A relationship with Death

It’s an evolution.

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Photo by piyush dubey on Unsplash

Everyone seems to be scared of death. You either push the uncomfortable feeling deep inside or pretend your “alive” state is a persistent one that won’t ever change. But perhaps this relationship can be reframed with the help of the concept of suicide and getting to feel what it would be like.

Suicide has always been something I’ve considered. In various forms. At 14–15 I tried to cut my wrists -barely manage to make a scratch-, the day after I realized it was a cry for attention, also realized that what was the cry for attention wasn’t so much the action but the knowledge of it and then I decided to never tell anyone so I wouldn’t give the action any power. I dealt with it in silence and proceeded to figure out why I felt like I needed such attention.

This was my first meeting with death.

At 16 I dreamed I was in my death bed -my flatmate likes to say it wasn’t a dream but a memory from a past life, I don’t even fight her anymore-. I got so scared of disappointment I felt in the dream that I suddenly grew and acknowledge that the life I had would eventually end and I might as well have fun with it.

I realized it would eventually end and I wanted to say goodbye to it as content and proud as humanly possible. Still working on that, but honestly I could die right now and, granted, it would suck because there’s a ton of stuff I haven't even felt yet, but I wouldn’t regret much of my life.

At 18 I threaten myself with suicide if I didn’t know what to do with my life. I distinctly remember that I gave myself 7 days to get my shit together. Oddly enough, the fear of the limit gave me a sense of control over my life, it felt like living was a choice and not a default I had no control over.

At 19 I had a depressive episode and suicide seemed like the most obvious answer when you live a life with no feeling. I still managed to get out of there through making no decisions, blending myself in my friends' lives, and letting them decide what to do for me. I spent a week drunk at a festival celebrating the new year. The doing and not thinking was the first stone to recovery. The hangover was filled with friends and slowly, I started to feel like waking up wasn’t that hard anymore. Still, it took months to get back up, but when you feel you are getting better, there’s hope of living a good life.

At 21 I had a major anxiety season where the first thought that popped into my mind every morning was how could I keep myself in that sleepy state, away from the pain I felt. Sleep worked since it numbs you, but it only goes on for so long. It’s extremely limited. Suicide was the first thing I thought each morning for well over a month.

Life has gotten better and suicide as an intrusive thought hasn’t been a thing for a while. That feels good.

But something happened recently. I was having trouble swallowing. I think it was anxiety and stomach irritation due to pain mediation (that I had to take because of my wisdom teeth being removed). Anyway, I digress. Some nights this swallowing trouble makes me so nervous I begin to fear I might choke in my sleep and die for a lack of breathing. This might sound like an overreaction, BUT. It’s the first time I resisted death in my life.

Suddenly, I realized that so far death has been something I have control over. If I chose to kill myself or not its, ultimately, my decision and it holds a sense of power over it. But what happens if I don’t choose to die, but my body happens to stop working? Damn, that’s a whole another thing. And a whole different process to handle and get over. And it’s something that will eventually be my reality.

There will be a day in my life I feel I’m leaving my body, time is running and that was about it. And the only way to face this situation will be to give in. There’s nothing to be won by resisting it, it will happen either way and it will be way harder for me, and those around me, if I deny it.

The question remains, will I be serene enough to let go?

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If I become likable it will be a huge failure, it will mean I no longer shake you in any way, shape, or form. Pic courtesy of Christopher Campbell.

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