To kill the pain
In the summer of 2018, on June 6th, I made a decision that would change the life of all those around me forever. As I rode the train from Miami to Boca Raton on the way to a day full of classes and a therapy session, I filled my journal with goodbyes and thank-yous. I wasn’t sure if I’d make it to the Culture and Society class that I found so interesting, or if I’d be telling my therapist about how I felt the pain of the world on my shoulders, I was only sure that some time soon that day, I would jump off one of the high parking garages and fly one last time before I crashed into nothingness.
The decision seemed reasonable and like the best one possible, given that I’d felt an emptiness every day and moment in the past five years, since my father passed away and removed from me a piece of joy that I could never have back. It felt like my life was doomed, destined to be filled with suffering. This was the reason why the day before I had spent my nineteenth birthday crying as I received love wishes from the wonderful people in my life. Living felt like it was covered in dark looming clouds that never left, even when I had periods where I found temporary light, the clouds always came back to blur my vision.
Of course, because I had had thoughts like these in previous years, I had found reasons to stay alive: my passion for theater needed to be fulfilled with a final grand performance that would define my life, and my mother could not live with herself knowing that her youngest girl didn’t accept her love as enough to continue on. But in this sunny morning, my potential artistic success seemed like an impossible and far dream, that would always stay in the dreamworld, along with the dreams that my mother once had for me, and kept with her as she moved on with her life after my parting. It seemed like the world didn’t need me, and I didn’t need the world, I was the only one that I had to deal with, the only person who would truly be affected by my death, the only being that could feel and understand the pain that my existence caused me. I sat in the train watching as my worn hands transformed the white paper into a suicide note, a message for those who lived, a way to say goodbye to those who didn’t imagine that they’d seen the last of me. In my headphones, a song about how a young person’s thoughts are worth more after they pass, and around me, people sitting bored in their regular commute to work. The world around was too calm, and it was my mission to make it a mess, and, after life, make it care.
As I left the train and arrived in school, my tears lead the path to the counseling center, where I seeked a familiar face, anything that could bring me a type of hope, and eventually, I met with my sweet therapist. By the time I walked into her office, the decision had been withdrawn. I placed the weight from my shoulders in the middle of her floor and we unwrapped the hurt, which revealed itself to move like a child, craving attention and becoming aggravated when neglected. Her validation of my feelings, and labeling my clouds as “depression” made me see it all as a term that currently was a part of what described me, and in the future could not be, and she reminded me that wanting to commit suicide is never about wanting to die, as we are not able to wish for something that we know nothing of, but instead just wanting to stop the pain of existing, and there are other ways to accomplish this.
Since not going through with that decision, I’ve acquired a sturdy umbrella: I started to take antidepressant pills, in order to understand the clouds better, and maybe eventually find a way to see beyond them. I have found joy in living, and motivation that makes existing easier for myself, taking actions that make the struggle to get out of bed feel worth it. It didn’t come easily, and the child begged and cried for my attention, so instead of ignoring it, I began to pay attention to its needs. There were days where I needed to feel the fear of going back to that dark place in my mind, or question the painful events that the universe brings to us, and days where standing on a balcony felt like I was testing my strength. And instead of the magical disappearance that I expected the medication to affect on these thoughts, I felt fortified, like I had an army to clear the way so that those thoughts could be understood, I allowed the child to be heard, and didn’t fall apart when the cry got louder, as I now had the structure to listen and understand that it would eventually stop. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the frequency of my depression, I can only hold on to the hope that I will get better, and live the long life that I was given the opportunity to live, however, I know for a fact that today, I will live.