Make Room For The Stuttering

Gasping For Air

Posted on: May 2, 2009

Prologue:  I wrote this a couple of months ago, after this profound discussion with my trusted friend. Even though it doesn’t have anything specifically to do with stuttering, it is something that happened in my life, and I am grateful to be here to be able to share it with others. It matters. We matter.

I was honest with a friend. I told him I feel like I am buried under fresh earth, and I am breathing through a straw. Not breathing really, but gasping for air.

I shared that thought with a good friend, and he had the courage to bring up the issue of suicide with me and we talked about it, really talked about it. It was liberating to freely talk about my darkest thoughts, and speak openly with another human being instead of dancing around the issue that we both know needed to come out.

When I first realized that’s where he was going with the conversation, my eyes welled up and I was caught off guard, momentarily speechless. But then I thought, “Wow, he cares and has that much respect for me to take such a huge risk and plunge right into this.” We began to engage in healthy dialogue about a taboo subject, one that I had thought I could only think about.

I have never imagined talking about suicide openly, but have thought about it a lot, since I have been so depressed and sad lately. I feel trapped in an unhealthy relationship, and find myself only going through the motions, not really living, gliding on the wings of fear and guilt. Being unable to forgive my father, having him haunt me, always there, on my shoulder. And waiting for my partner to die.

My friend knows that I want, need, my pain and sadness to end. He sees me so sad and hopeless, and wonders where my anger is, why I have turned my anger inwards to guilt and sadness. He challenged me to show anger, to stand up to the man who we both know is snuffing the very soul out of me. He asked me to consider “do you really see murdering yourself as a way to end the suffering and pain?” I froze, had no ready answer, just stared at him, with tears running down my face, as I heard someone I care about, and who cares about me, put it so bluntly. To hear the words spoken jolted my thoughts.

He then further challenged me to think about what I really want for the pain and hurt to end, to stop, to go away. Killing myself won’t be the answer. Why? Because I will just be dead. I will not get to feel the relief from the pain and hurt that consumes me, the relief that I am looking for. If I don’t feel the relief, suicide then does not serve the purpose that most people believe it to; that I have believed it might serve.

I had been selfishly thinking that suicide would give me that end that I so want and need. My good friend helped me see, really see, that is not what I want. He was courageous enough to engage with me in this kind of robust dialogue that most people are too afraid to have.

After a half hour of really opening up, and sharing with him how I honestly felt and how I thought I might kill myself (the ways I had considered), I felt better. I could see and hear and sense that he genuinely was saddened that my situation had brought me to this dark place, and that I felt I had no other recourse. He provided me with recourse. Talking about such a feared issue made it real, and opened my eyes to the healing power of courageous frank talk with a fellow traveler on the journey of life.

I had reflected on suicide but never dared to talk about it openly, until this friend dared me to put my thoughts into words in a safe, non-judgmental environment. It is OK to reflect on the darkest, innermost thoughts we all may have from time to time. What a true gift my friend gave me that day daring to have a tough conversation that may have just saved my life.

2 Responses to "Gasping For Air"

Thank you so much for having the courage to share this with the world Pam. It means a lot. I believe many people have some of these thoughts and feelings at least once in their life. To actually know you’re not alone, means so much. It’s just like with stuttering, just knowing you’re not alone is priceless.
I’m SO happy your friend had the guts to talk to you about this. It’s a difficult thing to bring up and talk about. Ending ones life as you say does not solve a thing. I realized that some years ago too.
But talking about what’s on your mind, the feelings that are too big to deal with alone is very important. You have found a great way to get them out, and whenever you want to talk some more, I’m always here.

Thank you Pam for sharing this. I too have been to that brink but then a friend mentioned something to me… the same as your friend did to you. “Do you really want to die or just be out of the pain” I responded no I don’t want to die I just want the pain to stop…he lent a wonderful hand and listening ear and I too like you found a more comforting path.

Sharing with your friend about the painful path you were walking was the best love you could have given yourself. Sometimes our friends can guide us to the path with the luscious green cooling grass under foot and get us off the rocky and painful ones. You have a fine friend indeed.

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