Disclaimer: This article contains content that might be a trigger for some with depression
On October 19th of this past year, I woke at 7:43 AM to a phone call. A phone call which I promptly ignored, because I don't do phone calls at 7:43 in the morning. Especially not on a Sunday.
At 7:44, my phone rang again. Irate, I turned over to check who was calling and saw that it was my best friend. And he never calls me twice in a row, much less before eleven. I’m never awake before eleven. (I'm lazy, I know.)
"Whaaat," I croaked into the receiver. My voice is not a thing when I first wake up.
"Shay?" he said. "Are you looking at Facebook right now?"
"Bitch, I'm SLEEPING right now. I am not looking at Facebook. Why?"
I sit up.
“What about him?"
"He's... He's dead."
That’s all the details I can remember of that phone call. The rest of it is a blur. He told me that Joey, my nonbiological brother, had committed suicide four days earlier, and the body had only been found late last night. My best friend wanted me to hear it from him, not by reading it on some post on Facebook. He was going to be buried in New York that afternoon. I was in Chicago. I had no money. I couldn't fly in for the funeral. I was stuck, in my bed full of teddy bears and fluffy pillows, and I couldn't do shit.
Five days later, I found myself being led out of my building, my hands held by two paramedics, a third paramedic wheeling a stretcher, which thankfully I hadn't needed, behind us. Mascara was smeared on my cheeks, and as we walked through the lobby of my dorm building, all the residents stared at me, more pissed that they had to wait to use the elevators than worried about the crying person being led out by paramedics to an ambulance.
They didn't admit me to the psych ward that time. They let me go home at three in the morning. I took a taxi back to the building and wondered why I was still alive. It wasn't a 'I'm going to try and kill myself again' type of wonder. Just an idle wondering of what the point of my life was. I didn't make a difference. I didn't matter.
Later on in the year, I watched a documentary called The Hunting Ground. It's about the mishandling of college sexual assaults. Watching it, the segment that stood out most to me was the interview with Lizzy Seeberg’s father. Lizzy Seeberg, sadly, was not around to give an interview herself, because she committed suicide several days after being sexually assaulted by a Notre Dame football player.
I found it frightening.
I found that the impact Lizzy Seeberg made, because of the fact that she died, frightening.
I wanted to die that night.
Many people know that I was sexually assaulted. I’m not quiet about it, because I want to make a difference. But in that movie theatre, eating peanut M&Ms, I felt that I couldn’t make a difference. I felt that the biggest impact I could make was if I, in fact, died.
I was determined to go home and do something. Something dangerous. Something fatal.
There is a movie I watched obsessively and repeatedly because it has Chace Crawford in it, and if you don’t watch Chace Crawford movies obsessively, we can’t be friends. It’s called Twelve, and there is a quote from it that got stuck in my head that night. It echoed in my head as I walked home from the screening, crying.
"You will not be remembered if you die now. You’ll be buried and mourned by a few and what more can you ask for? The world will spiral from underneath you and you are either too smart or too dumb to find God. Maybe you are angry. Only because the way out is through love. And you are just horny and lonely.”
Faigy Mayer was not forgotten because she died.
She was an iOS developer who ran her own startup. She also ran through a bar on the top of a twenty story building in Manhattan on July 20th, 2015, and jumped to her death.
Maybe the story is sensational because the people in the bar kept partying after she jumped.
Maybe it’s making its way through the newspapers because she left the ultra Orthodox Hasidic community and was shunned by her parents because she was no longer religious.
Either way, Faigy Mayer was not forgotten.
It’s been three days since her death, and my little group of friends who deal with suicidal tendencies on a daily basis are upset.
They aren’t upset because she died.
They’re upset because people are still talking about it.
They’re upset because it makes them want to kill themselves.
I didn’t know Faigy. I had friends who loved her dearly, but I didn’t know her. And I was sad when she died. But mostly, I was sick to my stomach. A friend had posted a picture of the body on Facebook, and I wanted to go somewhere quiet and carry out my own little death sentence for myself. Suicide triggers suicide. This is called the Werther Effect. Because of the trauma involved in hearing about another’s suicide, this can trigger others to feel so distraught that they themselves attempt or commit suicide.
But I didn’t do it.
I want to be remembered.
I want my life to have had some kind of meaning.
I don’t want that the only great thing I do is to die.
We need to live. We need to be remembered. We need to do great things. We need to live great lives. We’ll all die at some point. Why die now?
You will not be remembered if you die now.
I have a tattoo on my middle finger. It is a gothic ‘J’. I got it because I couldn’t remember my brother Joey on a minutely basis, and I wanted to remember him. It is human nature to move on. And we all must move on. We will move on from Faigy Mayer. We must move on, and we must live.
If you or someone you know is in need of assistance for worsening depression or suicidal ideation, please contact the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-784-2433 (US) or +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK). For more hotlines, please visit Suicide.org
You can read more about Shay Maor at shaydorian.wordpress.com
You can read follow Shay on Twitter at @gothicfishie