I am a Delicata Squash.

Please note: I wrote this several years ago and I am sharing it now because it is September: National Suicide Prevention and Awareness month. My hope is that it can contribute to the broader understanding and discussion of suicidal thoughts and experiences. If you or someone you know are experiencing extreme distress and need support, please reach out. Crisis Text Line can be reached by texting the word HOME to the number 741741. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be called at 1-800-273- TALK(8255). 

I mean “a” as in a very specific one. Right now it is in pieces in a few plastic grocery bags, all shoved into one grocery bag, which has been hastily jammed into the trash can in the kitchen.

This was after a very loud, very tearful, quite honest and also funny confession that I was extraordinarily depressed.

So depressed, I told my shocked roommate, that when I discovered the squash was rotting from the inside I started crying.

I saw the rotten insides of a squash. I started crying like a five year old lost at Disney World.

…It wasn’t really about the squash.

I get a produce delivery now and then because it can be difficult for me to go to the store.  The produce delivery provides options that are so much better in variety and (usually) quality. 

I was so excited about this squash. This delicata squash. I had never had one before.

Most of my other delivered produce was gone and I hadn’t eaten much the past few days. I just wasn’t that interested. I wasn’t feeling up to making dinner but then I thought of the squash. I actually wanted to try for some reason.

I started thawing chicken and smelled one end of the squash. It smelled amazing- sort of sweet and buttery.

I started cutting it. I noticed toward the other end it had a small bruise. I carved that bit out. I kept cutting.

Then suddenly it was brown inside.

Clearly it was rotten, but I had to see it for myself so I split the squash down the middle.

Most of it- no all of it- was just completely ruined.

I was so mad, so frustrated. It wasn’t just this squash- this promise of something, this ONE nice thing I had wanted.

This very simple thing had been able to motivate me to actually eat.

The excitement and hope of a damn squash had somehow pushed all the way through this desperation I have been feeling. 

It got past the horrible understanding of why people want to die all the time,

past the idea that I will always be in pain,

past the thought that I will never ever finish school or work or do anything meaningful again.

The idea of eating a fresh squash had, for a moment, helped me forget the fear and certainty that I will never again be what I once was.

It was not just this one thing gone wrong, however. It was that this thing was me, too.

I am the delicata squash. I am rotting from the inside out.

I am very seriously, very desperately depressed. I verge on the edge of suicidal fairly often but those around me have little to no idea. The reason being that I absolutely HAVE to laugh my way through life. If I did not I would simply make the leap. I would be no more.

Very few people understand this. They can not comprehend how the idea of death can hang around one’s head daily. They also don’t understand that because I actually make it out of bed it does not mean it is easy and it does not mean I am “ok”.

There is no winning in these situations though. If I were to actually stay in bed people would say that is the reason I am depressed. If I fight with all I have to get out of bed, take a shower, even do some damn productive thing? There is this assumption, even suspicion, that I am not actually depressed.

I have to say… that cuts so deep.

Every step, every breath, every blink can be a struggle. I find myself reaching far beyond that a lot of the time. If I didn’t I would rot completely into goo. Maybe I’d disappear into the sliver between the sink and the counter. No one would ever find me.

Pain piled on top of frustration, on top of loss,

on top of sorrow- for what I used to be. For what I’ll likely never be again.

I simply don’t know how to fix that.

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