“How the actual fuck did you even stay alive?” was the comment she made after reading about the death of my husband.
I pondered the question for a few days.
Even at my lowest, in the days that followed my husband’s suicide, it never crossed my mind that killing myself was an option. It wasn’t that I was tethered to life by my family ties — I have no children and my parents and brother are my adopted family — it was just that my particular brain is wired for living no matter what the circumstances.
I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I hear from people every day who experience Death sniffing at the cuffs of their trousers.
“I have been suicidal since age 10 or 11,” a man wrote to me. “Until recently I thought everyone was.”
“Not me,’ I wanted to say. “I don’t want to die at all. Not ever.”
I want to live forever in a body and mind that refuses to grow old and frail. I want to drink from the fountain of youth, not because I want my grey hair to disappear, but because I don’t want this life to end. Living is a precious gift that is quickly slipping through my fingers.
Such thoughts don’t make me better than anyone else, just different. My genetic predisposition is to feel my feet on this earth for as long as I can.
And that’s how I stayed alive.
18 thoughts on “Staying Alive • A Genetic Predisposition”
I’m glad. I don’t think I’m brave enough to take a final step like that. I just couldn’t do it. Not to mention wouldn’t want to.
I totally agree, Carol. I’m not sure if dying is scarier than living or the other way around, but in any case, I’m happy to stay here for as long as possible.
I have felt like I’d like to disappear at times but never wanted to die. My disposition is very “Tiggerish”. It’s something I have worked at over time.
I’ve also wanted to disappear or run away. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing — it’s probably neither — just another way to process the craziness of human life.
You’re obviously a very strong person, resilient, a survivor. You could have let your experiences define you, but you have chosen not to. Bravo to you!
Thank you, Helene.
My “fall back” plan has always been to sell hotdogs on the beach in a bikini. Never mind that I may not have the body for it anymore. It is my story and it has helped me be resilient. I’m so happy to read that you are too.
I love your fall back plan. Tell me when you’re going and I’ll be right there with you ♥
I have to say (and I have never said this before) but I was there once and I couldn’t understand it I love life, I have 2 beautiful children and yes I was going through an extremely rough time but I had never contemplated it before. I told my husband and my doctor that I was scared that when my husband left for work one night that I wouldn’t be able to fight it. It devastated my husband who loves me to the moon and back. It turned out that a medicine that I was on Lyrica caused these feelings. When I quit taking them I was back to myself again. It was a very dark and scary feeling that I never want to return to.
What a horrible experience, Rena. I’m so glad you found the source of your dark thoughts.
Hello sweet lady — first let me say how sorry I am you had to go through the trauma of losing your husband. I’ve made mine promise to die after me and so far so good. But it sharing your story of survival you will help other sufferers to choose life. Keep on keeping on. xo S
I’ve circumvented the problem by never having another husband. But I do have a boyfriend, however, who has to put up with me worrying that he’s dead every time he’s late home. Luckily he understands 🙂
I’m so sorry about your husband. I understand the pain of a suicide. When my brother took his own life 4 years ago, I was the one his ex-wife called. I was the only one he had maintained consistent contact with over the years, and that relationship, though choppy, left me tasked with calling our 7 brothers and sisters. I tried to wrap my mind around his choice; pondered if it was a choice I could make and, even in my darkest hours, I know I couldn’t make the same choice. Like you, I’m wired to be here and though not every day is joyful, I truly believe I am supposed to be here.
I’m sorry for the loss of your brother, Mary.
The thing about bad days is they usually mean good days aren’t far away. At least that’s my experience x
Resilience is what it is. I’d like to think I have it also. I’ll claw away right to the end! x
I don’t know if this goes here: It is something i can’t explain where it comes from what it feels like. You sorta of just feel weak and hurt. You do not see and end. I just want out. Your brain or head is like dizzy and body hurts it physically hurts. You can’t& don’t sleep. Tired off fighting Don’t know what to do. I don’t want to hurt anybody, but I know I bring them down with. Chest feels empty hallow. Think tomorrow will be better at first but then you finally know better. It won’t be. You try different things, showers, drugs, alcohol, antidepressants, even that shock stuff ECT. But not much. I hate this shit or its is the reverse with real bad anxiety. But I rather sweat, shake stutter than feel like this.
How envious I am of those hard-wired for positivity. Nearly every day is a struggle for me. I think about suicide all the time and try to keep my gloom to myself. My husband spoke with my doctor about the darkness, but I think she didn’t take him seriously, because I’m pretty good at masking it for others. That’s what we’ve been taught to do: glass half full, stiff upper lip! Picking up and starting over wouldn’t remedy this pit that I and many like me are in. I blame hormones and genes; some of us we’re just dealt a bad hand.
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