live or die, heads or tails

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy. All other questions follow from that.      – Albert Camus

I woke up last Friday certain that it would be my last day on this planet. I took an anti-emetic, as I was pre-loading, staggered into the kitchen, made toast, and then stared at a picture of my parents–all the while shoving back tears. On Thursday, I put up pictures of my family and girlfriend throughout my apartment. I didn’t want to be alone when I took the pills. They would give me strength. In a way, I would be doing it for them.

After breakfast, I started thinking about death–and what that means. I went to a window and pushed open the drapes, allowing the light to pour in. It wasn’t a particularly sunny day, but I still felt it’s warmth against my skin.

As a nihilist I haven’t given much thought about the after life. Whenever I do think about it, I just get pushed back to my nihilistic beliefs. What’s the point? No one knows for sure what happens after we die—it’s all subjective. Plus, even if I did believe in something after all this, I cannot imagine it resembles anything that’s depicted by popular religions. I do believe there is something out there, that connects us all. That connection is what I believe in, which is why I knew that if I had killed myself on Friday it would have affected so much more than I can possibly imagine.

I’ve relied on that connection for a long time; it gets me through the day; it provides meaning to my life. Depression took it away. I cannot extract meaning from anything anymore, and, although I still believe on a theoretical level that this connection exists, I no longer feel it deep down—and that’s where it matters. It’s hard to do anything when faced with a meaningless life.

On Friday everything pointed toward death. I felt so certain about it. Sure, the week before I tried to kill myself and couldn’t go through with it, but something felt different on Friday. I didn’t feel happy or terribly sad. I may have spent the majority of the day crying, but those tears were okay. The days leading up to Friday were much worse. I was in agony thinking about the shit-storm of pain I would be leaving behind. But on Friday, the path seemed clear. I could do no wrong.

But then when it came down to it–after I took the final anti-emetics, after I deleted all my email and everything from my hard-drive, after I scheduled an email to be sent to my girlfriend on Sunday, after I lined up the pills, after I took one last look at myself in the mirror–I couldn’t do it. Terror rose up from somewhere unknown, pushing the depression and pain aside.

A part of me wanted to go on. Where was this part of me a month ago when I was living like I had a month to live?

On Saturday I felt numb. I barely ate. I guess numb and starving is better than binging and suicidal (my normal state). I cleaned everything up. Out of sight, out of mind. And now, it’s like it never happened. I feel myself moving on to the next phase, without giving much thought to my suicidal feelings.

This is how I operate. I push things aside. I move on. I adapt. I do not dwell, and I do not feel. It’s like a game. One minute I’m suicidal, and the very next everything’s okay again. There’s never been any balance in my life. All or nothing. This way, or that. The suicidal feelings flicked off (unconsciously) and now I’m not even taking them seriously. I don’t know how close to death I came, but this is something that should demand attention, yet I am somewhere else, in the future, trying to plan my life, as always.

My answer to Camus is this: Life and death are the same. Neither matters to me. My desire to live didn’t keep me alive; my fear of uncertainty kept me going.

P.S. Today is my birthday and the only person I heard from is my dentist (via email). I guess it doesn’t help that I’ve pushed almost everyone away these past few months and that I got off Facebook and that my phone doesn’t have a battery. But it’s nice because I get to reinforce all the negative feelings about myself–nobody loves me or cares about me, because nobody even realizes it’s my birthday. I am nothing.

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8 responses to “live or die, heads or tails

  1. Hey Mike, please don’t do it. Look over your list of accomplishments, and remind yourself of what you’re capable of. Make some new goals for yourself, figure out what you would like to change and how you would like to change it. You have so much to offer the world, I’ve read your about page and several of your other posts and I know that you’ve been through a lot, but don’t give up.
    Happy Birthday by the way. Just because people forget that it’s your birthday doesn’t mean they don’t love you, my birthdays been forgotten before too. Why don’t you try calling one of the people you want to talk to? Or send them an email or Facebook message. It’s never too late to get back in touch with people. It’s never too late to make some changes in your life. Keep going, and try to see some things from a different perspective. I’m rooting for you! Take care Mike.

    • Thanks. I guess my point was that I know intellectually that just because people don’t reach out to me on my birthday doesn’t mean they don’t love me. But I think deeper down, I do believe that somewhere–and I unconsciously set myself up for people not to reach out to me so I can fuel that negative fire. Thanks for the birthday wishes. I am getting ready to go out to get a new battery for my phone so I can get in touch with some people.

  2. Well, Happy B Day Mike.

    I think it’s important not to push the suicidal thoughts / plans aside, but try to deal with them and find out the cause. Hope you can discuss this with the therapist you see, and with the GF, and with anyone else who might be helpful. I think it’s great you talk/type to the suicide hotline person also. And if you feel that connection to your family, maybe you could discuss how you feel with them? Personally I couldn’t, but I wouldn’t post their photos for comfort either. You seem to have some good possible supports already there for you, which can’t be said for everyone.

    It’s interesting what you say about felling a sense of connection to everyone, how you used to feel it, and now no longer do….I don’t think I’ve ever felt that sense of connection to the world myself, but it sounds really good. I’d bet you could re-discover that by working through your feelings, not acting on them. It’s really positive you are writing your feelings out also, I think.

    (Remember to buy new battery…)
    take care now

    • Thank you. I do feel like I had that sense of connection, but maybe I was just lying to myself to give me something to believe in. I don’t know. I do know that I used to feel *something*–and that *something* is no longer there. I hope I can continue writing too, as I feel more connected already. I’m just surprised I have the energy to write.

  3. I’ve always been more fond of the asphyxiation + helium route that Final Exit pushes. So I finally got up the nerve to buy the helium tank a week or so ago, and I’ve barely been suicidal since.

    They say, in their literature, that they believe they’re improving quality of life by giving people a sense of control and assurance to know that if things get too bad, they really can escape.

    Of course that’s meant for the physically ill, but I wonder whether it’s similar for me, too. Having it there gives me the sames sense of relief suicidal ideation does without the constant agony of deciding whether to actually kill myself or not. It gives me a sense of control.

    I don’t know if that’s what you’re experiencing, of course. But I just thought I’d mention it.

    • Perhaps by having something there, you focus less on how you’re going to kill yourself and more on why. I understand that having that there, in case things get out of hand, can give you a sense of relief–and control. But it’s still quite dangerous.

      Having Ativan on hand, helps keep panic attacks at bay. Just having it there is a relief. The same can be said, I guess, for having a means out. But then again, sometimes I do take Ativan. No harm done. I wouldn’t want to apply the same logic to a method of suicide – know what I mean?

      Anyway, thanks for the comment. Take care.

  4. I think you just aptly described one of the core human functions of survival. Though our situations are unique to ourselves, I can relate to your comments about how you move on, adapt, and shove the suicidal thoughts under the carpet so to speak to keep on surviving another day. Even if it’s not healthy to push feelings away and refuse to deal with them, it is a coping strategy that doesn’t involve killing yourself, so you can give yourself credit for that. You’re doing what you can to get to tomorrow and make it until your appointment. There is a lot to be said for that. Happy belated birthday 🙂

    • Thanks. I guess that’s what I was unconsciously doing. I was angry at myself when I wrote that post, because I felt like I was taking the situation lightly. But maybe that was the best thing to do at the time. Opening those feelings up in a safe enviornment, maybe the only way to go. Thanks for the bday wishes. 🙂

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