I was drinking a glass of white wine at a second story restaurant with outdoor seating. My table was right against the railing, showing the views of Franklin Street below. I see a man walk right to the railing, resting his hands on the rail. Then, his upper half leans over. My heart races. My throat constricts. I feel paralyzed and cannot look away. Don’t jump, please don’t jump. He straightens back up, no longer interested in the events going down on the streets below, and calmly walks back to his table. For the next ten minutes, all I can think about is falling off the building to an uncertain death.
Suicide. I see it everywhere. I see it in the sharpness of a large knife. I see it in the deadly height of a skyscraper. I see it in the sheer amount of leftover pills I have in just my own medicine cabinet. It drives my depression. It intensifies my anxiety. It quite nearly drives me crazy.
I didn’t always think this way. In fact, before my first bipolar depressive episode, I never thought about death. It was an abstract concept, far removed from my everyday life and thinking. Now, there are weeks at a time during which death haunts me continuously. It is not necessarily suicidal ideation, but more of an obsession with death and suicide. It is beyond my control and is the source of daily crippling anxiety. How do I switch it off, these dark obsessions that take over my mind?