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When Suicidal Is a Way of Being

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Suicidal can be a way of being — like short, or tall. I truly can’t recall a time when I wasn’t that way, when I felt like I belonged, like I wasn’t a genuine mistake of nature. I told my mom that once — I assumed it was obvious. She never knew. She cried, “You were my baby, I loved you so much. How could you say that?” I never knew. I never mentioned it again. I just carry it with me in silence and dread. And sometimes, fear.

I can remember looking and looking into the mirror, trying so desperately to find something there, some tangible evidence that, yeah, I had value, I had worth. It’s one of my earliest memories, no more than 3, sitting at the foot of my parents’ bed, searching endlessly into the mirror on their dresser. Today, at nearly 60, I still search, and I still find nothing. I always feel like I “don’t belong here,” no matter where I go or what I’m doing. I think of it as a heavy old companion that travels with me everywhere, all the time.

Here’s the thing. To feel this way is a lesson for this journey. A test of endurance. Somehow I know, if I have no other purpose, I’m here to finish what I was unable to finish. More importantly, I know wherever you go, there you are. The irony and the cruelty and the reassurance of that harsh truth is that you can’t escape, opt out, or check out from this heavy grey companion — you take it with. But you have the additional burden you’ve earned, the weight of the people you hurt through your actions to escape.

I only have to carry this companion around a little while longer — I’ve nearly made it all the way through! I’m so close — I’ll be 60 this year.

I really hope I make it this time. 

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.

Originally published: August 29, 2016
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