I’m not suicidal. I have to reassure myself of that constantly. And I am not, in the classic sense suicidal. I don’t want to kill myself, I don’t want to be the one who traumatizes her loving parents and grandparents with her corpse. I don’t want to die by my own hand. But if I were to die in an accident, or have a ruptured aneurysm, I wouldn’t mind. But more than being dead what I want is to be invisible, to disappear one day and join the ether. I started feeling this way, way back in high school and now it’s been almost ten years and I still feel that way and when I try to envision my next year, next five years or next ten years, all I get is static, like the static from reaching the end of a VHS recording. I can’t see myself anywhere.
There is nothing really wrong with me, I know I’m not ugly on the outside because people actually almost always tell me I’m pretty. I’ve never been more than slightly overweight and have usually maintained a fit body and when I do gain a few pounds I’ve never had an issue with my body image. My parents doted on me as the eldest daughter and though they asked for excellence from me it was never hard. In elementary and junior high I was always the recipient of the Principal’s Award, and in high school I was the salutatorian, in college I got a full scholarship for academics and don’t owe a cent. Right now I’m about a year from graduating med school and though no longer the best student but still pretty good so I technically have a path to achieve independence, and a way to support a family, and despite all those positives, I am not really happy. I don’t know why I am like this, I don’t know if I ever will know. What I do know is that if you looked through my life history, I don’t really have a right to claim this ambivalence I feel about life.
I don’t have the right because my parents are wonderful, yeah they’ve argued their fair share but that never lasted more than a day and they tried to never involve us. They’ve always been a strong pillar of support, and they are the best example of unity, because they always made sure that for the important talks, or events they were together and cheering us on. If one of us needed them in school they dropped what they were doing to be there for us, they missed work opportunities to stay together with us and their love was always unconditional. My mother is the type that will whole heartedly agree to chaperone a party so that she could watch over us, but not hover over us when we were no longer young children.
They continue to be doting parents. She and my dad will cook together my favourite meal when I arrive and they’ll encourage me to do more things to explore what I like even if those interests are dropped half way through they never call me out on it (ballet, gymnastics, painting, soccer, tennis, guitar, track, softball, archery are just of the few things that I tried out and dropped for x or y reason, despite doing pretty well in most of those). They have never limited me and even when we had little money they always worked miracles to allow me these interests.
Despite a short rebellious phase I went through as a thirteen year old where I ignored whatever they said and did the opposite she and my dad still treated me as a daughter and friend and now to this day, she and my father will call me just to chat, about nonsense stuff such as “hey I saw Princess Bride isn’t it a wonderful movie?” and other silly things just so that they can hear my voice. I really appreciate that and want to thank them for it. I really enjoy those moments and yet I can’t talk to them about my feelings of just wanting to cease existing because who wants to be the child that makes her strong parents weak? I don’t want to be the child that kills her parents morale and I don’t want to be the one who traumatizes my younger siblings. That’s why I must continue to play the fool. I am in their eyes their most jovial and animated sister and daughter, I’m the one who crossed puberty without much trouble and developed a joyful happy go lucky outlook. I have cried in front of them in the last ten years about twice and each time I played it off and never delved much into why. I like it that way. I want to be remembered that way.
So family life: Great! makes you wonder, maybe I was bullied in school?
That makes you wonder, maybe I was bullied in school? sorry, no tragedy there either, Since I am generally pretty but not a “beauty” I was able to befriend guys and girls because I never was a threat to them. The guys usually were able to play and rough house around me because I wasn’t a dainty person, I didn’t mind getting a dirty or having a few cuts and I never tattled. At the same time, the girls were nice because I never inspired jealousy amongst them because I was friendly with everyone without singling out anybody.
In hichschool, I wasn’t the “popular” kid but I had many casual friends and four friends that I think loved me more than I loved them. The whole time I’ve tried loving them back, and I was the friend that they’d go to if something happened and expect me to deliver advice and comfort. The same happens with the people who I consider friends now, and I really try to help them out, and I do try to embrace them and really love them, but they really don’t know me. I am always there if they need me: crying because of boyfriends, I’ll give them a ride despite it being out of my way because I know they need the help, I’ll look after their children, I’ll help them out if they don’t have something or need something . I try my hardest to be sincere, but something always stops me from giving them me. I don’t know what it is that impedes me from sharing with them, but my phrases with them are usually “I’m fine” ” I’m doing great” “now how about you, tell me about your life?”. They are my friends and I’ll go out to have lunch with and we’ll share a happy moment and laugh and do crazy things together but they don’t know what I am struggling with in any given moment, they’ll always wonder at how I’m always ‘fine’ and how I always seem to have it together. And I think that’s the crux of the matter.
I always try my hardest to “have it together.” I don’t want help, I feel like I am the only one that should know that sometimes it’s just really hard to move from my bed, or leave my house, or even that sometimes I have panic attacks because I can’t figure out what my life might look like even a year from now much less plan for ten years like they always do. In fact, I have fake plans, that I’ll trot out if they ask because I don’t want them to know. One of my worst nightmares is for people to find out what a mess I really am.
I think the only one who might have noticed that I wasn’t all together was my boyfriend in high school mainly because we were friends from kindergarten and then we dated for five years. During those years, I did enjoy my time, but at the same time I wasn’t able to stay concentrated in the moment. I was always half with him and half way somewhere else, almost as if I were watching a movie reel where I wasn’t the person he was with. When we broke up it didn’t really hurt me and he pointed that out as one of the reasons he wanted to break up with me. He told me I was rather dispassionate, that though I seemed to enjoy my time with him, the happiness never seemed to touch me deeply and so nothing he did would really ever hurt me or really touch my heart. And he was right.
He was right, I had not really loved him so though his leaving stung it didn’t last. I was merely fond of him, like I was fond of a lot of people, like I was fond of my puppies. I never was my true self around him, I was the image I projected for everyone and I wouldn’t break it even for him. So he was right.
People vow to share the good and the bad when they marry and they start that process even as they start dating and getting to know each other, but I was never able to share the bad, and just projected the good and in the process became very detached and in the end our connection had to be severed because I couldn’t offer him more than I’d already given. I wasn’t ready then, and 8 years since I’m still not ready.
That I don’t really want to exist, doesn’t mean I don’t have outside activities, I do, they might not seem like much but they help me get out of my self-imposed isolated detachment and make it one day at a time. For my family more than for me.
I volunteer in different projects, and the one I enjoy the most was with the elderly with mental health problems like Alzheimer’s and dementia, because to them, I’m always somebody new, sometimes I’m their friend, spouse, child, niece you name it, I’ve been it. And that’s really the only time when I am wholly present, really there and not half somewhere else. It’s like I reverse my situation with them, they are the ones who are not totally present so instead that anchors me to reality. They are concrete about their needs: I need to eat, help me stand, help me bath, etc. They are things that keep my thoughts in the now and they aren’t asking for me to tell them about myself they don’t need to know that, they just need me there with them.
Aside from that I’ve had a great deal of love for literature of any type really and I remember being struck by the stories that centered on the idea of “astral projection”. I always thought that that would be great ability to have!. I’d still be “alive” but at the same time I could just disappear and not really be in my body in my life and just ‘be’. That why I really loved the book by Lois Duncan -Stranger with my face. Though for me I think that having a person who wants to change places with me would be a wonderful way out. If I had someone out there wanting to live my life I would welcome them and just leave my body to them. Perhaps they would lead a much happier and fulfilled life than I ever would. And my parents wouldn’t ever know that I left and in the end I would be free.
sorry for this TL:DR I didn’t know how much I just wanted to put this out there until I’d already started writing.