I wrote the following letter as a response to a conversation with a friend I have known since college. She wondered why I used the term “death thoughts” in my writing. But I wanted to publish it for all of the people closest to me, who have never seen me wail from the hollow place in my heart or throw things across the room in rage of this illness. I am writing it for my friends and relatives who wonder why I choose the words I do, if I’m exercising a creative license to keep a reader’s attention. This year my purpose has been made clear — to help people who are tormented by constant death thoughts, just as I am. This will mean rejection from those closest to me who cannot understand what I mean or why I would disclose such ugliness to the public. But it also means I have tapped into the freedom to do what I was born to do.