Is This a Perfect Day for Bananafish?

This is Lindsay Laws, Gordon’s daughter. He wrote this story because of a real conversation that we had when I was twelve (I’m now fifteen) and was struggling with anxiety and suicidal thoughts. I don’t usually like to think about this time in my life, because it was miserable and the worst point of my entire existence, but I want my story to be shared to spread awareness. I was only twelve when my anxiety started to really show itself. It can happen to anyone at any age. Check in on others and show love and kindness. I was confused at random thoughts that would come into my head and tell me to kill myself. What I didn’t know is that I didn’t need to put any weight on these thoughts. I struggled with that. It became obsessive, where all I could think about was why these thoughts of suicide were entering my mind, and if it was a sign that I should just kill myself. It wasn’t and it never will be. My life is valued and these thoughts are liars. Frankly, life sucks sometimes, but life is also great and has so many wonderful attributes. I decided I wanted to be alive for those attributes. Through countless hours of therapy and even starting on medication, I took control of my thoughts and anxiety. I now know that I don’t want to end my life, and that life is beautiful and worth living. It will get better. You are loved and a valued member of society. Don’t give up, because life is worth living.

He is on 7th and 33rd in NYC, iPhone pressed to his ear.

“I cannot get her to settle down. She does a lot worse when you are away. Can you talk to her?”

“It’s not a great time, but fine. Put her on.”

There’s jostling of the phone, then Lindsay’s voice.

“Dad?”

“What’s going on, Linds?”

“I don’t know. I keep hearing the voice and I get anxious and I can’t make it stop.”

“The voice saying what?”

“You know.”

“No, I don’t. What does it say?”

“That maybe I should just do it.”

“Do what?”

“You know.”

“No, I don’t. Be specific.”

“Like, end it, you know.”

“We’ve talked about this. We are not going to talk about this in euphemisms. We’re going to be honest. So, no, I don’t know. Precisely what do you mean?”

“Kill myself.”

“We’ve talked about this. Is that what you really want? To do that and have one of us find you?”

“No.”

“Then why do you keep saying you might want to?”

“I don’t know.”

“I need to know. If you’re a real threat to yourself, then I need to cut my business trip short and come home. Then I need to take you to Pembroke Hospital where they are trained to help people who are real threats to themselves. And that’s fine. No judgment. I have had times where I thought about suicide every day, so I get it. I just need to know.”

“I don’t need that.”

“Then what’s the issue? If you’re trying to get my attention, this is not realistic. I have to feed our family. Which means I have to go on business trips. I cannot just stay home all the time because you feel upset.”

“I know.”

“Well, if you know, then act like it. What have we said before about this?”

“I should focus on something or go exercise or meditate.”

“Did you do any of that?”

“No.”

“Then what are we doing here?”

“I don’t know. I’m sorry.”

“Lindsay, I love you. But this is just what life is. Sometimes for no reason at all, you wake up and want to die. But you don’t get to die. You get up and go to work. And at some point, the feeling passes.”

2 thoughts on “Is This a Perfect Day for Bananafish?

  1. Bless you both for honesty and transparency. So important and I am so glad I read this. Thank you so much.
    I served as a missionary in your ward when your dad was bishop, and its fun to see how all you kids are growing up.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: