Until two or three months ago, I never really thought about suicide. I can’t say it never crossed my mind; human curiosity being what it is, everyone has thought about it on occasion. I have been depressed for the majority of my life, but it was always something that led to inaction rather than self harm. Even in my pubescent Edgar Allen Poe death and darkness phase, I was never really morbid in the sense that I glamorized death. It was rather a natural child’s reaction to the realization that I could explore the concept, where previously I’d been subjected to adults’ urges to steer young minds away from such sad topics. I’d quote ‘The Conqueror Worm’ for effect, but death was never something I aspired to.
This has been a rough year in a life already too full of them, and something has begun to change. I have not yet been taken over by the desire to kill myself, but for the first time ever I’ve found my mind circling back to the topic on a daily basis. Most often it’s when I’m driving, especially on the way to work. I imagine what would transpire if I yanked the wheel and plowed into a tree (even in my morbid imagination, I would never contemplate killing myself in a way that would injure other drivers). That tends to get me thinking about the specifics, and I conclude that I’d prefer something less violent and more peaceful. I think about how bad I’d feel for whoever would discover me, though not necessarily bad enough that it puts me off the idea.
Always before, I imagined that if I waited it out, depression would end and my real life would start. This year, I’ve realized that there is no logical reason to assume the future will be better than the past. Logically, I’ve realized it’s the opposite. I’m almost a decade into life in the service industry, with a half completed college degree in a useless major, and a resume that must inspire tears of absolute mirth in the eyes of any remotely respectable employer. Tuition for my university has almost doubled since I dropped out a few years ago. Every time I try to research careers, every article I read seems to relish in ending with an admonition that the job outlook for such-and-such field is utterly bleak and not expected to get better in the foreseeable future. I feel so trapped.
My social anxiety and depression have been feeding on one another and thriving in my seclusion; I do not have a single person I would call a friend, merely coworkers and long-distance acquaintances. I have never felt an emotional closeness to my family, a source of constant bewilderment and anger to them. My reasons to keep fighting back against depression are growing fewer and weaker, and this year marks what I fear could be the beginning of the end.
I watched Office Space the other day, and Peter’s line about every day being the worst day of his life hit me in a way it never had before. Because that’s me, honestly. I go to work, suffer through eight hours where I just want to scream at the top of my lungs until something inside me breaks. I’ve been sending out my resume but the complete lack of interest makes me feel worse than I did when I wasn’t trying to find another job. I thought my mental state would improve a bit once I started taking action. When I wasn’t sending out resumes, I could fool myself into thinking escape was just around the corner, if only I’d try. Realizing that I am truly stuck whether I act or not has been a very hard blow to take. Before I had hope, if nothing else. But now every day when I get out of bed, I think, “You’re stuck. You’re never getting out. How did you let this happen to yourself?”
There was a pretty big purge at work last month. The store manager was fired, then two of the more junior managers. Another manager saw the writing on the wall and quit without notice. My department manager–the absolute closest thing in the world I have to a real life friend–has a guillotine looming over his head. I feel constantly sick to my stomach at work. We have two temporary managers who are raking everyone over the coals in order to figure out who should be fired next. I’ve had an almost nonstop low grade headache for weeks now that no amount of Advil can seem to fix. I just want out so bad, but I need another job lined up first, and that doesn’t seem like it will be happening any time soon.
The one bright spot on the horizon has been writing. I’ve made some decent progress on a romance novella after years of being blocked. If I can make some money on the side, I’m hoping that in a year or two I can save enough money–about $20,000 or so–to buy a tiny manufactured home in Big Bear, and get out of retail hell once and for all. As far as dreams and life goals go, a decrepit old trailer on a mountain in the middle of a dessert is kind of a shitty one, but I’ll take any reason to live over none.
Part of me is afraid to hope. I know romance and erotica do extraordinarily well on Kindle–enough to annoy the living shit out of people who write “serious” books, at any rate–and I think I can do a moderate trade once I get a few titles out there. But it’s like the resumes and job search all over again. Until I try it, I at least have hope that I can do well. If I try and fail, I’m worried it’s just going to push me closer to the edge. I have few enough reasons to hang on that the loss of any one of them has the potential to be devastating.