I had to process a lot of feelings today, and now I sit listening to Audioslave trying to put words to some of them. Audioslave was my first real introduction to Chris Cornell’s voice, but I did get into Soundgarden later. I was never a devoted fan but I often listened to those tunes when I was feeling down or angry. As a friend told me earlier today, when a public figure takes their own life there are ripples. Those of us who have considered or tried the same thing have to take stock.
I’m sad because I know what that place feels like. I’m sad for his family, because I’ve seen pain I’ve inflicted in the eyes of my loved ones and can imagine what they’re going through.
There’s despair because if someone that successful can’t make it, what chance have I got? I feel fear because the news said he was in a good mood the day before and who knows when our brains will turn on us?
But there was one feeling that’s hard to talk about. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had it. It brings a lot of confusion and shame with it because when we own it questioning glances happen.
That feeling is jealousy.
There’s a part of me that’s saluting him, saying Good on you, man, you got out. Wishing I was brave enough to follow him. Feeling like a failure because my own machinations came to “nothing”. Nothing meaning I’m still around.
I’m in a much better place now than I was months ago and I still feel like this. It’s like once your thoughts are distorted in a certain way they’ll always lean in that direction. Oh and by the way, the following is a little intense so if you’re in a sensitive place maybe skip to the end paragraph. There’s encouraging stuff there.
Not sure why I’m putting this out there, maybe to remind myself that I’m lucky to still be kicking around. But about a year ago I had a really bad night and took all my medications at once. I went to sleep and hoped I’d never wake up. There must not have been enough stuff in those bottles to do much damage, because I did wake up. I woke up, dragged myself out of bed and went to work. Had a bit of an out-of-body experience for the next couple days but wasn’t otherwise the worse for wear. Except in my soul, I’d crossed the line. I’m not sure if I didn’t care enough to call anyone or I wasn’t convinced the meds would actually work, but I didn’t reach out. I didn’t tell anyone. I gave up.
I broke a lot of promises that night, promises I made to people I care about that I’d call them if things got to that point. For that I’m sorry, and I’m mostly happy I’m around to apologize. But I guess I wanted to bring that up to illustrate something.
There are things I’m legit pleased I’ve been here to experience since then. Not just external things like concerts, movies I was looking forward to, or interactions with friends. But also internal growth. Now that I’m actively working on myself I’ve seen how my perspective can change. Self-worth can be generated if you work on it. So even though yes, part of me is jealous that he got out and I’m stuck here most of me is happy that I’ve gotten the chance to make myself better.
So I’m here to say that it can get better - it’s possible to come back from that place of giving up. And really, it’s ok to be jealous. It’s a feeling, and your feelings are valid. As they say, it is fine to have them but what we do with them is what’s important. You can process what’s happening and come out the other side of it. Sometimes, as was true for me, a specific kind of help is necessary. What I was doing before wasn’t working. If what you’re doing isn’t working, there is always something else. You have to find what that something is and ask for it. You’re worth it, you deserve it. It might be hard to ask, but it pays off in the end. Trust me.
PS my inbox is always open. <3