Trigger warning: This article talks about suicide.
I’ve had depression since I was 15. That’s a pretty long time to want to die.
My chronic sadness took away the hope I had for the future. It stole any determination to do anything. Throughout the next seven years, I would experience highs and lows. Extreme lows. I thought the saddest I had ever been was spring break of freshman year when I laid in bed and decided I wanted to die. But then when I was 18, my dog, who we’d gotten as a puppy when I was nine years old, died in my arms the day after my cat had done the same.
This was also less than two weeks after my best friend and first boyfriend left me. This, I was sure, was the deepest sorrow a person could ever experience. I waited for my broken heart to just fucking stop beating already.
It wouldn’t stop, and eventually I had to get out of bed again. I went through all of the motions of living. I socialized, I dated, I got a job, I took in new pets who added value to my world. I maintain even now that if it hadn’t been for the animals who depend on me, I never would have bothered going on living.
After my last relationship ended, things took a turn that I didn’t expect. At first I was fine. I had initiated the breakup, so I wasn’t sad over the loss. But then I was sad because I had failed again. Like so many other things, I hadn’t been able to make it work. I wasn’t able to fix or help him, I wasn’t patient enough to weather through.
The sadness swept over me like a wave of torment that was heavy on my back. I was barely dragging ass out of bed to make it into work, and in my free time I’d lay in bed wide awake, trying to will myself to die. I was sure that I would never accomplish anything, never make it anywhere. I fell asleep everyday praying that I wouldn’t wake up again.
Then one day, I woke up and felt good. I had energy. I smiled because I wanted to and I thought I must have just been having a good day. And then, inexplicably, it happened again. And again. I kept having these good days and it was like the pool I’d sunk to the bottom of had been drained. It was like waking up on the coast where the air is cool and wet and all you can hear is the steady crashing of waves on the shore. It was elation. I couldn’t remember ever feeling this way, even as a child before depression.
The next few months were like a dream. With this newfound happiness, I was no longer satisfied working at night, so I switched to day shift. I was around people. I was existing! I was often finding myself close to tears at the pure bliss I was feeling. Everything was lovely, I was blessed to finally feel like a part of the world. I was coming into my own now.
I realized that throughout my illness I’d been longing for things that didn’t exist. I thought that to be happy I would need to get back to the girl I was before I was sick, innocent, and full of fanciful dreams.
But I can never be innocent again. Now, I felt who I could be who I really was: willful, ambitious, and open.
I was opening up to people, and I wanted to express how I felt to them. I wasn’t afraid of my emotions, they were mine. I started to make new friends, and shed old ones that didn’t make me feel good anymore.
For the first time in years, I wanted to go on living. Instead of bracing for whatever happened next, I wanted to actually work towards a real future. I felt unstoppable.
But, last week was hard. I haven’t been sleeping much. I hope that physical exhaustion is playing a major role in this and that if I get some more rest, I’ll start to feel better. But I don’t know when that’s going to happen.
I was standing in the kitchen one evening, listening to my mother speak, but not really hearing her. I was fighting back the thought that was forcing its way to the front of my mind. I want to die.
I’ve been smiling because I’m supposed to, not because I want to. I want to scream out loud, I want to throw my body against the walls. I feel like I need to get out of my skin. It’s a little bit different this time. If I can fight back the thoughts about not existing, I think about existing somewhere else instead.
I’ve never wanted to leave before, my hometown has always been where I planned to stay. However, I read an article titled “This Place Is Not For Me Anymore” and it sparked something in me. Maybe I need to get away. Maybe there is still hope in another place. Away from who I used to be and who I thought I wanted to be and who I’ve been masquerading as.
All I know is that something has got to give soon, because I am about to go under again, and I can’t remember how to swim.