My Dark Passenger: The Suicide Side

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Although I’m not a fan of the Dexter books or TV series, I’ve been introduced to both by way of my husband who enjoys both forms of Dexter media.

The other day I flipped through Jeff Lindsay’s latest, Dexter Is Delicious, and read a little bit about the part of Dexter that he calls his “Dark Passenger,” the voice inside of him that compels him to kill. (But he justifies this by killing murderers. An interesting twist on the anti-hero.)

I ruminated on this as I’ve been dealing with a lot of suicidal thoughts lately. And really, there’s nothing wrong in my life that would cause these suicidal thoughts to arise. It’s just something in me gone haywire. It’s like a part of me that’s not really a part of me that I can kind of talk back to. It sounds otherworldly and crazy.

It is.

So I’ve taken to calling the suicidal voice (unlike Dexter’s homicidal one) in my head the “Dark Passenger.” My husband kind of likes this too as it identifies something that’s not really me although it’s a part of me.

The Dark Passenger is pretty random these days. Even if I have a slight mood crash, he’ll—because my sinister voice is clearly not a seductive she, maybe androgynous—tell me that life is not worth living and to go kill myself.

Me: What?
Dark Passenger: Go kill yourself. Life isn’t worth living anyway. You’re a total failure and you know you can’t do anything right.
Me: Um, why are you bugging me? I’m not even depressed right now.
Dark Passenger: [silence]

Yeah, that’s pretty much how our conversations go. It probably sounds a bit schizophrenic or something but that’s basically my stupid battle to stay alive. You can probably imagine how terrible our conversations are when I am depressed.

My Dark Passenger’s a bit starved, you see, because I haven’t tried to kill myself in a while and he’s getting antsy. I was last hospitalized for a suicide attempt in 2006 and even though I’ve had a few half-hearted attempts since or serious thoughts about an attempt, I haven’t had a serious attempt that has required me to be locked away for a good bit of time. I still get freaked out about my near-sexual assault encounter and that’s done a good job of keeping me in check for now.

So the Dark Passenger tries to get me whenever he thinks he’s got an opening:

No one signed up for your class. You’re a loser. Go kill yourself.

She never called you back. See? No one likes you. Go kill yourself.

You can’t get pregnant or do anything right. You’re not cut out to be a mother. In fact, you weren’t meant to be one because you need to go kill yourself.

And on and on and on. It’s easy to tell him to shut up when I’m not deeply depressed. Not so much otherwise.

Maybe there’s something to that “Get behind me, Satan” stuff after all. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a famous British preacher, once suggested in his book Spiritual Depression to “talk back” to one’s negative voices. While it doesn’t work in the most severe of cases for me, it works. . . for the most part.

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16 Comments

  1. April 14, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    [...] My first post on my Depression Introspection mental health blog in several months is on the suicidal voice in my head: the Dark Passenger. [...]

  2. Charlotte said,

    April 15, 2011 at 4:53 am

    I just realized I entered the comment I meant to make to this posting on your February 10, 2010, one. Sorry. :-)

    I would love to read your other current blog if you would not mind. You have my email and can let me know if you want to.

    Thanks.

    • Kass said,

      April 17, 2011 at 8:36 pm

      Hi Charlotte,

      My blog is thisjourneyismyown.wordpress.com. It’s a personal blog on which I discuss almost nothing relating to mental health. :)

  3. Laura said,

    April 15, 2011 at 9:51 am

    This is an excellent post. I love the name, “Dark Passenger”. I too talk back to the crazy that lives inside my head. Challenging those negative thoughts can be so empowering!

    I’m sending you some link love :)

  4. April 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Hi. When someone you care about feels depressed, this should be treated seriously. I’ve been checking out this great website on Depression Treatment Center Los Angeles and I think you guys should check it out and refer it to some you love who is suffering with depression. thanks

  5. Cyndi said,

    May 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Many thanks for sharing. You are NOT alone in this, trust me.

  6. Andre said,

    June 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    I want you to check out my blog http://theguardianpost.myblogsite.com/
    If you have time just write to me about anything, its could be what makes you happy or sad, i jsut wanna know how you feel.

  7. July 14, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    perhaps you should kick open the door and boot that passenger out on the highway of life.

  8. medinelle said,

    July 21, 2011 at 10:38 am

    hi, i understand what you’re just living. I live it everyday. You don’t have to do something right to let it appear. It comes slowly. And take you by the stomach or the throat. I think it’s “auto-suggestion” ( sorry i’m french i don’t know the term). Or “self-hypnotising” ( if it exist too).
    we convince ourselves that we are not able of anything. Until we would be unable to make anything right. Here is maybe a solution. Repeat canstantly that we are strong enough to fight it. I let me imagine that i kill him. But it doesn’t work. I a m trying this days to repeat myself that i am someone strong. Try it…? Tell us if you found a solution.

  9. Steve said,

    September 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Were can i start, you trully are not alone, i really know were your coming from becuase i have my own dark passanger, and i call him Dexter off he tv and books because he’s the same it all started when i was in primary school and i was five or six she told me some very traumatizing things that ripper out all of my emotions and left me empty, i began to hear the voice around seven and he began to say the same things that she said to me but over the years he became more and began to say what he liked, like,
    Dexter- your so sad and pathetic,
    Me- no i’m not
    Dexter- yes you are no one will love you your alone and will die alone you should just kill your self and make everyone happy
    Me- shut up
    Dexter- kill your self, kill your self, kill yourself, kill your self, kill your self, kill your self
    Me- SHUT UP
    this is how it went for years and years, untill i began to read Dexter and there he changed from killing my self to kill something else, i have not i want to stress that,but thats what i have to deal with so all i can say is be strong and you will get there i have been were you have been and i might of got passed my self hared of my self but it is still alive and well and willing to kill me if i don’t get it under control so if you need to talk then you have my e-mail address and i can help you if you need me good luck you will get there

    XXXX

  10. Luanne said,

    December 6, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Kick that passenger out of your life. Talk to someone who really cares for you and consider all possible options on what to do. Maybe get a professional help or something. Good luck to you

  11. mel said,

    March 24, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    The dark passenger is interesting. It’s weird because in times of loneliness it can become a comforter. Though it’s negative… I express gratitude to those who respond about seeking counseling, using medication, prayer, and just stay strong. In an ideal world that is cute. In most cases it’s easier said than done. For me it’s like playing a living game of Russian Roulette with my life. I am fairly successful, have a fulfilling career, great friends, great family, and even a strong spiritual life. Having said that, the voices or the dark passenger is still there.

    People are okay but, in my experience people do not stay around long enough to see you through. I test my desire to live by being alone. It’s a daily battle and in most situations it’s a lonely battle. I have something that I fight for that I value much more than myself and because of that I can contend with the dark passenger.

    My advice. If you have a loved one in your life that is suffering through sometime of depression make sure that they know that you love them. Even if they push you away. Don’t make a big deal about the situation and do not try to force them into something that they feel is not meant for them. When you feel frustrated that they are not healing in your time and your self guilt starts to turn into anger towards them, check yourself. We are already hurting your anger and damaging words and actions will start to fall in line with the dark passenger. When we recognize that we will pull away from you and confide in the dark passenger with the hopes that we may pull through. For some of us…

    Remember it’s not about you and you don’t need to be a hero. We just need to know that the support and love is there and we are not being backed into a wall. These are just some of my thoughts. One can agree or disagree, I really don’t care. My words are just meant to offer an alternate perspective and an alternate way of offering support.

  12. matias said,

    April 12, 2012 at 12:10 am

    i just buried a dear friend that killed herself, and it was terrible. i never got to tell her how much i loved her or how in love with her i was. remember all the people you will hurt if you hurt yourself. Satan is trying to grasp your soul, fight it with all all your might. there are people out there praying for you. Today is the present thats why they call it a gift. I’d never heard that til today, but i’ll live it forever!!!!!!!!!!

    • tgcyndi said,

      April 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      Matias;

      I’m very sorry for your loss. Without knowing details (and I’m NOT asking), I can only offer one thing for you to consider if you want ANYTHING “positive” to result from this highly avoidable tragedy.

      Pay a little closer attention to others in your life, because if someone is suffering so much that the only solution they can see is to stop living altogether, there are ALWAYS signs. The time to tell them how muuch you care about them is while they are STILL ALIVE to hear it.

      In an age where most people just don’t want to “get involved”, it takes a REAL friend to actually stop and listen after you reflexively ask somebody else “How’s it going”?

      Think about it.

  13. Alan said,

    June 12, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I have the same problems, except my dark passenger isn’t just suicidal, he says whatever he wants about anything he wants whenever he wants. He is very cynical. Hates everyone and everything. But every once in a while sit down and talk to your dark passenger, even if he’s not talking to you, get to know him, it makes it a lot easier to control him.


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