When I was two, I told my parents that life wasn’t fun, because we were all going to die.
Later on, I would often find myself awake at night, on the edge of a panic attack, thinking of death. Not just mine or my family’s, but of the end of the universe.
When I was six, my dad asked me to throw away an empty bottle. It had the skull and crossbones on it. I was sure that just the mere fact of having touched it meant I was going to die. I laid down on the living room couch, looking out the window. ‘Goodbye sun’, I said to myself. ‘Goodbye trees, goodbye clouds…’
When I was seven, I came downstairs after bedtime to use the bathroom. On the television was a documentary about AIDS. Back then it was pretty much a death sentence. They were talking about seropositive people. My blood type is O+. I thought it was a zero. And zero and ‘’sero’’ sound very much alike. I was sick and I was going to die, and no one had told me…
When I was nine or ten, I started reading Stephen King books and crime novels. My fascination for horror, violence, paranormal and crime would go on for many many years. It was maybe a weird way to cope with the anxiety of death, but it was a strangely efficient one.
When I was eleven, I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist, or maybe a researcher. So other kids like my cousin wouldn’t have to die like he did.
When I was twelve, I started writing my own horror stories.
When I was thirteen, I wanted to grow up to become a famous author, but also a medical examiner.
When I was fifteen, my “History of the 20th century” paper was about serial killers, my chemistry paper was about cyanide.
When I was seventeen, something big happened. Someone threatened my life. And I was trapped. Nowhere to go or escape. And it lasted for a while, maybe hours. I was told that even if they didn’t get me that day, it would happen at some point later. That they weren’t making a threat, they were making a promise. I moved out the same day. For several months, I spent my time looking behind my back, wondering if every car following mine was someone trying to find where I live. I spent my time both scared that I’d get killed, and wishing to not be part of this world anymore. I started writing poetry and drawing about macabre and dark themes.
When I was eighteen, that fear of being found went away, but it was replaced by a crippling depression and desire to die. It will never go completely away from this moment on. Unable to concentrate, I failed my science classes. I will not be going into medicine, after all.
When I was twenty, I decide that I will kill myself once I turn thirty. At this point, I reason, my friends won’t be needing me anymore, as they’ll have families and lives of their own. So it will be a good moment for me to go.
When I was twenty-seven, a combination of the antidepressants that I was taking to treat fibromyalgia and the death of a good friend gives me the strength to do some big changes in my life.
When I was thirty-one I gave birth to my son. Despite all the bad things that could happen with a pregnancy, I was not anxious. I was oddly serene about it all. As soon as he was born though, the anxiety came back. My heart is so full of love for him that I hurt thinking I could lose him.
Nowadays, I don’t like horror as much, it tends to make me too anxious. I still love crime things, but I feel much more horrified by it. I still love medical things, but I don’t think I’d ever be able to study in that field anymore. I still stay awake at night sometimes, thinking about my son or my husband dying. I don’t look at the stars very often, because then I will think about the universe dying. Sometimes I still wish I was not alive.
I wish I could say things got better. But they haven’t, not really. I wish I had faith in something so strong that I wouldn’t fear anymore. And even though I might believe there’s the possibility of something beyond death, it’s not strong enough to keep the anxiety at bay. So until then, I will try to keep taking it one day at a time, and not think of the future too much. And I will keep finding a strange comfort in the dark, in the macabre, in the uncanny and in the strange.