A ry for help


From a suicide note....

Actual text, except for minor [bracketed] corrections, and a single important omission:

I don't have much time to write this letter. I just took several mouthfuls maybe 50 pills or so of [drug X] and I ought to be taken to the hospital or [left to] die in peace. I didn't think I would ever bother to write a suicide note, but it's really a desperate plea for a life other than the one I've been given. I don't want to be dead, to be extinguished, reduced to nothingness. But neither do I want to linger on in a life which is reduced to nothingness. A life in which all my skills and talents lie fallow, [useful] neither to me nor to anyone else is not a life worth living. I cannot believe, not believing in God, that, as Milton said "They also serve who only stand and wait." My personality is not made for standing and waiting. I desperately want to do something with my life.

I want a job. I want a family. I want to leave something of value behind when I go. All [of] that has been denied [to] me by my illness and by a society which does not want the work of people who are disabled, which is not willing to accept what disabled people have that could be worthwhile.

Since there is no meaningful occupation for someone who is psychiatrically disabled (or for that matter for people with other disabilities), I chose death a few minutes ago. I probably will change my mind and go to a hospital. I am not a very convinced suicidal person. I want too much to achieve something. I want a to be able to help people; I want to be able to move people with my writings; I want to discover things. I also want what everyone else takes for granted: economic independence and a stable home and the potential for a mate and children. I want "a normal life."

Note that I do not say, "I want not to have the illness of bipolar disorder." I suppose I do want it to go away but it seems so much a part of me that it is hard to want to be rid of it. Certainly I want to be rid of the more severe symptoms. But I am sure I could endure the pain of bipolar disorder. What I cannot stand is the economic, intellectual, social, spiritual, and vocational marginalization which comes from being disabled. If I were a valued part of society, I would want to live, despite suffering the symptoms of bipolar disorder. If I could work when I was well, have a recognized social role, teach, learn, have intellectual companionship, and so on, I would want to live. However the life which is given to a disabled person in our society is simply unacceptable.

It is true that I have not had to endure material hardships because of my illness. I have always been well provided for by my parents and the government's SSI checks. But I wasn't born to be only provided for, I was born (I thought) to provide for others as well. I don't want the life of a dependent person, a person in need of care. I want a life in which I can be someone.