I Never Wanted To Die, I Just Wanted To Be Free

You are more than this, more than these demons.

Last updated on Aug 26, 2023

depressed woman in bed Konstantin Postumitenko / Prostock-studio via Canva

By Ky Grabowski

Trigger warning: This piece describes instances of suicidal thoughts.

It was approximately 5 to 6 years ago I made a decision with my demons. Over time it slipped my consciousness, scarcely peaking out on random occasions. As the years passed, the months ensued, I came to remember my choice. It sounded off like a never silencing alarm.

I’ve never told anyone this, never believed I should converse about it, but today I realize I need to share this. I have to start talking about the terrifying word that is a permanent choice: suicide.


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At that time, I believed in what I wanted and truthfully I didn’t think I’d change my mind. I thought I saw a future that didn’t require me, a future that I didn’t fit into.


I didn’t think I could find where I belonged or that there even was a place like that for me. I couldn’t find a purpose aside from living for my loved ones. As time went on, I watched as people I knew made families, found love, and achieved their goals and dreams.

In my mind, I saw the world continuing on without me as my feet ceased to move forward. I watched it all, trapped alone and suffocating by the chains I had no keys to unlock myself.

There was no way to break free, and no one could save me.

I refused to allow a single soul to dare think I required it or that they could even do such a thing. It wasn’t their job, I didn’t want to be their burden either.


The negativity that circled in my mind, the pressure, the stress, and the consumption of pain had taken its toll. I decided that if things didn’t change — if I still felt even a small fraction of what I did all those years ago...

I could set myself free at twenty-five. But I’ll stay alive past my twenty-fifth birthday, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

My life has changed in many ways. This is simply just my story. I pass no judgments because I understand that dark place and what it brings forth. I know the struggles of this fight.

And I suffer from mental illness in various forms as well. I’ve just been fortunate enough to realize they are only one fraction of who I am and not my entire being. I know now that I can work through things, move past others, and adapt to the rest.


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Yes, my issues have given me struggles but they have also forged me into a very strong person. There’s hope inside me. I know that I can work through these obstacles and make my life richer than before.

I look at my 25th birthday with the reminder of this and now see a promise for a different future, one to fight for.

Sometimes I feel guilty when I think of celebrating my birthday when I hadn’t planned to stick around for it. Back then I thought I couldn’t bear to live when far too many days I felt as if I was already dead.

The strange thing about deciding to die is you begin to focus on all the reasons to live. Even if you choose to overlook that powerful truth, it refuses to let you see or feel anything else but life around you and inside you. It begs you to comprehend it somehow, someway.


You are more than this, more than these demons. Life extends its touch and desire to comfort you, to seek its path for there’s no need to rush into death’s arms so soon.

You see those fighting to enjoy what time they have left, you remember those you lost yourself, you’re gifted with life itself in various forms and even suddenly find yourself in charge of caring for a life.

Now I’ll accept my bad days along with the good. I will learn and use the knowledge I gain each time to become a better version of myself if not at least a wiser one.

I’ve been blessed with many good things and growth due to the bad. I’ve found a dozen more reasons to fight for myself than to let go. Spitting these demons, well, nothing feels better than that.


Honestly, the truth is, I never wanted to die, I didn’t want to end my life.

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I only wanted to be free, to have a break to collect myself, and to find a way to overcome. It just took me some time to understand that. I faced myself in my darkest time and now just wish to extend my hope to someone else.

Any time I feel that pit in my stomach, any time I feel like I can’t breathe, and whenever my demons surface to try to win, they’ll only be the reason I breathe in relief. I won’t ignore or deny them, I’ll keep fighting to conquer them.

They won’t hold me down, nor keep me from moving forward anymore — that’s not how I choose to challenge my demons. While they may live inside me, they don’t get to command me or restrain me. I will rise and they will fall one by one, in due time.


They say knowing your enemy is the best way to defeat them after all. I am my own worst enemy and anytime that part of me seems to destroy or strip me bare till I am nothing-I will live and I will overcome. At least, I’ll always try.

From my darkest secret, there are a few things I hope you learn.

You are and never will be a burden. You and your story can make a difference. Know you are worthy of life. And that you can overcome the demons that seek to destroy you. If you need a hand to do so, hold onto one. You will be okay.

No matter how weathered you are, my friends, you are still warriors. The demons don’t rule you. You are the ruler of you, and you will not bow to them.


If you or somebody that you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is a way to get help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text "HELLO" to 741741 to be connected with the Crisis Text Line.

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Ky Grabowski is a writer and frequent contributor to Unwritten. Their work has been featured on Goodreads, Amazon, and Medium, among others.