Social Media Therapists

Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

There’s always so much to be said for those who don’t give up. What about those who do? Those who did? Are they worth talking about, too? Or are they left out of the conversation because the algorithm isn’t always compatible with reality?

I think of myself, years ago. I think of myself, ready to die. Giving away possessions, writing a will. Picking a method, making a plan. Setting a date. Two days before, driving home for the weekend to see Mom one last time. Suffocating within such all consuming, soul crushing anguish that I couldn’t stave off damnation for even for two more days. A box cutter is the darkest form of improvisation. Blood. Lying in a hospital bed. A hospital bed in a room with no closed doors or laces in shoes or strings in hoodies or plastic forks for meals or even a non-collapsible shower rod god forbid you try to off yourself under the guise of desperately trying to get clean. I think of myself, years ago.

I didn’t plan to find salvation. I planned to die, tried to die, and then spent years in therapy trying to dig the anger out of my throat so I could learn how to open my mouth without cutting my tongue. I hated the EMT. I hated the ER doctor. I hated the psychiatrist. I hated the nurses. I hated my mom for crying. I hated myself for living.

I didn’t choose to keep going. I chose to die. Medical staff and circumstance did not allow me to. Do I get congratulations, too? I’m still here, sure. Yeah, I still have depression, but life is bearable now. But honestly, that doesn’t change anything. When I attempted, I knew if I kept going I would probably get better — probably, to some degree. I knew I would try different meds, and meet new people, and try new things, and maybe one day rediscover meaning in life. I knew that. I was aware of that. And I still attempted. Because I could not withstand the pain I would have to endure in order to get from Point A to Point B. I could not. I would not. And yet, here I am.

If I had died, or if I had not somehow quieted the noise of depression as much as I have, would I still be used as “feel good” fodder? Could I be? Life isn’t a patchwork of success stories. Success itself isn’t black and white, or finite. Neither is life so simple.

People don’t have to triumph in order to be worthwhile or worth mentioning or worth celebrating. Sometimes there isn’t a happy ending. Sometimes people do give up. Sometimes people don’t survive. Sometimes people are saved and are forced to go on until they find a way to make life bearable, as I have, or they attempt again, as so many others have. Reality doesn’t come with a bow. Suicide doesn’t fit into 140 characters. Sometimes there is no lighter side to ugly. Sometimes there’s just ugly. And that’s human, too.



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J.N. Estey

J.N. Estey

She/her · MSW · Columbia ’21. First book “Creatio ex Nihilo: Poems and Stories about Depression, Survival, and the Resurgence of Hope” available on Amazon 💗