Living with Wanting to Be Dead

Living with Wanting to Be Dead

I want to be dead. I live with wanting to be dead every day. It’s this thought that constantly plagues my mind: “I want to be dead.” I want to not be here. I want to go home. I want anything that will end the suffering. Living with wanting to be dead is, well, a bitch.

Wanting to Be Dead and Suicide

This is not to say that I’m suicidal. Suicide is a different thing entirely than wanting to be dead. I’m not about to take my life, you can rest easy on that one. Wanting to be dead is terribly passive. Being suicidal is frightful active.

Why Do I Want to Be Dead?

Uncontrolled bipolar disorder would make most people want to be dead, I think. Uncontrolled many mental illnesses would do it. Uncontrolled other types of illnesses would do it, too. I truly am in pain every single day. Just this morning I watched a television show and started bawling my eyes out and experienced extreme sadness. Not because of anything tragic on the screen but simply because my brain manipulated the moving pictures to make me upset. About basically nothing.

I have suffered from anhedonia, the inability to feel pleasure, for years. Years. Years of an inability to feel pleasure. I have not felt pleasure or happiness since 2010. I remember that time vividly. The medications were working. It was amazing. And then they just stopped. They just unfairly, and far too quickly, stopped working. Medications stop working at some point for most people but usually they get years of success out of them first. I was not so lucky. I got a few months. A few short months when I genuinely felt something other than pain.

Please understand, I continue to try bipolar treatments and some times are worse than other times but the wanting to be dead? That basically never leaves me.

How to Live with Wanting to Be Dead

I want to be dead; it's true. I live with wanting to be dead every day. Here's how I live with wanting to be dead and how you can, too.Thinking that I want to be dead all the time is a huge burden. I don’t want to think that way. I don’t. But my brain does. It thinks that way. All the time.

And yet I live.

I continue to live.

Even through the suffering and the taunting of my brain wanting death, I keep breathing. Part of me hates this reality. Part of me is disappointed when I wake up because I have to face another day I don’t want. Part of me wants to end this, badly.

But there are other parts to me, too. There are parts that know that life is beautiful, worth it and can turn around. There are parts of me that know that there are new treatments out there and I can try them at some point. There are parts of me that know that if I never got to experience my cats purring on my chest again, I would miss out on a lot. Too much.

You see, my mind knows that living is worth it. It hears the messages from my sick, bipolar brain telling me that I want to die but it knows better. My mind is wiser. It can see beyond the pain and suffering.

So living with wanting to die is about talking back to my brain. It’s about fighting. It’s about fighting to not let the illness win. Because while wanting to die may be passive, it can easily turn into active suicidality if I let it. But I will try my damnedest not to.

I really can’t stop feeling like I want to die. I can’t stop feeling like I don’t want to be here. But what I can do is fight those false thoughts. I can use hope and treatment to do that. And, so far, I’m winning. And that’s something. Something to live for.

Banner image by Flickr user Willi Heidelbach.

Image by Flickr user Geoff Livingston.


About Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.

Natasha’s New Book

Find more of Natasha’s work in her new book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. Media inquiries can be emailed here.



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