Talking About Suicide

Because it's not a taboo

Reading about Sue Martin

“When I began writing about my experiences I tried, in every way, to avoid telling that one part of my story, that I am blind as the result of a suicide attempt. It just didn’t work. It was like denying that I have a right arm.”

I’ve just come across the blog of Sue Martin, who is posting online the story of her attempt and of her life over the more than two decades since then. I’ve e-mailed her through the site and hope to hear more. Depression played a large part in her attempt, but her chapter-by-chapter story says little about what happened to those feelings as she struggled in her 20s to adjust to a life without sight. I’d also like to know how she talked with others about what happened, or whether this blog is her first public step. In one chapter, she does describe how she decided to be open with a classmate:

I found myself thinking that I had better tell Jim a bit more about myself. Specifically, I thought it best that he know about the cause of my blindness sooner rather than later. While blindness was becoming just part of who I was, I wasn’t quite there with the suicide attempt. Taking a deep breath, I began. When I came to the end of my story I waited. Holding my breath, I waited for Jim’s reaction.

“Oh,” Jim said. Then he added, ‘Okay.’ And that was all he said.

“Is that all you can say?” I asked.

“Well, yes, what else should I say?”

“You’re not horrified?” I said. And I thought, I might just fall in love with this guy. He knows what I considered, at the time, the most terrible thing about me and it was all okay.

They later married.

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