Living with a depressive brain means being one with the inevitability of death, specifically your own. Depressives think about death a lot more than rational people. Sometimes, we even wish it was a little more inevitable. We wallow in it and get it all over our Sunday best, even though we don’t really want to. Some of us, like Robin Williams, even do something about it.
This acceptance of the end isn’t entirely a bad thing though. As Tyler Durden wisely said, “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything. First you’ve gotta know–not fear, know–that someday you’re gonna die.”
I know. I don’t fear it. Well, not in the same way the rest of you who don’t have brains in a death match with the survival instinct fear it. Fear of death is as natural as breathing for the human animal. From the time we’ve had our big Homo sapiens brains, we’ve been afraid to die. It’s healthy; it’s natural. It’s just that some of our broken brains don’t kink that way.
At least once, even in a fleeting way, I think about dying every single day. Well, at least I have since I became an adult; I can’t attest to what I thought as a child since most of that is gone now. Considering that I’m someone who is seemingly obsessed with death, I’ve never tried to die. Not consciously, not intentionally, not actively, but I have passively. I’ve put myself in situations where it was entirely possible that I would, but I didn’t. “Marla’s philosophy of life is that she might die at any moment. The tragedy, she said, was that she didn’t.”
Most of that is in the past now. I don’t do drugs. I don’t drink to excess. I don’t get into relationships with psycho abusers, drive drunk or prostitute myself anymore, but I still think about dying. I don’t and never have seen death as a solution, but I do think about how nice it would be not to live with the burden anymore. Life hasn’t been extremely kind to me. Even before I put myself in potentially life-ending situations, they happened anyway.
When I was a baby and had no control over even my biological functions, let alone my own life, I died. Perhaps that early brush with death left an indelible impression. Perhaps, once touched by it, you can never entirely shake it. It sticks with you. Perhaps had I not died as a child, I wouldn’t have died as an adult, too.
These suppositions are all moot anyway, since I was dealt the hand I was dealt. It wasn’t a good hand, but it wasn’t the worst either; I am still alive. By all accounts, dying as an infant and staying dead would have been much worse. I wouldn’t be here to even think of moot points.
Tyler said, “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” In a sense, it’s very true, but having the means to do anything can be just as debilitating as being trapped by fear. Anything is a big word. Anything includes everything. It’s easier to decide what to have for lunch at a restaurant with 30 things on the menu than 3000. So, I’ve spent most of my life just reading the menu. Instead of doing anything, I’ve pretty much done nothing. I’ve set no goals. I’ve made no decisions. I’ve let the current take me.
Yet, I’m still alive and plan to stay that way, no matter how difficult this life of mine gets, and it always seems that it gets more difficult. The challenges are different, but they are always there. I know that someday I will die, but I’m in no real rush to get there. I let the thoughts flit across my brain daily, but I don’t dwell on them.
These days, the tragedy is no longer that I don’t die, but that I don’t do enough with the time that I have. Every second counts, people. Let’s go out and do anything.