My 'Death Story' Compels Me to Work Hard Despite Depression

August 12, 2021 Mahevash Shaikh

Trigger warning: This post contains a frank discussion of suicide and suicidal thoughts

They say you only live once. For a person with depression and suicidal tendencies, death is not exactly bad news. I know this sounds bleak, but every one of us is sure to die someday. In fact, my "death story" is often the only thing that motivates me to work hard. Let me explain. 

The Significance of My Death Story

I am a person who firmly believes that right before I die, significant memories--both good and bad--will flash before my eyes. The scientific term for this phenomenon is "life review experience," and I encourage you to look it up as it's a fascinating subject.

Anyway, since work is an integral part of my life, work-related memories will be a part of my life review experience or what I call my "death story." Honestly, seeing how my romantic life has been uninteresting/non-existent for the past few years, I have a feeling my death story will have quite a few work-related memories. Whenever I see my life's highlight reel, I want to do my best to ensure it is interesting.

Since I have more control over my professional life than my personal life, I direct much of my energy to work. The urgent need to have a work-life I will eventually be proud of is a primary reason I do work that matters, take risks, get out of my comfort zone, and try again after rejections and failures

My Death Story vs. Depression

Depression affects my everyday life, and sometimes, it gets worse than usual. There are times when I have zero desire to do anything other than sleep for hours on end. There are also times when I am tired of all the mental and physical pain and wish to kill myself. To cope with this awful state of mind, I force myself to think about my death story.

If I give in to depression and do nothing or allow myself to stagnate, I'm going to have a dull flashback before dying. And as someone who loves a good story, I will not stand for that. So, I push myself to work even when depression is screaming at me to get in bed and hide from the world. 

Of course, there are times I allow myself to rest because living with depression is exhausting. And it's nice to escape it for a while via the next best thing to death: sleep. 

Please note that I'm aware that there is nothing romantic or motivational about depression and suicide. Whether you are depressed for the first time or have been depressed for ages, let a therapist know if you are suicidal or struggling to function. There is no shame in seeking help if you need it. If you cannot use suicidal ideation as a motivator or a coping mechanism, it's alright. What works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. 

If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately. 

For more information on suicide, see our suicide information, resources and support section. For additional mental health help, please see our mental health hotline numbers and referral information section

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2021, August 12). My 'Death Story' Compels Me to Work Hard Despite Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 20 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

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