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November 02, 2005

The day of the dead: Golden Gate Bridge department

The San Francisco Chronicle has been doing an impressive seven-part series on Golden Gate Bridge suicides. I think part two is actually the best place to start.

It's jarring how much some of the stories resonate. I passed a beautiful four-point buck yesterday, dead on the side of the interstate, and the feeling of envy astounded me.

Posted by Chris Clarke at November 2, 2005 02:03 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.faultline.org/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/1425

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Comments

Brrr (feelings of mingled sympathy, alarm and helplessness). Speaking on behalf of your imaginary friends, we're there for you, but mostly for rather airy and distant VO 'there'. I think it'd be good to talk to some of your non-imaginary friends about this stuff.

Posted by: Phil at November 2, 2005 03:14 PM
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Thanks Phil. The non-imaginary friends are indeed on the case, as is the US's health care system, which as you British Islanders might have heard is second to none.

In the main, I just need to find an alternative to my current employment, where I am currently being set up for failure and expected to be grateful about it. (In other words, a typical job.)

Posted by: Chris Clarke at November 2, 2005 03:19 PM
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I don't know if I'm imaginary or not but yes, Phil certainly speaks for me.

I have run and biked across the Golden Gate several times. The lure of the waves is spooky and undeniable. There was a recent article in the New Yorker about this, too. I recall one story in particular. The young man left his apartment to ride the bus and then walk to the bridge. On his dresser he left a note outlining his plan, in which he said "If anyone smiles at me on the way I won't jump."

Posted by: Charles at November 2, 2005 03:37 PM
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You're worrying me.

Posted by: Space Kitty at November 2, 2005 03:48 PM
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i appreciate today's installment in the chron's series -- why this isn't a pretty or easy death.

someone i knew for over a dozen years died recently. not the bridge, but unnaturally, and the people closest to him suspect suicide. we were only distantly in touch in recent years, but for some years i helped keep him alive. haven't really processed this one yet.

a good friend's husband killed himself 11 years ago. she is still working on coming to terms, as is their daughter -- who is really struggling with mental health issues.

one near and very dear has hovered near the void this year. i've felt helpless, helpless. it was in part a job problem; in part other deeply personal stuff; in part just innate chemistry. but -- the worst was temporary, like other bad times. i'm starting to breathe again now.

i don't know the answers, but feel there must be better ways to deal with depression amd to support those in its grip, to make the lure of a flight to oblivion less easy in the darkest moment...

i've been re-reading a lovely book touching on these topics -- "folly," by laurie r. king, a beautiful writer.

Posted by: kathy a at November 2, 2005 05:00 PM
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CC-
I don't know what's going on in your real life, but I have to ask: are you thinking about killing yourself?
CP

Posted by: carpundit at November 2, 2005 05:10 PM
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Thanks for asking, Carpundit. No, I'm not.

Although there's a chance I'll be taking Strattera sometime soon, and I might ask you guys to keep an eye on me for the first month.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at November 2, 2005 05:14 PM
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a friend of mine died of cancer last week. stubborn cuss, she held on two or three years longer than the doctors thought possible. i admit that as she slipped closer to the edge, i envied her. she'll get to say hello to cara before i will.

i hope the strattera does what you need it to. and i'm back in the same time zone: happy to get together for chat any time it might help.

Posted by: Jean Sirius at November 2, 2005 07:26 PM
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Sounds like I'm gonna have to develop a healthy case of OCD to round out the family complement.

Posted by: Allison at November 2, 2005 07:28 PM
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i admit that as she slipped closer to the edge, i envied her. she'll get to say hello to cara before i will.

Oh, Jean.

I should say that the Strattera thing is entirely based on self-diagnosis and self-theoretical-prescribing, and that this scenario might evaporate utterly once I talk to someone who, how do I put this, knows what the fuck he's talking about.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at November 2, 2005 07:32 PM
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If you actually find someone who "knows what the fuck he's talking about" will you please share him with your imaginary and non-imaginary friends. I've been looking for someone like that all my life.

We saw a four-point buck yesterday when we walked out our front door. It looked at us like we were interlopers, and you know, I think he had it right.

This imaginary friend wishes you well.

Posted by: Rexroth's Daughter at November 3, 2005 08:04 AM
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i have used a chemical company's slogan lightly and somewhat sarcastically at times, referring to one or another drug. "better living through chemistry." if only it were uniformly so.

it's a tough life when ya gotta consider meds to deal with work. does your employer read this blog?

soak up the love from your commenters. add it to becky and zeke's.

Posted by: dread pirate roberts at November 3, 2005 09:13 AM
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When they jump, they always have their backs to The City. That's what I've heard, anyway.

Posted by: Roxanne at November 3, 2005 10:27 AM
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Been there (well, not there physically, but mentally). Went through with attempt but flubbed it...and had an epiphany afterwards.

Still struggle, but never again have sunk anywhere near that depth. And it seems to get a little better all the time, in a two steps forward one-and-a-half step back sort of way.

Best to you. Every day above ground's a good one.

Posted by: anon at November 3, 2005 03:26 PM
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Best to you. Every day above ground's a good one.

Do you know Justin Horton's blog? I can recommend this. I can also recommend this.

Posted by: Phil at November 3, 2005 04:58 PM
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Glad you flubbed it, anon.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at November 3, 2005 04:59 PM
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You're right. That series is great. This paragraph from Part Five is worrying:

Milikin, a never-married taxi driver, wrote of politics and conspiracies. "LH Oswald was innocent!" he wrote. He complained about the Bush administration, the loss of civil liberties and the rise of fascism in the United States.

Posted by: eRobin at November 3, 2005 05:36 PM
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Chris, take it from someone who knows - think for a LONG time before deciding to take a pill to deal with brain issues.

I've been off the psych meds for what, two years now? And I still haven't recovered from them... I still have physical problems from them.

Think of your mind as a finely engineered swiss watch that drives you crazy because it loses five seconds a day.
Think of the meds as the sledgehammer someone is trying to sell you to fix your watch with.

I wasn't suicidal until I was on meds.

Oh, and my penis used to work, too.

Posted by: craig at November 3, 2005 06:32 PM
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Now I have to go wash my brain with Purel, you bastard.

Posted by: Allison at November 3, 2005 07:21 PM
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I don't think the OCD was actually that good an idea, Allie. How about you go for Borderline Personality Disorder instead?

Posted by: Chris Clarke at November 3, 2005 07:34 PM
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I was just saying to Carrie the other day that there were some things I might mention on blogs or blog comments... revealing things about my past or what have you like Chris does, if it weren't for the fact that I have alla these nieces that idolize me.

(not that they don't you too, Chris, they just already are used to you being you.)

Posted by: craig at November 3, 2005 07:38 PM
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Yeah, well, I might not be able to back out on the OCD now. I think this conversation pretty much got me.

they just already are used to you being you

Says who? I never know which days I come here will end in me being scarred permanently.

Posted by: Allison at November 3, 2005 08:54 PM
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Well, that's what happens when you enjoy a perfect, idyllic childhood. No immunity. It's like polio: you're better off being exposed to a certain amount of shit in your life.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at November 3, 2005 10:26 PM
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I think this is an interesting place to mention that I had an allergic reaction to my first polio inoculation.

Posted by: Allison at November 4, 2005 07:01 AM
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If you're trying to deal with mild-to-moderate depression, which is what it sounds like, you might want to consider trying St. John's Wort, an herbal remedy that works pretty well for some people--there have been serious medical studies and all that. Pretty much nothing in the way of side effects, but don't mix it with SSRIs.

My sympathies on the whole job thing--I'm working for an overhyped start-up that's flashing its thong at anyone management thinks has enough money to acquire us. Ugh.

Posted by: alex at November 4, 2005 08:18 AM
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I'm with you, Allie. I never know how I'll feel after I visit this place.

Chris - remember how you helped Craig get through his hard time.

Posted by: Rita Xavier at November 4, 2005 11:22 AM
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you mean I'm through it?

(kidding.)

Posted by: craig at November 4, 2005 12:16 PM
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I think she just meant I need to go fossil hunting.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at November 4, 2005 12:23 PM
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Good luck, Chris - do what you need to do to make things better. All the good intentions and free advice in the world can only tell you what worked for the person *giving* that advice. Ultimately, you know yourself better than anyone - and only you know what will help you the most.

I'm pulling for you.

Posted by: Space Kitty at November 4, 2005 12:33 PM
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Fossil hunting would be a good idea.

Posted by: Rita Xavier at November 4, 2005 01:48 PM
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I been wanting to go fossil hunting a lot lately.

Posted by: craig at November 4, 2005 07:36 PM
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Don't you already live in Florida?

Posted by: Allison at November 5, 2005 10:31 AM
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I don't get it - is that some sort of senior citizen joke?

Posted by: craig at November 5, 2005 02:42 PM
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better living through chemistry, indeed. Meds are not right for everybody, but sometimes you just gotta admit you need a crutch. I dealt with mild-to-moderate depression for about 50 years; I think it's a side effect of growing up in Buffalo. My life is better in some ways, sometimes I just want to slide back down that gentle slope into depression because it's hard to fight it all the time.

Chris, you are a gift. I love your writing - it takes me back to that gloomy lakeshore. Take care of yourself.

Posted by: Buffalo Gal at November 6, 2005 08:23 AM
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