5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Kill Yourself

In the midst of my festival of tears, I found myself sincerely thinking, "I can't kill myself. I haven't finished my taxes yet." And then I started to laugh.
Publish date:
March 16, 2012
mental health, suicide, living, you are not a cliche

I'm toying with actually accepting the idea that part of my condition as a depressive human is that sometimes I'm going to want to off myself.

I don't say that lightly, nor am I exaggerating. At various points in my 20s and now, in my early thirties, I've gone through moments, minutes, hours, days and sometimes even weeks during which I've repeatedly thought about suicide. It's not a secret or anything -- I wrote a book about it (and about other things, like awkward sexual encounters and bad haircuts -- but mostly about mental illness.)

I think that part of the reason I have these thoughts is because of my wacky brain, which sometimes prompts me to do strange things like develop a fear of the toilet or look at a billboard a certain number of times "just in case" as I walk to work each morning.

"Just in case of what?" you may logically be asking. My response? "JUST IN CASE." The point here is that I'm not exactly 100 percent healthy in the ol' thought department.

Anyway. The other night, after a few days marked by crying jags in places as diverse as my best friend's guest bedroom in Houston, the shower at the Super 8 in Austin, and my couch in Queens, I had one of those wracking sobfests that really clears out the clogged parts of one's soul and leaves you feeling exhausted but somewhat relieved. In the midst of my festival of tears, I found myself sincerely thinking, "I can't kill myself. I haven't finished my taxes yet." And then I started to laugh.

Later, I told a friend about my feelings, which is the thing you ought to do when you're feeling suicidal. Because he knows my twisted sense of humor well enough, he sent me this poem by Dorothy Parker. It's called "Resumé."

Razors pain you;

Rivers are damp;

Acids stain you;

And drugs cause cramp.

Guns aren’t lawful;

Nooses give;

Gas smells awful;

You might as well live.

Gallows humor? You bet. And man, did I need it. In fact, I started thinking of other reasons not to kill myself, besides the "I have friends and family who love me, and there is hope, and I'm not such a bad person, I just make mistakes sometimes like everybody else" type of stuff. I share them with you now because I guaran-fucking-tee at least one person reading this post needs to see this info. I know there are times when I've needed it.

1.It's messy.Regardless of how you go, you're going to leave a body for other people to clean up. Dead bodies are gross. Did you know that some people let poop out when they die? It's true. I mean, not on purpose or anything. It's something to do with the bowels relaxing. Anyway, what if no one finds you for a few days? You will be stinky, and someone else will have to deal with it.

That's a little inconsiderate. Why not stay alive and call a therapist? Stimulate the economy. You're a jobs creator, just like Mitt Romney! Or you could just call your best friend and tell her you're having a rough time. She's your best friend; it's her job to help you through rough times. Which brings me to the second point…

2.Other people need you.During my big crying festival, I remembered that my friend had just broken up with her boyfriend and I hadn't called to do a post-game recap about it yet. I knew it would really help her to get to let it all out with me. And while I wasn't in the shape to deal with it at that particular moment, I figured I ought to stick around long enough to let the tears pass and get into a headspace where I could chat with her.

So a few days later, that's exactly what I did. And I felt good afterward, because I know I hold a special place for her as a sort of confessor/big sister.

3.Dead people don't get to eat cinnamon buns.They also don't get to do my other favorite things, like live-Tweet presidential debates, re-read "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler," hold newborn babies with squinched-up little red faces, talk politics with their dads, walk in the woods on a warm autumn day, eat their brother's excellent apple butter chicken, or fall asleep in a soft bed after a long day of walking.

They also do not get to have sex (at least not consensually. And do you want to risk your earthly remains being defiled by some creepo gravedigger? No. No, you do not.)

4.It's cliché, and you are not a cliché.Nor are you a statistic, or some sad footnote in the local paper, or whatever cheesedick obituary they put together. You're you. You're unique and special and lovely and people care about you, and you deserve a better ending than anything you could bring upon yourself.

We all know what happens when a sad person kills herself: nothing. That's it. It's the end. No one gets to find out what she might have done or could have done or would have done if she'd stuck around. And that's shitty. So keep hanging out with the rest of us in the mirth and the muck, because you matter more than you can possibly imagine.

5.Someone needs to change the kitty litter.'Nuff said.

I thought about all this stuff, and sometimes it made me laugh and sometimes it made me cry more, but mostly it reminded me why I ought to stick around. So I'm sticking around, and I'll keep sticking around until it's no longer my time to stick around. But it's not my job to determine when that time is. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go trip the light fantastic and sing the body electric and, y'know, take my Prozac.