I’m publishing this strategy because maybe it will help someone else survive in the future:
I feel an intense psychiatric compulsion to suicide every time I experience romantic heartbreak. It’s simply part of my bipolar disorder (which I improve management of everyday). Usually I’m well adept at handling these situations and moving quickly out of them.
However, this morning’s heartbreak incident proved much more difficult to manage; I moved beyond psychiatric compulsion and actually considered offing myself. It’s not that the woman involved is any more awesome than previous situations (she is), it’s just that I feel beaten down from years of serial heartbreak. I always get back up again after getting knocked down. Won’t ever stop doing that. But sometimes one just needs a break.
To survive, I constructed the following two-part argument, built entirely on the deep love I have for this woman. I reframed survival as an expression of this love:
First, and less importantly, she asked me not to contact her in the future, which I intend to honor. I realized that if I took my life she would certainly find out—which be a form of contact—a message somewhere between “I love you” and “fuck you”.
This first reason isn’t particularly rational, but the second reason carries tremendous clarity and precision:
Taking my life in response to her rejection would likely traumatize her, even though my action wouldn’t be her fault by any stretch of the imagination! I could not do this to her. She’d spend a lifetime second-guessing her decisions, and potentially years on unnecessary guilt. She’d perhaps require therapeutic intervention. It would disrupt her life in significant ways. I cannot do this to someone I love, who’s well-being I care so much about. So better for me to endure the pain which will pass in time.
The interesting thing about this last reason is that, while I constructed the argument expressed above based on concern for her well-being, I was even more concerned about her son’s well-being (who doesn’t know me). Here is my logic: If my beloved withdrew into trauma due to a suicide on my part, she would be less able to provide emotionally for her son. This of course would do great damage. Again, I cannot do this to someone I care about, so I’ll endure the pain.
So instead of killing myself I went shopping.