Tuesday, 12 August 2014

This World Is So Hard To Live In, People Keep Dropping Like Flies.

Trigger warning on this piece but fuck it. Life needs a trigger warning.

Yesterday I raised a sweat at the thought of going to the grocery store to buy my husband some tea leaves. He's very particular about his tea leaves, likes them strong like the man he his. His preferred brand is Bushells Extra Strong and we've been out of them for two days so I limped nervously into Woolies, desperately hoping I wouldn't see anybody I knew. I don't know why I feel this way I just do. It's odd that I've mustered up the courage to step onto five different airplanes and travel to West Africa to visit starving children and filthy refugee camps for World Vision but sometimes I find just stepping outside of my house so very, very hard.

So I'm standing in the tea and coffee aisle, no fucken Bushells sorry Dave I have to pick another brand because I can't go into a different shop. Which one would Dave choose I though to myself idly, and I know he likes Dilmah bags so I'll get him Dilmah leaves. Then I turned around straight to the biscuit section. That morning was Dave was ramming an antibiotic down our dog Opies throat and discovered a whole heap of duck shit just sitting there in his mouth.

"He'd just scooped up duck shit and was savouring it like a fucken Mint Slice hon!"

Ever since he said it I felt like a Mint Slice and just as I grabbed a pack for after our chicken risotto a woman behind me asked me if I could help her choose some coffee.

I turn to look at her. I much prefer talking to strangers than people I know (hence this whole entire website) so it was cool. We chatted. She was about sixty, with two long pigtails tied up by terry towelling hair bands. Her skin was wrinkled. I liked her, told her that yes Moccona was good and they have cool jars you could use afterwards but out of all the instant coffees I prefer Nescafe Gold. The woman then starts picking up jar after jar of coffee, reading out the descriptions in wonderment.

"How could there possibly be so many? This is insane! I just want some coffee! Did you know they did an experiment on SBS recently (this is where I relaxed the tight grip on my basket because I'd be here for a while) where they gave a group of participants a choice of THREE jams to put on their toast, and another group of participants a choice of TEN jams. And you know who was happier?"

"Um, I bet the group of three jams were happier?"

"YES! They were!"

And we talked about how bullshit it is that we have so much choice in the world. There's too many things. Shit's cloudy. How are we supposed to make sense? Why do some people in the world get so much stuff and other people get so little? There's people living in parts of the world that are so ravaged and wartorn and bullshit, and we stand in coffee aisles confused as fuck. And always, at the back of our minds a little guilty because we KNOW that most people in the world got it bad and we are all connected but so isolated at the same time. I believe that we feel other peoples pain, subconsciously. We're all in this together. I would like to give the entire Kardashians a piece of my mind.

I told the lady I had to go but good luck with her coffee. She ended up choosing a green bean, laughing because it will give her anti-oxidants.

I picked up my boys on the way home. Brought in firewood. Started the risotto. Told boys to have showers. Dave got home and yelled at Max for spilling his moisturiser all over the carpet. I banged my mortar and pestle so hard crushing the garlic for the kale salad that bits flecked off and I picked them out as best I could but still. I bent over, breathing deeply, having a panic attack when usually I hide them so well! Dave said, what's wrong hon and I tried to explain.

"Some parts of me never grew up and I'm still a kid and I never, ever feel ok or worthy and my brother died hon! Cam is gone and the thought of him putting that mask on scares me, it fucking scares me scares me so bad."

So he hugged me tight and what was there to say? Nothing. But he hugged me tight. I gotta man to hug me tight. I got my kids. It's all I need to get through, fuck the world.

The boys ate and I left to go to a recovery meeting and I cannot express how relieving it is to get into your car, drive to a church hall or community centre room, sit in a circle of people, and spill your shit. I shared a big share. Before I even said anything about anything I apologised in advance. And I wept at the injustice of my brothers life and the raging pain of his death. And I admitted that I don't even want to use drugs or booze right now but I can see why being dead is attractive because we don't feel our feelings when we're dead. I joked that if only I could have a general anaesthetic when I feel so bad, then wake up a few hours later all better and pick my boys up from school.

I shared about how anything I've ever been through in my life is nothing compared to the utter desolation I feel around my brothers suicide. That yes it is hard to be a woman in the world but fuck, it's hard to be a man in the world too. IT'S JUST HARD TO BE IN THE WORLD. And I'm so privileged, so lucky to come to a meeting like this and be real and honest and talk about how I get through the day, and listen to other people get real and honest and talk about how they get through the day.

I had a dream last week that woke me up in the middle of the night - I had the answer! People need to just come together at the end of each day and eat and talk and maybe dance together, light a fire, dance around, burn shit. That's all. That's it. Our lives are too complicated, we cannot keep up. It's all too much and we've all gone completely fucking insane.

I'm angry that so many people suffer to the point that taking their lives is their only way out. It should not be like this. Suicide is the worlds number one killer. Suicide takes more people than car crashes. Our whole dialogue needs to change around it. What does the word "depression" actually mean? What is "mental health?" I'm sick of all the terminology around this. I like to call it "spark." We're all born with it. And sometimes people lose their spark, or it grows dim, tired, cannot be revived. My brothers spark was gone years before he killed himself. His unfulfilled potential is a tragedy.

Here is the pillow my brother laid his head on, the tarp he laid down on, the window he looked out of, as he died. Yeah I took a photo. I did. I tried asking the copper questions like, was the window open? Because I wanted to know if the bottom of those curtains caressed him as he took his last breaths. I'll never know. I'll never know if he was walking around his flat a screaming wreck before he did it god I hope not I hope not. I hope he was calm in his decision. I hope he was at peace. He's certainly at peace now but this should not have happened and I'm angry at our society, angry about the stigma, angry at our isolation from each other, angry at myself for not meeting up with people more because of my insecurities and fear and anxiety.

My brother was SO meticulous about everything. We are in no doubt that this was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. The last time I ever saw him we spoke for three hours straight and he was in and out of his storm clouds and I was trying, again and again and again to coax his spark out because I knew it was still in there somewhere. We talked about places to go to get help, suicide hotlines, I asked him if he'd seen the new ad campaign geared specifically towards men where the guy on the ad is smoking a pipe saying manly men get help? Cam said he hadn't seen it so I told him I'd email him the link.

I didn't email him the link. Didn't fucking email it I don't know why. It probably wouldn't have made a difference. Maybe it would have. Apparently some manly men do NOT get help. Doesn't make them less manly, just makes them pretty fucken dead.

I'm sad for people who kill themselves and MAN am I sad for the people they leave behind. There is no way Cam could know the utter devastation he has left behind in so many lives. He looked me in the eye and told me he'd googled "painless suicide."

It was painless, Cam. But not for us.

Robin Williams died. I just found out about twenty minutes ago and he is the whole reason I'm writing this. I'm still crying. He's one of my very favourite actors, brought joy and laughter to so many people across the world and at the bottom of the news article I just read it said that it's unclear how he died but if you're feeling depressed please call ReachBlueDog on 1800-EVERYBODY IS KILLING THEMSELVES.

I'm shocked but then I'm not. I'm sad and frustrated and Robin, dude, I am so sorry you were in so much pain and my god I am aching for your family.

You know how many Robins are out there in the world right now, wanting to die? A lot of fucking Robins. People are in a lot of pain. I keep saying "suicide is an epidemic that nobody wants to talk about properly!" That is until it happens to somebody close to you, then it's all you think about, in between trying to stay upright and keeping pieces of mortar and pestle out of your salad.

I don't know how to end this .... actually, that's exactly what Cam wrote in his suicide note. But he fucking ended it alright, oh yes he did.

So. Apologies in advance for this post. I'm all out of pink ribbon to wrap it up in. What can you do? Stay calm. Give your dog antibiotics. Ignore bullshit status updates. Pat yourself on the fucking back. Send somebody a link. Don't die today. Maybe tomorrow, but not today. Meet up with a friend. Eat a Mint fucking Slice instead and wash it down with a real cup of tea. Real. Be real. Have an honest conversation with one person today just one that's all. That's enough. I promise.

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