She Still Wants To Live

I sat in the psychiatrist’s office for maybe the fourth or fifth time, as mad at myself as I ever was for letting myself get this deep into the darkness all over again. This was a weekly appointment, and I had been coning for a month or longer – and so it had been six or seven weeks since my last major breakdown. Although I was acting better, and had accomplished a few more of the things expected of me since our first meeting and since our last, I did not feel better, especially not on this day. This day was one of the worst I’d had the entire semester.

I had been in better moods the last couple of meetings, which gave the illusion of improvement, but on this day, the world was bleak grayscale to me. Perhaps a day or two before, I had been writing half-finished, half-poems, half-letters to Jesus, asking when the [heaven] he was planning to come back, and could he please hurry up and show up now, just for me, because I was tired of the present, tired of repeating the past, and tired of all the tomorrows I hadn’t even seen yet. It was especially hard, that day, as I sat in the small, intimate office that promised me confidentiality, for me to see a point to doing anything at all.

In the moment, more than usual, I felt the weight of responsibilities I believed were too big for me. It was a wonder I had even made it to the meeting. I hadn’t wanted to this week, and had been contemplating, a few minutes before, just returning to my room after class and sleeping my life away again, but my abhorrence of being rude just happened, this one time, to win over my absence of desire.

Let me tell you something you might not know: if you have a moral conscience, tweets do have the power to keep you captive. Not just because the tweets exist, but because of how much you committed into composing and posting them sincerely. I realized it when my therapist asked me why I was still alive even though I didn’t think I wanted to be anymore. I told her the truth: I kept myself going because I had asked all my friends to keep themselves going, and now I was bound by the same law. At that time, I hadn’t realized how difficult this commitment would soon become.

The conversation soon shifted, as my therapist tried to figure out what was identifiably wrong with me and my life, at least today. As I listed my tangible, practical problems to the her uninterrupted – most of which had solutions that involved me somehow taking action – my despair grew, and before I knew it, my throat was choked and my eyes were cloudy. Until this point, I had not cried in a single therapy session.

She asked me, with regards to my problems, like any pragmatic adult with a functional mind would, “What do you want to do?”

That question sounded like the most idiotic thing in the world to me. Hadn’t she been listening to my rants for the past half-hour? Had she heard anything I’d said? I barely had any desire to wake up in the morning, and she was asking me what I wanted to do about my problems? It should have been clear, from my rants, that I knew what I had to do, but as for what I wanted? How about wanting a fairy godmother to wave her wand and then have my problems spontaneously vanish?

Exasperated and damn near cracking, I wailed, “I don’t want to do anything!”

She looked directly at me from the armchair that was opposite me and said, almost without skipping a beat, “You still want to write.”

It seems silly, but for a moment, I was far too shocked to speak. Ah? I still wanted to write? Why…yes. Hmm, interesting. I still wanted to write. Slightly amusing. When she said it, something that was constricting my chest freed up just a tiny bit, and although by that time, I think tears were already flowing down my face, I did crack a smile’ I couldn’t hold it back.

Despite my brief, positive reaction, I hadn’t realized the sentence’s full power then. The smile had faded quickly enough, and right after my therapy session, I dissolved into a miserable puddle of private tears lying on the ground on the second floor of the library. I was in the part of the library that was the most vibrantly decorated, and there was still no joy to be found in anything in that moment. The only person I wanted to talk to (my best friend) did not have access to the internet and/or was asleep. The only person I did talk to (my mother), I ended up unfairly yelling at, and feeling even more like crap for it afterwards.

However, several hours after therapy, and way into the next day, I could barely stop thinking about that moment.

“I don’t want to do anything!”

“You still want to write.”

Because it meant something profound; it confirmed something that, at the time, I was not sure about: that I still wanted to live. I knew, surely, that there was no other sentence that psychiatrist could have said that would have been as effective as that one in that moment.

It felt like God’s answer for all the times I asked Him why I was still here, what at all there was for me to do, why I hadn’t been terminated yet. Because “You still want to write.” And if, even in the midst of the bleakest, most discouraged state I had ever existed in, I could still locate that singular desire, that alone was a miracle.