IF YOU WAKE
If you wake to find me
Floating on a crimson sea
Don’t mourn for me.
If a stitch in time
Could save nine
I’d push for ten
Again and again.
So let me go.
I just want you to know
It was you I loved.
I wrote this years ago, when I felt more actively suicidal than I do today. My depression has mellowed in that regard. There are still days I think about dying. I walk myself through the steps I might take, but with no intent to act. I’ve adopted a more passive approach to my passing. The desire wells up still occasionally, but not obsessively, and I’m content to feel it without getting lost in it. Most of the time.
It’s hard to explain to people who are close that wanting to die isn’t about them. It’s not an indictment of their love. It’s not their fault I can’t accept or feel what they offer. It’s not that they aren’t enough. I’m not enough. It’s about me. When I think of leaving this life, leaving them, I truly believe they will be better off without me dragging them down.
And yet…there is that part of me that wants to feel loved. Even when I know I am loved, I don’t necessarily feel it. And that difference is often the problem. It’s hard to believe what you don’t feel. Even if you know it. (How do I know it if I don’t feel it? By their actions, their continued presence in my life despite my depression, the little things they do, the belief that they are good people whose words have value. They say it, I accept it. It’s a choice.)
Still, if someone I loved left this as a good-by note to me, I’d feel terribly hurt. I’d want to know why my love wasn’t enough. I’d feel indicted, blamed. You say you want to be loved, and I love you. Why don’t you believe me? Why isn’t that enough?
I can’t answer that. The logic never holds. If I argue one side, depression will take the opposite, and then easily switch to maintain its position. I love you, but I’m not enough. You love me, but not really. I don’t matter, and love isn’t real. Darkness wins again.
I understand the frustration my family feels living with me. Depressed me. It’s exhausting. And at some point, the only thing they can do is distance themselves a bit emotionally. There’s nothing they can say or do, because I’ll always have an answer to combat them. It took me years to stop expecting someone to be able to fix me, to make me feel better about myself and life. That work belongs to me alone. If I want to feel differently, it’s my choice to identify and work on those things I can control: my thoughts, my diet, exercise, and sleep.
Meanwhile, I can let my loved ones off the hook. They aren’t to blame, they’re not responsible for my happiness. I’m lucky they’ve stuck around. I hope they feel the same about me.