What It Is Like to Live, But Not Be Alive

By Rachel LaBrie

Face pictureSometimes, when I tell someone I have been suicidal for 11 years, they laugh. The common response is “Well then, how are you still here?” Let me explain to you what I mean when I say I’m suicidal.

I think about dying every single day of my life. It’s like the exit sign in a store, glowing and inviting. But I talk myself into staying “for just a little while longer.” I never have the courage to leave. I just feel, most of the time, that I’d be better off dead.

Let’s continue with the store metaphor. I cannot seem to find anything that is worth buying. Life is the store. I cannot seem to find anything that keeps me here, but yet, here I am. I am breathing. I have a pulse. But that technically doesn’t mean I’m alive.

I don’t think I’ve ever truly been alive. When I say that, it may sound crazy, strange, or like I am living in the state of mind that makes me think life is just a dream, that we don’t really exist. But I know we are real. I just have never been able to fully enjoy things, because my mind keeps telling me that it is only temporary; that my joy won’t stay joyous, that the highs will soon become lows. Therefore, “alive” is not an adjective I think suits me.

I really hope someday I feel alive. I want to wake up, and not dread the day ahead. I want to get up when my alarm tells me it’s morning, and not feel an ache in my heart, one that makes me stay in my godforsaken bed. Sure, I get up every morning, but it’s after minutes or even hours of amping myself up to face another day that will surely have a disappointment or ten.

I’m here though. And I am planning to stay. I want to adopt children, get married, grow old and experience the good things in life. I want to bask in the sunshine, instead of sitting under a cloud of darkness. And some days, I really do want to tell whoever is watching me, and all the people I love, that I am okay with life. I think that’s a great start.

Rachel is a young adult who hopes to someday become a peer mentor or a peer specialist. They are currently working on writing and publishing a book of poetry.