The Terror Beyond Falling



“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise.

Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”

David Foster Wallace

Before I get into the meat of this, anyone having suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-273-8255.

Kind of a double whammy.

You never really know what folks are going through until after they’re dead. And even then, you know it must have been so bad that they’d rather face the unknown of death than continue living in whatever hell they made.

Facebook casually reminded me that May is Lupus Awareness Month:


I know I talk about Brooke a lot — her death had impacted me so profoundly and created such a new and interesting understanding of suicide for me.

This little girl was living in a horrible painful hell called Lupus. Because of Lupus she had three rounds of chemo in ten years, two knee replacements, gained and lost weight due to steroids, had to deal with bullshit from her family about being on too many pain meds, and finally had a “nope” moment and did it.

I’m sad. But I’m not mad at her. At all. I understand she was in pain. Lots of pain. And the idea of her having to be in more pain than I could comprehend and living day to day with it breaks my heart. I find solace in knowing she’s not in pain anymore.

I trolled FB about Cornell’s suicide and found people calling it “selfish”, “other people have it worse”, “he’s a celebrity; it can’t be that bad”, “fucking loser”, “it’s X’s fault.”

Dude… it’s not your place to say or judge.

This is a person who was in pain, deep psychological pain. We don’t know the circumstances or the events.

Folks commenting on Reddit, astonishingly, seem a lot more reasonable and compassionate:

Usually it’s the last people you’d expect too. They get so good at putting on a mask, because they’ve been doing it so long.

Man, just shows that limitless talent and money aren’t the only things to make people happy. I hate this.

I’m so so sad. I want to hug each person I see, tell them their not alone.

I can’t tell everyone, so I’ll tell you.

You’re not alone. If you need help, there are people out there. I don’t know you, but I’ll listen if you need it.

I guess suicide is always something that gets to me, especially when it is someone who impacted my life.

With this, even in our darkest times, we are not alone. Everyone is loved, whether it feels like it or not. If anyone out there needs to talk, feel free to email me:



21 thoughts on “The Terror Beyond Falling

  1. Suicide is a different beast to everything else. It really doesn’t take much for some people to have suicidal thoughts but it does take a lot to take the final step.

    Many people think that having a suicidal thought is a sign of weakness and a sign that something isn’t right in a person’s head but they have no idea. Many a sane person has had suicidal thoughts, some have even acted on them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed.

      It just gets me that people call them cowards or selfish. We have no idea what’s going on in other folks’ heads. They could seem perfectly normal from the outside. But emotional, physical, and psychological pain is different for everyone. People have different pain tolerances.

      I can’t demean people for being in pain.

      It’s like the case of Brittany Maynard who had terminal brain cancer and exercised her right to die in the state of Oregon with physician assisted suicide. I had a friend who had similar cancer, and being extremely religious would have never considered physician assisted suicide. We kind of just watched him wither away until he passed. It was very sad.

      Here’s the link to Brittany’s story:

      Liked by 1 person

      • I knew more than one person who appeared ‘normal’ on the outside before taking their own life. I knew people who weren’t normal and did it. At the end of the day those left behind want answers they can’t often get but it’s not helped by the idiots of this world who claim to know what was going on.

        The right to die is always a contentious topic. I can understand why governments here wont agree to it but in some cases I can understand why people want it. Brittany’s story is the sort of story that makes a good point for it but it only takes one thing to go wrong and suddenly it’s not such a good thing.

        In this country medically induced death is practised a lot more than is admitted, three out of four of my grand parents were “helped” in the last hours of their life by the doctors legally increasing the pain meds. If they worded the way the treatment was issued differently the term would be ‘medically assisted death’ but because it has to happen in so many cases it’s called legal. It’s not a bad thing in most cases.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Understandable. My Pawpaw did hospice at home — they kept him “comfortable”. We knew he was going, he knew, his doctors knew. My folks wanted me to come and see him before he passed. My brother, in between his prison stents, told me to stay home; that I wouldnt want to see him like that. He didnt know who people were, talking to dead people, had troubles with going to the bathroom and eating.

          I agreed. I said I didnt have the money, but truthfully I couldnt have emotionally did it.

          He passed peacefully, in his own bed, surrounded by people who loved him.

          Kind of sick sad funny — Atlanta had one of the worst ice storms on record and all the roads froze. Hospice or the coroner couldnt get out to come and get him. My family had to call EMS in the middle of this blizzard/ice storm.

          But back on topic — they definitely gave him enough morphine for him to be comfortable.

          Truthfully, if I were faced with a terminal illness, I would exercise my right to die. Once it became bad and I couldn’t function. I’d have a big party with all the people I love and care about, and die peacefully. I couldnt imagine suffering like that. And folks argue that dying in horrible agony is the ‘natural’ way to do things.

          Then folks giving unsolicited advice on how I should die…. its beyond offensive

          There are laws in place where right to die is legal — person has to be of sound mind and terminally ill with less than six months to live.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’ve had lots of people tell me how to die…usually the comments lead with “Why don you fuck off and….”

            The right to die can’t be given to anyone and that’s one reason I understand the law makers have trouble making the decisions for all of us but it’s like medical weed, it’s not a bad idea but one screw up and it does become a bad idea and no government wants to be blamed for that.

            I didn’t see my grand father go a few years ago but apparently he was is such a state that the horror writer in me wanted to see it so I could write about it, callous in some ways thoughtless in others, but we never had a relationship so I don’t feel much. They medicated him because he wouldn’t stop ranting from what I’m led to believe. But my other grand parents were medicated to take away pain.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Agreed. There is always that one person who fucks it up for the rest of us.

            I mean, it should definitely be decided on a case by case basis — same as medical weed. Obviously for assisted suicide, you shoulf be evaluated by no less than a psych and medical doctor. Although medical weed is kind of the orange in this apples to oranges scenario, still needs to bd evaluated by an MD.

            But folks are gonna smoke weed and kill themselves regardless of the law.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Medical weed and the crap people grow on the window sill are two very different things, but to the uneducated they are the same and that’s why too many people are against it. They think the person in pain is going to get addicted to it and spend their days high. Gawd help us if there was any government approved drug already on the market that did that!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Having known folks in chronic, unimaginable pain — let them be fucking high all the time. Because people who have chronic, unimaginable pain are usually on some form of disabilty anyway. They arent able to work or function. Let them be high.

            I dont care if that makes me sound like a ….. whatever.

            A compassionate person…

            But yeah, stupid people will stupid. It’s in their nature.

            Too bad eugenics is frowned upon….



          • The medical weed our government is looking at wont get them high that’s the big reason they are making themselves look silly for not considering it. Laws have to be changed even though it’s not addictive or offers a high but they aren’t legalising the crap bought on the street in little baggies they are legalising a liquid that helps with pain.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I know in Florida, the vote for medical weed was pretty unanimous. But legislators just made it so you can use edibles and vape it, but not smoke it.

            Honestly, when I smoked back in undergrad… wait… actually last time was six years ago with my dad on Christmas… it bothers my airways. Got better buzzes from beer.


          • I don’t know how many people get arrested here for weed, there is plenty who get arrested for other things and weed is found but we barely even lock up violent ice users who bash pensioners in their own home for the sake of $50

            Liked by 1 person

          • I think the cops here are just frustrated to the point of only going after minor issue if there is good reason.

            We have gangs of teenagers bashing old people in home invasions that the judges let back out of the street because ‘it’s not their fault’. We have people who king hit other people when drunk and kill the victim who get three years and we have drivers who kill on the road getting 6 years. There is barely any point arresting someone for smoking weed when such serious crimes are being treated as a joke by the judges.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Gotta make money some how. There was this little town inside of the town I went to college in. It’s where all the bars were. And the only way the town made money was off of DUI revenues. So these police would troll people on their way home from the bars (sober or not) and pull them over for incidental stuff and ticket them, even if they were sober. The first time I was ever pulled over, I had rolled a stop sign there. Luckily I had nothing on my record and didn’t get ticketed.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t mind them picking on anyone that breaks roads rules and I don’t really care how much they break them by either. It’s like all the taxes they make of smokes, the more money the cops make off people who can’t adhere to road rules means I pay less tax!

            Oh and I like reading all the butt hurt losers who want to blame everyone but themselves for breaking road rules the majority of the country can adhere to.

            Liked by 1 person

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