When Death Seems the Only Way Out

I wrote this about six months ago. It’s hard to believe I was suicidal knowing now how content I am today. Had I not had a husband in the next room, I might have taken my own life. My problem was chronic lack of sleep which induced depression. In the recent wake of the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I thought I would post what was originally meant to be private. I owe my life to Dr. Shawn Steinborn of Tempe, Arizona for helping me find a way out. I wish Kate and Anthony had had someone to have led them out of their darkness.  In six months I went from suicidal to celebratory. Please hit the pause button and ask for help if you are depressed. My lifelong problem with sleep was cured. Whatever ails you has a cure. Just keep seeking. 

Awake again at 1am. No hope of sleep in sight. No hope. 

Weeks of regimented bedtime and diet and taking hormones and supplements. Weeks and weeks with only one week of rest. I don’t want to kill myself I just want to cease to exist. 

I have no more hope of being normal. No more hope of living a long life because this sleeplessness is killing me. Day by day and week by week my bones become less dense, my mind loses its elasticity, my heart beats harder and faster, my liver is taxed with all these pills I have to take and for what? For the possibility of sleeping five out of forty goddamned days?  It isn’t worth it to me anymore. I don’t want to fight this damned disease anymore. I really do just wish to cease to exist. 

I wouldn’t kill myself. I wouldn’t want those I love to be faced with the shame of me giving up. I wouldn’t want them to bare any guilt feeling like they should have done something to intervene. But if I happened to have a fatal heart attack in the middle of the night when I’m wide awake and everyone else is sleeping, that would be just fine with me.  

There has been a scientific correlation made between lack of sleep and life expectancy. I expect to live only 12 more years. There has been a correlation made between chronic insomnia and Alzheimer’s disease. I expect to spend most of my last 12 years not recognizing anyone I love and not remembering anything I ever did. Isn’t that already death?  I pray God will take me from this earth and though I don’t believe in an afterlife anymore I don’t believe in this life either. 

If you do not have chronic and clinical insomnia you do not understand. Lack of sleep for 35 years will make you crazy. I am crazy. And I am fresh out of hope. I have fear and self-loathing so predominant in my thoughts at night that it eats my insides till I’m just empty of emotion. I fear the future and I loath myself for not getting in bed and going to sleep. Just go the fuck to sleep. When the sun comes up, I am better. Because even though I’m exhausted, at least in the daytime I can hide behind conversations and smiles and blend in with the normal people. But at night when I lay in bed for five six seven hours and get no sleep at all, I have nothing but hate for myself for being so ridiculously inept at being human. 

I do not seek advice on sleeping anymore. I have truly tried everything. Hypnotic sedatives work but I don’t want to take them. I want to sleep like you do. What the hell is wrong with me and why couldn’t someone fix it? Put me in a coma where I don’t have to spin anymore. Please God, take me. I just want to disappear. 

If you wake up and I’m not here take comfort in knowing it is what I wanted. It’s all I want.

47 Comments

  1. A “Like” isn’t really an appropriate response to this courageous post, Alison. It’s so important for those of us who do not suffer from clinical depression, chronic pain, chronic insomnia (I can’t imagine) and other quality-of-life-smothering conditions to have awareness, understanding, compassion, and also ways to constructively help. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just know my daytime “face” was a well-adjusted person and at night I was so incredibly hopeless. I am certain there are so many more Kates and Anthonys out there and it’s truly devastating to know they won’t be reached. Thanks for your always constructive comments.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You are very brave to post your most secret thoughts. I and the rest of the world are glad you got the help you sought as we are better with you among us than just a memory of you. We we also ashamed of being of the world that took so long to be the help you needed. We’ll try to do better for you from now on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am VERY thankful you did not give up trying. I am also very thankful for the wonderful doctor you have found. I’m just thankful for you and being a forever friend!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hesitate to bring it up, but I have long thought of suicide as an act of courage, in the sense that I can’t fathom being brave enough to take my own life, no matter what I might be enduring. But now that I’ve said it, I must be very naïve to believe that I wouldn’t do what I think I wouldn’t do if, in reality, I were in the shoes of someone who has actually attempted suicide.

    Thank you very much for sharing your story (for want of a better word). Hopefully you have helped someone by telling it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting perspective. I used to say that people who took their own lives were cowards. I don’t believe that anymore. I believe there comes a point where the fear of dying is superseded by the fear of staying alive;being a burden; being better off dead—so courageous? Maybe. I don’t have an answer. People, well-intended people, will say call the suicide hotline or find Jesus or do a cleanse or learn to meditate. These people probably don’t know the darkness. I pray my words can comfort anyone who is in that darkness.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Wow I have been in the darkness and have felt like ending it all but, have, as you say, put on the happy face in the morning only to lay down and say go the fuck to sleep and repeat the next day Maybe I should ck out your doctor if I am ever in AZ I am glad you are still here You are a peach I love you dearly So talented

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You should make a trip here if only to see my doctor. He’s rather unconventional but I’m a believer now. I’m glad I’m still here, too. Don’t stay in the darkness if ever you go there again. There’s always tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have a family member I spent time with today that took a dive. I really need to get her help. Her husband doesn’t really understand and I’m not really sure that the therapist has the full picture. I thought about asking her if she didn’t mind if I attended a session with her. Her father (my brother) has given up on her. So, I’m it and so far she hasn’t turned on me. It’s a tough situation to be in.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. And another thing – when you think about the sleep angle, many famous people get on the drug bandwagon because they have sleep issues due to difficult schedules – think of the most famous, Valley of the Dolls-ish example, Judy Garland – and so many like her.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I am so glad you got the help you needed. With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I have weeks of insomnia followed by days of sleeping for 24 hours, followed by weeks of insomnia. It’s a frustrating way to live. Since I don’t look disabled, the world expects me to function like a normal person. I think I disappoint the world most days but, at the age of 65, I don’t worry about that as much as I did when I got sick 31 years ago. I am fortunate in that I have escaped severe depression so far. Thank you for this blog post. You’ll never know how many people you have and will continue to help with your honesty and words of hope.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have an acquaintance with chronic fatigue syndrome and it has completely altered her lifestyle. God bless you. I do believe that when you have a physical ailment, people treat you with compassion but when the silent is mental/psychological people tiptoe around you or want to give you advice for getting better. Thank you for the kind comment. I do hope my words can have some effect on someone suffering. Hope you are well today. Today is all we’ve got, yes?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. Wanting to cease to exist is a really dark place to be and a place not understood by those who’ve never been there, which makes it both sad and isolating. I am so grateful to have found my way back to good.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. There are simple answers. that will help. #1 prayer and relaxation are starters. I don’t like this post, I am acknowledging it prayerfully. Pamper yourself with relaxation ie classical music, walks, teas, saunas, yoga, good reads and healthy thoughts and foods. ❤❤❤❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the constructive feedback. In my case those things did not help and I suffered immensely for 35 years feeling like I was not normal because nothing tried and true worked for me. My problem turned out to be a medical one. The key is to not give up.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for such an honest and powerful post. Knowing that you did find help and the difference it made in your life gives hope to others who suffer, either from chronic insomnia, depression, or whatever other personal (and all too often) secret battle they are fighting.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Did you have waking dreams during your battle with insomnia? I seem to remember that the mind persists in its need to dream. The mind would inclined to nightmares with sleep deprivation, though. It might not be a relief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like I never had deep enough sleep to dream most nights which is why I started to lose touch with reality. I was actually hospitalized in the early 80s because I went for so many days without sleep and had to have medically induced sleep. I have had the most incredible dreams of late! Which tells me I’ve been missing out on so much all these years. Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I have felt all these things that you said here. Chronic insomnia does make you lose hope and does make you crazy. I often told my husband he could remarry when this finally took its toll on me. And to the point above, I actually was happy to wake from nightmares bc then I knew I’d actually slept. I slept last night, and it’s amazing how human you can feel afterward. Glad you are in a better place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not a club any of us want to join but boy are there plenty of members. I know what you mean about being glad to have nightmares. I hope you find something that will work for you. Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  12. I am so happy you found Dr. Steinborn! What would our lives be without you? And, I commend you for holding it together during the daytime with no sleep – that alone shows how strong you are. Sweet Dreams Alison! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I hope you’re still okay. If so, that’s great. I’ve been at the point of wanting to de-exist (and yeah, I know that difference between wanting to ‘un-be’ and wanting to kill myself) many times but something has always stopped me from doing anything other than thinking about it.

    What is the treatment you’re having, or is it something you want to keep to yourself?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would be delighted to share with you. If you’re on Facebook will you “friend” me and we can talk through iMessage? I’m Alison Oshel from Oklahoma. My profile pic is me with my giant family.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I just read one of your blog posts where you said you’ve shut down your FB account! If you want to share your email address with me, I will dump it in my spam file so it does not show up in blogosphere and I can email you my regimen for sleeping better.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I remember the first post I read of your where you mentioned this insomnia problem – at the time I couldn’t relate at all. But in this past year it has become an issue in my life as well – though nothing as constant or extreme as what you describe. I assume my problem is a combination of menopause and the fact that I am absolutely a night person who has been trying to live the life of a morning person since starting my job in the school 6 years ago. I’d still like to hear what it is that is helping you. (And I am soooooo glad that you are doing better!) Is it okay if I try to find you on Facebook, too?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, please find me on Facebook. I put a link on my Avatar but if it doesn’t work I’m Alison Oshel from Oklahoma and my profile pic is me with my mom and sibs. I believe you have hit the nail on the head with your diagnosis. You’re an owl living like a lark and menopause is an absolute monster. Find me on FB! I’d love to share my witches’ brew.

      Like

    2. ^I said Avatar. I meant Gravatar (didn’t I?). Which, by the way, yours says you “frenetically rearrange furniture” and I absolutely do too. All the time. It ends up exactly as it started most days but still…what is that about?!

      Like

  15. I know that bone exhaustion, that very specific mania fatigue, like an overtired child desperately trying to do anything to keep awake. Sometimes in the very early morning I get up and do some writing. I may as well do something productive. I’m going to feel shattered all day, so while I am wide awake, stuff can get done.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Insomnia is a symptom of depression. Or may be. I think it’s the other way round, now lack of sleep does aggravate depression. I’m glad you not thinking of “offing” yourself anymore. (I’ve had too many in many family, and believe me, you don’t want to do that to them.) 🙂
    I may have read too fast, but are you better on the sleep issue?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so much better. Thank you for asking. I believe in my case the sleeplessness caused the depression. If anything I tend to be on the high side of the manic depressive scale. I have a hard time shutting my mind down and slowing down the pace. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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