It’s interesting how my thoughts on mortality have changed over the years.
When I was a young kid it seemed I’d live forever. The thought of dying was an alien concept for me. Even the deaths of my grandparents didn’t do much to change that idea.
As I grew into a teenager and developed my mental illness things changed. I longed to die. Once, during a Bible study session with my family and the family of one of my mother’s friends, I was asked, “Don’t you want to live forever?”. I squirmed in my seat for a bit as everyone stared at me waiting for an answer. I let out a low, “No, not really.”
Though I had made a few unsuccessful attempts to end my life over the years, the majority of the time I just plain wanted to die. It wasn’t like I’d jump in front of a car but if I happened to get killed by one on accident I wouldn’t have minded.
I engaged in a lot of risky, dangerous, behavior. Looking back I find it amazing that I didn’t get hurt in any serious way. The desire to die also affected my motivation. When you just want to be gone you don’t have much desire to improve things or accomplish much of anything. I drifted aimlessly year after year.
A while back, after an incident at my local clinic that sent me to the hospital for an extended period of time, I started taking my medication on a regular basis. I had always been terribly non-compliant during my life but something flipped a switch in my brain and I started managing my illness. It was during this time that my desire to die started to subside. For the first time in a long time, it looked like life might be worth living.
My mother’s death really brought thought of mortality back to my mind. I am grateful for the medication because I could not have gotten through those days without the stability and clear head that the meds gave me. It was a difficult time, one I relive every New Years Day, the anniversary of her death.
My girlfriend has brought joy to my life. The past two years have been a pleasure. She has filled my days with love and a real satisfaction I’ve never known before. Thoughts of death have become virtually non-existent.
I still struggle with motivation but I’m working on being productive and making amends for the terrible things I’ve done in the past. Life is good.
The reason I’ve brought this up is that for the past two days I’ve been coughing up blood. Not sure what’s causing it but 30 years of smoking makes me wonder. I’ll call the doctor tomorrow and set up an appointment. Naturally, this makes me concerned though it could turn out to be nothing. In any case, it’s given me the opportunity to think back on my life and look at how my thoughts on death have changed over the years.
What are your thoughts on your own mortality?