I have been thinking recently about how I survived being suicidal for so long. Like I didn’t get close to attempting it after that first year. That first year I made plans more than once, wrote goodbye letters, and was very active in the process of choosing the right date and time. After that year, I just felt generally suicidal and unhappy.
It’s hard to remember now why that first year was so hard. A break up, the transition from college, losing full time access to good friends in the dorms and on sports team, spending all the time I had with people I chose to spend time with, other than in class. Joining clubs, trying new activities, watching old favorite movies with new friends, and making friends with all kinds of new people that I would not have met in my home town. All of those things combined to make me very, very lonely. I got fired from a job I had for about 6 months. It was a shitty fit anyway, but it paid the bills. I spent some time unemployed but somehow I magically paid my bills without going on unemployment. How did I do that? I don’t remember now. I remember stress and sadness. Feeling like live just wasn’t worth living because I had no relationship, no social life, and I was literally all alone in my apartment most of the time.
Eventually I adopted an asshole rabbit who kept me up at night and nibbled my plants. That made me sad. I was a terrible rabbit parent because I couldn’t keep this rabbit out of trouble. I had been chatting with a girl from Hofstra online who was a lot of fun and wanted me to come meet her but meh, she was just ok. I convinced a girl I knew a little bit in college that I liked her and she came to visit me and then I told her I wasn’t ready for a relationship. That was an asshole thing to do. It was like not only was I feeling self destructive, but I was taking other people down with me. Not cool at all. That only fed into my sadness about how my life wasn’t worth living.
One day I came home from my new job at a daycare and went for a run. I just changed my clothes and ran down my street. I found this weird meadow and ran through that into some trees until I found the next street. I ran 3 miles and came home feeling different. I started running every day after that. It was healing. My mind was clearing. But I still had unimaginable sadness most of the time. I will never understand why I had it then, why it persisted for about 22 years, and why it sometimes threatens to creep in even now, when I know I am living my best life.
Sometimes I think it’s a chemical imbalance of dopamine from the ADHD. Sometimes I think it’s genetics, as my dad’s side seems to have a lot of mental issues. And other times, I think my mind just wants to be negative. I wish I knew why it was like this and why sometimes it’s so hard to pull myself out of the sadness.
The only win I do have is that I no longer convert that sadness into anger. I spent so much time angry instead of acknowledging that I was sad and heartbroken. For me, I really think that the isolation was the final straw that led me into the darkness. When I had people to distract me from my pain, I could avoid it and pretend it wasn’t there. But alone, the silence was deafening and my thoughts filled it with pain.
I think about this darkness as having a door and during those 22 years, I kept opening that door and going back in because it was uncomfortable and feeling hopeless was better than the constant disappointment of wanting things to get better and that not happening. In my visualization, I picture that door as burned up now. I used to think of the door as locked, or blocked off, but in both of those visualizations I was able to pry the door open and look around in the dark before deciding I didn’t want to go back in there. I decided that it was best to burn the door down and leave no way to get back into the dark. There is nothing for me in there but sadness, pain, and hopelessness. And even though disappointment can hurt, it’s better for me to live with hope and the chance things will be awesome.