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When the Fear of Death Almost Drives You to It

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Coming home after panicking in a grocery store, I retreated to my bedroom, the place I felt most safe and most secure. Alone and lying on my back, I waited for the anxiety to fade away as usual. I waited. And waited. And waited.

Yet, still my heart continued to pound. Still my chest felt like it was caving in. Still the thoughts of impending doom spun furiously around in my head, weighing down my body and paralyzing my muscles.

My worst nightmare had been realized. My room was no longer safe. My bed and my pillows could no longer lull me back to peace.

In a jittered panic, I stumbled to the kitchen. I had to do something, anything, to distract myself from my own head. I grabbed a knife and started cutting carrots.

In that moment, I realized how anxiety could drive someone to suicide. As I frantically chopped, I contemplated how easy it would be. How maybe that was the only “escape,” now that my physical sanctuary was broken from the overpowering and unrelenting thoughts trapped in my mind.

Eventually, I gave up on the carrots and collapsed into a crying heap on the floor. The irony of the situation hit me. I was panicking about dying and yet contemplating suicide. In a lot of ways, it didn’t make sense, but in one big way it did: Suicide felt like it could offer peace.

So I get it.

I get the pain, agony and hopelessness that comes from anxiety. I get the binding, paralyzing fear that feels like it will never ever go away. I get how the fear of death can sometimes be so overwhelming and persistent it can actually drive you to it.

I get it.

You are not alone. You are not crazy. You are not going to be stuck in that kitchen forever. Eventually, the anxiety dissipated that night. Eventually, I got off the floor. Eventually, I made dinner with those carrots.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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