Well, that’s a silly question, isn’t it? Seems like a pretty black and white issue but for people like me, there is a third option. The half-life I’ve lived for so many years. Walking and talking normally, or should I say, so as not to arouse suspicion, while secretly longing for death. Plotting. Hoarding pills. Bringing down a plastic bag before bed having read online that is the only surefire way to commit suicide with pills. Yes, even researching online the lethal dose of whatever pills on hand. Zombie walking through days, months, years of life. Looking back on journal entries and realizing you’ve been this way for nearly 20 years. More than half of your young life.
It’s not the flip of a coin: happiness or depression. It’s depression or complete and utter misery. It’s knowing the chemicals in your brain mixed with the haunting memories of a dark childhood will never add up to ‘happy.’
Many times I have had pills on hand and longed to end my suffering and the suffering of those who have to deal with me daily: my children. Even though I believe, in my darkest moments, they would be better off not remembering me, I picture the sweet face of my youngest wondering when I will be back or the earnest questions about death from my oldest. I see quiet sadness and young lives forever changed and I just can’t bear it. For today, I will go on.
But this half-life continues until one night I am completely honest with myself. No amount of misery will be enough for me to leave my beauties behind even if they would be better off. It hits me then: my suicidal thoughts–previously seen as a burden or curse–are nothing more than a self-indulgence. I am wasting time and energy thinking about the impossibility that my suffering could end. So that’s it, I’m stuck here until the decision is taken out of my hands.
Now what? I can’t go on living this half-life: feeling guilty about all the ways I’m letting them down, the guilt leading to more depression, the depression sucking my remaining energy away in an endless cycle of neglect.
If I will not descend further into my depressed obsession and take the action I have thought about for over 20 years–and I cannot continue in this manner, there is only one thing to do. Get better.
I’ve been in treatment for 13 years but I’ve never approached recovery with such clarity before. This blog will chronicle the journey to being able to look at myself in the mirror and believe “I am a good Mom; I deserve to live” It will not be pretty but, rather, brutally honest. Breaking the cycle of abuse is difficult, but for me, the most critical aspect of my existence. I will share this journey with the hope that it might help people like me; those who know the title question is not a silly dichotomy meant to catch attention, but a very real hurdle many of us have to overcome every single day.