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  • Writer's pictureJulie Chen


Trigger Warning: This post contains references to depression and self-harm.

Euthanasia: the practice of killing someone who is very ill and will never get better in order to end their suffering, usually done at their request or with their consent.

I’ve lost something and I can’t describe what it is.

Scratch that, I’ve lost many things.

It isn’t anyone else’s fault. They weren’t stolen from me, I lost them myself. And now I don’t know how to get them back. I can’t pinpoint what I’m missing exactly, but even though I smile often, I rarely mean it anymore. I only laugh to stop myself from crying; it’s a wonder how similar the two sound.

Some days, when I wake up, I’d give anything to bury myself under the covers until I fall asleep again. I want to be unconscious, to not have to face reality and think. My sole responsibility would be drifting through time, ignorant of the strangling weeds I wish I could rip out of my memory.

Once I’ve summoned the courage to face the world on those mornings, I would get out of bed only to catch sight of myself in the mirror. I didn’t know the half-dead, listless girl staring gauntly back at me. She seemed haunted, hollow except for her raging thoughts — angry feral horses held back by thin ropes that could snap at any moment. Where was the girl who had looked forward to the sun rising each day? The girl who didn’t carve one more red stripe into her forearms for every missed question? The girl who wanted to live? What happened to her?

She only exists in photos now.

I want to be her. Not just the girl, but a figure in a picture too. Something really not worth much but treasured and smiled upon. It’s much easier to be an inanimate object than a living being. To be unfeeling, oblivious to pain; like those that have gone through life already, who don’t have to worry about what goes on in the universe anymore because they’ve left. In fact, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t envy the dead.

So I tried to join them. I tried again and again, simply to be dragged back just as I had one foot across the border of the living and dead. As I woke up in the hospital each time to the blinding fluorescent lights and tear-stained faces of my parents, I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to hug them and sob and say I was sorry, that I would never do it again. I wanted to scream and throw whatever I could at them, cursing them for not letting me die when it’s my one request, the single thing I wanted. I wanted to wordlessly unplug the respirator or tear out the stitches or hold my breath until I faded away.

But I know that they love me, and I love them.

So every time I woke up to the choking smell of disinfectant and sometimes blood, I didn’t cry or yell or destroy any of their attempts to bind me to life. I would sit up on the too-white sheets and stare blankly at anything but my parents as they begged me to get better.

But their definition of getting better was more therapy sessions consisting of me locking my emotions behind cold stone walls as a stranger was paid hundreds of dollars an hour to try to break in and “help me.” Their definition of healing was more prescribed pills, more support groups, more locking up the kitchen knives each night. I do feel guilty sometimes about making them spend so much money, time, and hope on me when they don’t need me at all. It really doesn’t make a difference whether I’m alive or not. Trying to fix me is like shattering glass in carpet and using a broom to get it out — tedious and impossible. My parents have my brother; piano prodigy, math whiz, and aspiring businessman. Me, with my hidden dreams of being an actress, is about as useful as a shoebox full of sporks or a well with a bucket and a rope that’s too short. Yes, I know this sounds like self-pity, but that’s not my goal here. I just want to tell the truth, once more before I go. Or not. That depends on you.

Dogs and cats are put down when they’re suffering too much. When animals are killed, people call it an act of mercy, a blessing that set their wispy spirits free to roam whatever world comes after life. So why is it that every time I try to leave, everyone insists on bringing me back? They might consider themselves heroes and saviors, but I consider them cruel, no matter how good their intentions were. I know I sound selfish and ungrateful and everything in between, but at this point, it doesn’t matter. I’ve hurt everyone I consider close to me.

Except you.

You’re the best friend I’ve ever known. Really, I mean it. This isn’t one of the empty, meaningless phrases I’ve learned to say over and over again to people who think they understand me. You were the one I could talk to, someone who would listen without silently scrutinizing with judging eyes or sending me off to the closest person you thought could whisk away my sadness. I trust you more than anyone. So please, fulfill my only wish. At home, I’m not allowed near sharp objects or the medicine cabinet or anything that might be used as a noose. But you can get those things for me. If you truly want me to be happy, let me die. Help me die.

It’s okay if you don’t want to. I understand. But before you give me your answer, think about it. A simple “yes” or “no” is fine. Take all the time you need. I know that if you choose to let me go it’ll hurt. At least, I hope it will.

But I’m suffering too.

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