Two years and two months ago, I took a sword and held it to my stomach. I leaned the back of the handle against the wall in my room and told myself that if the tip of the blade pierced my skin, I will commit and have the sword go all the way through.
I stood that way for about half an hour, the tip of the metal poking my belly, but not enough to draw blood. There was no fear, no remorse, just an understanding that at the other end of the blade is a peaceful black.
Suicide is a contradiction to everything about life. You cannot understand it if your world view is fixated on things working a certain way.
In movies, we see the aftermath of mental breakdown and suicide survivors as this one full of hope. In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie gets the girl after his breakdown, riding off into the light of the tunnel with his best friends, wind brushing past his face with a smile across his cheeks.
In reality, that’s rarely the case.
Almost two and a half years after my last suicide attempt, I’m still piecing my life back together. I’m still questioning where do I go, how do I restart myself. I’ve filled my schedule with work and projects, meetings and hangouts. I do my best not to have too much time to the recess of my own mind.
I’ve said it before, but one of the things that happened to me post-suicide attempt was my losing the ability to properly feel the fear of death. I’ve reached a strange phase where I’ve come to accept my bipolar and the depression that comes along with it, and I live with the pain every day of my life. But I also live with the same wish to die. I live with suicide
You can’t punch it to death with anything physical, and no matter what you do, it will always exist at your side.
Psychologists calls these thoughts ‘suicidal ideation’. Basically, and apparently, thoughts about self harm is not a normal thing to experience. About 25% of the first world population will experience depression. 13% will experience suicidal thoughts, and a mere 8% will attempt. An even lesser number (about 0.8-2.5%) will have suicidal thoughts and ideation that will last a lifetime.
Apparently, I’m one of those few who will want to kill themselves for the rest of their life. Cheerful.
How do you live your life, knowing you wish to die? How do you plan your days? Some people, myself included, during the suicide phase, has this period where nearing the end, they have ‘the last good day’. They meet up with friends and talk about old times. They visit family and bond. They’d visit their old favourite haunts. They make one last true attempt at doing the best they can at life. And then they kill themselves.
I’m stuck in that phase. I’m having ‘the last good day’ everyday, even if my personality wants me to rest, lock myself in my room, and play games. I set day after day aside for family. I do my best to meet with friends, attend all the events I can. Because in my mind, I’m going to die tomorrow.
I walk with death at my side.
It’s a weird melancholy. It feels like I’m living in a dream. But it’s harmful. I push my body to its limits. I push my mind to the brink. I live unhealthily because I have no regards for my own life. I do my best to keep everyone close, even if my social capabilities are stretched to the edge. I literally live every day as if its my last, and my life is like a bubble ready to burst. Every bad event hits me hard, and every time I fail, suicide pops up front and centre.
Suicide, like everything about mental illnesses, is strange. It’s different for everyone. But the one thing everyone experience is the soul crushing pain. Your insides pulling itself apart, able to bring you to your knees. The pain that comes the moment before pulling the trigger, before stepping off the ledge, before slicing your wrist.
For me, that pain is at the back of my head. I can feel its hands on my back, hear the screams when I close my eyes. I have waking nightmares about the pain, and I live with a constant knowledge of its existence and location. When I think about it, the feeling returns, and I use that pain to share my experience here.
I live everyday like it is the last good day because it is. I do it because for me, every tomorrow is the last tomorrow. It’s painful, it’s harmful, it tears my life and soul apart. But if I don’t, I die.
Basically, and apparently, thoughts about self harm is not a normal thing to experience.
Suicide is a contradiction to everything about life. You cannot understand it if your world view is fixated on things working a certain way. Suicide is when your base instincts for survival is replaced with death. When the fear of oblivion is swapped for peaceful acceptance.
My old councillor compared depression to diabetes, and suicide to cancer. They are all illnesses, and lifetime and deadly in their own ways. But I don’t think so. Suicide is something different. It’s not cancer, because you don’t physically know it is there.
The only way to describe it is that it is like a shadow. It always follows you in the light while suffocating you in the dark. You can’t punch it to death with anything physical, and no matter what you do, it will always exist at your side.
I had a dream once where I successfully killed myself. In it, after death, I did not go to hell or heaven, did not enter the endless void. I was in dark space, and I turned around to find my own feeling of death waiting, like an old friend ready to greet me. I remembered smiling, and it wrapped its arm around my shoulders, and we walked off into the dark.
I walk with death at my side.
(It has come to my attention that some people don’t share my mental health post because of a fear of privacy issue. Please don’t be afraid. My goal in writing these is to get the conversation that it is not abnormal to talk about mental illnesses, and to have the my experience help as many people as possible. Do feel free to share.)