Sword of Damacles

Sword of Damacles

When you’re hanging by a thread

and the voices in your head

say “just let go”

When you feel torn and down

you try to take a look around

but find

you’re blind

And the time is running out

and you know what it’s about

you can feel that hanging rope

that blade against your throat

and you lean on in….

© Kait King, 2015

OK, I’ll open my big mouth first…

My big mouth first - depression-through-art-1

Like I mentioned in a previous post, it’s not easy talking about suicide – especially if you are directly involved on either end of that very sharp stick.  I have been on both and a lot of splinters in between.  I said it was time to talk about suicide and all of its branches that lead us there and why.  And it’s true, but I can’t expect anyone else to be prepared to talk or reach out, even to me, if I don’t do it first.  I can’t expect anyone to do something I’m not prepared to do myself.  So I’ve put myself out there, so what? I will continue to do so until things change about how we help others and ourselves.  Until we find out what more we can do to help each other to understand, identify and prevent so much pain and misunderstanding, we must keep facing the fire and get to know it very well, very very well. Just like we delve into everything else we want to find out about, understand and manage.  Why the dark shroud around suicide?  It’s time to talk.

Kait King 2020

Bully

bully

The words that fall off your fingers

as you tip tap text

to me

are untrue, hurtful

and dangerous

You’re acting like

a bully

I don’t want to do that

but you threaten

me with this

You lied and said I fucked him

when it was just a kiss

Why are you so

mean to me

What makes it ok

that you and

your so-called friends

hang me

and then

watch me sway

I couldn’t find anyone

I felt I could talk to

See everyone thought

it was true

But now I’m not here

any more –

I hope that’s better

for you…

© Kait King, 2015

Carrying Souls

Collecting souls

I had to do six months of research on suicide once.  I’m not going to get into statistical mumbo-jumbo in this piece, this is about my experience during this time and what I felt and understood from that experience.

Sitting at my desk for at least eight hours a day, reading about how people had chosen to end this lifetime, was alright for the first 2 or 3 weeks, I think.  I looked at it as a job and that I needed to provide the most comprehensive, yet detailed report on what was happening to our community in our district.  I wanted to find answers and resolutions.  I wanted to give it my very best for those who had left and for those whom had been left behind.

Now part of being able to do this type of work is being able to distance yourself, compartmentalize and focus on giving your full attention to the job at hand. That job was to look at the past 5 years of coroners’ reports on suicide.  This ranged from a ten year old hanging themselves from a washing line, to a couple in their 80’s who decided to leave together.  Naturally, the older the individual and especially there being two of them, that was almost comforting, darkly romantic, but that was as good as it gets.  The child and everyone in between were just tragically sad and seemingly so unnecessary.  The information in the reports contained everything and I gathered something like 900 suicides and the individual information on a spreadsheet I designed.

It was a very in depth piece of work and very tolling.  After those first few weeks, I found I was taking some of these individuals I had been digging around in, with me.  Back home with me.  It started with me feeling like someone was looking over my shoulder while I was working.  No one was, but it became very awkward.  It wasn’t a comfortable feeling.  This went on for weeks.  I felt like someone was not happy with me digging around in their past.  Some people had been from a criminal background, a few had been child molesters, they had been related to their victims.  Not nice people but I was not doing this to judge, I wanted information to help. Many had just been overwhelmed with financial stress, a too demanding life, a hopeless situation.

Then one day, after spending my working day feeling like I had a bunch of suicide victims hanging around me, that feeling then started following me.  I had a little two door car.  As I drove home, I felt the car become more and more crowded.  I turned the music up, opened windows.  Nothing changed.  I couldn’t wait to get home and get out of the car. Pulling up into the driveway I saw my flatmate outside mowing the lawn.  I got out and felt better, we chatted and I went inside.  I felt a little better when I was around others but I didn’t want to tell anyone what was going on. When I climbed into bed that night I asked those lost spirits to leave me alone.  I had thought about it and figured that these people’s spirits may be trapped here for some reason.  I didn’t know why and I didn’t understand how I knew this was the case, I just knew.

I felt that being so personally involved in each individuals’ death had brought these spirits close to me, not all of them – but somehow these guys had become trapped or lost on an earthly plane. I made a decision to do something crazy – or what may be thought of as crazy by others.  I was at home alone one weekend and I could feel the heaviness of these souls around me. Something compelled me to go outside and look up at the sky.  It was a cloudy, drizzly day with a bit of gusty wind.  The trees rustled around us and I felt the need to speak out loud to these souls.  I said to them that I understood that not all of them had done the right thing here on earth and had left so much heart break and devastation behind.  But there was a light they needed to find over there.  I said I forgive you – I didn’t know who or how many there were but I told them they were all forgiven for everything and needed to go towards the light.  I kept repeating this, looking up at the iron grey sky.  Then all of a sudden I felt a sudden lightness.  The sky didn’t open up, no lightning, torrential rain or blasting wind – they just seemed to move away from me.

I kept using this solution to help those souls move forward each time I felt someone around me.  I had to wait to get home so that I could be alone and in the quiet – oh and keep it a secret, until now…

A Survivor

Attempt # 1 Method (s)

Attempt 1 Method s

I remember sitting on the edge of my parents double bed upstairs.  I had a little pearl handled gun in my lap.  I was sobbing my heart out.  I truly felt worthless, unwanted, damaged and broken.  I was sad that I would miss all of my family and hurt them but I didn’t want to pretend that I was happy to be having my 13th birthday – that I was a teenager, all grown up.  I didn’t want to grow up.  I wanted to stay the way I was from a week ago.  And I knew I could never go back and it would never be put right or changed.  It couldn’t be.

That pain of hopelessness that clung to me like an overly small wet-suit strangling the life out of me, that was overbearing and I was being crushed beneath it.  I held the gun up to my head, sobbing.  My finger wasn’t on the trigger just yet – I knew it was loaded.  It always was – it weighed differently when it was empty.  I held that gun in my mouth and I thought about how awful it would be for my Mum and Dad to find me like that – in their bedroom, on their bed or floor – depending on how I collapsed when the bullet plowed through my brain.  I tried holding it in my mouth. The metal barrel rattled loudly against my teeth I was shaking so much. And the messy result would be the same.  I changed my mind and decided to do something a little less messy and dramatic.  I didn’t contemplate leaving a suicide note.  I was ashamed that I had been raped, ashamed, embarrassed and feeling guilt, overwhelming guilt.  I didn’t know what it was in my head or my heart, I just felt incredible guilt at what had happened to me.  What would I say in my note other than I was sorry?  That I loved them and it wasn’t their fault? Wow – I think about that now and wonder if I had actually pulled the trigger that day, knowing what I know now, how devastating that would be in itself – but to not have a note that could free them from the constant wonder and doubt…

Anyway my next plan was to climb in the bath with a whole lot of Panadol and a razor blade.  Razor blades were easy to come by back then.  My dad had one of those twist on and off razors and you slipped the double sided Wilkinson blade in very carefully as it is mighty sharp!  So I ran the bath, I felt very determined that I wanted to be out of here.  I felt I had no future to look forward to.  I swallowed the 18 pills I found and carefully undressed and climbed into the bath.  It felt like the right thing to do.  I felt elated at the thought of freedom from this constant hurt.  I dragged the blade at an angle across my left wrist.  It started to bleed – it was like a deep paper cut – very thin.  I drew another one next to it.  Nothing hurt.  I swapped hands and held the blade in a rather slippery left hand.  The water was turning pink.  I placed the blade at the beginning of my right wrist.  My fingers were getting sliced as the blade slipped awkwardly but I managed to drag it vertically up my arm.  I just lay back, waiting.  I felt excited, as I say, at being able to escape all of this.

But my girlfriend from next door helped me to live.  She found me.  Poked her fingers down my throat and made me vomit up all of the pills in a chalky, semi formed mass with the milk she forced me to drink.  I hate milk on its own to this day.  She plastered and bandaged me up.  I begged her not to tell anyone and she never has.

A Survivor

Attempt #1 – Method and Madness (Firstly the madness that led me there)

When I got away from the place where I had been raped, I walked home.  I had my horse with me but I couldn’t ride him.  I just stumbled my way home through snot and tears.  My horse kept nudging me as he had never seen me like this.  I can’t explain fully what was going on inside.  I think I was shocked, in disbelief.  And surprised.  I was so surprised at how casual and normal the man who had just raped me, had been.  He apologized for ripping my clothes as he handed the remnants to me and asked me if I wanted a drink of water….I mean, an absolute fucking gentleman.  Anyway – sorry, that bit of sarcasm was unavoidable – I left with my head down and a confused shame, embarrassment and doubt came over me.  I doubted what had happened.  I doubted what I believed.  I doubted my actions and questioned whether I had offered myself for this man to take.  But that was not true, I know this now that I’m older, stronger, wiser and not confused by my naivete anymore. At the time I had no compass,  nothing like this had ever been in my world. Now I wasn’t safe anymore,  that’s how I felt. My parents couldn’t do anything to change what had happened, neither could I, or any god or universal plane… I know it changed me forever.

I always wondered if I would’ve been a different person if I hadn’t been raped. How different my worldview may have been, my relationships with the men in my life. Those things ate me up at that confused time,  but what killed my soul was that someone had taken something from me that I didn’t give.  I played the situation over and over in my mind.  It broke me. And then there were my loving parents whom I couldn’t look in the eye anymore. I felt dirty, guilty and ashamed. Those feelings began to become so intense and overwhelming they consumed me. And in a very short space of time,  merely days.It seemed that everything and everyone else was rushing by and busy with life and I just seemed to keep repetitively falling and falling. Scrabbling at nothing on the sides and feeling totally worthless.

My Journey with Suicide

Attempt #1

I was two weeks off my 13th birthday – so yeah, I was 12 years old when this happened to me.  We lived in South Africa at the time when I was raped, by a 27 year old American man that I sort of knew.  That was the first time I thought about killing myself.  

I was still thoughtful although quite serious about ending the agony and shame.  I couldn’t look at my Mum and Dad the same way – something had changed in me and I wasn’t their lovely little girl anymore.  I was damaged, tarnished, broken, tainted – I was dirty and undeserving.  I couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened and how little control I had had over anything that happened to me.  

I couldn’t live with that uncertainty at that age.  I didn’t want to live a fearful, doubting life! I had been, and should have still been, a carefree, happy twelve year old who loved horses.  Now I held secrets, anger, fear and hate.  My horse was my savior. I would cry into his mane all the time, feeling so hopeless. We would go for rides for ages or I would just lie on him, or with him, while he grazed in his paddock.  He was the only one who knew what happened.  And it ate me up.

That was the first time I contemplated suicide.  I will tell you how I tried sometime, but that’s another story.

A Survivor

A Survivor

survivor-bed-skulls-.jpg

Hi everyone

I’m calling myself A Survivor – this will enable me to be as honest as possible about my experience with suicide and I guess rape too, as this was the reason why I felt so ashamed and unworthy to be alive and walking around on this earth.

This isn’t going to be easy or pretty but I will tell my story as best as I can.  If I can prevent or deter someone from actually completing a suicide, then I can die a happy person – but not via suicide! 🙂

Welcome all and I hope we can have some really meaningful and open discussions about suicide and all of the strings attached.  Sometimes it just helps to talk and I am here for exactly that.

Peace, love and light peeps – don’t beat yourself up, don’t let yourself down – just take a breath and believe in yourself.

A Survivor

 

The Game

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It’s never easy talking about things that make us look weak in others’ eyes.  Like suicide, like depression – we know it is seen as ‘ not coping’ so we say nothing.  Saying nothing means nothing can change.  The same negative thoughts, the same repetitive hate talk, the same triggers to feeling overwhelmed don’t go away…

But it’s never OK to talk about feeling like you want to kill yourself. Nobody seems to know what to do if you have ever mentioned it to anyone, or they cry and panic and call people you just didn’t want involved.  Sometimes we mention it several times before actually committing or getting to a point of actual commitment to the act.  If a blade is going to be used, there are often preparation cuts – which can put the person off using that type of method – as it kind of hurts!  But if you want to kill yourself, you will find a way.

There is that old saying about someone attempting suicide is really a call for help.  I think in many cases this is true.  There seems to be no other answer to end the angst and pain.  That feeling like you don’t belong and want out, combined with all the spiritual stuff out there that indicates we get more than one chance at life – we’ll just get to come around again.  If you believe in God and heaven or Jesus – you believe in your salvation, you believe you will stand with Jesus on the other side.  And if you believe that when you’re dead, you’re dead – well Hell, at least the pain, confusion and suffering will have ended.

The idea of death is the idea that it will be the end of the suffering – forever, like switching off a light.  Or is it perhaps turning one on? For us?  To shine a light on something we have forever kept in the dark. It keeps happening, numbers keep increasing, children younger and younger are opting out of life – Why? Our kids seem to be more violent, suffering more and lacking resilience.

Do they think they are in a game and have more lives? The Game of Life? Pass Go and do not collect $200…

I don’t know why…

I don’t know why we don’t talk about suicide more, well actually I do. History has shown us that the more we talk about something, the more we are educated and made aware of that anomaly and how to handle or cope with it.

As with sexuality and religion, we have gained so much because people stopped being afraid to talk. Certain things are no longer taboo or floating amongst the unmentionables.

Talking about suicide is not easy but it is necessary in order for us to gain knowledge and understanding. Suicide needs to be brought into focus and addressed, not hidden, shamed and blamed.

Suicide has such a giant stigma attached to it, in fact, several. One being the feeling of failure and hopelessness as a parent or someone who was close to the person. The feeling that you failed them completely. Your job was to protect your kid, know everything about your friend, keep them safe…we didn’t do that , we failed. We weren’t enough for them to stay in this world with us and go through it with us. Didn’t they know that we would’ve done anything for them? Didn’t they know they could talk to us? Didn’t they know that we wouldn’t judge them or make fun of them? Why didn’t they know that or feel that? How did we fail so badly to not let that person know how much we loved and needed them, how important they were in our world, how different life is without them and instead having to live with the guilt and doubt. It’s heavy, the burden weighs like a black hole in outer space…

Then there is the shame that goes with being the parent of a child or the partner/husband/wife who has committed suicide. Shame is different to guilt. Shame is the sadness I feel at not being able to correct something that was wrong and I should have. Guilt is the feeling of being responsible for the end result. Neither one of those feelings may be validated in real life, but now that someone has taken their life, it changes those left behind.

There is the question of why, which never goes away. The wonder, the wishing, the ache that it could just change back to when you were here, and alive – it never goes – that wonder, that ache…

A Survivor

Suicide – is it really a free ticket out?

Suicide

With a delicate stillness

and a quiet noise

with porcelain perfection

and perfect China poise

the body is supine

lying dead on the floor

supine in exsanguination

a choice to become Death’s whore

Ruby red your favourite colour

you wear it very well

although I won’t see you out much

a story we will tell

Did you get off scot-free?

Did you truly escape?

Or will you have to pay your dues

and return to this landscape…

© Kait King, 2015

Equal but Different – Let’s Celebrate!

Equality lets celebrate

I believe we are stumbling blindly into an inferno of uncontrolled hedonistic violence and sex. There is no argument that sex and violence are two of the most basic instincts in a human, particularly a male as he is the protector and the pro-creator; or that these two basic reptilian responses have been a part of human nature since the beginning of time.

What I find concerning is the lack of the repulsion response to violence or unnatural/violent sex. Research indicates that women, or young girls, are not only joining gangs and becoming more violent in their everyday life, but also are committing suicide in more violent ways. If we look back in time, women are the carers, the nurturers, the collectors and gatherers. Women were seen as mysterious as they bled and didn’t die and could give birth to another human being. An amazing, necessary and painful responsibility, but one that sets us apart as women and the carers of the next generation. I think we have lost track of that view. Is it because of Women’s Liberation? I don’t think it is because of that, but perhaps a catalyst after so many years of denial and oppression for women that they just went crazy and like most things they snowball into something unmanageable or inexplicable. Women needed to create their own freedom, this was a necessary journey but now we need another hero to pull us back to reality, balance and a normality.

So back to the violence factor. Women used to gas themselves or take pills to commit suicide. Men were the ones who used guns and ropes to do the same. Back in the 1970’s more and more suicides committed by women were found to be with razors, they would slit their wrists. Then they started shooting themselves and hanging too. Women were deemed to see suicide as a way of going to sleep and to look as “peaceful” as possible. They didn’t want their faces blown apart or a mess everywhere – that typical female response seems to be fading as we move forward, women seem to want to be seen as violent, angry, retaliatory and don’t fuck with me individuals. As tough as a man, as strong as, capable as etc. And there is no reason we can’t be. We are all on different levels of ability – what we shouldn’t be doing is denying that ability. We should celebrate our individuality, our gender responsibilities, our strong points – no matter what. But it doesn’t mean we aren’t equal in the ability to be human – we just have different EQUAL roles in the responsibility of the Universe, our lives, our people, children, plants and animals – all Earthlings have a reason to be here. All Earthlings have a role in the world, some of us know this role and others of us struggle to find our purpose. But what our purpose is not, is to degrade, belittle or detract others from their journey.

I’ve watched Jack Ass and I wonder what influence that may have had on today’s young kids. When we were growing up, if we saw someone (young or old) fall over or hurt themselves or if they failed at something like a driver’s licence or baking a cake – we didn’t laugh and point at them and shout “Loser”. We sat down with them, put an arm around their shoulders and told them that they would be all right and be able to do this again. We would help them, pick them up, dust them off and push them forward again, not nail spikes of spite into their very soul to keep them pinned to the lowest low.

So I wonder what has happened to us all. I look rather sadly around me when I see more and more women with guns standing next to a Giraffe, Elephant or Lion they “hunted” with an AK47 and I’m ashamed. Children and babies burnt, tortured,starved, ignored and suffering, our elderly abused and forgotten to rot in unacceptable conditions, animals tortured and used for sick individual’s pleasure. But most disturbing of all is that it is a woman at the end of those appalling acts, more and more.

So I beg of us all as women to take back what is ours, our mystery, our caring, our nurturing and saving of the world. We are women, our power lies in our ability to calm, talk, bring peace, negotiate and love. Please help me bring our job-description back into the light, it’s who we are, it’s what we were made to do – I don’t want to fall into the hole of what everyone else is doing or hardening up for – if we do this we will crack and fall into a squidzillion pieces never to be a whole again. Am I living in hope of a Utopia? Please say it isn’t so….

© Kait King, 2015

Oh I Didn’t See You There…

Oh I didn't

It’s going to get dark again, even if the sun is shining I know what I’m in for. Staring into nowhere with a sense of hopelessness and despair that seems to have no end at the time. So you’re back, you’ve returned with your sticky, clingy sadness I must wear as a shawl. It’s a shawl made of all my wrong-doings, lost dreams, failed relationships, and a frightening anxiety about the future. It weighs a tonne and I struggle to sit up in bed with it on, or get out of bed, or brush my teeth or my hair…you weigh me down, Depression.

I didn’t know I was feeling so bad until I was in the kitchen making myself a coffee…I had been thinking negatively, granted. And the cold of winter doesn’t make it easy either so the future looks grim with the situation I’m in. This is the exact time the Shawl of Depression draped herself securely around me so I had to drag myself sadly and tearfully back to my bed. I see the sky, the sun, the birds, the beauty – the beauty in everything but me and my life. Then I tell myself off for being so ungrateful and get angry at the things that stop me being who I want to be. My anger covers the fear and anxiety. I would rather be angry than scared. It’s a long process to get to angry. It’s a long, unseen, unknown process that puts me there in the first place though.

I lie facing the wall. I don’t want to look at beautiful things. My eyes are open, I’m not moving though – my breathing hasn’t changed, it’s still, rhythmical and the tears just seem to fall out of my eyes endlessly. No noise, no change, nothing – just a waterfall coming out of my face that seems like it won’t let up. I don’t understand the grief or the sadness. Perhaps it is the broken me saying goodbye to the real me but refusing to let me go… In a little bit I will sit up and write about this. It’s crippling and yet I know I have to ride this out. I know I should take a good look at those feelings but I’m just too angry at the moment…

Kait King 2017