absolute shit at times and be so horrible–and still seeing all the beauty in it, that’s life. It’s hard to understand and it’s very difficult to have conversations about suicide.

But we have to have them. Because it matters. Because our lives matter and we’re all interconnected. Sharing suicide methods in those whom have ended their lives isn’t the best and isn’t part of the regulations for suicide prevention programs because it can cause copycat suicides (encourages others to try those types of methods). Being specific about methods is most appropriate in a one to one conversation with treatment teams. Additionally, in the US, people do not “commit suicide”, they die by suicide. They kill themselves. They take their own lives. “Committed suicide” is more like terminology of someone “committing rape, committing murder”, because those are crimes. Suicide, suicide is a public health emergency. And it’s not going away any time soon. All of this social isolation is troubling and mental health systems, the very, very broken systems, are at their wits end and it’s time that reform and true change can happen.

I have no doubt that Camryn sharing her and Landon’s story will help so, so many people out there. I watched her video and it brought me to tears so many times. It’s so, so hard. Landon likely didn’t die, like in most suicide cases, by just ONE thing, it’s almost always a complicated, multiple layered reason. Asking if someone is thinking of hurting themselves or ending their lives will NOT put the idea in their head. It actually can provide so much space to have a conversation, for someone to realize “Hey, you’re not okay and I’m really worried about you. Are you having thoughts of suicide?” because in my experience, I’ve wanted so badly for someone to notice, someone to ask or someone to just say “Hey, I see you. You’re in pain. It’s going to be okay.” And sometimes, maybe even a lot of the time, I didn’t really need advice or platitudes or anything like that. I just needed someone to see it and offer specific ways they could help me or just encourage me to see the hope that I felt so blinded to or to call for the ambulance.

I don’t think suicide is ever the solution (particularly in terms of mental health conditions). I think suicide is a permanent action to a temporary crisis. I think it’s important to know that not everyone’s experiences are the same, that it has to be adjusted and tailored to the person in question. For instance, telling me how much people would be in pain if I ended my life only made me feel shittier and more like I should do that. Telling me I had so much to live for invalidated that I was in pain NOW and that I couldn’t cope with it NOW. Mentioning different types of methods or saying how certain things would or would not kill me also wasn’t helpful.

We could spend all day wondering what would have happened differently, that’s the horrible pain left behind on suicide survivors (which are the people left behind from a loved one’s suicide, not suicide attempt survivors themselves). We could spend agonizing time wondering about things that just didn’t play out in this reality. Again, there’s so many factors involved. Had I said something else, had I mentioned this, had I been faster or quicker or… these are the unanswered questions. They will carry pain and hurt for a long time. Even when dealing with a friend in crisis, it’s so, so important to take care of yourself, too. Think of the water pitcher, we can’t pour from an empty cup. You have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can put on others. The NSPL is available for anyone struggling with ideation, their friends and family, and others who just need some support or someone to bounce ideas off of. I’ve used the hotline on my phone and over chat many times and if it wasn’t always super helpful, I found it to be helpful to at least be a starting point.

Overall, if there is life, there is hope. I wish for Camryn’s story to help anyone else out there. I wish for Landon to rest a little easier. I wish for those who were fans of them to find not so much closure (grief never ends, it’s an ongoing and changed relationship) but acceptance of the untimely death and to learn how important it is to tell people you love them and you appreciate them or just say a kind word or thought to them. Additionally, I’d like to thank anyone who managed to read this far. Honestly, I didn’t really expect to say this much but that’s how it wound up rolling. I will leave a TL;DR at the very end. I hope that if you’re struggling out there, that you know one day you’ll be okay again. That you’re not alone. That your life really matters. And you’re worthy of this life and you were born strong enough to live it. If anyone needs to speak to a hotline, you could use the US one if you’re here at 1800 273 TALK (8255) or Google your local hotlines in whichever country you’re from. Thank you so, so much for reading. I don’t expect this to make it super far, yet I feel more peace now too. In loving memory of Landon Clifford, who was taken too soon and didn’t get to see, like so many others killed, that there were better days right ahead. For all those grieving, I am with you in spirit and I am sending as much healing and bright light as I can. Be well and above all, stay safe. XXX

TL;DR: This video sums up my experiences with mental health conditions and suicidality and then you can skip to Paragraph #6. I know it’s a lot. I don’t fault you for not reading. Take care out there. xxx 🖤🖤🖤🖤

“;”;”

And that is all that I wanted to say. If you can spare a moment, send a prayer to Camryn and her family–her two young daughters, her loss of Landon, and his family and her own family going forwards. May she find hope and blessings in her future endeavors as she continues to share her story of also living with depression and anxiety, sharing on a large platform her story, his story (that he can no longer tell) and more. She has begun a nonprofit organization in his memory and will be doing a podcast about it too. May everyone find peace, on this plane and the next.

Thank you so much for reading all of my words.

Landon, I didn’t know you before. I only heard of you yesterday. But it feels like I knew you. I would have liked to get to know you. I’m so sorry you were in so much pain. I remember the feeling. It is so, so hard to bear alone. I wish things could have gone as differently for you as they had for me. And I knew, and took some odd comfort in the idea in my recovery and my journey of life and dealing with suicidal thoughts, that some people live to tell the tale and some don’t. And was I going to be the person to tell my story myself or was I going to be one of those that didn’t make it? That choice, ultimately, was my own (which is not to say things couldn’t have stopped me like an ambulance, a hospitalization, worries, etc.) whether I took my life or I took the cards I was dealt and played the hand differently. I wish you could have gotten that chance. I’m sorry that you didn’t. Rest in Peace.

And may all of you else out there find hope and comfort soon. Please take care of yourselves and strive to be the best human out there possible. We all need more love and appreciation. And if we wait too long, sometimes we never get the chance to show it. A difficult truth, indeed.

Relevantly, The Overnight (Out of the Darkness) walk for suicide prevention and for those survivors of attempts or loved ones dying is coming up virtually online in June 2021. If you’d like to join there is a $20 sign up fee and a fundraiser for the event. I believe it occurs on a Saturday. I’ve left the link above. Take care everyone.

“Pet Sematary” (1989) | Film Review (May 2019)

Film Review THUMB


An Introduction to this Blog Post:

Hi guys! Welcome back to another blog post and something especially nice and hopefully enjoyable in return! 🙂 I handwrote this film review back in May 2019 which is why it’s titled as such above. The review is broken up into many organized (although it seems disorganized in my notebook, trust me) sections that you will soon see. Just beware, SPOILERS are likely, so if you don’t want that, don’t read this post!!

I have another book review I am going to be starting soon (CoM), perhaps even tonight, and also more film reviews. For now, here are some dates!

Troubleshooting the film (my laptop’s disc no longer works, so problem solving was required!): 5/10/19

The first watch thru: 5/16

The second watch thru: 5/19

The review itself: 5/17, 5/27, 5/28

Now, let’s get to it, shall we? 🙂


CHOSEN FILM:

“Pet Sematary” (1989)


RATING:

R


DIRECTOR; SCREENPLAY WRITER:

Mary Lambert; Stephen King


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

Alcohol/substance use, suicide (explicit), death, homicide, extreme thinness (Zelda), “crazy”


THEMES:

Life and death, meaning, horror, bad acting, ghosts/supernatural forces, burial grounds, responsibilities


PLOT SUMMARY:

When the Creed family moves into their new home in Maine, they discover an old pet sematary in their backyard. Beyond it exists an old Indian burial ground with magical powers that threaten the lives nearest to it. At work, Louis deals with a man brought in dying who later becomes a benevolent spirit that warns about the burial grounds. The family’s cat meets his end and their neighbor, Jud, shows Louis the burial ground. Later, Louis’s youngest son Gage dies tragically and Louis realizes he’ll do whatever it takes to have more time with Gage–even if that means losing everything else.


PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS FROM THE BOOK/REVIEW DISCLAIMER:

Because I read the book I’m biased and uniquely aware of what changed and what stayed the same. Even if I had watched this film first, the same thing would apply.

Just know that my judgments are uniquely my own; they are merely my own thoughts on the production of this film and an assessment in the ways in which the story was told, as I see it from my own eyes. It is a clear reflection on where I currently sit in life and my recovery. I watched it to review it, as I do most forms of entertainment these days, for the people out there who care about what I think and want to read and be forewarned of issues they may wish to avoid or distance themselves from. Although I may be biased, I am authentic and honest in my review, as I hope you will later see. I express myself for what I feel the film shone in and where darkness fell. I tried to create as well-rounded an experience for it and I look forward to getting the chance to continue my reviews in the future. Thank you. ❤ xxx


SIMILARITIES & DIFFERENCES FROM BOOK ADAPTATION:

Differences:

  • Missy Dandridge (maid/helper) kills herself [her medical stuff is somewhat focused on in the film in replacement to how Norma’s was in the book]
  • There is no Norma (Jud’s wife; which could have helped the plot, I think)
  • No Jud (neighbor) and Louis friendship
  • Zelda (Rachel’s older sister) is not mentioned until later in the plot
  • Times of day and small details changed [J and L bury Church (cat) in day versus at night; C’s broken neck is only mentioned in dialogue later, the green trash bag is shown as a black one; L goes to Gage’s burial site during the day versus the night]
  • How Timmy (a once resurrected adolescent) and his father Bill died [B doesn’t kill T, they both die in the house which is set on fire. Also there was no Timmy verbally attacking J and his friends; which makes sense because without Norma being around there wouldn’t be much point for them to receive heated jabs]
  • Kite scene changed with more of the family and J and such [which was fine]
  • Ellie (L’s daughter) was for Elaine, I’m pretty sure, in the book but was changed to Ellen in the movie
  • Establishment of Steve (co-worker)/work for L is missing [Steve doesn’t play much of a role except briefly at the funeral]
  • E tells about Pawscow dream to grandparents before getting on the plane
  • Also E & R don’t have that conversation where she’s worried about L and says they’ll be fine but what about L?
  • R’s tire blew out instead of her falling asleep/having other car troubles (this was okay too)
  • No bee sting for Gage
  • P doesn’t outright mention the Pet Sematary to L before he dies, but I like how they connected it to J with the stonier quote later which is even better in some ways
  • P’s ghost has much more of a presence in the film than in the book, maybe because he’s visually pleasing [able to communicate the plot directly forwards]. I don’t mind this change, in fact, I actually quite welcome it. I think it rounded out his character more and he was more benevolent and kinder in the film that creepy and eerie like in the book. Especially when he helps R & E realize who he is.
  • No ambulance problems at the university (where L works)
  • No calling P’s family/at the morgue [when L wanted reassurance that his dream hadn’t actually happened]
  • G never chokes like he did before the truck scene (where he is killed)
  • J’s dog Spot in the film is actually meaner and less docile than how he was described in the book. With the film, none of the other returning pets are mentioned so this may account for/make up for this changed detail
  • Zelda’s actress is like 30 years old rather than being 10 y/o
  • R leaves out how Z wanted her to be dead instead, for her to be in pain, for her to suffer like Z did
  • No in-laws trouble further explored except when it’s seen at the funeral fight
  • J does not warn L about the noises or images he may see upon the Micmac journey. He says a little of this but not as much as in the book
  • The truck driver that kills G is never mentioned again
  • G isn’t as messed up looking as in the book (when he’s resurrected)
  • When J tells L to take care of his family, L doesn’t say how his son needs him too.

Similarities:

  • P’s classic red shorts
  • “The soil of a man’s heart is stonier”; “Sometimes dead is better” [the 3 time repetition made it lose its effect though]; “Darling” (at the end); “What you buy is what you own and what you own always comes home” (voice-over).
  • PS opening scene w/ voice-overs of children was spooky as they talked about some of the pets (Biffer the Sniffer) mentioned in the book
  • Eerie J [even more so since no further relationship is provided] of J watching L’s house from across the street
  • L and his “under advisement” line 🙂
  • Great depiction of R & Z’s memories and the emotional dialogue/VO of R to L about how Z died and what she thought/felt
  • J to L (like in the book’s concept): “Death is where the pain stops and the good memories begin”
  • G’s shoe falls off (good detail)
  • After fight at funeral L glimpses G’s hand in his casket
  • J falls asleep

STRENGTHS:

Actor playing Louis was great at emotionlessness and anxiety at the climax; good depiction of Zelda and her appearing as Killer Gage; Pascow as a ghost; Killer Gage is pretty cool; when Rachel goes in to kill Louis at the end–that was a very nice depiction; I loved that Killer Gage wanted to play with Jud, Rachel and Louis [phone call was a nice touch] and that Gage told Louis when he was dying again, “No fair.” Hahaha


WEAKNESSES:

Bad acting [L especially, like one of those bad acting SyFy movies about killer dinosaurs and mutated creatures by trading valuable/emotional acting with a quick output and potential profit (which maybe is why they remade it for 2019); P and college students don’t look college aged; E wasn’t the greatest actress either; close-up to L and his “Noooo’s” when G dies was more hilarious than emotional for me; P can warn but not interfere was missing although it was shown so maybe that offsets it.


EDITING/MUSIC:

Pet Sematary song by The Ramones at the credits was a nice touch; scenes had a natural transition: close-ups of trees or faces; intense music at climax.


VIDEOGRAPHY/VISUAL IMAGERY:

Loved the touch of the dilapidated house when L walks into J’s after the murders, how the burial ground seems to have taken over, the moss and fog and mud, then the switch when L picks up R’s shoe and the house returns to normal; the shuffle between L and Killer Gage; L’s calm and madness when carrying R out of J’s house and heading back to the Micmac to bury her; opening shot of the PS–a little slow but also artsy; good visual of the deadfall; transition with P was very abrupt but may be an indication of how his death was.


QUESTIONS I FOUND MYSELF PONDERING:

  1. Was P’s ghost/dying form meant to simply move the plot forward or was there some counter-influence he possessed to warn L about the powers of the Micmac burial ground before tragedy struck?
  2. If it’s L’s job as a doctor to care and save his patients, why does P take a particular fascination and eagerness to help the Creed family? Wouldn’t L have tried just as hard to save someone else as he did with P? What makes the Creed’s so special?
  3. Why do some of the things P says reflects or mimics what J says? (stonier, dead speak, etc.)
  4. What can’t P help J stay awake? Why is he only connected to the Creed family? Why does he only have so much range?
  5. Why doesn’t R do anything more than scream at L to get the baby? (When G runs out in the road)
  6. Why doesn’t R run at all from Killer Gage but obviously gets killed even after seeing him with a scalpel, seeing J is dead and knowing that G is going to kill her next? (In the book the weapon was hidden behind his back)
  7. In the reveal, R comes from hanging out of the attic. How did KG manage this? How did he move J to hide under the comforter?
  8. Why does KG fly from the attic onto L?
  9. Why can’t L get KG off quicker? (KG is still only 2 y/o)
  10. Why does everyone have their weapons in plain sight?
  11. Why does KG not put up more of a fight against L before he’s injected?

MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS:

  1. L’s pajamas are scrubs [I totally judged him for it]
  2. L doesn’t wear gloves at work on P’s case [that’s just unhygienic!]
  3. In L’s dream P mentions how the Micmac burial ground is “where the dead speak” (or walk, if my memory there is correct). J told this same thing to E about cemeteries (“grave markings are how the dead speak”).
  4. When Missy kills herself she is shown writing a suicide note before she explicitly uses a specific method to die. I think this would have been equally strong to depict with her feet in the shot (as was shown) and then pan towards her shadow on the wall rather than a zoomed out shot showing the nasty nitty gritty of her death. It would have the same emotional impact without giving vulnerable populations a glorified notion of suicide. Sometimes less is more.
  5. Before the scene for Missy’s funeral there’s a random and maybe accidentally left in shot of J and L at the MM
  6. When first visiting the PS altogether, R is shown self-soothing w/ G & her issues with death are brought into the picture
  7. There’s also L’s anger shown well when he leaves from the home to go to work when the death issue is brought up again
  8. Because N isn’t in the plot MD’s death brings up R’s issues with death even more
  9. J to L before leaving the funeral corrects L that C is HIS cat now because of what happened at the BG, insinuating the theme that what you buy is what you own/your responsibility which was showcased in the book too
  10. When P dies he tells L, “The soil of a man’s heart is stonier, Louis. I’ll come to you.” — L is freaked out because P knows his name and there’s no way he should know it. This is important as it’s referenced later with J after burying C. This also shows the link between the two and P does return as a ghost to L. In the book, I think P talks more about PS than in the movie
  11. I liked when P returned to L and L thinks he’s dreaming and P says “Who said you were dreaming?” I thought this was funny and a necessary way to transform L’s thoughts so detailed in the book to the big screen
  12. P has one murky white eye in film as opposed to grey eyes in book. This actually reminded me of my fanfic “Come to Pass” 🙂
  13. I thought because we don’t get as much insight into L’s thoughts that the moment he realizes it wasn’t a dream with P is a little anti-climatic versus how it made me giggle in the book
  14. I liked especially the gradual transition from dream to waking in this scene as well
  15. Upon the journey to the MMBG, L falls [which never happened in the book and maybe was meant to show how treacherous the climb was]
  16. The journey highlights the various climates before reaching the MM
  17. “Loon” noises occur but no talk of Wendigos
  18. The aerial shot of the MM rocks with the eerie music in the background is great
  19. Good passage of time in these scenes as well
  20. When J tells L about the stonier of a man’s heart we see an explicit flashback to P. The connection I think is that the BG also is stonier than other soils and so P knew more than L about the BG, much like J and it’s something L should never have found out about (especially since the BG influences deaths to the Creed family)
  21. L’s actor expresses haunted looks very well
  22. C brings a dead rat to L in the bath– a small glimpse of how Killer C is after resurrecting [probably should have been considered for R & G honestly] which is also evident in how L gives C raw meat before he kills him
  23. The MM influences the kite’s handle to fly away from G. It is hungrier for more deaths. G goes after it and dies. G was (and others too) so happy before the tragedy. Some of the paper plates fly away too
  24. The truck falls over too
  25. The visual of the kite in the sky also drops once G is hit
  26. Fake crying in background for E sounds forced and trite. This is one reason I feel she’s also not the greatest of actresses
  27. When L puts E to bed night of the wake she asks if she can have faith that god can undo G’s death and L responds with, “Yes, I suppose you can.” We automatically know he’s planning to resurrect G.
  28. J knows this and tells L about Timmy. He tells L that T’s father didn’t realize the truth before he buried his son (who also doesn’t look in his early twenties): “Sometimes dead is better
  29. Essentially when resurrected they come back cannibalistic (think zombies)
  30. We skip L getting his supplies and have a scene where P is warning L about crossing the barrier as L arrives at G’s site during the day (and the fence isn’t much of a problem comparatively)
  31. L is giddy/under the BG’s influence when he escapes the sights of the cop as he digs G out at night
  32. L’s holding dead G wasn’t as impactful in film like in the book which was disappointing for me
  33. E has another P dream
  34. E tells R how P is a good ghost sent to warn (missing: but can’t interfere although he kinda does to help R get to L sooner)
  35. P’s ghost appears to help R realize who he is and that his soul discorporated
  36. R dreams of Z and G getting her for letting them die on the plane and P is there sitting too, haha
  37. P interferes a little by holding the plane’s gate door open and talking with the car rental person
  38. P reappears when R’s rental car blows a tire and tells her how it’s the BG stopping her. She looks around and asks if anyone is there. Interesting how the paranormal works in this film. 🙂
  39. KG’s hand and making noises comes out of his rocky grave
  40. P only has a certain range and can’t be super near to the BG [I assume because they have conflicting agendas] and he says how he doubts that everything will be okay
  41. Z & KG get R to go to J’s house (as here J never explicitly told R to meet him at his house and by now he’s already dead)
  42. KG kills J with a scalpel from L’s medical bag–ouch!! Right in the ankle, too! D:
  43. KG appears as Z first to R
  44. L finds out about R from her father’s call and the muddy footprints of KG. The phone rings again and it’s KG saying how he got to play with J and R and wants to play with L too. L yells at him: “What did you do?
  45. R is dead by the way, she gets killed off screen
  46. C helped G kill J by surprise. L kills C to leave no chances for C and G to be in cahoots and probably to destroy all the evidence
  47. When L kills C he yells, “Play dead! Be dead!” He also shows how emotional he is (also later too) before returning to calm, cool and collected. At this point L realizes R is completely dead
  48. KG bites and stabs L three times
  49. I enjoyed the flashes of memories from KG to a happy/alive G. That was nice
  50. You would think L learned his lesson from C & G before putting R into the BG but his delirium is likely because he’s out of his mind and is fixated only on the BG and nothing else. He sees nothing beyond this point. He really did love R
  51. After setting J’s house on fire, L carries R’s body out and says how he waited too long with G and that it will work with R. P warns him not to do it, L doesn’t listen
  52. J’s voice-over comes in about what you own
  53. R returns with a ‘darling’, picks up a knife and kills him off-screen.

Movie ends.


RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

7.5/10

 

 


Okay, this honestly took me about 2.5 hours to type all up. I worked easily 10 hours between watching, re-watching, taking notes, taking more notes, organizing the information, typing the information and everything else. My wrists are hurting, I am insatiably hungry and I’m ready to be done with this review and blog post and just get it up for someone to eventually find and have the interest in them to read and comment on it. 😀

I’ll probably have a few other blog posts (reviews honestly) to come soon.

For now, I’m off.

I need a break ahaha.

Hope you enjoyed it!!

Have you seen PS? What did you think of it? Was the remake good? I want to watch the sequel too and then eventually review the remake. 🙂

Hope you’re all doing well!!!

❤ ❤ ❤

Stay safe.

Treatment 101: OCD-Institute & ERP | Article F18

NEW Articles THUMB = 11.29.18

In preparing to write this article I had to do the one thing I’ve wanted to do for ages but never tried: reviewing some of my old journals and two red folders from my time three years ago in the OCD-Institute of McLean hospital. McLean offers one of the three major OCD facilities treating the disorder across the United States (and it’s a world-renowned program). The OCD-I is not a locked unit so I could actually leave the campus for dinner at Friendly’s with family but was expected to be back by, I’d guess 10PM, to sleep there overnight. Besides medication the most used tool for treating OCD is called Exposure and Response Prevention or ERP of which the goal is to expose the client to their distress related to OCD and refrain from using compulsions.

Because this took place three years ago, I can only describe what my experiences were like given my particular circumstance. I was first told about the OCD-I from the Counseling Center on campus as a potential treatment option for myself (at the time experiencing mostly OCD behaviors). Over the spring 2015 semester I transitioned to an OCD specialist therapist whom I saw twice a week for a year. I remember before I landed in my third hospitalization of 2015 I learned that the OCD-I had a three month wait list. The helplessness and hopelessness I felt at that moment was unbearable and led me to accruing more suicidal thoughts that I wanted to act on at the time. However, during my hospitalization I did begin to fill out the application and eventually sent it over to the OCD-I.

In fall 2015, I took a leave of absence from school as I got accepted into the OCD-I around October and stayed there for five weeks. Because it wasn’t a locked unit, we could have laptops and iPods and things to that effect (strings!). People who were dealing with OCD around cleaning or cooking were often the ones serving food and experiencing their ERPs firsthand. We had about four hours of ERPs each day and two hours of them on the weekends. We would often go out on the weekends into the Boston area to practice the skills we were learning at program to apply into the real world. The average stay for an individual was up to three months, but insurance often bottomed out before then. We would follow a set schedule–a goals oriented group in the morning while sitting in a circle, two hours of ERP and track A or track B specific groups, which for me, meant a mindfulness group on some days, intrusive thoughts group, expressive therapy, emotion regulation, and a motivation group.

I find it quite funny that I’ve found some DBT related worksheets from within these red folders that I didn’t realize would play such an important role in my treatment and recovery three years later.

My ERPs had involved exposing myself to methods that I had used in the past to harm myself, saying that I was going to use it to harm myself (which would produce distress) that I then had to shift gears completely from and “live my life. While living my life, I would have to practice mindfulness skills of defusion and practice staying in the moment. Living my life could include just about anything except sleeping and talking about suicide.”

If it sounds slightly warped and unethical, I did have to return the methods after the ERPs were over as they were keeping it behind the nurse’s station.

A few of my notable memories from this time period were some of the friendships that I made and rolling down a big hill out on the campus, “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten and “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes being songs that I danced to, practicing grounding techniques with one of the other clients, a client getting kicked out for stealing and a suicidal crisis that emerged from this consequence, my getting the chance to be my authentic self and make positive messages for the other clients, attending the OCD support group and a few notable lectures.

One of those lectures involved a client focusing on the whiteboard of their values while other clients played their intrusive thoughts. It was a harrowing and emotional experience and even though they cried, they kept their attention forwards and didn’t interact with the ‘thoughts’. Another involved what you would say if you had to give a last speech before you died and another was the memorable speech Alan Rabinowitz gave featured on The Moth titled: “Man and Beast” and the book “The Happiness Trap” which is about ACT.

And finally, there was a set of questions from the OCD-I’s surveys that always stuck with me:

“When I want to feel *more* positive emotions, I change the way I’m thinking” and “when I want to feel *less* negative emotions, I change the way I’m thinking.”

At the time, these two questions were the resounding hum of my treatment after I got released. And from there, well, the rest is history.


Article written: Nov. 21.2018

Present day A/N: I’m trying out the newer layout option and while it’s fancy and nice, I feel it’s also a little more complicated than complicated needs to be. Regardless, here I am.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post! Again, it’s from a while ago but soon I’ll be able to write my final 2 articles to share with you guys here (that I’ll be writing this month, just to clarify). Okay, I hope you’re all well!

I’m thinking I might return to the OCD support group that continues to meet every first Tues of the month as I haven’t gone in a year and I would like to reappear plus I now have a really, really good GPS to bust out. I might send them all an email, too, actually. 🙂 Interesting! ❤ ❤ ❤

I’m typing up my poem next to be uploaded tomorrow on here! 🙂

Stay safe!!! xxx

EDIT: I have no idea what happened but the new layout forced this post into the past and before my MoP one which makes no sense to me so that’s why there’s a discrepancy between the images used and the way the descriptions/A/N’s were written. Sorry about that!! Fucking WordPress.

Bringing Light to the Shadows | Article F18

IMG_0100 --

Photographer & Contributing Writer: Raquel Lyons


Trigger Warning: Depression, suicidal themes

 

“I’ve got no excuses for all of these goodbyes; call me when it’s over, ’cause I’m dying inside. Call me when it’s over and myself has reappeared. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know why, I do it every time. It’s only when I’m lonely. Sometimes I just want to cave and I don’t want to fight; I try and I try and I try and I try… Momma, I’m so sorry I’m not sober anymore. To the ones who never left me, we’ve been down this road before. I’m so sorry; I’m not sober anymore…I want to be a role model, but I’m only human…I’m sorry that I’m here again, I promise I’ll get help. It wasn’t my intention, I’m sorry to myself.” – Lyrics from Demi Lovato’s song “Sober.”

 

In the aftermath of “Stable, Until Triggered” I listened to this song from my iPod as I stared up at my ceiling, not completely seeing the masked face that I pieced together out of the white shapes and swirls, but instead saw the overpowering thoughts and felt the immense sadness that clung to my shoulders like shadows slowly eating away at my flesh.

 

It was safe to say that I accidentally triggered myself with epiphanies about my place in recovery.

 

Stabilization had given me a sense of pride and absolute happiness which makes the darkness that much more painful. In the hours after, I felt knocked off my pedestal that rose ten feet above the ground, which I have been in so solidly for over six months, and had landed squarely and roughly on my bum to ground zero. In the process of this article’s first draft, I cried profusely, something I hadn’t done in months.

 

I felt a mixture of having been lied to and being lied to continuously from an entity, so to speak, within my skull. There’s the feeling of how easily my happiness and restored identity can be taken away so unexpectedly. It almost feels like the depression is showing me the biggest middle finger and taunting me with its lies. I suppose it’s improvement for me to recognize that what it’s saying isn’t factual, it’s not true. It just feels so very, very convincing.

 

I could tell in the moment that I was judging my judgments. I know that this feeling will go away, albeit a lot slower if I did nothing, so instead I chose to do different actions, or what is known as opposite action, to the harm and death flickering and weaving through my brain. The best way I can describe intrusive images is getting as close to hallucinating without actually hallucinating. At its worst, it’s like being aware that the physical world is around me while being distracted by intense, intrusive images overlaying true reality.

I feel like it’s as if I’ve been kidnapped and am being held hostage, tied to a chair with my eyes opened wide, forced to watch a screen that shows me all these horrible, terrible, painful actions I’m doing to myself, except all of this is happening in my mind and in reality I’m just staring blankly into space. There’s something uniquely disturbing about being forced to mentally watch myself die and be maimed over and over again when in reality, none of it has actually happened. It’s so utterly mind-boggling and it *feels* emotionally like it’s happened, even though it hasn’t at all. (An instance in which checking the facts and mindfulness practices would help.)

 

At the same time, while those images are playing I can also notice my brain trying to convince me that life isn’t worth living if I have to experience these moments which triggers hopelessness of having to experience these crises in the future; the progress I’ve made deceptively being unraveled; the powerlessness I have over being forced to watch the tape and hear the BS; the notion that my suicide is inevitable and that every success I’ve made is meant to be undone by invisible forces.

 

To sum up: mental health conditions are impolite, ruthless, cruel, soul-crushing, seemingly all-consuming forces that have poop stains inherent to their hazy figures because of all their BS. Basically, they suck…a lot.

 

The real sustenance in the face of these matters is how we choose to overcome them–which are an article series I plan to uncover this semester. Maybe it’s not about being knocked from ten feet high to zero; maybe the fact that I got out of bed and wrote this article means something after all. Maybe within the darkness we can find the light again–not to eliminate the shadows but to co-exist within them.

 

And, maybe that’s enough.

 

Stay as safe as you can out there, ride the waves of pain and seek extra support when you need it. You’re doing the best you can.


Written August 29.2018

Originally titled “Surviving Trips in Hell”. I had to edit this one quite a bit, taking out certain things, changing tenses and the like. It was (and still is, in ways) more like a journal entry than a pure article, but I like that I set the pavement down to where I want to explore treatment options in a new and upcoming series. So, in the end, it works out all right. 🙂

Hope you enjoy this read! Let me know what you’ve thought of it in the comments down below. I’ll try to be more active soon–school’s began and I’ve run into technical problems with my coursework (which is so aggravating). Just stressed out, strung out and exhausted in more ways than one. Let’s hope the weekend fixes this up!

Much love,

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Projection: Helplessness and Suicide

This evening, I am feeling raw, open and vulnerable. This is likely the side effect of giving a wonderful NAMI IOOV presentation today at Simmons College. It went very well. I’m still looking towards finding and using that skill of ‘flow’ for my presentation and story, although I do get compliments as is for how I present, which is something dandy. 🙂

I would like to talk right now about something else that happened today and my issues involving projection.

If you don’t know, projection is when:

thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings that cannot be accepted as one’s own are dealt with by being placed in the outside world and attributed to someone else

I’ve been aware of my issues with projection for the better part of a year, now. And, today, it was the main source of some pain.

I don’t want to rehash the story too many more times, as I already have countless times today, but I’ll give you guys the scene. I’ll be changing some details, however. Think of this as, in part, an open letter.

To the Stranger wearing the plaid shirt and the knee high socks today:

I observed you on the central platform for the red line this early afternoon. To me, having just given a talk about my lived experiences with OCD, I saw the way you were stepping forwards and backwards, muttering to yourself and repeating and repeating these gestures. Maybe you were innocent enough, but I took this as the possibility of finding another person, out in the wild of Boston, who lives with this wretched condition we call OCD.

I wanted to reach out to you, and inform you that you are not alone.

I wanted to reach out to you, and be a helpful resource to you, because I know I can be and I have the potential to be.

I wanted to reach out to you, so that I could help you. Because I believe I have the power to help people.

I wanted to reach out to you, and tell you that it wouldn’t always be this bad. That life gets better. And it’s not worth killing yourself over. That Recovery is Possible. That the condition will fade.

To the person I thought had OCD today, I just wanted to connect with you. On a vulnerable, honest level.

But you didn’t take kindly to my offer.

Maybe you don’t have OCD, maybe you have anxiety, maybe you have paranoid delusions.

It hurt how you gawked at my question, “Do you have OCD?” as if that was something shameful to live with. And you pranced off, stranger, before I could explain myself. To tell you I had just come from an open discussion on mental health issues. To tell you, I too, have struggled, and that I’m better now. I came to offer you hope and help.

But, maybe, stranger, you neither needed or wanted that help.

You asked me if I were a professional, what I could possibly do about it, but I could do a lot, if you would have let me.

You got on the train I did, and yes, I chose the cart towards you, because I was anxious and confused, why on earth would I get that kind of response?

So I tried to approach you again, and you leaped up in the opposite direction.

I felt at a loss. I watched you from afar. Trying to make sense of it, of your actions, of your not wanting anything to do with a basic question. Of you turning away from potential help.

Why wouldn’t you want help? Why wouldn’t someone want help? To me, I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand.

We got off at the same stop. It might have appeared like I was following you, but really, stranger, you were going in the same direction I was.

You ran up the steps.

I tried explaining myself again, that I could help, that it’s not so big of a deal, at the top of the station, but you uttered that you just couldn’t and you ran off again.

I felt more perplexed. What was I doing wrong? I just hadn’t explained myself correctly. If only I could get you to see that, then you would come around. I could help you, I could, I knew it.

So I went on the bus.

And, unfortunately, you were on the same bus. I sat down two seats away, and you leaped up again and headed all the way to the back. I couldn’t quite blame you but I hadn’t all but sat down before you ran away.

What were you so afraid of?

I thought about my projections on the bus, then.

I just wanted to help.

I didn’t want you feel helpless and hopeless, like I had all those months ago. I didn’t want you to get to the point where you’d kill yourself, or try to, because I had been there, too. I just wanted to help, but why wouldn’t you let me?

You don’t have to go it alone. I felt so helpless then. I was only trying to help. What was I doing wrong? Why couldn’t I get through to you? Why couldn’t I do anything right?

I cared, stranger, I cared. And I don’t even know you, from your black plaid shirt to your brown, knee high socks. From your dark blue hat and the shade of sunglasses hiding your eyes.

We got off the bus, at our destination of campus.

One last time. That’s all. I was going to give it just one last try, one last boost of confidence as the anxiety flooded my system and I tried to make sense of your puzzle.

Stranger, you ran away.

I mean, it was actually pretty amusing. You ran for the freakin’ HILLS. It’s not my fault we were heading to the same place.

You ran and you ran and you ran away.

And I called out to you, “Excuse me! Why are you running? I can help you!”

And away and away you went. Your knee high socks bobbing in the air. You disappeared around the corner. I think you even ran all the way back to the train station.

I didn’t understand, and I still don’t. It was the strangest experience of my day. It was still pretty amusing though, and I laughed to keep from crying.

If everyone would react that way to my trying to help, I’d have to consider myself not in a place equipped to help people.


But that’s not where my projection ends. In fact, it doesn’t end.

Why did I ask the passenger on the train if they were all right when they were sniffling, wiping their eyes, looking stressed and tired?

Why do I ask if someone is okay when they look like they’re possibly down in the dumps or just tired, sitting by their lonesome?

Why do I ask if someone is all right when they’re sitting on a ledge on campus?

 

Because I don’t see them there.

I see me.

And I ask, because no one–not many–asked me.

When all I wanted was to be seen, to be acknowledged, for my pain to be realized.

But in the dark I stayed. In the open train I weeped. On the ledge I sobbed. And still, still no one came.

Because not everybody notices. And not everybody cares.

 

But I do. I care. I want to be there for you, other strangers in the world, when you are feeling low, when you are considering ending your life, and I want to be there to remind you how truly shitty your pain is, and be there with you as you push through it. Or be there with you as you get the help you need. Whichever the situation calls for.

Because I don’t want to lose you.

You hear that?

I don’t want to lose YOU.

And, half of that means, because I see me in your shoes, that I don’t want to lose ME.

Basically, I project onto others my own suicidality. And I’m not sure how to effectively manage and cope through that.

So for now, I guess I’ll keep asking people if they’re okay. And I guess I’ll take that chance to ask someone if they’re struggling with a mental health issue, or if they’re feeling suicidal.

Because it’s too important not to talk about.

And I want to be there for you, strangers.

Because I couldn’t have been there for myself.