The Survival Instinct

He nearly killed me and the strange thing is, I wanted him to. I just wanted it to end. I wanted the beatings and the emotional torture of the last eight years to be over. I was defeated. I had no fight left in me. I just wanted to die. I had nothing left to take. There was no safe place in my soul that he hadn’t invaded and destroyed.

Or so I thought, but when it comes down to it, the survival instinct is amazing.

Even when he tried and I thought for sure that he would kill me, I survived. When I had hands ringed round my neck so hard that they left bruises in the shape of fingers, I mechanically found the strength to turn my head to the side. It’s harder to crush a windpipe when it’s not straight.

When he punched me in the face, I would involuntarily try to block with my arms. When he kicked me though I was already on the ground, I would instinctively curl up into a ball to protect my vital organs.

No matter what, no matter how much we think we want to die, our inherent survival mechanism kicks in.

Even before I met the domestic violence monster, I was on a self-destructive streak in my teens. I had just realized the sexual abuse I suffered as a child and the betrayal of my family in letting it continue. I didn’t actively try to die, but I passively let go of the reins. I decided to let life do with me what it wanted, but even down in the bottom as a homeless drug addict prostitute, I still couldn’t die.

My conscious and subconscious minds have often thought about dying. How, when, where, etc. Only a couple of years ago, in the grips of the most serious depressive spell I’ve ever had, I thought about dying every single day.

But, I’m still here, no thanks to anyone else. I’m still here, no thanks to myself.

The survival instinct keeps me going. I’ll keep blocking and curling up into a ball to protect my delicate innards. All I can do is keep fighting this battle of wits inside of me between major depressive disorder, PTSD and me.

Some people don’t think their survival instinct is as strong as mine. Some are trying to test it to see how far it will really stretch. Sometimes, just continuing to live is the hardest thing you can do.


This time of year is particularly difficult for those of us suffering from mental illness. If you or someone you know is in danger, please, get help. Sometimes, a little understanding goes a long way. You are not alone.