It’s impossible to say when it began, but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be dead. I called it different things at different times: not wanting to be here, wanting to disappear, wanting to be invisible, wanting to fly far away, and simply a death wish. There are many reasons for this desire for self-destruction. Chief among them is being gay.
Growing up in a rabidly fundamentalist, evangelical Christian family, I had to endure hours of church each week. Many of the sermons centered around sin and how unworthy we all were, and that we were all hell bound just for being born. Being alive meant that we were doomed to an eternity of damnation and pain.
There was a special place in hell reserved for homosexuals, and it was the worst possible spot. Life for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals was rife with torment, and there was to be no respite in the afterlife. We were subhuman and deserving of ridicule and hate. Why should anyone be nice to us? We’re a plague on society’s morals, after all. We should simply kill ourselves and go to the hell where we belong.
I grew up thinking that. The self-loathing instilled in me is deep. It wants to harm me, and it makes me miserable.
I have recently gone through a period of dangerous, self-destructive behavior, and the simple explanation is that I want to be dead. When I look that desire in the face, I see a self-hatred that wants not just to die but also to suffer and waste away.
I am angry at myself for feeling this way. I am angry at the preachers I grew up hearing who railed against the sin of homosexuality. I am angry at a society that relegates me to second-class status.
I am angry at my parents who told me that I would be cast out of the house if I was gay.
I am sick and tired of wanting to die. I am done with believing that I deserve to suffer and die. I reject the self-hate implanted in me when I was too young to know any better.
As I’ve written before, I’m a recovered alcoholic, and I chose to work the 12 steps on this problem. I recognized it to begin with. I talked to another alcoholic about it and recognized my part in my self-destructive behavior. What may be most important, I got on my knees, told my higher power I was entirely willing to be free of my death wish, and asked for it to be removed.
I don’t know if it’s gone completely, but I have felt calmer the past several days after doing that. I have not engaged in risky behavior, and I don’t have immediate plans to do it again. Only time will tell if there has been a real change.
I’m simply tired of wanting to die. I’ve known for a long time that I have to rid myself of this torture. I want to live. I want to breathe. I want to eat. I want to play. I want to lose myself in the pages of a good book. I want to feel the ocean on my skin. I want to know what it feels like to love myself.
5 thoughts on “Ending the death wish”
Wow, powerful stuff. I have the utmost respect for a lot of my gay/lesbian/transgender friends who grew up with that baggage. I think that the steps can be applied to lots of issues with success and I am glad that you have a different perspective. Long may self love and acceptance reign.
I just started my mental health recovery blog, and I’m casing the existing ones to see what I am up against. Your blog is fab, I’ll continue to read.
Thank you. I try to help in my small way. Good luck with your blog.
Although my suicidal impulses have no been persistent – more the lovely result of a swing or depressive episode, I have often struggled with the difference between a suicidal “thought” and “compulsion”…it is without a doubt one of the more trying elements of this illness, but I appreciate you putting this out there.
I am so glad that you have continued to take every breath that has brought you to this point. You are one of my heroes – and I do not mean that I regard you as superhuman or impermeable or unapproachable or completely centered. Instead, I look at you as a friend who, when facing every possible fire, every possible threat, every possible taunt, every possible death wish, has chosen to stay alive.
This is powerful. I am glad you are finding a measure of peace in recent days. I am glad you have found it by deciding to live. I want you here. I want to breathe the same air you breathe every day. It matters to me that you are alive. You bring me hope and joy, even at those times when I’m sure you can’t possibly imagine how you could be doing that.
Love to you from my little room to yours.
I too was raised understand strict baptist hyms, Bibles, theologies, and unswerving dogmas….and been bisexual since reaching 9th grade (my parents, shocked at some small evidence, ignored this). The indoctrination has been so deep that I have been in a continual state of often violent spiritual crisis since adolescence.
While I lack proof, I feel that the bipolar disease may strongly contribute to what heterosexual society deems ‘deviate’, if not stake worthy. Bipolar disease is a condition of constant conflicts – polar opposites , of never fitting in, of radically changing ideas about who we are – and who we are MEANT to be by some almighty providence – as if there were a formula at birth that decided at the moment of conception that we are to be ONE cohesive personailty.
There is, in my research and experience, little spiritual peace in organized religions. The few religious sects that are coming round to accept gays are politically motivated and nothing more. The don’t care for us. We are tolerated for political reasons and to tally up more congregational numbers to contribute to the pot.
I am 43 years old; bipolar struck my around age 11-12. I destroyed my family, its reputation, my first husband, my only child, and myself over the course of nearly 30 years. My (SINCERE) suicide attempts, beginning at 12, numbered nearly a dozen, I was a cutter (in attempt to free myself of the evil I was), I could go on for pages. I quit trying a OFTEN. But never for more than a day or two. I don’t know how to quit.
The past 5 years, I have managed to overcome the worst: to acquire a measure of control, very sick though I still am.
But my main point is…WE ARE DIFFERENT. We have different rules that govern us. We, while we much fight without ceasing against the most destructive of our characteristics to ensure our physical safety and that of others, we must accept that we are not like the general population. In innumerable ways, we are superior in that our minds hold an abstract brilliance, depth of emotion, and ideas that can only be understood by others of our kind. Striving for the acceptance and approval of those so far removed from the very substance that forms the construct of the bipolar mind is a massive exercise in futility. We carry the ability to be dangerous, should we not hold ourselves in check…but we always understand things other people can only guess at. This is extremely frutrating!! but if we can connect with others of our kind, it is magnificently rewarding beyong all measure!!!
Once in a great while, we find a doctor or therapist with a passion that exceeds the “academic” (gods, those particulars love to study us like rats and write papers in their esteemed publications!) and truly want to help us. These I consider the very best of our gentle gods.
Let me ask you (I do wish I had some small moniker by which to call you)……..as overwhelming and suicidal and despair can be – the epitome of all the pain in the world balled like a fist into your soul at times….do you also feel that you experience joy, ecstasies, thrills, monumental happinesses and contentments as no one else you have ever met?
I have said enough here for one post…but I want to reinterate: we are creatures set apart – whether genetically, chemically, or by some strange and divine plan….we are, for all our triumphs and despair, absolutely extraordinary.
**Hearty laugh** I should end on this note: I am not under the influence of some grandiose manic ep. *smile* I miss those…*sigh*…but after ten years of trials, I found a med that controls those quite well. But my beliefs still hold that we are a great, albeit misundertood, breed apart. And I still quite badly wish to communicate with you one on one. Share ideas, share experiences. I’m on Facebook, if you’d like to check me out: http://www.facebook.com/SunnyGirl67