About an hour ago, something awful, or wonderful happened, depending how you look at it.
I seriously, and scientifically, considered suicide.
Now that sounds a little clinical, and a bit far and away from sanity, and I don’t think the mentally stable train is entirely in its station. But if I wait, I won’t have the power I feel now. The power over my own life and death. The power over that enormous black dog that has trailed me for years. The dog that has occasionally managed to get it’s dripping, spiteful jaws into my soul, instead of just hanging over me like a really shitty parade balloon. I have to leash it now, and I want to help others so the same.
Even if it means I stay sat, at almost midnight, in the nude, drinking too much, smoking so much my eyes are burning and trying not to wake the Squash with my random bouts of tears.
I have suffered bouts of depression on and off since I was a teenager. Thankfully I’ve been ‘lucky’ enough that it is more bouts of chronic sadness than random surges of nothing. That’s the funny thing about depression, it’s rarely actually depressing. It’s not always the tears and suicide attempts seen on tv shows and Hollywood movies, it can waver madly between absolute purgatory inside your own skull and raging, unfathomable, unbidden misery.
Neither are fun.
I went to a doctor when I was a teenager, asking why I felt so maddeningly flat one minute, ridiculously happy the next and out and out miserable the next. I was told it was normal teen mood swings, and was there anything else? Obviously impatient to get on with another gossip session with one of the church buddies about the state of kids clothes these days. That night I tried to cut my own heart out, using science to realise I couldn’t get a standard knife though my intercostal muscles, I’d have to go up and under my ribcage. About 3 cuts, rather a lot of vomiting and tears later, I realised I’d proved everybody right; I was too weak.
Too weak to live, too weak to die. Pathetic.
Over the years I’ve come to understand, I don’t suffer from clinical depression, for that I’m grateful, at least, I don’t believe I do. What I do know is that I don’t trust a lot of doctors. My new doctor is lovely, but I don’t want to trouble him with my petty problems. This is another face of that same dog, it makes you truly believe that you are pointless. Not in a spiteful way, just pointless. Like a nightlight in a house with no children or visitors. Like an ice sculpture at a youth meeting. Unseen, unwanted, not needed and a little bit crap. Like the French.
I found myself in the unfortunate position of crying myself to sleep, thankfully after years of my dad yelling, both my sister and I find it difficult to cry for more than a few seconds. The sadness comes, gets cried out, beaten down and trampled over, in an effort to appear stronger. This is also a wee bit of a hinderance. It takes a lot to make either of us cry, and when we do, it’s just emptying the top out the bottle of misery, just enough to stop it overflowing that day.
I found myself wandering, blinded by tears to the kitchen, a little unsteady as my knee had decided to be an elbow again. (Another shit deal, that’s ‘growing pains’ apparently, I’m 28, fairly certain I’ve stopped growing.) Time to find my highly addictive painkillers. As I popped a couple out, I realised I had a load more in my bag. And some vodka. It was at that point I seriously considered gathering all my pills; codiene, ibuprofen, paracetamol and anything else I could find and washing them all down with vodka. At that point the tears couldn’t be stopped, at all. I wanted so much at that point to avoid all the pain and annoyance of dying and just not exist, to just stop.
I had a sudden flash of my obituary, I hoped for inspiring words, moments of Zen that people could remember, memories of fun times and hands held. Maybe a small piece in the local rag about ‘local character dies, sorely missed’ all that jazz. And all I could think was ‘local woman found dead upside in cat litter, reasons for nakedness not known, no-one really gives a flying fuckbucket’. Images of the Squash finding a new girlfriend, Boo purring in her lap, children running on an open lawn, my parents celebrating that their youngest mistake, sorry, daughter, wouldn’t be getting any more tattoos or upsetting them again. Knowing that the first person to notice something was up would be my boss. No-one would be able to do anything until the next night. By which time the cat would have eaten my face and fingers and removed one tattoo from my parents thoughts.
All this flashed across my vision in seconds, alongside the knowledge that I was stood, naked and crying, holding a bottle of vodka and a box of highly addictive painkillers, in front of an uncurtained window. All the training my body has put me through kicked in.
I would not die tonight. No.
Maybe tomorrow, but not right now.
First, back away from the potential perverts with really fucked up ideas of what was sexy.
You need to know this bout started over my stuff in my old room at my parents, the stuff I can’t move because I have nowhere to put it. Seriously, the entire flat that Squash and I live in, if you take out all the walls, is roughly 28 feet long and about 20 feet wide. That contains a bathroom, a living room, a kitchen (ha!) and a hallway. No room for two people, let alone all their stuff as well. My parents had made it clear that my room would always be my room, that I didn’t have to ask to crash, that the house was still my home any time I wanted it. Except now, I had to box up all my stuff, put it somewhere (like, where?!) and give up my bedroom, my sanctuary, the first place that was actually mine, for my cousin, who couldn’t possibly sleep in my sisters old room. Oh gracious no. She’s married, in her whole own house, with a kid on the way, just for clarification.
I’m aware that sounds like a really pitiful thing to get upset about, but I did. It, on top of everything else, very nearly pushed me over the edge.
I’m lucky in a way. I have developed ways that bring me back from the edge. Sitting up at stupid o’clock writing or drawing, meditating, getting angry or just plain shutting down. Over the years I have pulled myself back from the brink, so many times it’s untrue. I’m lucky, by being chronically locked off from those around me, I have had to learn a bizarre self reliance, one that kicks in, some strange, unstudied, but mildly buggered, survival instinct. I’m lucky.
So many aren’t. They aren’t seen, they slip through the cracks, unnoticed until three years have passed and someone’s trying to identify a slushy body in a stained armchair. You might know someone like that. And I’m not talking about those who tell everyone all the time “I’m going to kill myself”. You can generally guarantee, not always, but most times, the one who shouts about it, probably isn’t going to do it. Yet again, it’s the quiet ones you have to watch.
I have to thank you, by reading this, you’ve given my pulling from the edge some meaning. You, gentle reader, have given me purpose again. Thank you. Can you do me a favour? Keep an eye on your friends and neighbours, this time you might be the one to say hi at the right time, or compliment their flowers or their hair or something, give them a small shred of ‘yay’ to hang on to. Don’t, for gods’ sake tell them to cheer up, it probably won’t help, especially if its clinical depression. If you’re the one, someone loves you, remember that, someone, somewhere is thinking of you, you are somebody’s whole world. You have weight, ergo you have mass, therefore, you matter.
But be there, or try. That’s all I ask. Try.
And I promise I will try too.