Posted by: Marie | May 25, 2011

(547) Happy holidays – not so much

Post #547
[Private journal entry written on Thursday, December 2, 2010]

Each holiday season, local businesses and families put together Christmas displays – usually involving Christmas trees – and display them in the main lobby of the community center. Then, over the course of a week or so, members of the public tour the displays and put silent bids on them. This raises funds for the community’s performing arts programs.

All during the week, performing artists present programs for the visitors. Yesterday evening, our local teachers association took our turn – students from our various studios flowed through the lobby, playing piano, violin, cello, flute and guitar solos/ensembles for more than an hour. It was quite a show!

I was the chairperson for the event. It took me two or three hours to lay out the schedule for the 25 performers, coordinating all the requests to perform at a certain time, balancing the piano pieces upstairs with the string and woodwind pieces downstairs, making sure we didn’t leave either level without music for more than five minutes and making sure we didn’t get two performers playing on top of each other, making sure I didn’t schedule any one person with a back-to-back upstairs performance and downstairs performance (so he or she wouldn’t have to run up/down a long flight of stairs and have to perform while winded) . . . .

I did the scheduling last year, as well. And, last year’s schedule was beautiful . . . and the plan was that one teacher would manage the upstairs activity and another teacher would manage the downstairs activity, and I would stand on the stairs in the middle of the two floors and coordinate the two levels via hand signals.

Photo by Martin Chen

But, the level managers rearranged the schedule on the fly – mostly without telling me – and they wandered off to visit with their friends and to take pictures. I spent my time running upstairs to do that manager’s job, then I’d run downstairs to do that manager’s job . . . and my job of being the central coordinator didn’t get done, much to the frustration of the performers attempting to check in for their turn.

Before this year’s event, I sat down with the other teachers and made sure they would follow the plan . . . I was so sure we were all on the same page this year . . .

But, nope . . . the very same thing happened again.

Halfway through last night’s event, I pulled each of the managers aside – the same managers who gave me such problems last year – and reminded them of the plan and our agreement . . .

It didn’t make a difference.

I kept a “happy face” on for the public, but as soon as the last scheduled performer finished, I packed up and left with a stiff “good-bye” . . . I was so angry . . . my time is so tight right now . . . I could have used those two or three hours for something other than creating a schedule that was going to be ignored.

After getting ready for bed, I checked my email . . . I found the following email from the president of our group (one of the level managers who ran roughshod over my schedule):

Hi, Marie!

Thanks for getting tonight together. I know it maybe didn’t go quite as you envisioned, but it did go very well.

There are always some “glitches” at things like this, but it went smoothly. Everybody had a good time. Parents were appreciative of the opportunity for their children, and I was stopped by several patrons who enjoyed hearing the students as they walked through.

When you give your report, could you attach a sheet from your schedule with just student names and pieces played? That way I’ll have something to hand in to state. Don’t worry that some things were different, it’s just so there is some record. Thanks.

See you soon

She doesn’t get it . . . but I do. They can find some other poor sucker to chair this event. I’ll be happy to be one of the managers next year . . . and I won’t leave my post!

So . . . that’s that.

Grrrrrrr . . .


I’ve been doing some thinking since my therapy session yesterday . . .

I think I am committing a passive form of suicide. When I try to motivate myself to take better care of myself, I sometimes picture myself with a healthy body and a higher energy level . . .

I imagine myself having the ability to bend over to tie my shoes without having to hold my breath . . . I imagine myself being able to sit on delicate piano benches without them threatening to break apart . . . I imagine myself being able to hike at a respectable speed . . .

When I start thinking that way, I find myself pulling back from the idea because, if I am healthy, I might have to stick around longer than I really want to.

I don’t want to do anything that would cause me to live longer than absolutely necessary.

I have debated the wisdom of talking to Edward about my desire to not live . . . I don’t want him freaking out and committing me to the psyche ward. However, I think he can tell that I’m not actively suicidal . . . as in, I’m not planning to end my life right now. Rather, I just have plans to kill myself once my mom dies, which will likely be in a decade or two from now.

If I were seriously considering/planning to kill myself now-ish, I wouldn’t be talking about it because I wouldn’t want anyone to be able to stop me – I’d just quietly do it.

In the meantime, I do have a smidgen of hope that someday I might actually feel purpose and joy – that is my preference, after all. So, I’m still willing to talk about my desire to die.

I hope Edward takes comfort in that . . .

He doesn’t seem to be very concerned about my suicidal thinking because he didn’t ask to discuss it further in yesterday’s session – I imagine he will bring it up in a future session, but I think he knows it is not an urgent matter.

There’s another side effect of not wanting to live . . . I’m hesitant to begin new long-term relationships (romantic or platonic) that might burden me later. If my mom dies, but I still have other people in my life who would be greatly hurt by my suicide, I’d be obligated to stick around.

I’m just now beginning to understand how much of an impact my not wanting to be here is having on my life.

Yesterday, I published a “reader input” post asking for people’s thoughts about suicide. I’m finding the comments people have left to be very helpful in winding my way through this topic . . .


  1. Wow, what a condescending and crappy response after all you did, and your legitimate frustration. I hope you do indeed tell them to look elsewhere next year.

    On another note, it’s a great comfort to have a therapist who is comfortable with a suicidal client, whether it’s active, passive, or in between. I’m glad Edward was able to hold that safe and nonjudgmental space for you.

    • Yup, David, I won’t be doing it again! I think the teachers who create the grief ought to be the ones to run it . . . they are running it anyway!

      I’m especially glad for the way Edward has been handling my mention of suicidal thoughts . . . I’d back off the topic in a heartbeat if I sensed disbelief or an over-reaction on his part. By talking about it, I’m hoping to shift that part of my day-to-day experience.

      – Marie

  2. I guess you won’t be doing that job again – I sure wouldn’t!

    Talking about suicide with shrinks is difficult if you want to avoid a psych ward (and I don’t know anyone who wants to go into one. This could lead to a big rant about the need for institutions that actually are friendly places to be but I’ll spare you.)

    I hope you are feeling better about being here now.

    • Hey, Evan –

      It should would put a kink in my day if I got placed in a psych ward . . . especially when I think there is hope things will get better with the support I’m receiving from Edward.

      Dealing with depression is a process, for sure!

      – Marie

  3. it’s been my experience they only want to hospitalize you if the threat is imminent (date and time set, means at hand, and so on). i’ve been hospitalized five times for suicidal thinking. it is always our last option, and things are usually pretty bad if i agree to it. that said, it’s always helped. keep talking to your therapist about it. even a long range plan will suck the energy out of you. you have so much to offer, it would be a real shame to lose you.

    • Hey, Catherine –

      I sort of assumed my current status didn’t warrent an immediate hospitalization . . . otherwise, I probably would have kept it to myself.

      I think that, if I got that bad, I wouldn’t talk about it . . . I’d just do it. That’s kind of how I handle things. So . . who knows how it would really play out.

      Thank you for your kind words . . . it helps to hear them!

      – Marie

  4. I also do not want to be on this Earth any longer than necessary. I am married, but the relationship is rocky. I mainly stay here for my pets; I have quite a few.

    I also thought that my mom would be around for a few more decades, but she was diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer last August. It was a horrible time as the doctors didn’t think she would even live through the surgery let alone chemo after. I felt this amazing urge to kill myself if my mom died. It was a very difficult time. I tried to talk to my therapist without disclosing too much information. Sometimes I think that he somewhat blows it off because he doesn’t want to know. If he knows how serious it is, then he has to do something about it. Anyway… my mom is now cancer free although she is still struggling with her health, but maybe she can live a few more years with some quality of life. I always have a back up suicide plan so that if things are ever really that bad, then I know I have an out.

    Yes, it’s a control thing. If I can’t have control over my life, then at least I can have control over my death.

    I tried to kill myself when I was 9. I rode my bike out in front of a car. I did get hit by the car, but obviously was not killed. I was right across the street from my house and just kept thinking that I didn’t want to go home, but I had no where else to go. That happened in June so around this time of year I am more sensitive to the whole issue.

    I guess there are things in life I’m never going to understand. I go through denial on daily basis.. did it really happen? Am I just somehow making all this up? How could the things I remember really be true? Who does stuff like that? Then I’ll have a flashback or a nightmare or an A-ha moment where suddenly my thoughts, feelings, or behavior make sense. How can I deny it then? It never seems to get easier. Not that I haven’t made progress over the past few years, but it’s a constant battle/struggle. My therapist keeps telling me that he wants me to be able to feel joy and enjoy life. I do have moments, but can’t possibly imagine my life like that.

    Well thanks for letting me vent…. It’s been a rough week.

    • Hey, Mickey –

      I appreciate your sharing your struggles . . . just knowing others are going through the same thing can ease the pain a bit.

      I hope you follow the “reader input” link provided in the post body . . . I found the comments left there to be of great help. Some of the comments are not conventional, but I think that is what made them valuable to me — those comments granted me permission, so to speak, to not take a conventionial stance on the matter.

      I hope you find some level of peace, even if just for a short while — if not in this life, then maybe in the next.

      – Marie

      • Marie,
        Thank You..

        I read the comments on the reader input link. As far as where I’ll be after I die, I do believe I will be in heaven. I am a Christ follower, and I believe what is promised in the Bible. I do not belong to any organized religion. I guess suicide is a sin as I’m sure it’s not God’s plan for anyone. I’ve had some “Christians” tell me that I will go to hell if I kill myself. I know Catholics believe that (I grew up Catholic). One pastor though told me that he didn’t think that God would abandon someone when they are in such obvious pain. I would tend to agree with that.

        Like I said, I grew up Catholic and then became an atheist during college. I finally came back to God after deciding that I needed to understand God for myself and not all the stuff that others told me. I began a journey to understand God and then Jesus.

        I don’t believe in many of the so called “Christian” beliefs as I think they have been twisted and distorted by religious leaders who merely wanted power and money. That has been going on for centuries. I do my own reading and research as well as talking with God in order to understand what I believe is truth. Each person has their own journey and no one has the right to force any beliefs on anyone else.

        I believe the only reason I am still alive is because of God and my spiritual journey. I was on somewhat solid ground until I started remembering the abuse. It’s been a roller coaster since then, but I still go back to God even when I don’t understand. Whether I scream or cry God is still always there. I forget that sometimes, but He always brings me back to it. I often isolate myself from God and others in my life. I put the wall up. I struggle trying to keep the lines of communication open with God, my friends, and my therapist. It seems safer to isolate, but then I’m miserable and that is when I become suicidal.

        BTW… your experience with the Angels was incredibly awesome. I have had some spiritual experiences that are somewhat similar to yours. A couple pastors laughed at me and said I was crazy or lying. God is supernatural so there is no reason that we can’t experience that supernatural part.


        • Hey, Mickey –

          I think our spiritual beliefs are very, very personal . . . and not really any one else’s business. I had decided I won’t share my beliefs unless I think there is benefit in doing so . . . and I mean a benefit like helping myself and helping the other explore and consider other possibilities . . . not a benefit like trying to pursuade the other to change his or her beliefs to match and validate mine.

          I’m glad you got to have supernatural experiences . . . I think it can help strengthen one’s faith.

          Thank you for sharing your story here . . . I hope you can find support and encouragement in this context!

          – Marie

  5. hey mickey
    please don’t go through with your plans. we have lost enough survivors to suicide. be brave and have an honest conversation with your therapist. you deserve a good life. you really do.

    • Thank You Catherine. That is nice of you to say :)

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