A Response To The Suicide Note I Never Needed

The world isn’t meant for me. It’s cold and unkind.

CN: suicide


I'm not sure if there will ever be an easy way to begin this discussion.

I've written this introduction six times over the past two days. The approaches I've taken have ranged from uncomfortably casual to the sort of cliché you expect at the start of a bad college essay; none of them have managed to capture the complex and solemn nature of suicide.

This is because, in a culture continuing to grow more aware and comfortable with the wide scope of mental illness, suicide is the ever-present villain that looms over the heads of those who consider it — even for a moment. It forever colors the lives of the victims it claims. It is pages torn from a beautiful story, the ending ripped out of a book by its author.

Whether it exists in your mind for a moment or goes further, it stays with you forever. Though you can and hopefully will move forward from it, there will continue to be times when it permeates your thoughts. This is inevitable and completely okay — and I can tell you this, because I’ve been there.

Nearly ten years ago, I wrote and rewrote a note I thought would be the last words I’d leave behind. It sat folded in the pocket of a pair of jeans I wore on a day I was sure I’d make my last. Though I never ended up needing it, the message always remains with me. This is because every impossible problem proved to be solvable; every difficult personal qualm that once stood like a monument in my world was eroded by further experience and the passing of time.

I'm going to share that note with you today, as best as I can recall it. In addition, I’d like to share each and every way its sentiments proved to be untrue in the hopes that you will understand that life gets better — from the perspective of someone who's been there.
 
If I’ve learned one thing in the years since this letter was written, it’s that no one is made for this world—we make this world. Each and every one of us decides, every single day, to continue pushing forth and writing our stories.

To whoever finds this, I’m sorry.

I don’t think I belong here. I’ve spent so much time trying to fit in and trying to be what other people want, and I just can’t do it anymore. I don’t want anyone to miss me or mourn that I’m gone. For the first and only time, I’m going to feel free of everything I’ve failed to be. This feels like the only decision I can ever make that will really be my own.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t know why everything hurts so much all the time and why I can’t seem to get close to anyone, except the few that actually care about me, and even to them I feel more like a burden than anything else. I feel like something is missing, and I don’t know what, but it’s eating me up inside.

I don’t want to be the one everyone needs to take care of all the time. I’m so tired of feeling like I’ll never be good enough to be loved. The people in my life deserve better than that, and I deserve better than that.

The world isn’t meant for me. It’s cold and unkind.

Mom and Dad, I’m so sorry for doing this to you. You deserved a better son, one that could live up to all the things you wanted. I hope you know that you’re wonderful parents, and I don’t think I could’ve been raised by people more loving. I wish I could’ve been more.

Chris (my older brother), don’t ever stop chasing what you want. You told me when we were little that the world can eat you alive if you let it, and I think it’s taken me. Please, don’t ever let it get to you. Take over the world if you have to.

Finally, Mike, my cousin, my only friend. Thank you for trying to save me, but I’m beyond saving. You made things as easy as you could, and the last thing I want is to continue to take from you. Never forget how loved you are, and never forget how much you can accomplish.

If I’ve learned one thing in my time here, it’s that some of us are made for this world and some of us aren’t.

I love you all.

Matthew Joseph Diaz.

No matter how much time passes, I don’t think there will ever be a day when reciting that note doesn’t make me feel like a frightened fifteen-year-old again. I’m crying as I type this — and while half of it is a sadness at how lost I felt, the other is a deeply rooted happiness that I’m still here.

Now, let’s look at letter again through the lens of how things have changed.

To whoever finds this, I’m sorry

I don’t think I belong here. I’ve spent so much time trying to fit in and trying to be what other people want, and I just can’t do it anymore. I don’t want anyone to miss me or mourn that I’m gone. For the first and only time, I’m going to feel free of everything I’ve failed to be. This feels like the only decision I can ever make that will really be my own.

I don’t feel like any of us think we belong here, really. This isn’t indicative of our value as people, nor does it mean we “shouldn’t be here.” That feeling is one of yearning — the innate need within every person to figure out exactly what it means to be themselves. The feeling was ultimately made worse under the false notion that trying to fit in was the way to fix it; as though the journey to one’s self is like finding a point on a map instead of discovering an entirely new and unique world.

In reality, the first decision I made that “really was my own” was the decision to stop trying to be what everyone else wanted. It was the decision to stop trying to fold and reshape myself to try fitting in, and instead to carve out my own place in the world where I could be anything and everything I wanted. Every single decision since has felt like my own.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t know why everything hurts so much all the time and why I can’t seem to get close to anyone, except the few that actually care about me, and even to them I feel more like a burden than anything else. I feel like something is missing, and I don’t know what, but it’s eating me up inside.

There was nothing wrong with me. In the years following, I’d learn more about my own mental health — I was informed about my social anxiety and eventually told that I have Bipolar II Disorder. While these shook me to my core at the time, the diagnoses were ultimately a good thing. Learning you’re living with mental illness seems terrible at first, but you’ve almost certainly been living with it longer than you were aware. The diagnosis became an opportunity to learn more about my brain, along with how to manage it, and though it’s been a difficult road, I know there’s nothing wrong with me. My mind works how it works; it is not broken, because I am not broken.

I don’t want to be the one everyone needs to take care of all the time. I’m so tired of feeling like I’ll never be good enough to be loved. The people in my life deserve better than that, and I deserve better than that.

You aren’t a burden to those you love. They’re there because they care for you, and in the same way you want to see them happy, they want to see you happy as well. In the time since, it’s become apparent and undeniable that you don’t need to meet any sort of minimum qualifications in order to be deserving of love. Your existence, alone, is enough.

The world isn’t meant for me. It’s cold and unkind.

The world around us has the capacity for great cruelty and horror. This has proven more true with time. However, it also has the capacity for immense and overwhelming beauty — the likes of which can brighten even the darkest corners of the world. The pursuit of these moments is what makes life worth it, and I promise you that no matter how dark and terrible it may seem, there will always be more of these moments ahead.

Mom and Dad, I’m so sorry for doing this to you. You deserved a better son, one that could live up to all the things you wanted. I hope you know that you’re wonderful parents, and I don’t think I could’ve been raised by people more loving. I wish I could’ve been more.

I’m fortunate to have parents as kind as I do. Even so, freedom came with the realization that I’ve never needed to live up to anyone’s standards but my own. You aren’t supposed to be raised to think like your parents, you’re supposed to be raised to think. I’ve always been more than enough, and every opportunity I took to step off the path laid down for me only continued to prove this true.

Chris (my older brother,) don’t ever stop chasing what you want. You told me when we were little that the world can eat you alive if you let it, and I think it’s taken me. Please, don’t ever let it get to you. Take over the world, if you have to.

My brother grew kinder to the world around him, over time. He still chases what he wants, but what he wants has changed as he has — the once-shallow pursuits of fame and fortune have changed into the quest for a good life with those he loves. In that, I believe, he found that the world is more likely to try eat you alive when you starve it of the things that truly matter.

Finally, Mike, My cousin, my only friend. Thank you for trying to save me, but I’m beyond saving. You made things as easy as you could, and the last thing I want is to continue to take from you. Never forget how loved you are, and never forget how much you can accomplish.

Mike taught me that no one is truly beyond saving. On the day I was going to end it, as I stood atop a building in lower Manhattan, he called me. He heard the quiver in my voice and knew something was wrong. When he realized what I was going to do, he promised me that if I came down safe, he’d make sure I was never alone again.

That weekend, he introduced me to the people who have since become my best friends.

Mike died when complications due to his Muscular Dystrophy stopped his heart in 2012. I’ve never forgotten how loved he made everyone around him feel, or how much he was able to accomplish. Every day, his memory motivates me to be kinder and gentler to those around me. Every day, his memory reminds me that everyone is worth trying to save.

If I’ve learned one thing in my time here, it’s that some of us are made for this world and some of us aren’t.

I love you all.

Matthew Joseph Diaz.

If I’ve learned one thing in the years since this letter was written, it’s that no one is made for this world—we make this world. Each and every one of us decides, every single day, to continue pushing forth and writing our stories. In this, we shape the world around us to allow us to grow and thrive in our own way. We can never let anyone, even ourselves, tell us that we don’t belong. We live, we love, we create, we destroy, we fuck up, we learn from our mistakes, we grow, we change and we exist — we belong.

I still love you all, and that will never change.

—Matthew Joseph Diaz.

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