Wanting to Die on World Suicide Prevention Day
Celebrated World Suicide Prevention Day by deciding not to die today, and yes, many days it is a decision. All I want to do is post thoughts of support and inspiration, but that's just not where I'm at today. I'm always hesitant to call my thoughts "suicidal" because they're usually very passive. It's not that I actively want to kill myself. It's not even that I actively want to die. I want to have died. I want to be dead. It used to come from a place of extreme sadness and pain, but lately, it stems from a place of emptiness and exhaustion. I have no frame of reference for what "good" is, what it feels like, or if it's even worth it. People love to give advice about how exercise or a better diet or a more positive outlook will help depression. But it's so hard to take any of that advice to heart when you don't want to prolong your life. The struggle doesn't seem worth it. The fight doesn't seem worth it.
I've lived with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. For years, I was able to just push through. I wanted to solve my problems on my own. No help. No medication. Just a positive outlook and a drive to succeed. That could only carry me so far. In recent years, it just got progressively worse. Thoughts of suicide would come up from time to time, and I always took comfort in the fact that I could talk myself out of them pretty easily. The idea of death was scary. More frightening than the alternative. That was enough to keep me going. It was enough to make me feel "fine."
I left my feelings unchecked for so long. Buried them deep inside. Repress. Repress. Dry my eyes and smile so I could exist around people again. Big smile, hoping no one asked questions.
"Is everything ok?" "Yeah, of course! Don't worry about it! I'm good!"
It got a lot worse in the last year. For the first time, the suicidal thoughts would come, and I wouldn't fight them. I'd let them sit there, festering.
"You should just do it. Do it. Come on, just do it. Why not? Just kill yourself and be done with it. Do it!"
After a while, the idea of death stopped being scary. It became a source of comfort. The idea that I could die, and that would be it. Lights out. Like going to sleep and never waking up. I'd be the only one to not know I died. No sadness. No regrets. Just a warm blanket of infinite nothingness.
Once you get to that point, you start to resent the people who care about you. Why won't they just let you die? Why won't they support your decision? Why don't they see that there's nothing left for you here and that staying is only prolonging the agony? The more you resent them, the more you actively try to push them away. If people didn't care, you could just do it. You could just die in peace.
Earlier this year, in the throes of a manic episode, I came to peace with my own mortality. I was ready to die, and I couldn't see why people were so upset by that. I wasn't going to kill myself. I just wasn't going to worry about staying alive anymore. Really, I just kept wishing I could die of old age now.
"But what if things could get better? What if you could be happy?"
"Then what," I'd ask. "I live another 50-60 years and have to get back to this mindset all over again. When an older person says they've lived a good life and that they don't fear death, you call them brave, but when I do it, it's a grave concern?"
All I wanted was to quit my job, sell everything I own, live well for a year or two, then curl up into a ball and die. It was a pretty common fantasy. It still comes back on occasion. I'm not completely over it.
I don't actively want to die at this very moment, and it almost makes me sad, because that was the last time I truly wanted something. Now, I'm numb. I have no wants, no desires. I have no plans for the future and no certainty that I'll end up there. I've had terrible luck with doctors and medications, and I almost don't want to try anything new for fear that it won't work and that will be one less option I have left.
I want to tell you that it gets better. Maybe it does. I can say that feeling this way is not a sign of weakness and having those thoughts does not make you bad or selfish in any way. Mental illness fucking sucks. You did nothing to deserve it, and so many people have a hard time acknowledging that it's even real. It could be something you have to manage you're entire life, and it's not your fault. Not one bit.
So what do we do? How do we make it to tomorrow? I feel like I know all the things you're supposed to say to a suicidal person. How you should tell them that they are loved, that they are strong, that they can make it through. You should hug them hard and let them know that they exist, they are real, and they matter to you. All of those things sound really nice. Sometimes, they even help. They haven't done much for me lately, as true as any of those things might be. It doesn't pull me out of the darkness. I wish it did. I really wish there was a button, some magic words you could say, a magic pill that will make me want to go on one more day.
So here I am, on the day when so many people are reaching out, strangers I'll never know, telling me and you that we're not alone. Only a few hours ago, I was crying on my couch because I didn't know how to exist, how to be anything to anyone, how to get better, how to keep fighting. I still don't know the answers to any of those, but I am here writing, so I guess I'll make it through one more day.
There's always one more thing I can write, one more thing I can create, one more person to hug, one more delicious thing I can eat, one more movie I can see, one more song I can hear, one more book I can read, one more thing I can try, one more hope, one more desire, one more chance.
I guess I'm not dead yet, and neither are you.