“I want to die,” she said. I couldn’t believe it. She was one of the most popular, most beautiful girls on campus. Full of promise. And yet she was serious.
Her chocolate almond eyes looked deep into mine, searching for judgment, shock, fear. She wouldn’t find it. This was a mantra I’d grown up with, repeating it to myself at several points in my life. It was the only thing that made sense some days. The abject insanity and palpable loneliness I sensed in my future was what drove me. I wasn’t, nor will I ever be, normal- and I knew it. I had acted on this mantra in the past. Had she?
I asked her. She realized she was talking to someone who knew, who understood – a sister. Her words tumbled out, and I felt their weight, like a rock under a waterfall. Yet they brought healing for us both; for me, because the words were familiar – they were often my own. The song of abuse, betrayal and pain was not a new one for me. Fake smiles, forced laughter, forged strength –all things I know.
This is what it used to be like:
What’s the point, my mind screams at me. Pain washes over me in waves that radiate from my chest, left of centre. I’m paying close attention because I cannot understand it. And I feel like I should try. I’ve been living this for years now, this hell of insecurity, wrapped in layers and layers of pain that I cannot explain to anyone. I’m digging and digging for love, for I feel like it’s the cure. It must mean solace! That’s what all the books and movies say. But it’s elusive, and not constant and every time I’m alone, the pain is more apparent. And the voices in my head crescendo along with the crashing waves of pain, louder than ever – there’s no point, there’s no point, it will never change, no one will love you noonecanloveyou,youmustdie,youmustdieyoumustdieyoumustdie. It’s an unending torrent of abuse. It’s what I hear even when I’m smiling, and everyone thinks that all is right – all is as it should be. No one knows. And when they know, they do not understand, do not accept me. Buck up, it’s life, deal with it. Everyone goes through these feelings, these things. Learn to let go, to turn it off. BUT I CANNOT. Then the barrage starts anew – seeitsjustyoujustyou.there’s no point youmustdieyoumustdieyoumustdie. It’s the only way.
And then I drive people insane, you see. I push them away. And when they leave, I collapse. And this has been the last 25 years. I cannot work. I cannot smile. I cannot read. Life has eroded at my exteriors and defences completely, and left me blank, numb. Life has lost meaning for me. There’s no hope, not even the faintest glimmer. My eyes go damp as I type this. The waves of pain are concentrated in my jaw, my throat. It constricts. I swallow through it. I’m never happy, I’ve never been happy. Everyone says so. I’m always sad. Anyone reading this will say its self-pitying garbage. I’ve heard it before. But they probably haven’t felt this pain.
They probably haven’t burned themselves to escape it. Cut themselves shallow, because though you wanna die, you’re scared. And you cannot be sure, that on the other side there are no horrors. So you hurt yourself, because the red looks pretty. Because it’s the only way you have control. Because physical pain can be borne. Not the black death within me. I cannot bear that. And the black death speaks. It speaks. Constantly mocking me. Constantly telling me what I am. What a failure. In everything. Constant reminders. Imagine living that, can you? Imagine a bad dream that you cannot wake up from, except it’s not a dream. Not at all.
Imagine living life so that every venture you embark on makes you look for horrors, because you just know that they’re there. You expect pain. You cannot escape. Every smile, a lie. Every reflection of yourself fills you with loathing till you want to cut through it all, till you’re slashing at bone. Imagine wanting nothing more than to curl into a ball and die, because death is the only release from a hell you’ve been born in, it seems. Imagine that you cannot turn this off. Then what? I don’t want your pity. I want you to understand. So that you can be sensitive to someone else like me. So think twice before you say get over it. So that you measure your well-intentioned advice. Not everyone is as lucky as you. Some need help, to speak, to read, to learn. Some need understanding, time, so much more than a copy-pasted response that works in other situations. .
Today, I have moved somewhere beyond the space of self-loathing and deep depression. For me, I found that morbid poetry (which I absolutely love to write), meditation, yoga, creating some semblance of structure, creating positive spaces, expectations, they go a long way to help me stay afloat. I have a support system of loved ones, who are my safety nets, and are not responsible for me. I’m responsible for me. I realise that when I talk to you, I’m not coming from a space of diagnosis. See, I’m terrified of labels and all that they signify. I’d rather be undefined by DSM – VI, V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) or whatever it is. So I never went to the label makers. I wanted to talk about, share fragments of an experience that would enable you to maybe rethink some of the relationships in your life, and your reactions to them.