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A magical trip awaits you in Lucia's mind...
Dying Early
Hello friends,

I started writing this entry on the first of September 2021. It has been over a month since the passing of my father, and I find myself, oddly, not drowning in regret.

I had a dream some years ago in which there had been a car crash and the house received a phone call. I wasn’t the one who picked up the phone, nor do I think I heard the phone call at all, but it was, by dream logic, simply understood that mum had passed away. I don’t remember how I felt in the dream, but I do recall a wash of relief when I woke up. Since then, I’ve been very conscious of the fragility of life.

Some time later (or was it some time before?), my beloved cat Skittles passed away. It wasn’t as sudden as a car crash, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to lose him. He had become ill and cried often in his last few days. The night before his passing, I told him that I loved him and bid him a good night. That’s a luxury I wasn’t granted with pa.

I had regrets after Skittles’ passing. I used to let him into my bedroom and we would share my bed. When I got my first boyfriend in high school, I started closing my bedroom door at night to muffle some noise from my nightly calls. Skittles used to knock on my door to be let in, but I didn’t want to disturb my parents’ slumber by having my door open. When Skittles passed away, I deeply regretted not opening the door all those nights. I asked God to give me a second chance, and He complied.

Shortly after Skittles’ passing, my younger older brother’s friends gifted us a kitten and we named her Xấu Xí. I knew she was God’s answers to my plea, but she certainly stretched my patience quite thin at the beginning, from biting my toes and charging cables to poking holes in my window mesh. It seems that I’ve since been chosen as her favourite human, a position which affords me a bit of pride.

Hm… On July 24th, 2021, pa was declared brain-dead. Pa’s final heartbeat was artificially delayed until the early hours of July 25th, 2021, at the unripe age of 59. It was a strange experience. Unlike Skittles, there was no warning, no indication of the end approaching. Pa had passed away from a series of strokes and no one could have expected it. He was gone so suddenly. I hope it didn’t hurt. I fear, perhaps irrationally, that pa’s last moments were bathed in confusion as he teetered between life and death. I don’t know why, of all things, my fear resides in pa’s final thoughts. It’s just… such a strange concept for me to grasp.

Unlike my dream, I did not wake up to a life with pa. I was instead thrust into an exhausting cycle of social interactions. Family, friends, family of friends, friends of family, all sending their condolences, their food, their gifts of comfort. They were kind gestures at first, but I think I just needed some time to myself to process the new state of things, by myself. I think that’s somewhat what I’m doing now.

I’ve never been one to fear death. I remember as a child, I craved death, but I quickly realised the pain I would cause in my passing. I think the idea of others grieving for me was a strong enough deterrent to keep me alive, even until today. I have this… hm… way of life, guided by the acknowledgement that we will all die eventually. I want to live in such a way that when I die, people will notice and miss me. I also want to live in such a way that when others die, I don’t have regrets from when they were alive. I think that’s why, when pa passed, I didn’t feel the regret that I was expecting from the loss of a loved one.

Every now and then, I think that I would be happier dead. It’s not so much a suicidal thought as it is a source of comfort. I appreciate my happy moments because I know I won’t be able to experience it forever, and I can tolerate my depression because I know it’ll go away when I eventually go away. The idea that my depression can’t outlive me is actually quite empowering.

I used to have a bad habit of scratching my skin off during my breakdowns. It was a form of physical stimulation, a test to see if I can feel anything anymore, because I literally go numb during my breakdowns. I would know that a breakdown was approaching the end when my skin began to sting. The last big breakdown I had that involved scratching, I had dug my nails in so deeply that it left a scar on the back of my left hand for several months.

I don’t know why I stopped scratching my skin during breakdowns. Perhaps it was because I don’t like being questioned about my injuries. The idea of someone caring for me enough to inquire about my scars is painful to me. It’s not that I am offended by the concern of others, but it makes me… deeply uncomfortable. I’m not sure how to describe the feeling. It just makes me want to cry. It’s not a bad kind of crying, but I don’t really like crying if I don’t need to.

Nowadays, I know to expect a breakdown every few weeks. I was talking to some friends earlier this year about how I have breakdowns every month or so. Sometimes it comes as frequently as weekly, but usually life gives me a break. My friends told me that wasn’t healthy, but I used to have breakdowns daily, so I’m grateful that my Shadow has since become more manageable.

Knowing that my breakdowns are coming, and knowing that they always end, I’ve taught myself to just wait it out. I’ve discovered that my fear of the dark, similar to my ability to physically feel things, also disappears during a breakdown. Instead of digging my nails into my skin and waiting for the sting, I drown myself in darkness and wait for my fear to resurface. It’s a lot easier to escape the dark than it is to heal my skin, which is lovely. The only downside I can think of presently is that being in the dark makes me more prone to having breakdowns. It’s as if I’ve conditioned myself to associate darkness with my shadow, which is ironic in both a literal and poetic sense.

I’d like to say that I’ve largely recovered from my self-destructive tendencies, but I think my depression manifests in a much more sinister manner than temporary wounds. This entry is a confession to what I deem to be my primary vice: self-neglect.

I don’t think I would ever have the impulse to end my life. I think my spirit wouldn’t be able to reconcile the… frustration I would leave behind. Suicide is (often?) preventable, and I would hate for my remaining loved ones to think that they could have done something to save me. I know in a previous entry, I begged for help because I thought I was approaching a state where I could kill myself. I can’t say for certain that I will never be in a similar state, but I am fairly confident that I am sufficiently tethered to the world now.

Hm… But I think I am tired. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been tired. I am tired of having breakdowns, and tired of waiting to have breakdowns. I’m tired of being sad. I’ve been tired for longer than I can remember. I think, because I am tired, I await my death too eagerly.

Sometimes, I don’t eat enough. Often, I don’t sleep enough. I live my life very… in the moment. It’s hard for me to look to the future because I don’t expect to live very long. I think in poorly maintaining my body, I am shortening my wait for the end. I think a lot of my bad habits are subconsciously motivated by the prospect of dying earlier, “naturally.”

The day before pa had his strokes, I was at a party with some relatively new friends. It was so pleasant, dear readers. I was in some genuinely lovely company, and I was excited for a future filled with more happy memories. I was the happiest I’ve been in a long while, and I was just… so… blissful. It’s a shame that the following day played out so unfortunately. It’s like life was trying to keep my happiness in check, and that upset me a bit.

I don’t know where I stand at the moment in terms of my own demise. I had a terrible thought earlier that my partner will likely die before me, but if I neglect myself enough, our passing’s may be relatively synced. That’s rather selfish of me, isn’t it?

Some years ago, I used to think of the future. I used to think of my children, specifically a future daughter who grows up like me. I dreamt of her finding these entries, learning that her mother was depressed, and being angry at me retrospectively because I caused her mother to die early. It’s been a while since I thought of my future daughter, but I ended up rereading an entry about her in this journal and it renewed a sense of future for me a little bit.

If my future daughter ever reads this, I just want her to know that understanding someone’s depression is as much of a challenge as having depression itself. I’m sorry that in neglecting myself, I have unintentionally deprived you of a mother from now on. I hope you are at the very least comforted by the fact that in death, I have escaped a pain that plagued me since childhood. I am happier now, so please be happy for me, too.

Anyway, I think I have exhausted my introspective thoughts for the night. I hope to update you all soon with cheerier thoughts. Please be well in the meantime!

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