Content warning: This post talks about suicide, but not in the present tense.
I’ve always thought my relationship with death was a bit weird, in that I’ve never had a strong reaction to death. Part of it is that I view death less as a loss and more as a natural transition, and part of it is probably how I think about people who are aren’t physically present. I’ve always tended to have an out of sight out of mind sort of view of people I don’t have regular physical contact with. This has popped up in various ways, and is probably a big part of why I’ve never been good at maintaining long-distance friendships. In a way, death feels like the same thing taken to an extreme, a twisted form of object impermanence.
My dispassionate view of death has become even more firmly entrenched since my first episode of depression. Sometimes when my depression has been really bad I’ve had thoughts of suicide. I’ve attempted suicide four times outside of hospital, plus several times in hospital. It seems unrealistic to me that I would live until a natural death (which, given my genes, probably would happen until well over 90). I just can’t imagine living another 50+ years, and I’m ok with the idea that my life might end prematurely due to suicide. It’s not necessarily an outcome I actively desire, but it seems the most likely. While I do reach out for help with my depression, I don’t disclose to health care providers when I have active thoughts of suicide. It’s not an issue right now, but most likely it will come into play at some nebulous point in the future.
As my depressive illness has progressed, the future seems very indistinct. I have a hard time imagining what my life might be like at 50, 60, or beyond. I’ve got no partner, no kids, a small family, and only one friend. Life is something I just keep doing out of momentum, not because there’s anything to look forward to. I sort of feel like that should disturb me, but I’m pretty indifferent.
My grandma, who I’ve always been very close to, is 101 years old, so clearly she doesn’t have long to live. And I wonder sometimes how I’ll react when she dies. Will I grieve? Or will I just shrug and move on, all the while hating myself for feeling that way? I don’t know, but I’m inclined to think the latter.
Death and I have a weird relationship. Please don’t worry about me; I’m fine, this is just something I think about sometimes.
What is your relationship with death like?
The Straight Talk on Suicide page covers a variety of topics related to suicide, including getting help and safety planning, from the perspective of someone who’s been there.