My relationship with death

mourning candle

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Content warning: This post talks about suicide, but not in the present tense.  You can find info here on crisis lines.


I’ve always thought my reaction to 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 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?

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42 thoughts on “My relationship with death

  1. MandK says:

    You think you are gonna kill yourself and get yourself out of shit sh*thole faster than us, THINK AGAIN!!! 😀 -M and The Gang.

  2. BeckiesMentalMess.wordpress.com says:

    While reading this I kept thinking, “Wow, how similar we are in a sense.” My families longevity is early 70’s, and I’m turning 52 in June. I feel as if I’m doing the countdown because that is how my depression has been treating me these days. I have 3 close friends, my Mom in Florida, for which I haven’t seen in a year (Although, we talk every, single day because we miss one another so badly), no kids, and no partner in crime either.
    I know I will be a basket case when my mother passes, and I almost hope that I pass with a broken heart then not be able to have our talks daily.
    My depression is getting worse over the last 4-5 months, and yeah… even though I post a lot of positive stuff, it’s not just for other people to read, it’s because I’m trying to convince my self to be positive when feeling so utterly down and lost.

      • thelizlea says:

        I understand a lot of what you are saying. I never had a friend die until I was thirty-two and it was surreal, and during childbirth. She was my age now (38). All of my grandparents passing was just that, there was not funerals, just delegation of where the bodies would go. I did not grieve one grandmother, who was bipolar like me, until I was in my mid thirties, about seven years after she died. So, I understand. I also don’t really know how I feel personally about growing old. Like if I want to or not. Dementia runs in my family, and also people live close to 90.

        I think that you should try the genetic testing to find the right anti depression for you. I understand the frustration with psychiatrist meds. I definitely went through it. Now I am dealing with the same situation with my migraines. There is a medication I need to take, but my insurance doesn’t approve it and I don’t meet the manufacturer’s qualifications for the heavy price tag.

        The change of seasons is hard for everyone with depression. Go back to your doctor. The test has a 36 hour turn around.

        • ashleyleia says:

          Oh, that’s so frustrating about coverage for the migraine med. I’ve thought about the genetic testing but wasn’t keen to spend the money. but I should look into it again.

  3. B says:

    I am the same way ashley. I have never cried at a funeral or at the news of someone (that I love) passing. I grieve yes, but I am also very matter of fact with death. When my best friend ended her life (very violently I might add), I was numb for weeks but I also knew she was in a better place, free of pain. LIke you I also don’t see myself growing old (the women in my family live long lives). I know once Z dies., I will probably choose to end my life too. I do hope that when you are feeling suicidal, that you reach out to us or someone you trust. I too don’t reveal my suicidal thoughts to my psychiatrist or therapist because of how I was treated when I did many years ago. hugs and love

  4. Alexis Rose says:

    This is great Ashely. I could relate to so much you were saying. Im not that great with death. I cry at funerals but I have sometimes worried that I can also go into that out of sight kind of thing. Im not that great with grief. I tend to intellectualize it so I do have to have the feels. Its interesting how I have some people in my life who have an absolute understanding of the cycle of life and death. They feel a sense of peace that those who have passed are okay and feel sad, full of grief but also a calmness. I think their faith has a lot to do with it? Maybe? Glad you brought the subject up. ❤️

  5. utahan15 says:

    mr death come calling
    and into his arms you mortal
    are falling
    not like sand man
    this sleep is rem like
    deep
    the big easy
    life to death
    to hell or heaven!

  6. survivingonsertraline says:

    I have attempted 3 times. At this point, I want to be in control of when I want my life to stop. I don’t currently want to die, but I am always aware that I have the control to stop things when I feel it is the right time.

  7. Karen says:

    Despite a long history of depression I had never had thoughts of self harm or suicide until I met a lady who had been in chemo at the same time as me and she was being destroyed by her cancer (totally different type), she couldn’t walk, had paralysis down one side, difficulty in speaking, memory and word recall problems, it was the worst thing I’d experienced relating to cancer and I just knew 100% that if my cancer came back I would not allow it to destroy me, or to allow my family to watch it destroy me. Since then such harmful thoughts are often bouncing around my depressed brain giving reassurance that there’s a way to end the pain.
    Thanks for sharing x

  8. Casey Elizabeth Dennis says:

    I thought I was the only person who had the “out of sight out of mind” thing. I feel selfish but I think it’s a slight defense mechanism for abandonment? Does this resonate with you? Maybe it’s just me. Lol.

  9. easetheride says:

    I have always had sort of a weird preoccupation with death, especially deaths that are particularly tragic. I get very wrapped up in those moments days or hours before, where the person was living blissfully unaware that they were about to be gone from this world. And I also spend time trying to process what their final moments must have been like. It’s weird, probably, but it’s just my reaction to it. Trying to understand how a person can be here and then not be. As much as I fear it, I think about suicide a lot, as a means of escape from a life I feel I’ve failed. I’ve never attempted though, because I think I’m afraid of both being successful and not being successful. I agree what you say about doing life just because you’re on a treadmill, forced to move forward. It’s the momentum, not the motivation. That kind of life doesn’t appeal to me to keep doing it, but what else can we do? I’d love to know what it’s like to feel truly invested.

  10. sarahshealthmatters says:

    I worked with the dying in a nursing home where I did reflexology relaxation sessions, especially for ‘end of life care’ patients who were close to dying. I have always had a healthy outlook on death as the start of the next big adventure and not as the end and when I contemplated suicide I must admit to it being almost exciting to find out what came next. Working in the nursing home definitely gave me a grounded sense of mortality and taught me not to fear death but to look at it as a rebirth away from physical restriction into a sense of freedom.
    Blessings to you xxx

  11. Lawrence Illoc says:

    Pretty much like yours and honestly, I hope when I drive back and forth to Geneva I will be involved in a deadly accident. I am 53 and don’t want to live anymore, but I won’t commit suicide as I do not want my children to carry this trauma.

  12. haveyouevernoticedblog says:

    What if you end your life but you have to come back and do it again. I did not believe in reincarnation until my 3 year old nephew told us how he died in his past life. He knew details that were uncanny. So, I’m trying to live a good life now. but what does that mean? I’m working hard at loving everyone around me. Suggestion for Ashley: If you have not done one of those ancestry kits, please try one. It not only gives you your ethnicity, but you get a bunch of cousins you did not know you had. Also, I read a book called the Happiness Project on one of those “dark days”. It made me smile. Ashley, I really hope you stick around. you make life better.

  13. suninthespring says:

    I have a weird relationship with death. Part of the time I’m freaking out because I don’t want to die and don’t want my family to die (don’t want to be killed in a car accident, e.g.), and another part of the time I want to die so badly because I’ve just had it. Recently I’ve started thinking kind of along the lines of, “I WANT to die, but I CAN’T.” Because I have connections to other beings in this world, even if it’s hard to remember and believe that, and if I died, those would be broken, and people would be hurt. So I’m staying in this world for some more time. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  14. Lynda Estacio says:

    I can definitely relate. I couldn’t imagine ever having a kid, but I do. When he was an infant, I couldn’t seem to imagine seeing him grow into a toddler or beyond. He’ll be 4 in November. I’ve always thought I would die young and couldn’t imagine myself aging, but I just keep living, and that’s OK. Today is what matters.

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