I used to write every day. I wrote to escape from the dysfunctional life around me, to create new worlds I could understand, and to connect with others through an online community of artists. I also wrote to come to terms with events in my life and to help me rebuild my purpose. After my brother died, I skipped the ritual mourning period and tried to go back to school. I drove halfway across the country to vanish from the heartache and anger that were enveloping my family. I fell into a depression so deep that I didn’t even realize I was hurting myself out of despondency. Writing was the one thing that I could use to create a safe space where I could revive everything I had buried.
My most common medium was a sort of free-flowing poetry. I picked a typewriter font and pounded all of my thoughts into a long post. When I had nothing left to express – sometimes hours or days later – I sifted through the sentences, shaping cohesive paragraphs and picking more explicative words from the thesaurus. I didn’t have an end goal, I just wanted to express my frustration at the circumstances I was involved in and hopefully reach some sort of understanding.
Suicide isn’t an easy topic for a lot of people. There are political, social, and personal ideologies that complicate conversations regarding death that leaves more questions than answers. Emotions are insoluble, and coming to terms with a sense of loss without knowing how to feel is uncomfortable. I didn’t want to take drugs or pay someone to listen to me cry about my life, so I wrote it all down. I spewed all of my confusion and pain into graphic poems and short stories that followed no rules. I found people who had similar experiences and empathized with what I was going through.
It became easier to accept that I was sad about my brother killing himself and my writing allowed me to connect both to myself and others so that I could finally reconcile his death. I will always be dealing with this loss in my life, and I know that as long as I need to remind myself that I’m okay, I will always have my writing.