The wailing of sirens fades in the distance. My hair dances wildly in the wind and my hands rest on the cold bricks. Tiny people below go about their lives, each one immeasurable and large.
It only takes a few seconds and a brief explosion of pain, before everything is over.
I’ve come here many times.
Since I was a kid, I’ve passively contemplated suicide, occasionally visiting the roof of our building to gaze at the ground below and imagining myself plummeting and not feeling anything anymore. Over the years that thought flared into an overwhelming and instinctive desire and I’ve desperately, angrily, and sorrowfully searched for easy suicide methods and as things got worse, I narrowed them down to two options that I firmly and resolutely planted into my head. I’ve done so much research and now I know how to go, painlessly and cleanly. I’m one foot out the door.
I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and PTSD. I’ve been struggling with these mental health disorders for most of my life – they surfaced as mild behavioral issues when I was a kid, manifested into depression and suicide ideation in my teens, and grew into full-blown, devastating, and often incapacitating disorders in my twenties.
Almost every day is a struggle and I’m running out of reasons to keep going.
How do I describe this pervasive experience to Neurotypical people? Imagine the worst day of your life – maybe someone you loved died, you lost your job, you were dumped by a partner – an encapsulating feeling of dread and hopelessness, paranoia about yourself and the people around you, irritation and hurt, a desolate sense of longing and sorrow, desire to isolate yourself, thoughts of diminished self-worth and perhaps thoughts of hurting yourself, accompanied by physical symptoms such as your heart racing, compressing pressure/pain in your head, absolute fatigue, loss of appetite, and the list goes on. Now imagine that happening almost every day, either for no reason at all or triggered by small and insignificant events.
The worst part is knowing – or having the belief – that I deserve all this. That I am solely responsible for my emotional instability and that I’m a bad person receiving karmic retribution for the things I have done in the past and for who I am now.
I truly believe that I’m a burden and that I’m a wildfire ravaging everything in my path. I look for confirmation of these negative core beliefs in worldly events and interactions with other people and I often find that confirmation.
I always, no matter how close or devoted they are, question the integrity and honesty of my friendships – because I cannot, for the life of me, believe for even one second that I’m worthy and deserving of love and compassion.
And again, I look for proof solidifying my warped self-concept and I find it.
So how can I move forward and develop positive and healthy core beliefs when my negative core beliefs are actually true?
A recent conversation with a good friend revealed that indeed, I am a burden – that I have a toxic personality that is the source of the drama and fissures in my life. At first, I was hurt by their words and my first reaction was anger and defensiveness, but I thought about what they said and with a sharp pain piercing my heart and a subsequently deep, pulsing ache, I understood that they were only speaking the truth, as kindly and gently as possible.
It broke my heart. All this time, I’ve been burdening people around me and they, out of goodwill and generosity, held on and stuck by me. Why do I keep hurting those who deserve it the least – the ones who I care about the most?
I thought that perhaps, maybe my friends stuck around because I brought some semblance of light into their lives. No, I was wrong. And it has been proven again and again and yet, I’ve been feeling entitled enough to believe that perhaps there are some redeeming qualities I have that attract people. I’m a blind idiot. Why didn’t they leave me? I don’t understand, why don’t you all leave me?
You all deserve better and I don’t deserve anything but punishment and isolation.
I’m trying every day to become a better person, so that I can make others happy and eventually achieve happiness for myself. But it’s an overwhelmingly vast and looming hurdle that will take years to overcome. I often think that this long journey is not worth the struggle, that I will struggle for the rest of my life only to reach my goal momentarily or too late.
Sometimes, like a luminous cascade of sun spilling through the canopies of a dense forest and warming the cold earth below, I catch glimpses of life as it should be when I am happy and at emotional equilibrium: when things are alright, when I’m not spiraling in dark ruminations and self-loathing, when people are happy with me and I’m genuinely enjoying and relishing in life. I ride that short high to its sputtering end, to the very last drop, and I fade into the darkness again.
In 2017 I got to enjoy a prolonged high – for the first time, I stabilized and was at peace with myself and the world; in that time I forged a lot of close friendships, progressed more rapidly than ever in all my endeavors, and I actually looked eagerly toward the future.
For once, I actually believed that my life is redeemable and fixable. That I can be saved. That I actually belong here.
But that collapsed catastrophically – I lost and let go of everything that was dear to me at the end of the year and I found myself back at square one, bereft of the people and things that made me happy and stable.
Now I’m worse than ever and regularly thinking of ending my life because every day is an inferno in my head and I cannot muster the strength and courage to maintain this any further.
I’ve hurt many people and I continue to hurt, bother, and burden those around me – especially those who I hold the closest to my heart.
Why is it so much easier to be a “good” person to those who are furthest from my heart? Strangers only get to see a side of me that is momentary and deeply buried under layers of baggage and hurt.
I cannot keep doing this anymore. This journey is too long, difficult, and uncertain and as I march, trudge, crawl forward, I drag more people under the dirt.
I owe it to others and myself to leave for good.
At this time, I’m coping with my intense suicidal desire by taking it one day, one hour at a time.
“Okay, just one more day and then I will kill myself. Don’t do it yet, just hold on for another hour. Then the next hour and the next.”
“You have to go out for dinner with a friend tonight. Go see them, then do it after.”
“You have to finish that book you’re reading. Don’t leave until you finish it.”
Not yet, just one more thing, one more day, one more hour.
I know very well that there is no happiness in death and that the inner peace I am seeking does not exist in the void of nothingness and finality.
But what I really want is a reprieve. A reprieve from the tumultuous, raging, swarming, and parasitical demons within me.
If people with terminal physical illness are granted the choice to end their lives, why can’t I? I know I’m being a selfish brat by conflating mental illness with cancer or leukemia or some other horrific disease that I’m incredibly fortunate to not have, but the torment of my multiple mental illnesses coagulating, calcifying, and synergizing is a living nightmare and I desperately want to escape.
Is it really selfish of me to end my life when I truly believe that it is unsalvageable and that I burden my loved ones by continuing to exist?
Am I not allowed to destroy myself?
Am I not allowed to end my suffering?
Am I not even worthy of a reprieve?
Answer me. Please, anybody. Why are you still here with me? Why am I here? What gives my life meaning? Someone, anybody, please answer me.