I want to die.
Notice I didn’t say, “I want to kill myself.”
The desire is a passive thing, cunning in its perfidy. It swallows me up so slowly that I can’t see I’m at the center of its crazy labyrinth until it’s too late. I can’t see that there is a state of mind beyond this.
It can happen several times a day. I will switch back and forth between a confident optimism and the sudden, overwhelming knowledge that I am insignificant and impotent. At times I wonder if some part of me hasn’t died already, perhaps the heart on my sleeve.
Each time I catch myself thinking this way – feeling is a given – I’m horrified. I frantically whisper “cancel, cancel, cancel.” I want to negate the impulse so that the universe doesn’t pick up on it and make it so.
There are days when I waltz with terror, when the desire murmurs in my ear like an insistent and unwanted suitor. Then I whisper the “cancel’’ mantra until the pressure eases.
The Buddists say that this impulse to die is a symptom of loving life too much, that wanting to die requires a counterbalance of wanting to live with the same passion. I used to disagree, but lately, I’ve embraced the idea. Life is good now, but I can’t shake the bad feeling. It stalks me in my brightest moments.
The alchemists instruct me to conquer this “demon” I know as depression. If I want to evolve, I can’t medicate. I must push through the feelings and the thoughts until I reach the other side.
I do, but it is exhausting work. The feelings and thoughts twist up inside of me. Sometimes the demon is silent and then other days it snarls and rakes its claws along the front of my brain while it gnaws at my tender underbelly.
The silence and the snarls are at war inside of me. Medicate. Don’t medicate. Feel everything or feel “normal.” Live or die. This twisted caduceus is what drives me forward, creatively, emotionally and physically, a seriously demented metaphysical turbine.
Thesis + antithesis = synthesis, right? Life + death = a bottle of pills? I haven’t figured it out yet., Perhaps the urge to die and the urge to live is the truth of the human condition.
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