Ep 11: For When You Live To Tell It
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ALTERNATE TITLES: For When You Feel Shame, For When You Think It's Your Fault, For When You Want To Die
I've never been suicidal.
I don't think...
I've definitely felt stuck in tough life situations where I thought: I wish I could die. Not in a dramatic, exaggerating way. In a real way. This is too hard, and I wish I could end it, and/or make everyone feel as bad as I feel.
But I've never made an attempt. Or even a threat. I've thought about it, but never "seriously," (whatever that means when it comes to suicide). Plus, I always chalked myself up to too much of a weakling to ever be able to pull something off like that.
In short, I loved 13 Reasons Why and I have a limited view of suicide.
Until I met Jessica.
We were at the same yoga training in upstate New York almost two years ago. The first night--after a grueling, physical, sweaty yoga practice--we got into a group discussion, the 100-plus people and myself. The first night always has a lot of anticipation. Because this was an advanced yoga training--meaning, we'd at one of these at least a few times before--we almost had more anxiety about what was going to be unveiled the first night.
The leader of the training got up to the front and looked at us for a moment. Then, he asked us a question.
"What are you dealing with?"
A few confident hands shot up. Then, a delay. Then one hand a few rows ahead of me shot up. I noticed her tattooed arm and I knew she would be called on. You know how you can sense that sometimes? He's going to pick her, I thought. Sure enough, he did. And she walked up to the microphone.
I'll never forget what happened next.
She answered the question. Honestly. Brutally. Desperately. Bravely. Perfectly. She told us what happened to her just three months before. That her husband had killed himself, and--just three weeks after--she tried to do the same. I didn't feel ready for what she had to say. For that level of vulnerability and truth.
But what Jessica taught me on that first night--and taught me again (and again, because editing) in this episode--is not only the power we get when we stop shaming ourselves and hiding our darkest stories, but what others get when we honestly/brutally/desperately/bravely tell them, too.