Sometimes in the dead of night, I thought about dying. It wasn’t always because everything felt overwhelming. Sometimes it was more a desire to see if anyone would care, if anything would change.
We are such insignificant lives on this earth. One among billions of others. A few of us will make a lasting impact, and they’ll go down in the annals of history, but most of us are forgotten with time.
Sometimes, I felt like a ghost. I re-enacted the same role every day, went through the same motions, and sometimes it felt like the lives around me would go on in the same way even if I wasn’t there. Would it matter if I wasn’t there to give my mother plastic smiles and saccharine words? No one would care whether anyone was behind a closed door. Would it truly matter to anyone if I disappeared? Would my death leave a lasting impression as my life never did? Or would I be quickly forgotten, as fleeting as a ray of sunshine in winter?
Sometimes, I felt an almost uncontrollable urge to find out.
Loving my mother was a mixed bag. Sometimes, when I thought about death, I thought of her, and how much it’d hurt her if I left. Sometimes, I thought it’d be kinder on us both to let go – then she could let go too. And on other days, I considered death as a bitter vengeance. Would she experience the misery that I did? Would she understand what her stint on the doorstep of death had done to me? On the darkest nights, I wondered if she’d even care, or if she’d be so self-absorbed my death would pass by unnoticed as a stray cat.
I wonder if people consider how easy it is to decide to end one’s life. Often, it’s not the method that’s hard, but the realisation that everything is over if you take that final step. You’ll never know if you’re one of those people that might’ve gone down in history, never know if you’d one day save someone’s life or be saved in turn. If you decide to finish it, you’ll never know what you could’ve been, if you would have achieved your dreams. If you could have found love or companionship.
Death is final.
As a teenager, I was not so far gone that I hadn’t wondered what I had left. In the end, it was ‘one day’ that kept me on that knife’s edge rather than falling off it.
I have said before that I am a coward. I can admit, to myself, if not to others, that what most likely stilled my hand was simply a fear of permanence. If I chose death, I could not go back, and I wasn’t – perhaps may never be – ready to take that plunge. In death, I fear eternal loneliness, and I am too cowardly to risk my false-warmth for eternal cold.
This is not a story of redemption. Is the road from depression ever one? No one is saved here. Not my mother. Not me.
This is simply the record of a long uphill struggle.
I get better day by day.
But I didn’t always.