It has never been easy. When I was sixteen, I knew every potentially fatal thing in my house: Nail polish remover under the sink. Bottle of rubbing alcohol beside it. Hammer in the tool box. Forty foot bridge across the highway. Traffic outside my window.
I thought about slamming my own head against a counter until I lost feeling. I thought about punching myself in the face until I stopped breathing. I thought about running out into the street at two a.m. and waiting until a car came.
I never thought I’d make it to twenty-five. But I told myself to stay. Just for a little longer. Just to see.
So I did. I sat silent amongst my friends, searching for a way to speak. I stopped leaving my house. I swapped sleeping for staying up all night, staring at my bedroom walls. When someone came into my room to talk to me, I started crying. But I stayed. Because I thought, if I plan on dying in a few years anyway, what do I have to lose? And some days I didn’t feel like I was being swallowed whole. Some days I sat by my pool and sang until the sun set. Some days I kissed somebody on their parent’s couch and didn’t feel lonely when I got to my own bed. Some days I listened to a really great song and felt understood, if only for a second.
I stayed. And still I thought about bridges. And hammers to the head. And swallowing acetone to cleanse my insides. But slowly slowly slowly I began to understand that it was okay to cry, and shake, and feel anything but okay. I realized that there would still be days that my fist would rise to my cheek. And still, my face would sometimes resemble a bruised peach.
But now I tear up my lists of potentially ways to die before I complete them. I replace prescription: pills, rubbing alcohol, and razors with memories of the good days. Of holding your hand through the entire state of Oregon. Of running half-naked down a snowy street three New Year’s ago. Of riding go-carts in the Canadian wilderness. Of smoking cigarettes on the beach in San Francisco with someone I met six months ago. If I had left, we would not know each other.
If you feel the same way, stay. For the good days. And the sunsets. And the people out there who understand. Stay because being submerged in black water does not mean you have to drown. Stay. Just for a little longer. Just to see.