I hate telling people I’m suicidal. Before today, maybe three people knew. Suicide’s not a big deal. Everyone has their l’appel du vide. Suicide transforms that moment to an eternity—rarely as a direct plunge into the deep. It’s being trapped, waiting for the tide to drag me into an ocean of obmutescence where my darkest thoughts scavenge the remnants of my emotions. Life would be easier if it were all darkness, numbing and soft. The streaks of light painfully remind of what was good, what I lost.
Smiles disappeared first. Bright emotions required more to spark. Passion withered. In this fallow soul, disinterest sprouted, its weedy grasp unnoticed until fully grown. “You were such a happy child,” my parents told me, “always laughing, getting involved. We don’t know how this happened.” I remember that boy—though only through pictures. His grin was stolen by a cruel world and its inhabitants, who revealed his insignificance in the enormity of life.
Nothing about my life matters. No one depends on me. Waits for me. Seeks me. Yearns for my thoughts. My presence, my existence, is irrelevant. I am least among my four brothers; my absence wouldn’t upset the family dynamic. My job is so basic any of my numerous highschool coworkers could supplant me. A manager gleefully informed me, “Everyone is replaceable, Kyric. Even you.” My world is my bedroom, and I sluggishly vacillate between the computer and the bed. Only work and necessity unchain me. Consistency propels even as it poisons. Days become dazed. Things change, but they are merely variations on an all too familiar theme.
Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day. Another day.
Like this, dear reader, even you don’t want to see another day.
I’ve tried to make a difference, tried to change. I tried and gave and fought to no avail. All my kindness, my love, my effort frittered away, netting nothing. People couldn’t see. Or didn’t care to see. Wanting something, all I received were resounding questions. “What point is there in doing anything? Why converse if no one responds? Why help others if they neglect to help another? What’s the point of trying if nothing changes?”
Thirty years have passed in my life. Thirty years wasted. Looking back, I can’t pinpoint anything of which I’m proud. I’ve done nothing worthwhile, accomplished nothing. People tell me otherwise. They say I’m special, smart, proficient, good. No. Different. Demanding. Difficult. More could be accomplished; betterment hides beyond the horizon. My actions were nothing, the bare minimum of effort and human decency. Unable to see beyond and seize betterment embittered me. I am torn apart by the desire to do something and the wearied ease of doing nothing more. Their constant grind eroded my soul, crushed my concern. Caring is difficult without connection.
Since my youth, I’ve never felt truly connected to anything. Not people. Not God. Not dreams. Not work. Nothing to anchor me or guide my course. When asked the hated question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I force a smile and lie. Five years? I have difficulty envisioning myself at the day’s end. I, a purposeless soul adrift on the empty void, had only death. Death was closer than any friend, more reliable than any plan, more earnest than any lover. When the world collapsed and scorned me, death was there too. I finally didn’t have to chase or beg. Death approached me, wanted me. It’s no surprise I became so attached. That the most beautiful thing I could imagine was no one crying at my funeral. To never have been close enough to hurt anyone or be meaningful to them in any way.
This pathetic existence galls me. There is no meaning in it, no joy. Life has become perfunctory, a series of necessities. Desire plays no role. Even the things that bring a modicum of enjoyment feel like wasted time because I know I should be doing other, more important things. But I don’t. I can’t. Ironically, they too seem meaningless. And with no meaning, no purpose, actual living ceases.
I hate telling people I’m suicidal because it’s a difficult concept to receive. By now, the initial shock has fueled a concern, a need to connect, to comfort, to assure, to do something to make the situation right. But that concern won’t make this right.
Others’ actions, though meant to help, are different, and that difference preys upon my thoughts. They’re only acting like this because they know. They didn’t do this before. They don’t actually care. Guilt and shame drive them. The thing is, I want to be invited to dinner because you desire my company, not because you know I’m starving.
People never want to believe. They claim this isn’t the Kyric they know. The quiet, clever, gentle soul. The rapt listener. The kind encourager, always smiling, always willing to help.
What do you know about anyone beyond what you want to see and what they allow you to see? Succumbing to lies is easy.
I hate telling people I’m suicidal because it’s a difficult concept to expose. It feels like raving or whining. I never wanted to plea for attention, not when others suffer too, perhaps worse than me. I didn’t want to appear weak, useless, or false, though I am all.
I couldn’t save myself, so I thought I could at least spare others. I’ve lived the darkness, the despair. It’s constricting, exhausting, despicable. It doesn’t need to be crowded too. Others shouldn’t have to contract my burden.
Despair was easy to disguise. Pretending was part of the game. People don’t care, provided they win. Their satisfaction didn’t require truth. This was painful too, but I embraced it anyway because I felt I had purpose again. I adopted Gilraen’s words as my own: “I give hope to mankind; I keep none for myself.”
Like this, I could continue being the Kyric everyone saw, the Kyric everyone needed. I chose to drown, hoisting others to my shoulders, enabling them even one more gasp of air. I could take others’ darkness. Only I had to suffer, to sacrifice. Because only I didn’t matter. Everyone else had worth, had reasons to flourish. One can be exponentially greater than itself, depending on how many zeroes it stands on. Bitterly, I knew my place—a zero, and nothing more.
Or rather, I am a lighthouse. Even if I have saving light within, I have no eyes to see it. My attention is on the storm. The thrashing waves. The darkness. The floundering. Solitary, I stand at the precipice, a pillar of weathered stone cradling a glass heart. The desperate and needy revere me but never return aid. Visitors occasionally marvel at this curiosity but have their own lives and agendas and care not for a lighthouse. A lighthouse functions as it must without a word.
I hate telling people I’m suicidal because it’s moot. The likelihood of me killing myself is infinitesimally small. My despair has never dragged me into action. A reason has always prevented me.
In the beginning, it was fear. My faith was enough to question my final destination, not quell the temptation entirely. As the years progressed, my indecision turned to indifference. If life was the same as death, I might as well continue in my current state. At one point, my beacon was my stories. If I died, they did too, and I cared more about them than my own well-being. That light is fading too.
These days, I believe I have a purpose for being here. Even though it may be impossible to see, impossible to hold, it is the only solace I have, the only promise worth pursuing. And though I may never know that purpose, never feel like I’ve attained it, always struggle with meaning, I have to convince myself it still exists. It exhorts me, shapes my surroundings. I have to believe in this miracle because only a miracle can save me: not a miracle of the divine exploding into my life and altering it supernaturally but the miracle of finding the divine in the minute moments of another day.
My grasp on this belief is not always steady. It slips, and sometimes I purposefully discard it, but it has not yet forsaken me. I wish I could tell you it is easy. I wish I could tell you I no longer long to die. What I can tell you is this:
I have wanted to die for seventeen years.
I am still here.
So are you.
The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255.