Before you scroll down and begin reading this blog post, I want to make one thing abundantly clear; this is not an intention to end my life. This is purely something I want to write. Not as a goodbye or anything so dramatic, but as an example (or an exercise) of what goes on within the mind of a suicidal person who fights depression on a daily basis.
Please, if you are feeling as low as me or having ideas of self harm or suicide, please call someone. If you’re in the UK you can talk to the Samaritans on 116 123 (same for ROI). If you’re in the US then call 1-800-273-8255. Thank you.
This letter is to tell you why. It’s to inform you as to why, from this day, you will miss me and long for me to walk into a room. I need to state how depression rules my every day life. It’s a constant pressure that weighs me down with each step I take and it’s the interfering nuisance that spoils situations and ruins relationships. Moving through life with the burden of mental health is like walking the Atlantic ocean while carrying a pile of boulders. It isn’t easy to get out of bed, or brush your teeth or make a cup of tea. Having depression is like having something suck the life from you and bottle it within unbreakable glass – you can see happiness, energy and motivation, but you can never grasp it.
My battles with mental health started when I was younger. My childhood was an odd one because I had the best mum in all of the world. She fell pregnant with me at 17 and gave up her dreams to bring me into her life. She worked countless jobs, taught me life skills and she became my best friend. When I was a teenager a lot of my mates were jealous of our relationship because she raised me to be honest, loyal and confident. We could exchange filthy jokes, cuss out those who did us wrong and she was always there to talk openly. But, there was always an absence. My dad left before I was born – he had an affair, mum threw plates at him and he fucked off. I saw him a handful of times growing up but only one encounter sticks in my mind and it isn’t a pleasant memory.
I was an oddball kind of kid – always on the fringes of groups rather than mingling. I avoided social situations for fear of looking stupid. I was picked on quite a bit and in senior school I was bullied for the first couple of years. My first thoughts of suicide were when I was 12. I’d been headbutted by the notorious school bully for no reason other than fun. I was at a point in my life where I was questioning everything I felt and after this happened I remember looking all over the car park on my estate for a shard of glass to cut my wrists. I scratched away at my flesh unable to commit to pushing hard enough, gave up and cried in the stairwell of our block of flats.
When I was 16 I became angry at everything. I started crossing roads without looking in the hope that a car would hit me and save me the trouble of ending my life by my own hand. I began self harming, but only mildly. I pinched myself and hit myself when I felt bad or angry. I never told anybody because I thought I was a freak or that I’d be taken away from my mum.
The depression has always been there and when I was in my early twenties the anxiety arrived. I began to worry over everything. Each small twinge or ache became a monstrous disease in my mind. Stomach aches were cancer, headaches were tumours. It began to rule my life and when I was 23 I wanted to end my life because I couldn’t cope with the constant voice in my head. I started drinking a lot, wanting to get into fights. I never pushed it too far because I always had a safety net in my friends, but the edge was there.
Then, of course, Amelia died when I was 24. From that day my depression transformed from an irritant to an overbearing entity. I’ve contemplated suicide every single day since she died. I can’t think of a moment when it wasn’t in my mind to hang myself, cut my wrists or jump from a bridge. Depression, grief and my mental stability has ruined everything in my life.
I’ve pushed away good friends. I’ve given up on great opportunities. I’ve turned love into hatred and despised myself so much that I began to believe that’s how everyone else saw me. I’ve been an awful parent, neglecting to spend time with my kids in fear that something will happen to them and I’ll get hurt all over again. With every person I meet, I throw up a wall between us so I can’t get hurt or hurt them. I’ve destroyed my marriage by feeding my mind so much hate that any idea of love has vanished (something I will write about soon) and I let my anxiety rule constantly. I blamed myself for Amelia’s death, because I was the one who made the decision to remove her life support – I (unfairly) blamed my wife and family for not being able to make that decision for me or remove the years of pain I’ve felt since.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it time and again, my wanting to commit suicide is not a want to die, but a want to stop. I want to be able to not feel any of the constant pain. I want to be able to step out of life and not feel guilt, shame, anger or hate. When it feels as if everything is against you, suicide becomes an option because it erases everything. Some people call it selfish, but they are usually the ones who have no concept of how much it hurts to exist.
Every day I wake up and wonder whether today will be the day I do it. I wonder if today will be the day that something pushes me a fraction too far and I stumble over the edge. Each day I look at my wife and see pain, regret and sadness. I look at my children and see Amelia’s features looking back at me and I wonder how long I can look at them.
Two days ago I stood waiting to cross a busy street. I hooked my arm through a railing by my side because I knew that if I didn’t hold onto something I’d step out into the road. Whenever I walk near my house (through countryside) I think about filling my pockets with rocks and jumping into the river. Because doing these things would be easier than having to struggle through arguments, upset and self destruction.
I find little to no enjoyment in hobbies and activities. I spend most of my time sitting on my bed listening to music in order to drown out the constant thoughts that run through my mind. I don’t find fun in books or games, though I try to. Usually my focus only lasts about 30 minutes before I either give up or my emotions overwhelm me.
As I sit here, writing this, I have one good thing in my life – my two daughters. That’s all I have left. I have no job (despite looking every single day, thank you Theresa May), no money (because my benefits keep getting cut), my marriage is dust because my mental health has driven me to a point of destruction and no return. This latter point will make me homeless. I despise every aspect of my being from my looks to my weight, from my bad teeth to my shitty confidence. I feel like a burden to those I know and I constantly ponder that those around me would be better off were I to die.
THAT, is what suicidal thoughts are. THAT, is what depression is. THAT, is what will kill me if I’m not careful. And the thing is, I’m not careful. I don’t look out for myself. I’ll always pick up the phone or send a message if I know one of my friends is feeling low. I’ll tell them all the things I should tell myself. I can give all the advice, but I can’t take it.
After writing all these words I wanted to end on something positive, but I honestly can’t. I don’t have the energy to put out false words that will make you feel better after reading this. Do I consider death every single day? Yes, I do. Would I take my own life if I knew it wouldn’t pass the pain on to my kids? Yes, I would. Because that is what depression has done to me. It has ruined and broken me; turning me into something I truly despise.
If it ever takes my life, I would want people to know I tried. I got up every day and forced myself to dress and wash. I battled every thought that crossed my mind with all the strength I could muster, but it beat me. And more than those things, I would want everyone to know I loved them, deep down – under all that anger and hate – and I wish I could have shown it to them, but more importantly, to myself.