Note: This post has graphic language about death and suicide and will be uncomfortable for certain readers.
I think the simplest way to phrase it would be that I’d grown accustomed to treating my life as a carton of milk; doing what I wanted with it while it while I had it, knowing I would get rid of it at some point, because it wasn’t meant to last. I wasn’t wholly aware of the expiration date, but knew it would be sooner rather than later. I’d planned for it to be sooner rather than later.
I didn’t have a specific date picked out per se, but I didn’t plan to last much longer than 25 years. I’d toyed with the “magical” idea of joining the 27 club, but realized that was a crock, as I was a civilian who didn’t get out much, and the only person to acknowledge my induction into that sort of morbid club would be me. And that’s just awkward.
Sure, plenty of people hit a certain age that induces panic and a realization that some day they’ll die. But I’m talking about getting to a certain age after beginning medication and realizing I’m not going to (allow myself to) die anytime soon.
Now I’m dealing with a can of beans. My life is a can of beans, and I’m learning to think of it as such. That stuff doesn’t have any real expiration date. That’s the stuff you donate at food drives, because it’s been in your cupboard since ‘Nam.
Somehow or another, my coworkers and I recently talked about our views and approach to dealing with death. Well, they did most of the talking. I just listened, because, as they were talking about any sort of fear of their own deaths or the death of loved ones, I could only relate to fearing someone else dying. I could only think of being an 11-year-old in the passenger seat of my mom’s car, and hoping we’d get in an accident that would kill me, not her.
On my medicine, this is a total bummer to talk about, and I realize now how much that line of thinking isn’t healthy or fair. And I’m so incredibly lucky to have a privileged life stacked with people who love and care for me, and who’ve stayed with me all this time.
So now, I’m trying to figure out how I feel about death, and trying to appreciate that, on the threshold of turning 25, the fact that I haven’t offed myself is something to celebrate, and not be surprised about.
I just don’t know how to thank the people who saw past my crazy and realized that, while that mentality is a huge part of my life, it’s not me. Those people helped me help myself, and told me it would be OK. And that means more than they’ll ever know.
If someone you know mentions wanting to harm themselves, don’t ignore it. Don’t judge them or shrug it off. Talk to them about it, and help them. They’re not just telling you for attention, they’re asking for help.