An unexpected gift

Many people across the globe have had to deal with massive changes to their daily lives since the coronavirus pandemic has taken hold and become a staple in the news cycle. Whether it’s through small changes such as no longer going into the office for work or giving a home haircut a try, through to bigger things such as tragically losing a family member to the virus or not being able to visit your elderly parents for the foreseeable future, the pandemic has had a massive effect on how we all live.

For me, the global pandemic has had a profound effect on my life in a way that I could never have predicted. In fact, this change is something that I never imagined would happen to me. Yet here it is, so strong and so visible that I cannot deny it any longer.

I now have a desire to live, a zest for life, a will to stay alive.

This is not normal for me. Many other people have a passion to live and my feelings of wanting to die are unusual to them. But for me, the option of not being around has always been present in my mind. Throughout my teenage years and through to my recent 30th birthday, I can’t remember a time when suicide was not on my mind in some shape or form.

I consider the world a horrific and challenging place to live, and the sadness that I feel and see play out on a daily basis cuts deep into my core. Being alive in this day and age has always seemed, to me, a huge uphill battle that was sometimes not worth fighting for. Ending my life was always on the table, and I often considered it a worthwhile alternative to having to suffer and watch others suffer.

Yet, as I sit curled up on my lounge and tune the remote to see the pandemic play its cruel game with the delicate lives of millions, I’ve been hearing a different broken record in my head. Watching the virus take people’s lives so fiercely and experiencing fear while performing simple daily activities such as picking up the mail and getting groceries, has caused an uptake in my anxiety level to the point where I’ve been feeling that I might burst into a million pieces. My skin has felt tight, my heart races to no end, and my muscles fold in on themselves like a boa constrictor. Throughout the past couple of weeks, I have experienced fear and anxiety stronger than I have ever felt before. But the driving factor to these fears?

I want to live; I’m afraid of not being around anymore.

So, while the coronavirus has caused many people immense pain and we are all suddenly realising that things we took for granted are indeed precious to us, I have been unexpectedly gifted with the desire to live. For someone who has been suicidal for as long as she can remember, this is an entirely new feeling. One which I can’t let slip past me unnoticed. Instead, I am leaning into these feelings, and the more I dive in, the more I see that this desire to live has always been around. In fact it’s been engrained into my instincts as a human being, yet I never had the clarity, or the time, or the reason, to uncover it. Previously, life was so hard that I couldn’t see what was bubbling underneath. Now, life stays just as difficult, but I know there is something under me that I can use as an anchor.

By no means am I thankful that the coronavirus has been the thing that has given me this gift. I wish none of this had happened, I wish we could get back the lives we have lost. Yet, I am doing my best to make lemonade from lemons.

Thus, as I sit here enveloped in deep sadness, fear, depression, and hopelessness for what the future may bring and what the world is experiencing, there is one thing that I can hold onto. I want to live, and because of this I am now ready to tackle these big and difficult emotions with a new perspective.

I am finally ready to let life in.

Bridget B