Why Am I Still Here?

Even though I am not yet officially one of Alchera’s members, I have decided to answer the following prompt as it struck a chord with me:

Everyone has had one of those days where he or she just feels like giving up; whether you take this feeling into reality is your own business. However, if you’re reading this option right now, then you’ve obviously made it this far. What has kept you here–here, as in Life, not Alchera?

The short answer to the question of what has kept me living is a failed suicide attempt. I wouldn’t be around if I had been successful in my attempt. That’s the harsh reality. But the longer answer to the question is more complex. I am here, now, because the treatment for my Depression has started to work. I can exist without being in mental, spiritual and emotional pain constantly. I won’t say that I am now Little Miss Positivity, ’cause I’m not. I am still Depressed, just not as severely as I once was. My pain is not, now, out-weighing my will to live.

Being here – choosing to live – is not always an easy choice to make when you are Depressed. There are days (even weeks or months) when the pain of death seems small compared to the pain of continuing to live. Feeling trapped, anguished, fearful and hopeless for a long period of time wears you down. You begin to forget what it feels like to feel good; your entire reality is your pain.

I tried to kill myself last year in November, after months of unsuccessful treatment for Major Depression. At the time when I made my attempt, I was weaning myself off one medication (under the supervision of my psychiatrist) so that I could start another one. But can I really say that it was coming off one set of anti-depressants when I had been feeling suicidal for months? In fact, what stopped me from making the attempt sooner?

The human urge to survive is very strong. Even when I felt that the only way to end my pain was to end my life, I resisted that urge for a long time. I would venture that no-one commits suicide without engaging in some anguished debate with themselves, and I was no different. In fact, every single day (bar one) that I had suicidal thoughts, I chose not to die — not unlike an alcoholic choosing not to drink for one day at a time.

So why am I still here? I am here because I survived my suicidal thoughts and actions. I am here because I have loving people in my life, who try to understand my illness and support me through it. I am here because my cats can comfort me with a purr. I am here because I no longer have suicidal thoughts. And I am here because I am starting to be able to make plans in my life again, rather than just enduring one day at a time.


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July 2002
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