Warrior Princess

October 21, 2013

The Annual Mind Fuck: Thank You David Foster Wallace

Filed under: Suicide, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 5:29 pm


Image“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

I realize that this quote is longer than many blog postings.  Nonetheless, here  it is.  I discovered (along with virtually everyone else, it seems) Wallace by reading a review of his last novel which was unfortunately interrupted by his suicide.  Anyone who’s read my blog posts before probably already knows that I have a running list of names of people who’ve checked out.  Wallace is my latest suicide discovery.

All of this is by way of saying that it’s come around again.  Friday is the anniversary of my father’s suicide.  I’ve already established residence in the Land of Lunacy the anniversary always takes me by the neck and drags me back into.  New therapist says I should imagine my father, minute, placed on the back of a chair.  I should, she says, contemplate him and say, “My father…hmmm.’  To say that this response is inadequate is really an insult to that word.

To make matters even more interesting, I will be 60 nine days after the anniversary.  Wow.  Double my pleasure, double my fun.  My psychiatrist asked me recently if I’ve been feeling suicidal.  I reminded her that’s not a place I’m allowed to go.  I’ve made a rational, calm decision that I will not even entertain the notion.

So.  Here I am, trying to endure the annual mind fuck and trying to figure out what it means to me to be 60.  I’ve forgiven my father–for something, but I’m not quite sure what.  There are so many things to forgive him for and I haven’t forgiven him for most of them.  As for the birthday, I can now count the months I will probably remain un-cremated.  I’ll get back with you on this as soon as I figure out what posture I’ll assume in relation to this birthday.

Okay.  Not the most fascinating or entertaining post I’ve ever written.  I’m feeling a bit fragmented these days.  Go figure.

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