and if you stare long enough i swear to god it’s pointing to up
October 16, 2013 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Comics writer Matt Fraction writes a heartfelt honest blog entry to a suicidal fan telling them what saved him and what could possibly save them too.

(Matt Fraction previously on the Blue.)

TW for suicide, obv.
posted by Kitteh (32 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite
posted by chococat at 9:01 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Matt Fraction is good people.
posted by Artw at 9:15 AM on October 16, 2013 [7 favorites]

There have definitely been crappy days when I have thought, "Self, as long as Marvel is making Avengers movies with Robert Downey Jr. and all that awesome craziness, you cannot possibly die." Both in a life-affirming don't-kill-yourself way and a "get all vaccinations, look both ways before running into traffic, no bungee-jumping or eating moldy things from the fridge" way.
posted by nicebookrack at 9:17 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

This reminds me of that documentary, I think it was on jumpers from the Golden Gate Bridge, where many of the survivors reported that the moment they jumped, all those overwhelming, unbearable problems suddenly seemed instantly solvable and much less overwhelming. The far bigger problem was hurtling to their death from the Golden Gate Bridge and that was what was truly unsolvable.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:18 AM on October 16, 2013 [5 favorites]

yeah, he mentions jumpers in the third paragraph.
posted by nadawi at 9:21 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Fraction Gets Pierced, Zdarsky Gets Catty at ‘Sex Criminals’ Launch Party

...Then it was on to the main business of the night. While Zdarsky read excerpts from his own unpublished erotic fiction, Fraction had his nipples pierced live on stage.
posted by Artw at 9:28 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

if anyone alive is QUALIFIED TO SAVE ME it’s the guy that had britney spears punch a bear?

oh my god yes.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:32 AM on October 16, 2013

Fucking awesome on him. And, although I don't count this as marketing, he's sold me some books.
posted by Samizdata at 9:33 AM on October 16, 2013

What strikes me most about this--and also the thing I love most about it--is that depressed/suicidal people are always told to think of the big picture when it comes to ending your life; "But what about your family? You have so much to live for!" etc., when sometimes it is the strangest, smallest, weirdest thing that brings you back. That is not to say it cannot be any of the standard reasons one is given, but for most of us, life is not that neat.

For me, and this was before I got married, it was my cats. As I was getting ready to swallow all these pills, my beloved black cat came up on the couch next to me, nuzzled me, and then I lost it. I couldn't leave them. I hadn't thought about them. And I didn't want to leave them. So I didn't.

Again, the strangest, smallest, weirdest things.
posted by Kitteh at 9:42 AM on October 16, 2013 [32 favorites]

Friend of mine's dad correctly surmised he had a dark enough streak in him growing up that he might try ending things. My friend's got a poet's soul, and grew up a big kid in a small town. Anyway, evidently one day his dad sat him down and said, essentially, this:

"Let me tell you something, son. You could right now gather up everything of value you have, shove it in a bag with some clothes, and walk downtown to a pawn shop. Sell everything you don't need, then take the money and buy a bus ticket. In a couple days tops you could be anywhere, even all the way to the ocean.

"You get there, you could maybe talk your way into working on a freighter, and be anywhere else in the world in a couple of weeks. But the point being, you can do what you want. Reinvent yourself. Tell people to call you Shorty. Become a fry cook, whatever.

"So if it ever gets too much to bear around here, and you need to end it, you end it that way. Don't even have to tell me or your mom, just walk out of here, no explanation, and you start your life over. Invent a new person in a new place. Because the only other way to end it is permanent, and I promise you you'll be missing out if you do. There's just too much out there."

He hung in, and he flourished.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:00 AM on October 16, 2013 [102 favorites]

Also if you're not reading Matt Fraction or Kelly Sue DeConnick's work, I pity you. They're damn good writers and, from all appearances, damn good people as well. I wish to Christ they were my neighbors.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:01 AM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

i thought of a comic i was reading and i’d not figured out the end of the current storyline. And i realized I had curiosity. And that was the hook i’d hang my hat on. that by wanting to see how something played out I wasn’t really ready.

I've come perilously close to suicide a few times in my life, and on two of those occasions I stopped only because I remembered my favourite band had a new album coming out, and I didn't want to miss it.

It's not uncommon to hear someone say that music saved their life. It amuses me, years down the road, that those two albums saved my life before they were even released. It sounds like the punchline to a particularly tasteless hipster joke.
posted by Zozo at 10:09 AM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

God this is good to read and rings entirely familiar. I've always thought of them as anchors, the little inconsequential things that keep me interested and tethered to life. Some days when I'm feeling mopey I lay out a timeline just so I can see how many different things I'm looking forward to. It helps a lot.
posted by mean cheez at 10:11 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

Crap. Blocked at work. Anyone got an off-site link?
posted by grubi at 10:20 AM on October 16, 2013

The thing that really gets me about this post, and is probably hard to explain to folks who haven't been in The Hole, is how empowering finding that speck can be.

We're always told to reach out, talk to somebody, find help -- and that is necessary. But it's also very very hard. Depression doesn't want you to talk about it. It wants to keep you hidden and starved, with nothing else but it influencing you.

So reaching out and finding something, anything, to hold on to, that is a thing a person does by themselves, a win against the depression, and maybe a step towards getting that help they need to beat the fucker into submission.

I did this and won against you. I can do more.
posted by cmyk at 10:24 AM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

Occasionally the internet surprises me by its humanity. What Matt Fraction wrote was astonishingly honest and astonishingly human.
posted by bluesky43 at 10:27 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

The best part was the "Hilarious Chia Dick strategy" which will make me laugh for at least a good week... until the next thing that makes me laugh for a week... until the next thing that makes me laugh for a week... until the next thing that makes me laugh for a week...
posted by togdon at 10:28 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

This is really hard for me to read right now. I just lost a friend of 20 years to suicide and I'm still not okay.

..but it's good. I want everyone to read it. I wish he had.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:28 AM on October 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

grubi: Crap. Blocked at work. Anyone got an off-site link?

It's blocked for me, too, but looks to have captured it yesterday.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:36 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

The best part was the "Hilarious Chia Dick strategy" which will make me laugh for at least a good week...

That reminded me of Allie Brosh's little floor corn which made me die the hell laughing and still does, partly because I have been there, where the dumbest thing just absolutely rescues your soul, and also because ...

posted by louche mustachio at 10:42 AM on October 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

louche mustachio, I was thinking of that too.

For lumpenprole, and anyone else who wants it (and is a fan of H&AH) I offer you Alot of hugs.
posted by cmyk at 10:58 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Sometimes it is the oddest thoughts that can save your life. The last time I attempted suicide I was waiting for all the pills I took to knock me out and then it occurred to me that it would be rude to die when my future brother in law was visiting. Would give him hit wrong impression of our family so I got up and drove myself to the ER because calling 911 would cause a fuss and then was in the ICU for days.

I call it my 100 generations of polite repressed Canadian women genes kicking in.
posted by kanata at 11:16 AM on October 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

filthy light thief, the archive link is blocked too (hooray "security"), but you hooked me up.

What a profoundly amazing response. But it parallels my experience as a near-suicidal depressive: there was that moment I thought "There are some things I don't want to miss out on".
posted by grubi at 12:08 PM on October 16, 2013

grubi, I'm happy to help. Sometimes, I can view pages through, or see the text on Google Cache, but often the local filter blocks every iteration of a site/page, as it seems your work filter does, too.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:18 PM on October 16, 2013








posted by Sebmojo at 1:32 PM on October 16, 2013

If you have access to at work, save the URL to Pocket and then you can read it in there.
posted by angelchrys at 8:01 PM on October 16, 2013

"So if it ever gets too much to bear around here, and you need to end it, you end it that way. Don't even have to tell me or your mom, just walk out of here, no explanation, and you start your life over. Invent a new person in a new place. Because the only other way to end it is permanent, and I promise you you'll be missing out if you do. There's just too much out there."

One of debt's terrors lies in its cutting off this escape route. That said, it has its blessings. I don't know how many times I've kept myself from snapping by the thought that my family would have to pay the debt that I refused to.

I like this post. I haven't read Matt Fraction's work, but now I want to go do that.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:40 PM on October 16, 2013

The Zen teacher whose work has been so helpful for me with my depression (and who's written about her own suicide attempt) has said more than once on her weekly podcast that if it comes down to a choice between suicide on one hand and chucking everything and showing up on the Monastery's doorstep, please SHOW UP ON THEIR DOORSTEP.

I keep that in my back pocket for when things get really dark.
posted by Lexica at 8:53 PM on October 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

What a hero.
posted by Lung the Younger at 1:21 AM on October 17, 2013

This one was the first, aside from petty stuff as a kid: I'm sitting in that bentwood rocker with my shotgun in my mouth, cocked, my thumb on the trigger, just looking around that room. I knew enough to point the shotgun at my neck and the base of my skull, so that the gasses coming out the barrel don't throw my head back far enough that I get my face blown off but still alive. That would just ~ totally ~ have to suck. Happens, too; I mentored one guy for a while, his brother did that, blew his face off but alive, there were bloody handprints all over the apt until he finally dies. This kid I mentored shared that apt with his brother; imagine coming home to that, right?

So anyways. That room I was in had that kind of empty that can only be had in a room been shared with a woman and now she's gone; unbelievably painful rooms. To me those are by far the emptiest rooms that ever could be. It was a cold day, sortof a pretty gray in that room at that time of day, late afternoon winter light. The room was quiet, in that woman-gone way of silence. I looked around, considering.

It was interesting, even sortof calming somehow -- just move my thumb and the show is over. I just looked around that room, that's all. No burning bush. I didn't have any epiphany. I didn't shave half my pubic hair off like this guy wrote about. I didn't have a book to start writing or to finish, nor anything else, really. Part of not shoving my thumb down was cowardice, of course. Another part is I think maybe I hoped it'd somehow get better, somehow. I had no idea how. No seas parted, that's for sure. Quicksand in every direction, no, worse, not quicksand but rather mire and slimey thick sticky stenchy muck. In every direction. In every direction as far as I could see.

I was fuct

No direction home, that's what the song says..

I wanna make this crystal clear -- I did not want to die. I just hurt so bad, that's all, and it never lets up. Imagine that you've got vice-grip pliers locked onto your body, like hard-biting steel leeches from hell. I did not want to die. But those leeches do get your attention, and hold it, too. Plus, remember that she was gone; I pushed her away, and pushed her away, and then some more, and then -- check this out! -- she up and left me, and took up with this other guy! I mean, yeah, I was all about pushing her away and stuff, but her leaving, and taking up with Brett -- I didn't like that part at all.

I was not drunk, nor even a little bit drunk, or high, not that day as I sat in that room. I had clarity of sorts, I mean, yeah, I was fogged in by the depression but one of the really neat-o things about depression is that you don't always know if/when your mind is lying to you or not. What a wonderful attribute of depression that is! It spits out bad information masquerading as perfectly good information. It's swell! So along with being neat-o and swell, it's really deceptive. Most annoying. So I guess we should say that I had as much clarity as could be found, given that I was profoundly depressed.

My mind's got a mind of its own.

I'm an alcoholic and I'm grateful as hell that I am, in that I drank long enough and hard enough so as it beat me hard enough so I needed to quit yet not so long that I had to die from alcoholism, just long enough to begin to find my way out. If that makes any sense. Generally it makes sense to people who have been beaten hard from drinking and drugging. It made a hell of a lot of sense to me.

It's like that people are all the time going on about somebody having a drinking problem, not seeing that for some of us it's a drinking solution, especially there in those early years, it'll maybe help you endure the pain, it'll maybe help you live long enough to accept the gift of getting clean and sober, should that gift fall upon you.

Alcoholism is confusing enough from the inside, I'm sure we look awfully twisty from without.

So anyways. That shotgun in my mouth was not the last time -- those first years of not drinking and drugging were extremely hard for me, really, really difficult for me -- I've shoved that 9mm into my mouth** a number of times, just hurting so bad. (Untreated manic depression those long years surely didn't help, either; I'm not a religious man but I am damn sure religious about taking these medications, after finally finding some that calm the beast some -- better living through chemistry, right?) But it's sortof a point of pride (misguided pride but hey, it's what I've got, it's gonna have to do) I have some sense of pride in that I've not had a gun in my mouth since 1987.
**One of my brothers once told me that if anyone were to break into my condo I ought not to use that pistol, as it could explode in my hand, all the drool run down the barrel turned rust. I'm all like "Hardy-har -- fuck you very much." but it was all in fun

I'm good at talking people down from it, or through it, talking to them while they're wanting to take themselves out. I don't go on about how pretty the bluebirds are or some shit, I don't tell them not to do what they want to do. I do tell them that I didn't wax myself and that yet I've found my way, and they can certainly find their way, too, and that I'll help them in it. I tell them I care about them, and I do -- that's my sister there, or my brother. So many people have cared for me and about me that it's just ridiculous; I'm extraordinarily lucky in that part.

This talking to someone in crisis, it's one of the things I really like to do, I've got tons of experience at it, and it just comes naturally for whatever reason; it's clear to them that I know the deal, and I'm totally open to the blackest black humor, we can and do make the blackest death jokes, regular people are all appalled or whatever and we're just laughing it up, me and the guy or gal out on the (metaphorical) ledge. And while I don't try to blow smoke up their ass telling them about bluebirds I damn sure do go on about the beauty to be found in art, and art museums, music, traveling.

I know that a lot of people get all nervous when they're talking to someone on the edge, probably I'd have a nervous breakdown myself except that I've been through breakdowns too many times to be nervous about it, it's like "Oh fuck, here we go again." and then I have to make sure I've got my cell phone (has all the numbers I need to get to people to talk to me as I'm considering slitting my wrists or leaping off the roof or what-have-you) and made sure it's charged up, try to remember to get outdoors and exercise at least daily, and then just go on ahead and set to weeping, wailing, moaning, gnashing of teeth, etc and etc. I just hate that whole thing, it totally blows, and mostly I don't have it much anymore, thanx to the brilliant docs who formulated extended release welbutrin.

I'm sure that it's when my eyes are the most alive, when I'm talking to people in trouble I mean; all the bullshit drops off and it's just us two people there. Even if there's 84 people around, when you connect it's just you two. No time to bullshit around, this isn't the time for any superficial jive, this is The Real Deal. I just love it. Have you ever met any night shift psych ward nurses? They so rock. I love night shift psych ward nurses, they've seen it all, they've got such good eyes, most of them do anyways. These are women (there's guys too of course but I've mostly seen women) these are women that it'd be awfully hard to be married to, you couldn't even *begin* to run a game, they'd just look at you like "Pfffffft .." and then you'd have to get honest and stuff. Frightening women, for sure, and not for a mope like me to try to marry or whatever. But I sure do like them.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:47 AM on October 18, 2013 [8 favorites]

I had a friend in HS ask me why he should live one more day. I was like suddenly MIND BLANK had no clue what to say. What I came up with was well, we promised we'd help Other Friend move tomorrow. Which astonishingly worked. I always thought that was hilarious in a terrible way and very sweet. The pain of life and clinical depression unbearable, but a promise is a promise. Is there anything more annoying than helping a friend move? But saving lives since 1999.
posted by prefpara at 4:44 PM on October 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

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