What keeps us here

I’ll be posting sometime about treatment and mental illness, but this is something related to all that. I’m 29, and a week ago I went back in to see my doctor about my medication. Treatment is an ongoing process, and the goal isn’t to “finish,” it’s to continuously adapt, in my experience. Anyway, this psychologist asked me an interesting question that others haven’t asked me so directly: what keeps me safe? This is the warning that I’m discussing suicidal thoughts and feelings. But for more context, I’m discussing what keeps me safe even when I have those thoughts and feelings.

I wrote about it after reflecting on that question. The first answer is I’m stubborn. I refuse to lose to whatever it is inside my head that’s trying to kill me. There’s some personification going on. But I get satisfaction from knowing I’ve “won” every time so far. The second reason is the one I’m sharing: there are too many people I don’t want to say goodbye to yet.

If death is a door we walk through on our way to Oblivion,
I visit often.
Standing calmly before it,
I trace the grain of its wood with my fingertips as I consider
What keeps me from walking through?

The world is beautiful when I see clearly.
I enjoy a summer’s breeze
And the soft patter of rain in winter.
The trickling of a stream
And the crashing of waves upon the shore soothe and fill me.

But I am tired,
Struggling just to get out of bed,
To live when my heart wants death,
Year after year.
It’s not anger or despair that weighs upon me;
Just a heavy weariness.
I’m ready for the long sleep.

Yet I always turn away instead of turn the handle,
Stepping back instead of through.
I have no big dreams for tomorrow,
No deep yearnings to fulfill.
I’m just not ready to say goodbye to the people I love.
Can that be enough?

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