What It's Like to Be Suicidal (for People Who've Never Felt Like This)
If you’ve never felt this: I am thankful.
I am thankful beyond words you don’t know the feeling, the overwhelming weight and darkness.
I am thankful you’ve never known this abundance of nothing, this sense that there’s nothing left, this feeling that your whole body has been emptied of everything that made you you, and has been replaced by a thick dark emptiness.
I am thankful you’ve never known what it is to want to die.
If you’ve never felt this, I want to try to explain. Please know, if you’ve never felt this, you will not grasp it. This isn’t meant as a slight, or to imply we can rank pain, compare suffering. I only mean that we learn most things by experience, especially things of the heart and soul.
My goal, then, is to do the best I can with what I have to get you in the neighborhood.
Imagine this: you realize one day it’s been raining for awhile. You’re not sure when it started and you never specifically noticed it; it’s more that you noticed it because everything was wet. And rain, of course, is a normal thing. You thought that maybe it was just a normal rain storm, part of the natural order of things.
But you start to notice that this rain, it never stops. You wake up: rain. Try to sleep: rain. And this isn’t just any rain; it’s the coldest, hardest rainstorm you’ve ever known, and there’s no stop to it. You’re expected to get out of bed, to go about your day, to accomplish normal things at school or at work. Expected to enjoy the same things you’ve always enjoyed. But how is any of this possible when it’s constantly pouring rain?
And the worst part is this: this is some really screwed-up hyper-specific rainstorm that only seems to be above you. (Don’t you just hate it when the imagery used in those lame depression commercials turns out to fit pretty well?) Everyone else you know and see appears to be walking in sunshine, going about their lives just as easily as normal. But, try your hardest, it’s just not possible to do all the things you used to do when your clothes are soaked and you’re freezing and exhausted and you can’t see past your nose because of all this damn rain.
And it wears you out. Walking around all day in heavy wet clothes, having to try so hard just to do the normal things, feeling like somehow if you just. pushed. harder. you should be able to outrun this rainstorm, leave your personal cloud behind.
And so you get there. Maybe slowly, maybe suddenly. You find yourself looking in the mirror and looking at everyone else. You start to think that the biggest thing you’re contributing to everyone else is getting them wet, ruining their sunshine and normal-ness with your weird personal rain cloud. And it makes you feel worse.
And you realize that all you want in the whole damn world is to be dry, to be light, to feel like you can do the things you once did without all this weight and rain. And everyone is inside this sunshine bubble and you’ve spent so long pounding on the walls trying to get in that your hands are bruised and bloody and your throat is sore from screaming and with all the strength you have left you realize that
to get inside.
Where it’s warm.
Where it’s dry.
Where you can rest.
Where you can stop getting everyone else wet, you can feel normal again, you can feel something again.
And that’s it.
If you’ve ever thought, or maybe even said, “I just can’t understand how someone could want to die,” that’s as close as I can get you.
It’s not a selfish thing. It’s not a revenge thing. It’s not an attention thing.
It’s a desperate,
“I’m exhausted and wet and cold and dark and heavy and ashamed and so, so sorry and I just want to get the hell out of this place I’m in”
And I hope, beyond all hope, that you’ve never felt this.
Follow this journey on Robert Vore’s site.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.
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Thinkstock photo via Grandfailure