The one thing that has kept me alive over all my years of suffering has been my children. No matter how deep the pain; no matter how much I hated myself; no matter how resentful and angry I was; and no matter how little I thought of myself as a father, husband, son, friend, or person, I always remembered that I have children that I brought into this world, and that I was and still am responsible for their them. I brought them into this world, and my job as a parent was and is to do the best job that I could with whatever capabilities I have. No matter how much or how little I was involved in their lives at any point in time, that was better for them, and a better lesson to them, than to quit. Suicide is not an option for parents no matter how much that parent may suffer.
You will have to pour gasoline on me and set me on fire before I would ever let you hurt my children, and I have no fear whatsoever of death – none. Pedophiles, child molesters, child beaters, serial killers, and rapists are excused – By all means, go kill yourself. You’ll do society a favor. If you’re not in one of the groups I just mentioned then your presence in this world is mandatory for your children’s sake. You will do them irreparable harm if you commit suicide.
One of my parents’ father killed himself when my parent was only two years old, and I am sure that it has had an effect on that parent. It has had an effect on me. I do not want to repeat that mistake.
In rapper Eminem’s latest music video called “When I’m Gone”, Marshall (that’s Eminem’s real name) is at a support group and gets up to share his pain and guilt about the pain he and his alter ego (Slim Shady) has caused to his wife and daughter. Marshall wants to change. He plans to kill Slim Shady once and for all, but Slim Shady takes the stage, and the song begins to sound like a suicide note.
Anyone who has struggled with Depression over the course of many years will easily relate to how Eminem’s thoughts, words, feelings, and actions shift between expression as his authentic self (Marshall) and his alter ego (Slim Shady), and how painful that process is. It certainly does feel as if there are two different people living within us, but not as it would for someone with Schizophrenia or Multiple Personality Disorder. People with Depression are not psychotic. They know that they are thinking, feeling, and acting differently when they are depressed, and yet it seems that almost all access to positive thoughts and emotions have been severed.
The authentic self is still there and we know it. We just don’t when of if we will ever have access to it again. The authentic soul is always kind, loving, compassionate, and optimistic, while the depressed person can be cruel, selfish, and devoid of the any positive feeling, including love. The love, the good, the compassion; it’s is all there. And yet we are unable to access it while in the Depressed mind-state.
Eminem has numerous lines in the song that those of us who are parents that live with depression can relate to. But if you examine each line you will see that whatever pain Marshal believes that he has caused his daughter Hailie to feel is nothing compared to the never ending pain and psychological damage that he would inflict on her if he were to kill himself.
While I find the song/video sad and depressing I still encourage parents who have depression to watch and listen to it because it is a paramount importance that we always remember that we must continue on no matter how painful it is to do so, because we brought a child into this world and it is our responsibility to care for that child as best we can.
Below are a few lines from the song followed up with some comments from me about them:
What happens when you become the main source of her pain?
Marshall sees himself as the main source of his daughter’s pain, but what evidence is there of that? In fact, just a few lines later his daughter is going over to him and saying “Daddy look what I made”, which clearly indicates that she loves him and wants to show her dad that paper art people cutouts that she made.
I don’t know go play Hailie, baby, your Daddy’s busy
Daddy’s writing a song, this song ain’t gonna write itself
Even parents who do not suffer from depression have blown their kids off for something or other. And while it is true that this might happen an even a routine basis due to depression, Hailie is certainly better off with her daddy alive.
Eminem: And put hands on her mother, who’s a spitting image of her
While I agree that one spouse committing acts of violence against another spouse is damaging to a child, it is still not as damaging as suicide. Marshall feels guilty and remorseful, as he should. And he should do all in his power to make sure that that behavior never happens again. And I agree that this violence is damaging to a child, but not as much as suicide would be.
The chorus of the song says:
And when I’m gone, just carry on, don’t mourn
Rejoice every time you hear the sound of my voice
Just know that I’m looking down on you smiling
And I didn’t feel a thing, So baby don’t feel no pain
Just smile back
This is the biggest bullshit of the entire song, and the most important thing for parents with depression to always remember. Eminem can’t kill Slim Shady with out taking out Marshall Mathes, and Hailie needs her daddy. This decoupling of these two personalities is an important part of breaking depression.
Depression is a ruthless disease. I call it a very selfish disease because when I am depressed my behavior becomes selfish. I have to do what I have to do to survive, and that sometimes means not giving my family and friends the attention that they deserve. But that’s the way it is. It is not fair. It is not “right”. But I have to accept that and live with my guilt or whatever other self deprecating thoughts that I choose to entertain. It’s my problem. And I will not run away from it by killing myself to make ease my pain.