I do not want to live anymore.
But I do not want to die.
And while I did not understand this before, I do now. More than ever.
I’d like to take a minute to say that I am okay. I have a great support system that includes medical professionals. I am in the hands of good people. If you, however, are having a crisis please call your healthcare provider or head to the closest emergency room. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
I was in a care group meeting recently where this concept was brought up. And it struck a chord with me. I had never considered not wanting to live and wanting to die to be two separate things – closely related but far enough apart to require different approaches.
At the time, I was feeling the darkness of grief, but I was keeping it at bay, so I just wrote down the idea and put it away. I hadn’t felt such a consuming sadness that all I wanted was an escape in a couple of months, so I thought I might be past those feelings. And then today, not even a full week after the group meeting, I have been consumed by my grief. I have thought at least a hundred times about how I just want to quit. I do not want to do this anymore. I’m over it. I’m done.
I. Do. Not. Want. To. Live. Anymore.
But still, I do not want to die.
And if that is all that I have to hold on to during the strongest of the waves crashing on, you can bet that I am holding on with all of my might.
I do not see a reason or a purpose for why I am still alive. But I do know that every morning that I open my eyes, I AM still alive. And so, I continue to live.
And I hope. And I plead. And I yell. And I scream. And I cry.
I ask the universe to either put me out of my misery or give me my will to live back.
The nights are dark. But the days are darker. Because during the day I have to wear my mask. I have to go to work and talk to people and let them believe that I am okay. Because they are coming to me to get better and they aren’t concerned with whether or not I am hurting. And that’s okay. It’s not their responsibility. But the pretending that my life is roses, that I am not being sucked into a black hole of despair at any given moment, that is what hurts me even more.
I have to find my safe place. I have to reach out to the people I know will help. I have to lean on the people who want to hold me up. I have to remember that I am broken and bruised and I cannot stand alone. Any time I try to do this alone, I fall harder than before. Deeper, darker pits of pain and despair and devastation.
I don’t want to live anymore.
I do not want to die.
I have fervent hopes that those two statements, if ever they need to be uttered again, will always be said in succession. I hope that if there is a next time that I do not want to live, that I will also not want to die.
They don’t warn you about the pain when your spouse dies. And if they did, I probably wouldn’t have listened anyway. Unbelievable agony is nowhere on the stages of grief. Maybe because it isn’t a stage. Maybe because it’s always there, our level of awareness of it is what fluctuates. I can’t be certain.
I do know that I am not alone. I am not the first person to want to quit life when their spouse was allowed (or forced) to leave this horrible (and wonderful) world. I certainly won’t be the last.
But these are the things people are afraid to talk about. Because it’s dirty. And it’s ugly. And it’s scary. If I went up to a perfect stranger and told them that I don’t want to live anymore, I would not get a pretty response. Of that, I am certain. It’s a taboo subject. But it really shouldn’t be.
If you are feeling these things, please find someone that you can talk to about it. Even saying the words out loud to someone who gets it can free up some of the pain that is rattling around inside of you. Writing this out has already lifted some of the pressure of this feeling. And if you ever feel like you DO want to die, PLEASE call 911, your mental health provider, a suicide prevention hotline or head to your closest emergency room.
Grief is the most unfair, all-consuming, ugliest beast I have ever encountered. Every day is a little different. And lately the bad has far outweighed the good.
I do not want to live anymore.
BUT, I still do not want to die.