ASK KATE Question #3: "What do I do if I want to die tomorrow?"

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Dear Mark,

First, we must let the people know that you found my website via Tinder. I mean, You Might Die Tomorrow does not have her own Tinder profile, but I mention my website on my human profile. So, while I believe this is a tongue-in-cheek question, serious matters like wishing one was dead cannot be assumed to be jokes. 

Please understand that most people have felt the way you feel now. Most often, people want to die for three reasons:

  1. They haven't created meaning in their life
  2. They suffer from chronic and debilitating emotional or physical pain
  3. They have done something for which they have been unable to forgive themselves

The only antidote I can think of for wanting to die is perspective. Perspective, my friend, is a helluva drug. 

There are 7.5 billion people in the world today. It is estimated that one hundred and seven billion people have lived since the beginning of human history. The highs and lows we experience are reflected over and over through time and space. They are what make us human. Everything has already happened before, someone has done something worse than what you have done, all lows and feelings of meaninglessness have already been experienced by someone before you. 

We are tiny organisms living on a comparatively small rock in a universe larger than human comprehension. You are going to die whether you want to or not. As long as you do not make the decision to take your own life, the only thing of which you are in control is how you live until that unknown time and circumstance comes. According to the philosopher Epictetus, "what disturbs men's minds is not events but their judgements on events.'

Be kind to yourself. Remember that most of life is ridiculous and hilarious and no one knows what the hell they are doing. Reframe negativity in your mind as opportunities for growth. If you can't find meaning in your life, make your life's purpose having fun. Reach out to someone you love and open up to them about how you feel. They may not respond how you want them to, but it might be cathartic to let go of the darkness or hopelessness you hold inside. And if you or anyone you know is considering taking their own life, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

When I was around thirteen, I took about forty Tylenol. I both wanted to die and also needed an outlet for my overwhelming despair. Today, I look back and my heart breaks for that sad teenager. I know now that everything which flows also ebbs: joy, love, Nothing gold stays, Ponyboy. Like the gold, the blackness also fades. The hopelessness I felt then is minute compared to the insane gratitude and zeal for life that I possess today. Ironically, it was remembering that I am going to die which helped me truly live.

kate the great