What I Learned About Life When I Wanted To Die

What I Learned About Life When I Wanted To Die

Some stories and thoughts from darker times.
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What I learned about life when I wanted to die is that I don’t.

I do not want to die in the most unapologetic way. I cannot ring out my sadness like an old mop, but I can be at peace in the foggy water.

In the moments between vibrant life and absolute death, I feel like a ghost. The weight of grief sits on my chest like a rock weighing me underwater. Sometimes grief makes it hard to breathe. The hardest moments are when your grief has no attachment. When there is no sad story to be caught up in, it feels like you have no need to be sad. Even still, it sits on top of your lungs, cutting off your breath.

Sometimes it’s the moments of brief passing from waterlogged lungs to open vocal chords that you realize that clearing your throat is as holy as a ship docked in harbor after a long, long storm. Even with broken boards it still returns home.

A broken person is still a person. My body may be composed of chipped bones and untold stories but it is a body just the same.

I want to live in this body. I want to live.

~

My grandmother is a lemonade connoisseur. In endless July months she freezes lemonade in ice cube trays and wraps them in paper towels. My sister and I lick them like popsicles.

I think being sad is a lot like being frozen.

I've lived with depression most of my life, but the diagnosis was perhaps the turning point. Putting a name on what haunts me has helped me to face it with less fear.

When I was a child I had hair long enough to touch the crevices of my hips. It was thick and curly, almost impossible to get detangled. My mother would brush it and put it in braids. How beautiful it is to have your mother brush your hair. Healing is a lot of the same feeling. Sometimes you cannot brush out the knots alone.

~

People don't like to talk about mental health. For some reason, mental illness is an unspoken story sitting on everyone's tongue. Medication bottles in bathroom cabinets often reveal the truth that many are hiding. I do not understand why sickness is a cause for shame. If your brain is ill, you don't live with it like a broken knee. Shattered bones are not as painful as a shattered mind.

~

I love black coffee. Deluding caffeine with sugar or milk lessens it's affect. When I was first prescribed medication to aid my depression, I felt black coffee was injected in the hollow of my forearm. I felt a marathon in my brain where there had once been a funeral procession. Electric joy pulsing through my nervous system. I'm not sure if this was how I was always supposed to feel.

~

I am a poet. Poetic release has always been cheaper than therapy. I feel, I write. I ache, I write. I ache, I ache, I ache.

My grandmother was a librarian and my mother is a school teacher. Literature is written into my bones. Several years ago I learned that my father, a business man and musician, was a writer as well. Sometimes he writes poems that are so profound that they echo the sounds of the ocean. He shares them with me, but does not let anyone else read them.

Sometimes the lines in between are prayers, asking me to stop scratching skin with nails and build houses instead. I think it is beautiful to share something with someone.

We humans are never given a survivor's manual on how to get through the dark times. I think we are meant to write it ourselves. I've spent many days chained to twin beds of sadness, I've forgotten to fall asleep. I have not forgotten to write.

~

I was once in a dysfunctional relationship that I did not realize was dysfunctional until it was long over with. Her body was so hollow that I tried to fill it with mine, but in turn, turned hollow myself.

Princess Aurora pricked her finger on a spindle and fell into a deep sleep. I pricked my finger on my lover and I could not wake up.

~

My little sister is a dancer. She is liquid poetry. Artists come to paint her but she spins too fast for paper. Paint her with watercolors and stick around to watch her dry. This is not the time to die. I have so many boats to bring home.

When I was five, the doctor told my mother I had leukemia. My grandfather, distraught, prayed to God to heal me. He promised he would go to church every day until he died. The next day, the doctor told my mother there was a mistake. I did not have leukemia. I am nineteen years old. My grandfather still goes to church.

When I was younger, I tried to find a million ways to empty my bones. I learned that sometimes the heavy feeling is better than the lightness. Sometimes the heavy feeling weighs you down and commands you to stay. Stay, stay, stay.

~

I am sitting in my mother's car. The road ruptures beneath us, breaking stilled silence like cold milk in July. Headlights appear behind us. A motorcycle drives by, the speed of an ambulance in a hurricane.

My mother looks at me and whispers "That's how God makes angels".

I don't think it works that way.

I think the angels are the ones who wanted to die but didn’t. The ones who wanted to live but couldn’t. Who thought of suicide but wouldn’t.

I think living is a bravery that demands the most.

~

What I learned about life when I wanted to die, was that I don't.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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To The Friend Who Truly Understood My Depression And Anxiety

Thank you for everything you do.

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Dear friend,

When I started having issues with my anxiety and depression, everyone seemed to pull away. They all wanted space from me, they all said I was changing and I needed to get better. I know I needed to get better, but everyone pushing me didn't make me feel any better or more supported. It made me feel as if I was some sort of problem or issue, and as if I was too broken and damaged to be viewed as normal. They all made me out to be a bad person. But you, you never did.

When I started struggling, you made me feel supported. You voiced your feelings in a way that made me feel as if I was supported and as if you had been through what I was dealing with too. You made me feel heard and understood.

When I started medication for my mental health, you checked in on my reactions to the meds every day. You made sure to keep up with me and keep updated on how I was doing. Since day one, you have made your love and support for me abundantly clear. You have listened to me rant and rave about everything and anything I can possibly rant and rave about. Every decision I have made to help myself and my mental health, you have supported, even from afar.

You have always had such a handle on the best way to be here for me and the best way to unconditionally support me. You validated my feelings while simultaneously telling me they were wrong. You encouraged me getting the help I needed without making me feel as if I was an issue or as if I was a problem.

You've always been one of my biggest supporters, my biggest role models, and best friends. You truly understand my struggles and never cease to amaze me with your unending support.

Thank you for everything you do, and thank you for being you.

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