I have been suicidal for as long as I can remember. I have always felt out of place. Always felt like I just wanted to go home. I didn’t belong here and the emotions that constantly bubbled up inside me were too much to handle. I blamed this extensively on my childhood trauma and decided that I was inexplicably broken. For a while, I had accepted this as a scar from a battle. I was broken. I would always be a little broken. I’d read the quotes about gold in the cracks of pottery to make it beautiful and I’d think about my post-traumatic growth and try to appreciate who I was in spite of anything I’d been through. I should be proud, right? I did the hard things. I came out better than I had been before. The hard truth was, however, that I just didn’t care that much to be alive.
I didn’t even know that passive suicidal ideation was a thing. What I did know is that I would go through many days looking for possible escape routes from being alive. Like a prisoner staying aware of any little slip in the guard's attention or crack in the wall, I would keep my eyes open for a way out. As a child, I would hold my breath underwater as long as I could hoping that I would just passout. When I was a teenager, I would fantasize about wrapping my car around a tree that I would pass on the way home from school. As an adult, when visiting a hotel, I would immediately look out the window to see how high it would be if I jumped. I didn’t obsess — it was merely a fleeting thought. But they were individual fleeting thoughts all day long. To make matters worse I thought I was alone in this. And how weird I must be to want to end my life constantly? What an awful human I was to not be more appreciative of what I had? I had a good life. I loved my family like crazy. And whenever I would speak of my thoughts I would hear, “But you have everything going for you! Look at what you’ve built! And you’re always LAUGHING! How could you possibly be that sad? Just don’t be. Choose happiness.”
And all I heard was blah freaking blah.
All this managed to do was make me feel guilty. Cue the sadness I may not have been feeling. Ramp up the depression I may have had momentarily under control.
I wasn’t always sad. I think that’s something that people generally don’t understand about suicidals. Sometimes, for some people, it is about escaping pain. But sometimes, it is this overwhelming, all-encompassing, drowning feeling that you do not belong anywhere. It doesn’t matter how many friends you have. Doesn’t matter your following on social media. It doesn’t matter how close your family is. It doesn’t matter how many times they see you laugh. It. Doesn’t. Matter.
But, that’s not the case for me anymore. It hasn’t been for over a year. Does that mean I’m healed? I don’t think so. Remission? Maybe. I haven’t had a thought about dying in a very long time since I was given something to believe in.
My whole life I couldn’t subscribe to organized religion because of the exclusion it often entails. I know so many wonderful humans of varying belief systems that if there was a good place for souls to go, they would definitely be there. I couldn’t accept anything less. However, finding a belief system, a spirituality that allows me to accept myself for who I am, understand my place here on Earth and know that I have the support of a higher power has helped me to feel like I’m here on a mission. I have a priority. I’m here to help people heal. To work as a guide. And one day I’ll be able to go home, but right now, I need to do this first.
This spirituality has helped ground me and as I learn more and move down my path I find that I think more about helping other people than I do about taking my own life. I have all but stopped thinking about dying. All because I found something to believe in. Finding something to ground me here has helped mitigate my passive suicidal ideation. Do I think this is a cure? I have no idea. I only live with my mental health issues, I’m not a doctor. But, I know that feeling like we belong to something, anything, is one of the most basic and powerful human needs. Finding that belongingness that my beliefs have created has made the difference for me. Strangely enough, it wasn’t any other humans that gave it to me. It was ultimately a journey I had to go on by and for myself.