A Room to Write exercise on Death

You know you will die one day. Well, we don’t always know do we? It is something we think of as far away.
Do babies know about death. When did I first think about death? When I was very young I drank some water with poison. It didn’t hurt me, but I remember thinking it could kill me. And I didn’t care. I feel like I have wanted death as much as feared it. Of course it is one thing to say you want to die, when the chances are you won’t. And another when the chance is high you will.

Do you ever think about killing yourself? It is the mental health question everyone asks. I’ve always thought about killing myself. And I still do. I’d thought like Sylvia Plath I would do it one day. Not for any reason but being bored. And tired of thinking about killing myself.

I’ll be crossing a bridge. Walking along a cliff. And in a moment, I’ll be gone. Why? Why not? I’ve told people a simple story a couple times. A wise man wants something written on a ring. It should make him happy when sad and sad when happy. The answer is: this too shall pass. Nothing lasts and nothing changes. We come from dust and if you’re ready to go back to dust. Why not?

Okay, put your phone down. I’m not going to answer any crazy calls. And given this had been in my mind for almost 35 years, chances are I won’t die. Soon.

And I wonder, about death. This whole piece isn’t at all what I planned to write. It was an exercise from Room to Write. I was going to imagine my own death. But then I starting typing and I knew I already had.

High school was rough, and I didn’t kill myself. Being homeless was rough and I didn’t kill myself. I’ve been through a lot and I haven’t done myself in. I even read The Bell Jar twice, and Girl Interrupted twice. And I didn’t kill myself. Though I still love Plath’s logic. My favorite painter is Van Gogh.

When you read this is must sound dark. But tonight I don’t feel dark. There have been nights when I wanted to sleep and never awaken. Once I took sleeping pills to make it happen. But they didn’t work. Another time I bought alcohol and sleeping pills to try it again. But I changed my mind. One more day, one more day, one more day. But one day I’ll give up on tomorrow.

They say when people really want to die, they don’t pontificate about death. I guess the fact I’ve written so much points away from my desire to die. There have been times I’ve felt my life was in danger. And I took steps to be safe. But some of those events were the result of poor choices. Like drinking water with a cleaning toxin. Choices I made not wanting to die. But not caring. I wonder at the last moment, if I had to choose. What would it be.

But we don’t get a choice. Our brains are not wired to give us the choice to live or die in the moment. When you are faced with a risk – your brain takes over and keeps you safe. I’ve felt this was the case for me before.

And I guess it is a matter of how I would die. Shooting oneself can be so messy and unsure. What if you don’t blow off enough of your head? What, oh yeah, a gross thought to be sure. But there you are thinking about how good your life was when you could move. How good things were when you weren’t bathed by someone else.

And if you jump. How high is high enough? Maybe it would be really scary as the ground races towards you. Do you really want to die in a state of terror. Sure, when you are at the top. And you see the view. The wind is in your hair. Things feel good and the choice feels right. But on the way down fear takes over doesn’t it?

Pills. Which pills? And you know if you don’t take enough they lock you up. They say, tut tut poor guy. They take away your knives and your belts. You’d probably lose your job. No one around you would ever see you the same way again. You’d be the one who tried to kill themselves. And no one wants to be that person. Because I think people would express concern. And people would be friendly. But they would also push you away. Because they would feel guilty and they wouldn’t want to be close if you tried it again.

Right, so I couldn’t cut my wrists. I’m weak when it comes to pain. And I know it isn’t quick. This not being quick holds the same trouble as pills. Someone could find you and stop you. And to be honest if I ever were to kill myself I wouldn’t want someone to find me. I wouldn’t want to scar someone else.

And yes I would feel bad about people left behind. But really when I am depressed I don’t think anyone would care. A voice in my head just tells me no one would even notice. What about my job? Of course they would notice. But is work the only thing worth living for in this world? Not for me.

There have been times I cut myself off to see if people would notice. I think to myself, if I died who would notice and when? But I use Facebook all the time now. Of course there was a period when most of my posts were preprogrammed quotes. I programmed them out months in advance. I guess being alone is what makes me most feel like going down into the basement forever.

But I know the voice is wrong. There is a better part of myself which knows people care. Yes, even people at work. They would care about not just my not working, but about me. And there is family – not close and far away. There are a few good friends in my life. I fail at being a friend to them, Simone, but they still love me. There are probably more people than I know who are touched by me. Not in the It’s A Wonderful Life sort of way. But in an ongoing way.

See, things are looking up. Right now my mood is good. Of course the scary part of all this is mood. The sun comes out and dries the rain. Life is full of green grass and flowers. But then the storm rolls over the hills. The little spider falls down the water spout. Life is cold, wet and dirty again. And tomorrow isn’t worth waking up for.

Okay, I’ll go to sleep now and you go to sleep later. And really, don’t call me tomorrow. Well, you can Simone.

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