I think about death a lot. I mean A LOT.
Now, I’ll start by saying that this isn’t a cry for help. It’s a small peek into the intrusive thoughts that keep up at night and heavily distracted most days.
I’ve come to terms with my intrusive thoughts and spent my entire life learning to tune them out. I’m a pro at it. What I’m not a pro at is sharing these thoughts which occupy the majority of my headspace. So much headspace in fact that it’s almost impossible to focus on anything else. I think about this logically and always come to the same conclusion.
Maybe there’s a reason so much of my time is spent thinking about mental illness.
Maybe there’s a much bigger purpose for these thoughts that I’m not seeing. Perhaps if I can get those thoughts out in the open, then they won’t be burning a hole in my brain anymore, and I can finally focus on other things. Maybe other people can actually relate to what I feel I won’t spend the rest of my life alone in my thoughts thinking that no one else could possibly understand what it’s like to have these thoughts. So this is me taking a giant leap and giving the internet a glimpse into what goes on in my head. Ok, here it goes.
It’s not even that I ACTUALLY want to die. I just don’t ever stop thinking about it. I spend so much time thinking about death and the crushing weight of my own life, that being alive in my mind and body is fucking exhausting. And the thought of spending however many more years enduring it is nauseating. Again it’s still not that I ever seriously consider killing myself. Death just feels like such an easy solution to solving most of my problems. Logically.
I had never shared my thoughts on death and how casually it crosses my mind because I know it makes people uncomfortable. The times I’ve dropped hints or made jokes about how I want to kill myself, people could hardly relate. They look at me like I‘m crazy and wildly insensitive for making light out of such a serious issue.
That is, until a recent flight when the cute guy sitting next to me asked: “Do you ever think about how we could immediately plummet to our deaths right now?”
uhmm…yes, that’s literally all I think about when I fly. Mostly because I don’t know how planes work and can’t even comprehend the science of how we are staying up in the air, period. But also because I see the possibility of death in every scenario. My new plane friend and I spent the whole flight talking about our own mortality and how is any of it even real. How life isn’t even probably real, therefore death isn’t even real either. I had never met another person so okay with talking about the fact that we could die right now and not be terrified about it (or request to change seats when I joke about how we’re probably going down).
The next day I walked across the Golden Gate Bridge (a check off the bucket list). The very first sign I saw after the initial entrance to the bridge read:
The consequences of jumping off this bridge are fatal and tragic. There is hope. Make the call.
Directly below was a giant yellow phone box with a button that connects you to the suicide prevention hotline, accompanied by a sign with a number to text the hotline.
I found this fascinating. When you google “Golden Gate Bridge” the third option to autofill is “Golden Gate Bridge suicides” which will lead down an internet rabbit hole of Wikipedia pages describing people’s decisions to jump off the bridge. According to the site they’ve recovered over 1,800 bodies in the Bay since the bridge’s completion in 1937. I find this kind of information fascinating. For one, because tourists travel there from all over the world to experience an iconic American landmark and probably don’t even think about the number of people who have died in that exact spot. For me, it was one of the main reasons I wanted to go. I wanted to see what those 1,800 people saw before making the ultimate decision to jump. I experienced a feeling I’ve felt many times before. It usually comes when I drive by cemeteries and once before when I visited the Grand Canyon (another place with a long history of deaths and suicides). The feeling can only be described as an overwhelming sense of mortality. It makes me feel more alive than ever and more connected to the universe. I don’t know if that makes any sense.
I always thought that it was weird that I don’t get creeped out by death. That I always want to learn more about people who ended their lives or places that are associated with deaths.
I’m afraid I’m starting to ramble, but the point is that suicide fascinates me. The idea of death calms me. And the fact that other people have made the decision to take control of their final fate is weirdly encouraging to me. Not because I want to follow in their footsteps but because I know what that kind of pain is like and I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m happy they managed to find a release. I can’t be the only one that craves that kind of release every single day fully knowing that I won’t ever act upon it.
I don’t like people knowing the things that keep me up at night. But I mentioned to a friend my hesitations with creating content on this touchy topic and her words still ring loudly in my ears.
If it touches at least one person, then that’s the beginning of a movement.
I started this post with a disclaimer and will end with one as well because although I’ve found ways to cope with the demons inside me, I know a lot of others haven’t.
So if you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1–800–273–8255. Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your confidential call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals.