I don’t want to live anymore.
I want to kill myself.
Two statements a person crippled by depression may utter.
To themselves, or out loud.
Hopefully it is the latter, and if that is how they choose to start their conversation, that is the first step; it is up to us to continue the conversation and walk with them.
One statement does not necessarily beget the other. I don’t think they mean the same thing, in fact, there can be a rather large separation between the two. Let me share my experience and thinking.
This was raised in a conversation with a person I ran into by chance following my initial post. Their child was struggling with the black dog, and had made several attempts on their own life.
I have often felt like I have not wanted to be here anymore, that I was not living, merely existing. At these times, you almost feel otherworldly, like you are having an out of body experience. You feel unable to influence your own actions and are functioning on muscle memory and a hint of brain function.
What I think is missing are the words ‘like this’. I don’t want to live like this anymore. You are trapped, it is dark and can’t see a way out.
I’ll be honest, I have imagined killing myself by driving headlong into oncoming traffic. Imagined, but I don’t think I have ever really truly considered it. Just because I don’t want to live like this does not mean I want to die.
Again, I may be lucky; even at my lowest, feeling worthless, incompetent and insignificant, there is that one tenuous thread of clarity and sanity, an almost inaudible voice of reason telling me I have something to live for.
I cling to that thread.
I listen to that voice.
Somehow, someway, I always ascend from the dark depths.
I intend to continue to keep my head up, enjoy the blue skies and hope desperately that I can avoid free-falling back into despair. Thankfully, there are a lot of people I love and care for that love and care for me that help me. More than they would know.
I want to kill myself on the other hand is another, more frightening and dangerous situation altogether. Thankfully, I cannot speak from experience on this. As I said, I have never really considered it.
Unfortunately, there are too many who want to kill themselves.
Tragically, too many follow through on… on what? A wilful desire? An ill-considered choice? I don’t think it is either. I don’t believe ending your own life is a desire, something you really want to do, rather than the only thing you can do. As for ill-considered, I think that is a judgement that sits in the minds of those left behind. As with desire, suicide is not a choice; it is the only way to escape the demons that infiltrate your mind.
We all deal with challenges differently and sometimes life circumstances are such that someone feels so completely hopeless and helpless that they see no possible way out and that life, their life, is never going to change for the better. I believe it is at this point that they move from not having the want to live, to having the want to die.
Again, too many are lost and every one of them, every single one, have left behind people that loved, and still love, them.
My hope is that we can stem the tide and that less families have to go through the trauma of losing a loved one to suicide.
How? I really don’t know. I wish I did. We all do.
Am I making any difference in writing this? Maybe, maybe not. I do know one person it is helping and if that makes me selfish, so be it.
Will anyone read this and take positive action, whether it be a person weighed down by mental illness or a family member or friend? Will someone reach out for help, or to offer it? Will anyone be drawn back from the abyss? I may never know for sure, but I honestly believe it already has made a difference so I am going to keep writing and sharing in the hope that it does, again or for the 1st time.
Next time I will share some of what I experienced and things that I find I can fall back on to rein in the black dog.
Never. Give. Up.
If you are struggling, please talk to someone. Anyone. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 155 1800, MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978 or check out beyondblue.org.au for more resources. In emergencies, please call 000.