When asked about Suicide, most people would paint a very black and white picture. The reality is that Suicide exists within a multitude of shades of grey, and to this day is extremely misunderstood, despite our perceived awareness of it. This series, aims to shine a light on a topic that many would rather keep hidden. This is What Suicidality looks like.
Over the last seven years I have developed my own scale for Suicidality. Based on this scale, I know exactly when I'm really in trouble and the best help to seek. I know when to be scared, and when things are going to be okay. My scale is different than most Suicidality scales, for mine does not end with dying, and for me, 4's are the scariest. To better explain, I'm going to be doing 10 blog posts, one for each number on the scale, describing what it's like for me, and when it's all done I might do another post to wrap it all up.
I want to stress here that this is not a comprehensive series, and Suicidality, like Mental Illness, differs from individual to individuall. This is what it looks like for me.
I can never do 4 justice, for 4 is far more complex than the rest. 4 is the transition between active and passive suicidality. To get to a 4, you must pass through a 3.5, and work past a 4.5 to reach a 5 which seems obvious, but is not.
4's to me, are the worst.
During a 3.5, Suicide becomes an option. You begin to think that there is no other way. Suicide is it. But at a 3.5 you are still tied to the world in ways that you can't be, to become active. The bonds you have must be broken, or, at the very least weakened, for you to become active. That is what a 4 is.
4 is the loss of everything you've ever known. 4 is a reconfiguration of all of your thoughts, and ideas, replaced with just one. 4 is where you give up on relationships. 4 is when you give up on God. 4 is when you don't care anymore.
For me, 4's are characterized by three main things: a loss of hope, loss of compassion, and loss of faith. Loss of faith does not necessarily mean loss of faith in God, it can be loss in humanity, or Gods creation, or anything that you believe in. Keep in mind that this is describing a non-delusional cycle of suicidality. With delusions you might begin to believe that God wants you to end it. You might also begin to believe that this world is far better without you, and, by cutting everything loose, you are doing everyone a favor. This last feeling can manifest itself during a 3.5 or a 4.
As you lose hope, compassion, and faith, there's nothing left. You are empty, a hollow vessel that is just a waste of space, in an otherwise good world. You need to go. And you already know how.
I fear 4's because, for me, hope, compassion, and faith are the only things that keep me going. If they are gone, entirely, and I do not have the proper support in place prior to reaching this point, then I will not survive.
Those are powerful words, and for those of you that follow me on Instagram and Facebook then you've heard some of them before. Those of you that know me know that I care. At one point or another, I have been willing to give up everything, to do the work I do. Some days, I feel like an imposter, like I don't actually care, and I'm not actually caring. But that's a post for another day, the point is, most days I care. I try spreading awareness about Mental Illness, and systems of oppression. I support where I can as a Peer Support Specialist. I try to center the voices of individuals to help them belong. I try.
At a 4, none of that matters. At a 4, I don't care. I don't have hope for you, myself, or anyone else, and everything I can and have done is meaningless. Instead of feeling compassion for you, I am stone cold, and dissociative. Nothing matters. A few years ago, I was telling this to a friend, telling her that for me to get to a 5, I need to let go of everything. Friends, family, and even strangers are all anchors, things that hold us down. 4's, are when those anchors are released, and there's nothing left. The Ahmad that you knew, is gone.
Ahmad Abojaradeh is the Co-Founder of Muslim Community Link, An Engineer, a world traveler, a Peer Support Specialist, a Novelist and the founder and editor of Life in My Days. He hopes to spread awareness of living a life of wellness through his writing, workshops and speaker events. Follow Ahmad on twitter, instagram or facebook.