Category Archives: Guest Post
Birthday Depression- Another year without you
Why should I get to live another year on this earth instead of my brother? If I could have taken his place I would have in a heartbeat. I should have noticed the warning signs and saved him. The reality is that no matter what I could’ve changed the outcome would have still been the same. There is a strong correlation between schizophrenia and suicide, the voices inside of my brother’s head were like a choir from Hell dragging him down to his own Dante-esque levels of purgatory.
These are all of the would’ve, could’ve, should’ve and what if’s that accompany complicated bereavement and survivor’s guilt. I know they are irrational and that I shouldn’t blame myself for his death. There will always be a part of me that feels like I failed him though.
I know my brother wouldn’t want me to feel this way on my own birthday. All he ever wanted for me was to be sober and happy. In a really screwed up way, his death saved me from myself. As soon as I found out he left this mortal realm all of my cravings for opiates and self-destruction completely vanished from my mind and soul. I give myself permission to grieve today but will not let it consume me. Writing this has been so cathartic. I will salvage the rest of today and focus on the positive aspects of my life. I know that part of my brother’s spirit will always remain within me, and that he is watching over me. I will continue to stay sober, cherish all of the precious memories I was fortunate enough to experience with my brother and never let go of the hope and faith inside of my heart. Time does not heal all wounds necessarily, grief is a nonlinear process. I have learned to take it day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, and second by second. I have found acceptance in my brother’s decision to take his own life, because I know he is finally at peace. I owe it to him and myself to cultivate my own inner peace, love, and happiness. Perspective is key.
A Little Further Down the Road
I last posted here on February 24th, 2021 (For My Older Brother) two years after your death. Now here we are in 2023 almost two more years down the road. I want to give an update on things.
I still miss you. That will never change. Life is not easier in fact it is harder in a lot of ways. I’m going through a painful breakup with L, the girl I started dating right before you took your own life. That is a whole bucket of grief in and of itself. On top of that I was let go from my job and found out that dad likely won’t make it through the next couple of months cause of the cancer.
I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t had thoughts of ending things myself, but I know that that is not what I really want. I just want to not be in pain anymore. I oscillate between periods of hope and despair. I feel helplessly lonely and isolated at times. Besides my therapist and my family, there is no one I feel really close to. I have some friends sure but no one like the friend that you were.
On the brighter side of things I am really starting to take care of myself in ways that I haven’t for years. I started CrossFit some months back. I am taking cold showers, eating healthy(ish), getting outside when I can and journaling like a fiend. I’m planning on taking an improv class later this month, something that scares the shit out of me while simultaneously bringing me so much joy. I’ll also be moving in to a new spot at the end of this month with a dog that B found on the side of the road. (She’s a sweetheart and I know you two would’ve gotten along.)That is something to look forward to.
I hope that you are proud of me. I am trying so hard to get back into the swing of life after having felt frozen in grief over the years. It feels like the ice is just beginning to melt. I miss you, I miss you, I miss you. I know that you would want me to be happy. The struggle is me wanting me to be happy. To find movement in life when it’s so much easier to pull the shutters and stay in my room. One day at a time. Brighter days ahead.
All My Love,
My Irish Twin
My brother was born in May of 1972 when I was 10 months and 3 weeks old. He turned 50 in this past May and out of his 50 years, he suffered with depression for 28 of them. He contemplated suicide 5 times in the last 2 years. He spoke to me each and every time. He had seen therapists and doctors and anyone —and that helped each time. Until yesterday morning when I got “the text”. He was already gone by the time the message came through. I’m numb, I’m confused, I’m nauseous and sobbing and frantic and then I’m a pile on the floor. I feel like he was my real twin and not just my Irish Twin. I feel like part of me left with him.
I’m struggling to process every aspect of this. Where do I start? It’s all so raw.
My Brother Keeper
It’s been exactly 4 days since you decided to take your own life… I’m laying down thinking how pointless life feels. Everyone is telling me be strong, Pray, keep your head up. I know they want the best for me but I feel like they are being dismissive. My brother was 27 years young. He had a baby on the way and 2 beautiful children.. I’ll never understand why or what made him do this. I can’t help but think I could have did more said more been around more. There’s nothing I tell myself that makes me feel better.. I have mixed emotions everyday some days I think I’m normal. Other days I feel like my world has came to an end. I pray for strength and guidance it’s been a very difficult time for me. My heart hurts my head is not in the right place . I pray I get the help I need to get me through this.
Right now I feel very worthless weak and no point in carrying on this life’s I want to be with him in the other life 🙁
You were 26 when you took your life.
You would’ve been 30 in January.
I’ll be turning 26 in April.
We’ll be the same age.
And then, I’ll grow older.
And older and older.
And you’ll stay the same age.
Our mother was not a nice person. You personally saved my life several times from her.
And I never got to tell you, “Thank you”.
I ran away from home and it took me nearly a decade of searching to find you again.
We chatted and you said you would call me the next day.
You never did.
Instead you made the choice to end your suffering.
And I feel like the villain. If it meant bringing you back to a life of mental pain, I would make that choice if it meant I wouldn’t have to live in pain. It’s a selfish feeling. And I embrace that selfishness.
And the anger.
I’m angry you made that choice, as if I didn’t want to make that choice dozens of times. But I didn’t. I stuck to life out of pure spite, and I’m glad I did. I got help…
And how do I even finish that thought?
I wish you sucked it up and suffered as I did?
I wish you got help?
I’m glad you’re not in pain?
That’s the hard thing about suicide.
I know it’s not socially acceptable to say it’s “selfish”, but it is all the way around. Forget me, what about our other brothers and sisters? You had a daughter who’ll never know her father. You were newly engaged to someone who loved you more than life itself.
And then the selfishness circles back around. How could I want you to live in pain? To live through the heartache and mental pain of life? You were hurting, how could I ask you to continue in that?
But I would’ve, if you would’ve asked.
Because I’m selfish.
And I miss my brother.
In 10 days it will be 36 years since my brother set himself on fire and lived for 43 days.
For the first three years I felt like I had to will every breathe I took. But that eventually got better. I used to wake up crying in my sleep. That finally stopped. In the beginning I didn’t think I could live in this crushingly sad place, but this life became my life. It is now my familiar life.
My brother’s suicide is still the worst thing that ever happened to me. But I have a full and productive life. I am in a helping profession and it matters.
All of us here share a tragic bond but we also share hope and strength. Keep coming back here. Keep sharing your stories. Keep taking that next breathe.