But I remember a time years ago when I was more serious about suicide than I've ever been. It was just a few months after my father's death. I was alone in the house and had found a full bottle of Tylenol. I poured all the pills into my hand. They looked like little blue-and-red torpedoes. I knew the damage they could do, but they gleamed in the morning light and I was enthralled. I considered swallowing them. I flirted with the possibility of oblivion until it lost its allure. I dropped the pills back into the bottle, heard them all clatter to the bottom.
For years, I would have these spells when depression seemed to push me outside my body. I did not feel solid. I was not real. I remember watching a documentary about Eugene O'Neil. In his youth, he often stared at his reflection. His friends interpreted this as vanity but when they confronted him about it he said that he kept looking at himself in mirrors to make sure he was still there. He never felt real either.
I've stood at intersections, about to cross a busy street, and secretly longed to be struck by an oncoming vehicle. It's almost happened a few times. I was in a spell, a daze. Sometimes, I was conscious of a desire to die but, more often than not, I just didn't care. Let it be over, I thought. This life is unbearable.
Just this week the phrase I want to die came back to me, kept echoing in my head, like a chant, a mantra.
I wrote to a friend who was in a similar place:
Today I thought the same thing. I want to die. Instead I sobbed in front of my mother, wishing she could make this pain go away but she can't. No one can.
To this same friend, I also sent the following text:
Profoundly depressed. My bday [birthday] is on Saturday. I ache for my daddy. I'm gutted but reading writing and thinking. Surviving.
Putting the overwhelming emotions into words helped me cope with them. Telling someone else, knowing they understood and that they cared, allowed me to keep going. In the moment of writing, I am alive and I want to be alive so that I can keep writing, keep putting one word after another and releasing what is inside me. That's how I make it through each day. I know of no other way.
The desire to die never fully disappears. I do not want to be here, in this life right now as it is. I want my father. I want what I lost seven years ago. I can never have it; so I will forever yearn for it. His death was a rupture, a shattering. I feel his absence in every part of my life. There is no escape. I have no intention of acting on my thoughts but I think it's important that I have the right to my feelings and the freedom to say that I am in pain and I want it to stop and I don't think I can go on. Being able to vocalize those emotions, to engage with them rather than deny them, is therapeutic for me. In that act of expression, of confrontation with the darkness, I am choosing words and creativity and connection. I am choosing to live