(This is a compensated post, but it is on topic from what I’ve been talking about this week.)
My second year of teaching was awful.
It was also my first year married to Scout.
We were unhappy in our jobs and unable to be happy about anything else.
I’d been feeling the stirrings of depression. The claws sinking into my life. The corners of the house becoming more and more cluttered. Meals no longer prepared. What was sex?
Scout wasn’t happy with me. I tried to explain it one day. That I KNEW he wasn’t getting what he deserved but he was getting every last bit of what I had left to give after getting out of bed and going to work and coming home. That any time I was remotely interested in sex he would know it because I was on him. But that I was done and tired and worthless and didn’t have much to give.
Then a student at our school killed himself.
I came home and Scout found me on the steps inside the house.
You see, there was one little thing I hadn’t shared.
Have you ever stood next to a railing and wondered what it would be like to jump? Ever felt that kind of stupid impulse that you didn’t follow through with?
Well. I was feeling that impulse. But it was about the cold metal of the guns in our home.
Not that I wanted to *actually* kill myself.
But I couldn’t get the impulse of holding the gun out of my head. I couldn’t move past the RAGING curiosity of WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE TO FIRE IT?
I sat on those steps and cried. That student killing himself scared. the fuck. out. of. me.
I wondered if he’d had the same impulse feeling as he tied the rope.
I wondered if he had the same bored curiosity of “What would this be like?”
I begged Scout to lock up all the guns.
And he did.
Four and a half years later, we signed off on our marriage and declared it done.
I wonder how much was “irreconcilable differences” and how much was actually “irreconcilable depression.”
In “Half in Love”, Linda Gray Sexton writes about depression and relationships. She writes about how she tried to kill herself. How her mother DID kill herself. The questions she asked herself, the guilt she felt. Then about being a mother herself when the role model of her own mother was a difficult one.
I wonder about how much therapy I should be in. If it is worth it to poke at the trauma of the deaths in my family or if I should just let those sleeping dogs lie. Reading through this book was not an easy task. The head nodding I did through it.
As long as we are alive and surviving, we at least have the opportunity to choose what to do about this life of ours – in spite of or because of how we grew up, what we’ve experienced and what we hope to become.
Thank you to award-winning author Linda Gray Sexton for sponsoring this series, which is inspired by her memoir Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide.
To learn more about Linda Gray Sexton and her writing, please visit her website.