On being alive

CN: passive suicidality.


Friends tell me on the regular, especially when I’m struggling, that at least I’m still alive.

They tell each other, “yeah things are tough, but I’m alive.”

People share on social media how lucky they are to be alive, after near-death experiences, or just because the world is so wonderful, or because death is so final.

I have come to the conclusion that those people and I are not on the same page when it comes to being alive.

Alive is not a positive

I am all too aware that I will be seen as ungrateful for saying this (which is a topic for another blog post), but ‘alive’ is not a positive for me. ‘Alive’ means sadness, pain, hate and disappointment. It means feeling useless, guilty and selfish. It means facing my daily failures, mistakes and differentness.

Sure I see beauty in the world. Sure I can appreciate cuddling my pooches, drinking a delicious iced coffee, hearing laughter, but it doesn’t come close to neutralising the awfulness.

Alive is something I don’t want to be. Alive feels like something I’m doing to shut other people up or keep them happy. I’m not doing it for me, and I resent it.

Living a passively suicidal life

I don’t think I have always felt this way but at some point, around my late teens, I began to notice that suicide was always this open option for me. It wasn’t a front and centre thought most of the time, but it was always there, just in the corner, just in case. I also noticed that it started becoming a front and centre thought much faster when my mental health was unsteady than it had initially. It went from a ‘rock bottom’ thought, to a ‘minor stumble’ thought.

I notice that it’s hanging out in the corner of my brain at the weirdest moments, and I rarely talk about passive suicidal thoughts because between a lack of understanding and the ‘over reacting/attention-seeking’ stigma, it’s not a fun conversation to have.

It’s a fact though, and the idea of even trying to remove suicide as an open option terrifies me to the point of nausea & panic. The option of suicide is in some, if not most, cases, the only thing that keeps me alive. I realise that that sounds counter-intuitive and illogical, but in those moments I tell myself that it’s OK to stay alive right now, because tomorrow/soon/one day I can end it.

To be honest, what I actually wish for is to never have existed at all. Suicide is no easy option. For me it comes with a lot of guilt because I know it will hurt people I care about, and I know there are so many people who have their lives taken from them when they would have dearly loved to live. But I feel that guilt anyway for being mentally ill, for being a burden, for not appreciating that I’m alive.

I don’t see ‘alive’ like you do, but plenty of people see it like I do. Too many people see it like I do. Just know that.

Photo by Daniel Jensen on Unsplash

 

Mrs TeePot

5 Responses

  1. This is exactly how I feel. It’s actually comforting to read this. I was just telling my therapist that I resent my daughter and the boys not only living with us but “needing” me because it takes away the option of suicide. I said something similar to what you said, “knowing I have that option makes it easier to get through the day.”

    • *hugs* I’m so sorry you know how it feels, but I’m glad you found it comforting.
      It’s something I see very few people talk about too, but it’s so important to hear that we’re not alone.

  2. I don’t feel this way now, but I did for a long time (and I know I could easily feel this way again) and it’s weird how few people ‘get’ it. If you talk about wanting to die, people panic, and it’s so hard to be like “I won’t, because I won’t do that to people. But it’s comforting knowing the option is there.”

    I hope you find the right combination of treatment though, to where you can find being ‘alive’ an overall positive rather than negative. (It’s weird, right now I am really afraid of dying. It’s a complete 180 from where I was.)

  3. Thankyou. I’m so tired of being unable to talk to even therapists about this being so present for me, the way either it doesn’t seem to be seen as mattering at all, or is responded to as an active threat.
    My fun variation is that it interacts with never doing anything in life because I know I’ll fail, so the thoughts go round my head but I’m reasonably sure I literally couldn’t do it.
    Sorry, I know this is a heavy comment, I’m safe, just, yes, it is good to feel less alone with this, even though I wouldn’t wish it on people.

    • I totally know what you mean about not wishing it on others but it being a relief that someone else understands. I have that exact feeling so often when I chat to people about mental illness.
      I’m glad it’s helped you feel less alone, sometimes that in itself helps me, knowing other people are dealing with it makes it feel more possible to actually deal with. If they can do it, so can I.
      I’m sorry you’ve not found a therapist who you can talk to about it, it does seem to be massively misunderstood by ‘experts’ and the public alike.

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