“Double Dutch”, 1994, by Yinka Sonibare
“Double Dutch”, 1994, by Yinka Sonibare
I used to be the person that was feeling like raising her middle finger at some occasions, but never did. Maybe because I was teached that it is a bad thing, maybe because I was afraid or something. Well, the why isn’t important for this post (and maybe not at all)!
It came a point in my life when a small Pandora’s box opened for me. There was so much feeling; and pain; and anger; and “I’ve-had-enough” feelings and thoughts.
The first time I raised my middle finger felt weird. And many times followed. It ended being an expression. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The world didn’t change, and nothing bad happened because of it.
But I don’t do it anymore. Well, I might do it as a joke to a friend of mine (yes, one particular one), but nowhere else, and most importantly, not as an expression of my “fuck-you” feelings.
There comes a moment in life (it came for me at least), when you don’t even need that middle finger. Even when shit happens, and people are acting like assholes towards you, when you’re not being treated the way you would like to be treated, even in situations where (in the past) you would want so much to raise that middle finger of yours.
You accept the situation, you deal with it, you talk to the other person if you need to, you may eventually need to remove someone from your life, etc. There are many ways you can react to things being said and things happening, but you’re strong enough and self-aware that you don’t need to give it much more energy and importance anymore….!
Life happens after all!
I recently went through some older photography work.
There are some pieces that always had a special place in my heart…..
“Eros brakes his bow”, 1896, sculpture by Georgios Vroutos.
This sculpture lives in Zappeio, in the center of Athens.
Part of the “Filling Spaces” installation, by Federico Picci…
Once upon a time there was a word called “suicide”. It meant taking your own life, for a variety of reasons, caused by a variety of triggers. The word was one of the “hidden” ones, people didn’t like talking about it much, and society was kind of scared of it. Time passed, ages, and the year 2018 came. But not much have changed…. Only a few glimpses of light were making their appearance every once in a while.
And here’s my glimpse of light, about the word “suicide”…..
What a magical intro about a theme like that, right? Haha. We’re trying to get more familiar with the idea of suicide and mental health, and I like writing about these matters, because they are so taboo for many, and in reality they shouldn’t be, because they’re basically part of every day life. They’re not from another world, they’re here, they had always been here and they will be here for as long as the human mind will be here.
I have written aboout suicide in the past, about all the suicides of musicians and more known people, and how close to home they strike. But this one is different, more personal and an attempt to get some things straight about suicide.
You may be wondering if I’m a professional of mental health. No, I’m not. I’m just someone that had my share of problems with my mind in the past and I have done a lot of work with myself to reach the point where I am today.
Oh, here’s me, make up free as they say on social media, just taking a break of working a lot lately with my arts….
I’m going through one of the best periods in my life so far, I love myself, I love the people around me, I’m super productive, I am the happy-go-lucky person I’ve been since I can remember myself, I’m dealing great with all the things that life brings, and many more.
But there has been a time when I was suicidal. I had suicidal throughts (aka suicidal ideations), I had a ton of thoughts when I had knives around me or in my hand. Once I had a migraine and thought “I should take a painkiller” and then my mind told me “you could take more than one, that’s the way you would kill yourself”. And I had my therapist make me have a list of three people that I would call if the thoughts were going to turn into actions. They never did, but it was a fight (well, a few fights) for them not to be realized.
(pause of writing, some tears, a smile)
This is one of the most difficult posts I have ever written and one of the most cathartic ones. And it makes me emotional, because I know the hell I have been through, how many good things I have managed to gain out of it and it makes me sad that I once wanted to hurt myself. I love myself, I have always loved myself, maybe not as much as I do now, but I did love me.
In my case the suicidal thoughts were caused (together with depression) by my then untreated OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, an anxiety disorder where your mind has so much anxiety that creates compulsions (like repeated actions) to deal with the anxiety). My mind had enough and the alarms started screaming at some point. I remember feeling so helpless inside my own mind and body, I remember not feeling like myself, even now sometimes it seems like that person going through all that wasn’t me. But, it was. The mind can talk nonsense sometimes. It’s kind of natural. But, this is why in case you don’t feel well, you should ask for help from the people around you and a specialist, a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
Being suicidal isn’t the easy way out. You go through rough times.
Being suicidal doesn’t mean you’re weak. Everyone’s mind has its limits and life can get taugh.
Being suicidal means that your mind and body tell you to take better care of yourself.
Being suicidal is something that can happen to anyone.
Being suicidal is not your fault, it may be nobody’s fault. Shit happens, there’s a solution to this shit, there always is.
Being suicidal isn’t something you should be ashamed of. Period.
Nowadays, sometimes, I pause and think how nice things there are and how grateful I am to still be here. Life isn’t always easy, but it’s interesting and full of great experiences and wonderful days, and color, and art, and beautiful things all around, and people, etc, etc.
A few words to you, that you might read this and be where I used to be:
It’s going to be ok. You can’t see right now, probably, but everything is going to be ok, and even better than just ok. You’re goind through some difficult times, totally normal. Pick up the phone and call a friend, a family member, a help line, a therapist, someone to talk to. Spill it out, you’re not feeling so good and you would like some help or just someone to talk to. Remember that your mind is messing with you and there’s a solution for it, called therapy, or medication, or a combo of them both. You have managed to realize that there is problem and that’s the first step, that’s really great. You’re an amazing human being that after a while you’re going to be an amazing survivor/fighter/hero. And I love you, I know what you’re going through and I can guarantee you that everything is going to be ok.
A few words to all of you, from me, a person that was suicidal and managed to deal with it and got over it:
Don’t judge. Me and everyone else that went through suicidal thoughts, are normal people. Each person has hers/his limits and each brain and body has its limits. And the human brain can take a turn for the dark sometimes, it’s something that can happen to anyone. You never know the baggage, the problems, that “inside story” of someone’s life, so keep an open mind. And help. And be there for those close to you that might going through hard times.
And one of the most important things f all, that I come though many times when I’m talking about mental health: don’t be sorry for someone with mental health problems or a past of suicidal thoughts. Many times, when I’m saying or writing parts of my story, I get so many “I’m sorry”s.
Well, I’m not sorry for myself (why should you be?), all I have been through made me who I am today and I’m very proud of it all.