It’s been two weeks since I tried to kill myself. Again. It’s been a fortnight, but I felt it coming long before that, and still, as I’m lay here, I feel it now. That day I woke up surrounded by a fog of depression, it felt as though I was gasping for air, stuck in a forest fire, with no-way out. My first thought was, ‘Nope, I can’t do this anymore’ and that was pretty much that. Nothing hopeful was offered that morning.
I trekked over to the mirror and sighed at the perpetual slug-shape that defines my body; I wept uncontrollably at the thought of going into work, of being outside…of leaving my room. My stomach tightened at the thought of forcing small talk, of having to entertain another bleak conversation whilst I pretended I was fine to someone else, someone who probably asked how I was because social etiquette demands it, not because they actually cared. I couldn’t handle another day that promised to be brimming with mediocrity and unfulfilled potential. It was a prospect I just wasn’t up for entertaining; not today and not again. Killing myself was the only option.
Feigning my normal-morning routine, I got ready and set off for work –only, spoiler alert, I didn’t go to work. Instead I sat at the bottom of my stairs and rattled off reasons I couldn’t come in today. Note: I am not one to slack off, but I was planning on committing-suicide in the next hour or thereabouts, so I wasn’t particularly drowning in guilt. Sandra in accounting could get her own damn cappuccino today, this coffee donkey had plans.
I sat in Starbucks until my flat mate went out, during which time I penned a suicide letter with shaky finality, it was equal parts tragic and pretentious. I sipped on my tea contemplating how many mugs of the beverage I’ve had in my life-time, before proof-reading my note one last time – just because I was planning on a quick exit doesn’t give me a free pass on poor grammar and a questionable use of punctuation.
I returned home, sat on the couch, and without hesitation I started swallowing anti-depressant after anti-depressant, pill after pill, like a fat kid with a tube of Smarties – like someone who knew there was no hope, that he wouldn’t be missed. The haze hit harder than I expected, and there wasn’t as much as a delay as I remembered from last time. Flustered, in a panic, I decided to quickly upload my goodbye letter before I became so incoherent and out of it I started telling the washing machine that I’m the Batman.
They say that if you really want to kill yourself, you just do it – you don’t craft elegant goodbyes, you don’t throw said goodbyes onto the internet, and you most certainly do-not text your friends saying you’ve done something stupid –Like I did. Within 30 minutes my friend came over. He hugged me tight, told me it’s okay and lead me back to his flat. Barely an hour later and I’m throwing the entire contents of my stomach down his toilet, a splatter of broken capillaries decorating my eyes, with bits of drool and sick collecting neatly in the corners of my mouth. I’d failed at taking my own life – again. I’m so useless I couldn’t even kill myself properly.
In the middle of the night I woke up in tremendous pain, twitching like a half-crushed spider. Instead of getting rest, which I so badly wanted, I had to contend with looping thoughts of despair and crippling embarrassment; wondering if I’d ever get better, if happiness would ever be anything more than a mocking concept, one I’d chase, like naive child does a butterfly, but never catch.
That morning I wanted to die. I was hurting – I am hurting – because I have no self-worth. These thoughts ran around in my head; I’ll never find a partner, I’m too old to be deemed attractive by guys, my family don’t speak to me, I’m worthless…I have no native skill other than to make mistakes. I have no talent. I got angry and upset that I get ignored when I give guys compliments, or try to make friends. I was frustrated that I’m not hot enough or popular enough to get anywhere online or be friends with ‘the Twitter gays’. I wasn’t good enough for anyone or anything. Other people died that should be here, and all I wanted was to trade places with them because they deserve to be here more than me.
That morning as I sat in Starbucks I was sure that I’d be doing the entire world a favour if I just took myself out the game. I imagined my funeral, how sad people would be, what they would say. I pictured it, every detail so vibrant in my mind. In that moment I would be missed – in that moment I’d feel loved. Then the doubt in my mind made me think how quickly they’d forget me, like I never existed at all. How fast they’d move on after they’d shared drinks over stories about me.
I’m sharing this because it’s mental health awareness day. I’m sharing this because my behaviour over the last two weeks hasn’t been acceptable. I’m not using this as justification for how I’ve acted, nor am I using this as a platform to apologise. Instead I’m sharing this in the hope that I will earn some understanding; I’m sharing this because people need to know what it’s like for people with mental health issues or suffer from mental illness. People need to know that sometimes it’s hard to keep control. People need to know that not everyone can ask for help.
If you don’t suffer from depression or any mental illness count yourself lucky. It’s one of the hardest demons to fight because you can’t see it. It’s all around you; constantly landing blows, whispering things in your ear. You can’t out run it, because you don’t know what you’re running from. Instead you try to navigate your way through your life like normal, only everything is coated in a dense mist; your legs are bound, your mouth gagged. It’s like trying to swim with a backpack full of rocks strapped onto you. You know the motions and movements you need to stay afloat, but you feel as though you’re constantly sinking. Worst part? Nobody sees you’re drowning.
I may not have a broken leg, but I still struggle to get out of bed in the morning. I might not suffer from a strange skin condition, but I still feel as though everyone is looking at me in disgust. I can have the tiniest waist but still think I look obese. I could have an army of friends but still feel utterly alone. I could be planning my suicide but still be smiling brightly. Just because my symptoms aren’t psychical doesn’t mean they aren’t real, that they aren’t crippling me mentality. Suicide is the highest killer of young men in the UK, yet we continually tell guys to ‘man up’ and get on with it. If this is your mentality, if this is the view you hold toward mental illness, or if you don’t have an understanding of it, then I strongly suggest you open Google and educate yourself, because your ignorance isn’t helping anyone, least of all us.