When I’m in a downswing, or in a great deal of stress, (or, as of late, both,) I tend to have a great deal of suicidal thoughts. When I was hospitalized in college, I was afraid I would act on the suicidal thoughts that simply would not stop. When I am embarrassed, or flustered, or feel I’ve made a fool of myself in public or in front of someone I really admire and care about, I consider committing suicide; it’s my twisted version of seppuku to protect their honor, I suppose. I don’t cope well with stress, or change, or embarrassment. I can act appropriately and laugh it all off but inside I’m trying to figure out how I could do it so none would be the wiser.
Even positive stress can lead to this. I had a job interview for a similar job to what I do, with better pay and benefits, and when I came home, I thought about hanging myself with the scarf I wore, because I feared the change and adjustment it would require to start over again at a good job, even if it was all positive change. (I was also afraid that I babbled like a moron and would not be offered the job because I looked like an idiot.) All I could think about was having to prove myself all over again, and that insidious voice in my head kept reminding me “but you’re crazy. How can you hold yourself together long enough to prove yourself? You’re crazy. You won’t be able to make it through the probation stage of a new job without losing it.”
I was watching an episode of Bones today. I am enamored with forensic shows, and this is my favorite of them all. I was watching “The Doctor in the Photo,” and this particular episode was very poignant. One of the characters said, “‘I will show you fear in a handful of dust.’ TS Elliot. We don’t actually fear death, we fear that no-one will notice our absence. That we will disappear without a trace.”
That, right there, is my greatest fear. It has probably stopped me from suicide at least a few times. Who would notice I was gone? Would anyone notice or care? My roommate and I talked about it and she remarked that I feared that I would die before I truly lived. But what sort of life am I living, caught in the claws of such an illness as this? Sure, I finished my bachelor’s degree, have a decent job, am planning to return to college, but like the doctor in the photo, I am unmarried, no kids, few friends who would notice I was gone. I fear I have no legacy. I know it would hurt my immediate family, but someday, they will be gone, leaving me alone. I cry whenever I go home and see how my family is aging, because they will die sooner than I am ready for such a thing and I don’t know how to cope with that. I don’t know if I have the courage to die last.
Honestly, what usually stops me is realizing that my family would be left with my college debt, and if I committed suicide, my life insurance (which is enough to cover my remaining debt and a funeral) would not get paid out, leaving my family with that burden. I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want that to be my legacy; leaving my family holding the bill for a school that caused me a mental breakdown sounds like a terrible taste to leave in one’s mouth. And thus, the cycle of guilt continues, guilt at considering ending it and leaving my family with my mess to clean up, and feeling like a burden all over again.
How is it that I literally cannot ever win in my own head? There’s so much pain, and yet I must endure it lest I fail. And even then I’m not supposed to simply endure, I must flourish, I must be wildly successful. But I’ll never be successful by my own definition because I cannot be perfect.
I can’t just be… happy.