What It's Like to Be Passively Suicidal — Constantly
Talking about my suicidal thoughts and feelings has always been something I have extreme hesitation about doing. People don’t know how to react when you say something like that, and many react the wrong way. Whether by just by brushing it off and telling you to “smile,” or immediately calling the police or telling you to go to the hospital. I have learned I first have to very carefully explain the difference between being passively and actively suicidal to anyone I open up to, otherwise they’ll immediately do something like call campus security or call my parents, without understanding. I appreciate that they care — I really do. But, I have simply had too many experiences with people going behind my back without understanding, causing me extreme amounts of anxiety and distrust that ultimately just makes things worse.
Now, all that to say: I live in a state of frequently being passively suicidal. That doesn’t mean I’m a danger to myself, it doesn’t mean I’m going to kill myself, but it also doesn’t mean it’s any easier. I think about death a lot. Not to be morbid or anything, but it’s just a demon I can’t shake off my back. My heart is heavier more than it’s not. My mind is darker than most. I go to sleep crying more often than smiling (though I would really love to know if people actually fall asleep smiling…). I listen to more sad music than I do happy. And unfortunately, I simply am more depressed more often than I’m not.
I can’t cross a street without wondering what it would be like to have my life instantly ended by a car. I can’t take my medicine each night without thinking about what would happen if I took it all. I go to sleep wondering, and often wishing, that I won’t wake up the next morning. It feels so often that it would be so much easier to die than to live here on this earth. It feels like my death would have more meaning that whatever meaning, if any at all, my life has. And the lies that depression screams infest my head every second of every day.
It is the definition of exhausting to fight an invisible illness in your head every day, fully understanding that it’s in your head, but still not being able to escape it. Dragging myself out of bed every morning is near-impossible. Taking a shower and brushing my teeth become tedious chores. Driving to work and trying to pretend I’m fine is draining. Eating dinner with my family, smiling and making jokes to show them I’m OK is debilitating.
I don’t have any magical solution to feeling like this and dealing with this. I did years of therapy, I’m on medication, I’ve tried everything in the book. And to some extent, I’ve accepted this is something I will always live with to a degree. So when these seasons of increased suicidality come my way, it’s disheartening, but I know it’s just a season. I just have to let myself feel these feelings, and keep breathing. Because at the end of the day, while life is messy and hard and living is often taxing, it’s not that hard to stay alive in principle. All you have to do is breathe and maybe eat or drink a little and your body will fight to keep you alive if you just do that much. And I know is breathing and eating and drinking become so much harder when they aren’t things you want to do anymore and all you can think about is dying, but the fact of the matter is your body wants you to stay alive even if your mind doesn’t. Just keep on keeping on my friends, and I know we’ll get through this together.
Getty Images photo via Grandfailure