A Dialogue with the Part of Me that Wants to Die

journaling prompts for mental health
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In the spirit of the Ancient Egyptian text that features a conversation between a suicidal man and his soul, I’m going to interview the part of me that wants to die. I am not suicidal. I’ve never attempted suicide or been tempted to attempt.

Yet, many years ago, I broke down in tears when someone asked me to identify a meaningful song from childhood. For me, that song was Puff, the Magic Dragon. When I thought of the lyrics that explained that the boy in the song, Jackie Paper, grew up and Puff was devastated when he stopped coming to their meeting place.

For some reason, I wept and wept when I thought of the friendship between this boy and his magical dragon ending. And I wanted to die. I begged god or whomever or whatever to take from off the earth. Seems like this part of me that wants to die experienced a terrible loss.

Maybe we can help it recover?

Self: You want to die?

Boy: Yes. I want to die. Please let me. 

There is a feeling of intense emotional pain in my belly. It feels like a mix of grief and loneliness and fear.

I want to die. 

Self: Are you scared of dying?

Boy: No, I’m scared of living. I’m scared! I’m scared. I’m overwhelmed. I’m so overwhelmed. Please let me die.

Self: Do you know who I am?

Self: When you look at me, what do you see?

Boy: An asshole.

I notice that I am approaching this suicidal part of me from the mindset of my Inner Therapist. This is another part of me  – a mindset – that wants to fix everything. This is a good intention, but the part of me who wants to die doesn’t want the Inner Therapist meddling. I asked the Inner Therapist to step aside.

Self: So that was the Inner Therapist.

Boy: Yeah, fuck him.

Self: I see how you feel about him.

Boy: What do you want. What do you want from me?

Self: I want you to be happy.

Boy: Happy! Happy? You want me to be….happy. Ok. Ok I understand. You want me to be happy. I don’t know how to do that.

Self: I understand. I can help. But I also want to know what you want for yourself.

Boy: To die.

Self: Do you have parts that protect you?

Boy: Yeah, that therapist asshole. He keeps me from dying. I don’t know. I can’t kill myself by myself anyway so the therapist is just pretending to save me. What a crock of shit.

Self: I see. What if it were possible for you not to be overwhelmed and scared and in pain?

Boy: I’d want that but it isn’t possible. I am supposed to carry this burden.

Self; Who said you’re supposed to carry it?

Boy: The therapist.

Self: Wow. (To the Therapist): Did you assign the boy with that burden?

Therapist: Yes. I didn’t know what else to do.

Self: What a position you were put in. I’m sorry. And I feel bad for the boy. Do you mind if I help him unburden?

Therapist: No, please do.

Self: (to the Boy): Is there anything from your life that you want to show me?

A sinister-sounding voice starts chanting: I don’t give a fuck. I don’t give a fuck.

Self: Who are you?

IDGAF: I don’t give a fuck who I am.

Self: What can I do for you?

IDGAF: Nothing.

Self: Do you protect the boy?

IDGAF: Of course.

Self: I’m sorry, I didn’t seek your permission before proceeding to dialogue with him.


Self: Do you know who I am?

IDGAF: Yeah. (He bows out).

Self: Before you go, do you mind telling me about this boy?

IDGAF: If you had any idea what was going on, you’d run. Get out while you can?

Self: What’s going on?

IDGAF: Do you speak fucking English? I said get OUT.

Self: What are you afraid will happen if I stay?

IDGAF: You’ll fucking ruin everything. Because you don’t have the stomach for it.

Self: Stomach for what?

IDGAF: You have no fucking idea and that’s how it should stay!

Self: Who are you? Are you part of me or from somewhere else?

IDGAF: Somewhere else?

Self: Are you willing to go back? Now?

IDGAF: Look – you don’t know what you’re dealing with.

Self: Can you tell me?

IDGAF: He’s just in a lot of pain. Lots of pain. He doesn’t get it. He thinks he’s going to die. He thinks no one wants him and he’s being sent to die. Now he hopes he’ll get to go see his granddad. It’s a mess. He’s a supreme loner, wailing and wailing – in shock that no one loves him so we wants to die – but he’s scared. And then there’s the Roman on top of it all. Ok? It’s a fucking mess.

Self: Is that all?

IDGAF: Yeah.

Self: Ok – do you mind if I take over? You look like you could use a break. And I can handle this.

IDGAF: Yeah, yeah.

Self: (To the boy): Have you been listening?

Boy: Yeah.

Self: Would you show me what your life is like?

Boy: No.

Self: What are you afraid will happen if you do?

Boy: You’ll be mad at me.

Self: Who do you think I am?

Boy: An asshole.

Self: (To the Therapist): Is this you again?

Therapist: Yes.

Self: Why do you keep inserting yourself in my place?

Therapist: Because you need me. You have no idea what’s going on.

Self: Will you tell me?

Therapist: For some money.

Self: What?

A voice interferes: Fuck you bitch. Go fuck yourself if you think I’m gonna give you some of mine! Get your ass outta here now. Go on! And don’t forget to fuck yourself.

Self: Who is this?

Fuck! You!

Self: Who is this?

Now why I gotta deal with this shit? Every damn time someone come up in here getting all up in my business! My business! You hear that? Mine. Now, go on and fuck yourself. Get out.

Self: Do you know who I am?

You one persistent mother fucker that’s who you is! Fuck me! Now, what do you want?

Self: I want to know who you are so I can help the boy.

Help the boy, huh. Well, I am sent here to protect him. Now fuck off.

Self: You’re not a part of me?


Self: Then, leave!


Self: Are you there, boy?

Boy: Yeah – that was pretty good – getting that guy out of here.

Self: Are there people like that a lot in here?

Boy: Yeah all the time. They’re supposed to be protecting me but they don’t end up sticking around for long.

Self: Oh, why not?

Boy: I guess they get freaked out – or tired of me or something.

Self: What do you want, boy?

Boy: Nothing, really, other than to die and get this over with as soon as possible.

Self: You look like you’re still stuck in that hospital bed. But you don’t seem that vulnerable right now.

Boy: Yep – that’s me right here. I’ve gotten used to it.

Self: What’s really going on?

Boy: My entire life has not been my own. I came here to live. I wanted to live my life. But it was taken from me. I was put in here and just left. Abandoned. I am no one now. I didn’t do anything wrong! I’m no one. I can’t do anything – or be anyone. I might as well be dead! I am in prison for life.

NOTE: Is this boy a splintered aspect of the Original Self? All kinds of distracting protectors hover around, keeping him occupied, distracted, and down. This is has created quite a variety of personality traits. No one can handle the job for long. 

Why is he being kept there? Because the Roman possessed him? He went to the hospital to have his tonsils out, right? Why didn’t he come home as himself? Or is this a bogus theory? 

Self: Do you want out of prison?

Boy: Yes! But I don’t know what I’d do. I might as well give up and die.

Self: Do you know know what happens after you die?

Boy: No.

Self: Then you’re in the same boat whether you live or die. You don’t know life outside of the prison you’ve been in. At least if you live, I am here to help you figure out what to do.

Boy: Deal!


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