Since last Tuesday when co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 killed 150 people in one fell swoop I’ve heard and read the words suicide and depression more than I can count. What has not been used is the word murder, which is exactly what Andreas Lubitz committed. He murdered 150 people in cold blood. He ultimately killed himself as well, but does that mean we call this crime a suicide? When there’s a shooting at a mall, or a school shooting where the perpetrator kills people and then themselves, do we call this a suicide?
I am a mental health professional in private practice and besides serving as a witness, mirror and counselor to my clients, I spend a lot of time researching crime and sociopathic behavior. What I know is that suicide and murder are two different things, and require two types of thought processes and delusion. Not only was Andreas Lubitz willing to take his own life, which is extreme and sad no doubt, he was for some unknown reason willing to take the lives of 150 people – that’s a statement of power, anger, rage and control. That is an external expression of violence, not only against total strangers but passengers that he was responsible for as a co-pilot of that airplane. He sat in total silence while those passengers screamed, knowing their lives were about to end.
By looking at this man as a victim of depression or any other mental illness he loses accountability. He becomes someone doctors or therapist failed or let slip through, someone that shouldn’t have been allowed to fly and that’s why this happened, and his actions become less grotesque. The reality is that he shouldn’t have killed 150 people, regardless of depression, suicidal ideation or otherwise.
I don’t know why he did what he did; ultimately if we somehow find out it won’t change anything. It won’t give us insight that will make sense of this and logically be able to stop it in the future. There will not be a regulation now put in place that will prevent this type of tragedy from happening despite trying. If someone like him decides to do it – lock on the door, two people in the cockpit, exposing all health related records -or not it will happen in one tragic way or another. As a culture, we focus on what we can do to prevent the past from happening again, all too much – our own delusions of control. I’m not saying we should just put our hands up and look for no preventative measures. Could this have been prevented? I don’t know, but I don’t think so. It’s terrible and sad and incomprehensible and I cannot imagine what the friends, families, co-workers and neighbors of the victims are going through. Mass murder is hard to predict and even harder to stop. What we can do now at the very least is hold him responsible as much as we can by calling his action what it was, a crime against others; murder.
I started my day off at around 6am reading an article that has stuck with me since, and consequently resulted in my saying fuck in my head and outloud more than I thought possible – even for me. The point of it was about measuring your preferences and focus by number of “fucks given” and how what you give a fuck about says about you and your real direction, maturity etc. It highlighted for me that I don’t give a fuck about what I should, and give a few fucks about things I probably shouldn’t. Also, that I’m giving less fucks in general all the time.
What do I give a fuck about? Getting fat. I’m getting fat. After being in surgical menopause I’m on hormone replacement shit and it’s bad. Whoever the fuck said this would be easy? No one. Ever.
I give a fuck about the weird scar and swelling I have in my pelvic region now after the abscess and infection. Its fucking weird looking and not attractive. I give a fuck about not being attractive. I hate that.
I give a fuck about the fucking car I drive, and won’t drive a piece of shit Chevy, motherfuckers. I will drive a Subaru, even if it’s got 200,000 miles and is a rust hole. I don’t know what that even is, but I’d drive the shit out of it anyway. No. Fucking. Chevy’s. Bitches.
Apparently I’m losing my mind, wits, marbles – whatever. I lost things, let’s put it that way. And I can’t seem to find them. To be quite honest, I’m not sure where to look and I’ve procrastinated a bit. Okay, I haven’t looked.
My brain isn’t working, I cannot make myself do things I don’t like and I much prefer altered states of consciousness. Not conducive to my life and it’s not working out well. I seem to recently have these new rules for myself that are quite limiting. For example, I’m not allowed to leave the house after dark on a weeknight. It’s bad. This restricts movie watching at a theatre. And I must have the option of being in bed by 9:30, never mind the fact that rarely happens. No phone conversations after work. Or at work. They’re exhausting. Absolutely no doing anything different. Nope, not me. I will do the same goddamn things until my tracks are so ingrained I can’t see out of them. Ask me why? I have no idea. I know better, and chose less. Maybe removing body parts will make things different. Maybe they’ll find my wits in there, and they’ve just been hiding in my uterus. I wouldn’t blame them, it’s nice, dark and warm.
I’m on a mission. Mostly to do things I wouldn’t normally. You see, though I’m really honest here, in the non-internet/cloud world I try to fit in and refrain from boat rocking for the most part. Thoughts stay in my head if I’m in control, and had enough sleep (or not if I’m in the car alone). I’m now seeking a middle ground. If I find someone attractive, I’ll tell them. If I want to go up to a stranger and strike up a conversation about their belt buckle because I’m shocked that their able to walk around with the weight, well then I will. And what better place to kick it into high gear than tonight at a Willie Nelson concert!
I’ve been debating on what to wear all day. A t-shirt with another band’s graphic? A cowboy hat? Jeans, cut offs, shorts, tank top… the list goes on. You may be wondering why I’m even wasting my time because, who gives a fuck what you wear, no one cares, right?! Wrong. I do. So I’m walking over to Urban Outfitters now to buy a way over priced Dolly Parton t-shirt because it’s fucking awesome and quite possibly the most perfect thing to wear to a Willie Nelson show. HA!
I wish I had something really smart to say about all this. I got nothin’. It’s been around 6 months since I’ve written anything on this blog, mostly because I forgot about it. Today I remembered, wishing I had someone to talk at, that would just listen and nod in agreement. Here we are, you and I, go ahead and nod away.
Many endings and changes since December: my relationship ending, kids moving out, sanity gone. Not much would ever surprise me , or so I thought. Then I found a cyst and my right ovary, had it removed in April. Doctors determined it was ovarian cancer, stage 1. I’ll be going back in two weeks from today to have all the rest taken out, including my appendix. Then chemo for a bit. I’ll be in menopause and require HRT.
It’s an odd thing, having cancer. It’s exactly what you think it would be like – full of denial, resistance, disbelief and all that, and I don’t have anything major, really. Just need to do a clean sweep and I should be okay…fingers crossed. It makes you ask a lot of existential questions; tease the unimportant from the truly valuable, and examine what control you do or don’t have. It’s exhausting. And enlightening. I’ve decided I really want to be happy. I REALLY WANT TO BE HAPPY! Did you hear me? And I’m not. I don’t think I ever have been. Most of what I do, most of the time, is not making me happy. I know all the bull shit about choices, and focus and gratitude – I’m a fucking therapist for Christ’s sake. But really, it takes doing something different, not just changing your self talk. That’s where I am now, anyway. I’m sure it will change. My intent is to write about it for a while and see where I go.
Um, this office may be killing me. I believe all the fun life has been sucked out of me and I’m turning into a non-person. Which is what HR people become: non-people. My clothes are becoming more bland, lipstick a shade more neutral and earrings just a bit smaller. Less attention grabbing. Mmmmm, that’s fun.
Did I mention the Halloween costume conversation around the kitchen microwave today? Some stupid little shit is going as a princess – imagine that. Never happened before. Ever. You might as well go ahead and give her the “you’re worthless unless men love you, and by the way your boobs are small” talk, because that’s where the princess outfits ultimately get you. Get her boobs done now, why don’t ya! Get it over with. God forbid we come up with another kind of ultimate dream for little girls.
Ahhhh, that’s better. Just enough and now I can get through traffic. It’s Friday! My kids are 18 and NOT in jail! No one is going to starve if I don’t cook and I may just read the night away with a bottle of wine. Not. Too. Shabby.
I returned from vacation at 2 am Tuesday morning. What a shock to go back to work Wednesday – the contrast of being outside hiking in the woods daily in North Carolina, with now being in my windowless office – is deep.
During the trip, and a short time prior, I was beginning to work on my opening my heart. Sounds cheesy, trust me I know. I have been emotionally numb and stuck for a long time and have recently wanted that to change for various reasons. I started looking for something – a book, a group – anything to help. What showed up was a class on opening the heart, which I signed up for and attended a few days before my trip. Nothing striking there, but it began a slightly different thought process. Since returning I have noticed that perhaps focusing on my heart has moved something, just a little. Being in the green lush mountains has healed, perhaps a smidge. The thing I’ve really come to understand is that my heart is encased in a hard shell for a reason – when it’s ready to crack it will. When I heal and am ready to move forward, I will.
I haven’t talked to my kids for awhile – and really don’t feel a thing about that. I have not made any attempt to repair my relationship with my mother – and am not sure it’s my job. I do not have any contact with my family right now – feels fine. Nice actually – no guilt trips. I believe I’ll just sit here awhile.
Oh mother’s day. What the hell are you? A day to recognize that mothers exist? A day to go over to mom’s and hang out while she cooks and cleans up after us? Buy flowers? Stupid pointless cards that cost five freaking dollars that don’t fit the nature of your relationship – because let’s just be honest, no one has that kind of relationship with their mother (fluffy, pink, sweet, light of my life shit). I’d really rather have the option of buying a card that says something like “This is a really awkward day and I don’t like to hang out with you but I’m supposed to do something so here”. I’d buy that.
Then there’s the I’m a mother and it’s mother’s day situation. Does age trump number of kids? Do we always have to defer to our mothers before we take a freaking day to do nothing – including mother? Do I get to opt out as a mother’s day recipient? You really want to give me something? Well how about leave me the feck alone for a day!
What about grandmothers and aunts? Why are all the cards out there for them if they aren’t our MOTHERS! Where does it stop people? Can we please just stop the insanity of having to fake it through another goddamn holiday thing that we have to celebrate because it’s what we do, regardless of reality or beliefs, or lack of religion etc. I am not a Christian but I’m expected to celebrate easter and Christmas. I don’t believe the story of Thanksgiving, but I am required to go eat and be thankful for something. Father’s day, grandparent’s day, blah blah blah. Let’s just call them all by what they are: Painful Relationships Awareness Day. Let’s at least be honest about it and forgive each other for being less than we’d hoped for, lower the expectations, accept reality and go see a movie alone, or at least with people we choose to be around because we honestly like them.
During my session with my therapist last night, it was pointed out to me that I had mentioned “being in the woods” at least three times, and that perhaps I should go to the woods sometime. When he said that I almost started crying immediately. I remembered that when I was a kid, just a random aged kid, I would have episodes of being depressed, numb, depressed and overwhelmed and alone much like I have recently. My solution was to go way out in the woods to one of two spots with a moss covered tree or hill under a tree, and sit and cry for a couple hours until I couldn’t do either anymore. Then I gave up the drama and went home, acting like nothing happened. I’m assuming this was helpful, though here I am again, feeling the same way and apparently needing the same thing. I can’t figure out what it is about walking into the safe thickness of a covered woods, heavy with leaves, earthy and damp, draped with bright green moss that cures me, at least momentarily.
I think I’ll go today when I get home. I’ll find a large, cool rock resting on the edge of a creek and sit. Quietly. Alone. I’ll probably cry, though I’m not entirely sure why. With a lot of luck I’ll find some mushrooms for dinner.