Mid-Life Terminus

Posted: May 6, 2022 in writing
Tags: , , , , , ,

Trigger Warning

Welcome to a darkly satirical little journey through suicide, suicidal ideation, self-harm, depression. Apply a heavy sardonic tone while reading.

I think I am having an inverted mid-life crisis. I am not trying to be young again, not groping at my youth or clawing to live longer. Rather, I don’t want to live at all. Instead, I want to skip to the end and be done living. My mid-life crisis is trying to find a reason not to die.

In a way only I could find humorous, this might just classify as me trying to recapture my youth—since this is exactly what I was doing when I was young.

I spent my teenage years in a painful blur. The sharp fragments that do surface from the haze are better left lost in the fog. I scratched incoherent calls for help into my flesh. I planted pills into my stomach and watered them with burning alcohol. I filled my lungs with smoke until I suffocated my own voice. I tempted anyone, everyone, everything to prove to me how terrible the world was and how I had no place in it.

In summary, I tried to kill myself after my conviction wilted with one failed direct attempt. If I couldn’t do it myself, surely I could tempt another way to find me. My writing career began when I documented this (see ”How to Kill Yourself Slowly”).

I squandered my youth crushed under the unhappiness of things already passed and figments contrived in my mind. I looked down at the genetic embers of mental illness and the low flames of trauma and poured gas until my entire world burned. The past swallowed the years greedily and spit me out, wasted.

Yet decades later, I find myself again on this same shore of a familiar sea. Somehow, it is like I never left, as if my footprints in the abrasive sand are still fresh and unfinished. The path before points to the waves. The dark water beckons, and the vicious sirens serenade my demise from the distance. The lyrics of their songs, the rhetoric they weave into my ears has changed, yet the pull to submerge myself into oblivion with them remains consistent.

I wish I could say that something clear and identifiable has happened. I wish that the call to the darkness was in an intelligible tongue that translated into logic. Yet the illness betrays itself in its clumsy, mute current. At its simplest, I feel this swelling wave repeating that I just want to be done. I am tired. Tired of pushing and trying and fighting. Exhausted of the cyclical repeat. Life has lost its fascination as enjoyment and hope has drained from almost every experience.

Sound like a symptom from a depression screening? I surely fail those every year. They have a pill for that! I can add it to all the other pills I have started taking. My body has turned on itself in a myriad of minor autoimmune conditions, manifesting suicidal ideation at the cellular level. Maybe next it will spell “end it’ on my scalp in alopecia bald spots or withhold circulation long enough to shed entire digits.

My hair does not want to remain rooted in my scalp. My blood does not want to pump through my vessels to feed my extremities. My stomach does not want to digest and process food. My brain does not want to wake up or engage the world. The body appears to be sending clear messages in multiple formats.

I am not even at home in my own flesh. My own body does not want me to stay alive, so why should I want to? Why should I battle both my brain and bone to keep going?

Half the time, it feels like my body is rejecting me. And when I look out of the eyes that do not even want me behind them, I only see bleak extremes. I see everything wrong with myself, my life, humans, the world, the future.

It does not seem like the time to worry about attending my twentieth high school reunion or accepting the permanence of baby weight or negotiating a better mortgage rate or deciding what to buy with the extra money I manage to scrape together after working the same years on repeat. It seems like the time to get off this demented merry-go-round.

Instead of giving myself a drastic makeover, chopping my hair and dyeing it red, I’ll shed this entire physical body. Instead of picking up a fitness craze and chasing the tautness of an Instagram celebrity, I’ll immortalize myself as under 40—forever. Instead of violating my relationship for a fling with someone young who wants to fill my inbox with pictures of their genitals, I will remain permanently faithful by creating a widower. Instead of making impulsive decisions like spending my 401K or quitting my job to make my mania blush, I will make one last permanent decision.

In the quiet oblivion, I would miss all the ugliness around me, all the noise inside my mind. I won’t have to stick around to see how this pandemic, next world war, political unrest, climate crisis, or any other historical plot twist unfold because (spoiler alert!) none of them are looking too good.

The ugliness in the world used to be a contrast point for me. It used to motivate me to identify and savor the rare beauty and joy in life. I have lost that. I feel only the dark and the ugly. Maybe it has been too long and I have become too complacent since the war zone, gagging on my own comfort and privilege. Maybe I have forgotten the face of true suffering once again, leaving me feeling sorry for myself.

Something has changed in me to bring me back here. My perspective has shifted. A lens has settled to stifle all the color, subdue all the joy, darken all the possibilities. Living has become robotic, detached, and contrived (uh oh, more symptomatic language). The experience has been reduced to a practiced rotation to amass material possession, create waste, and fight about issues that never reach resolution while the world dies. It all feels so futile and pointless, so much like running on a wheel that goes nowhere, and I no longer want to participate.

I feel like I worked my entire life and survived myself the first time to get to this future just to find out there is no future, just to learn the rest of life is only a repetitive struggle to survive and buy unnecessary shit until I die. And the gravity of that idea is heavy enough to make me want to chemically lobotomize myself to make existence palatable.

The easy answer seems to be to just STOP.

Randy Poe Photography

I have things to live for, of course. I have not lost sight of those. However, those things tend to only amplify and make this crisis more poignant. Loving my children fucking hurts. I keep seeing how I brought them into a world where people hate them for simply existing and their home is on fire every summer because the planet is dying. I think, what did I do to them? I wonder, what can I possibly offer them in all this?

With the way things are going, my husband wants to go off the grid, grow our own food, and sustain ourselves. I could fertilize the garden with my corpse. I would probably be more nourishing to my family in that capacity versus drawing trauma marks along their brains when they get swept up in the wake of my storm.

I could spare them my damage and grant them the fruits of my absence. Instead of worrying about dwindling resources and accumulating waste and what that will mean for my progeny, I can remove myself from the equation. I can offer up what I would consume and eliminate all the plastic husks that would trail behind me. One less viral contributor.

Who says living it out is better? Who says you need to know what happens? Sometimes, you need to turn the awful movie off or put the terrible book down. Sometimes, you need to get off the ride. Maybe we all would be better off if I just called it the end instead of the middle.

Just like when I was young, it seems so simple, so seductive. What if the first time in my teen years was my mid-life crisis and my return here now is simply the end? The math is right. I am about double the age I was then. Life could be one elegant, self-destructive circle with the conclusion back where I started. There would be a sick poetry in that symmetry. It would almost be like time travel, obliterating the happiness and good deeds done in the decades gap between these dark visits to the shore of oblivion.

Randy Poe Photography

Afterword

How much of this is overdramatic satire? You decide, but I do hope you slapped on the sardonic tone I requested. If you’re looking for optimism, you’re barking up the wrong blog. Have you read “How to Kill Yourself Slowly?” We don’t do that here. Writing is for the dark side of my mind. I am aware of how simpering and self-indulgent these posts are. But do not be concerned; I am fine. Obviously, I am not alone in a dark room plotting out the practical end of my life as I just blasted these feelings on the wide and public internet. I have dark emotions, and this is how I process them. Sometimes, things need to be written out to see how truly malformed they truly are. I actually firmly believe that nothing in life is permanent enough for suicide.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Like my writing? Check out my books!

  • Followers – You never know who is on the other side of the screen. Followers is a mystery and thriller that blends women’s fiction with horror.
  • The Rest Will Come – Online dating would drive anyone to murder, especially Emma.
  • Savages – Two survivors search the ruins for the last strain of humanity. Until the discovery of a baby changes everything.
  • The Waning – Locked in a cage, Beatrix must survive to escape or be broken completely.
  • Screechers – Mutant monsters and humans collide in the apocalyptic fallout of a burned world. Co-authored with Kevin J. Kennedy.
  • Horror Anthologies
Comments
  1. Yes, the sardonic tone…and yet this pandemic, this war, this political unrest, this climate crisis, and all other ills in our world are taxing, big time. Quite a write, Christina!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] I won’t delineate the details because they ultimately don’t matter and I have a medical chart to hold them. For a couple years, my comfort in my flesh steadily declined. In tandem, my mind stumbled downward, lost in the dark sea in my chest (ahem, Mid-Life Terminus). […]

    Like

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