Ten Years On

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Content warning for talk about suicide.

It was 10 years ago today that I tried to end my life after going through a lot of anguish in the prior year or so. A lot of it was documented on this blog, it seemed like I used to write about it endlessly at that point until I got tired of repeating myself all the time. It’s difficult to know what to make of what has happened in the time since. Every year I think back and to be honest I don’t really know what it was that triggered me to do it at that particular time. It was far from the worst time in my life, I was much more miserable during my first job for instance. I had a part time job that I actually liked and I was about to start the second year of my degree. I seemed to be constantly preoccupied about how far I thought I’d fallen behind where I was supposed to be, which seems laughable now considering I have achieved nothing since then.

Nobody ever really talks to me about this stuff. I know it’s uncomfortable and no-one really wantes to consider what it is like for a person to reach that point where death is preferable to spending another day on this earth. I can honestly say that I had given it so much thought for hours every day and I didn’t want to live any more, it was not a cry for help or anything like that. I didn’t take any half measures, if I hadn’t been found then it would have killed me for sure and it took months for me to recover from what I took even after I left hospital. Every year I think about whether I’m glad that I survived and then make myself feel guilty because I am honestly not glad or relieved that I didn’t die back then.

I have re-read some of the final words I left (I remember handwriting some more at the last minute but don’t know exactly what I wrote) and one of the things that I feared the most is becoming the person that I am now. I’m pretty much in the same position as I was back then except without potential and youth on my side any more. I know it sounds stupid, but I secretly wanted people to think about “what could have been”, I was grasping on to the tenuous remnants of promise that I’d shown early in my life and had the foresight to know that with each passing year I would drift away from the young man with his life ahead of him to the pathetic loser who wasted it all and wanted to get out while I could. I doubt many people who read this will understand that thought process, I think it requires you to be someone whose life peaked very early.

My therapist would say to me that if I was so good at predicting the future I should tell him next week’s lottery numbers. I know this was a humourous attempt to try and challenge my certainty about where my life was/is heading but when you are as single mindedly self-obsessed as me then you become an expert on these matters. I saw the writing on the wall. The phrase “hideous 30 year old still living at home with his parents” was in that note and I’ve surpassed that by 4 years already.

I suppose there are a few things I have done in the mean time, and I feel like I am a different person now to back then. I did eventually graduate, although I have never managed to make use of my degree despite it being in one of the subjects people always tell you is desirable. If I could go back to 2012 and force myself to immediately try to get into work then I might have made something of myself but I didn’t, I let myself slip into one of my infamous avoidant cycles that continues to this day, getting worse and worse with every passing moment. It’s virtually impossible to explain this to anyone who just wants to think you are lazy (most people when it comes down to it). I’ve tried to write about it on here before, but when someone can’t understand how you end up in a situation like this what you need to realise is that the easiest thing in the world to do is ‘nothing’. Unless there is some external pressure on you to take serious action then it becomes too easy to slide into putting things off to the next day, which becomes the next week and then the next month. I am guilty of not taking drastic action earlier and now I have got myself into an almost impossible situation once again, just like I did at university the first time, at college and then again at my second attempt at university. Those times I was able to somehow escape by either quitting or someone taking mercy on me, but there’s no easy way out of this.

Deep down I knew back then that my life wasn’t over and that I still had potential, but it scared me to admit it because I knew that I faced failure if I tried to carry on with my life. It turned out that I was forced into continuing and I have failed in just the way that I knew I would. Is it partially a self-fulfilling prophecy? Probably, but I know myself too well and I know all too well how much other people want to tear you down and I can’t open myself up to letting them again. I could have tried harder years ago but I was afraid of becomig trapped in a situation like I was at my first job that scarred me for life. I simply cannot take living like that again.

This is what I can’t fully express to people in real life because nobody wants to hear that you might try to kill yourself again when you already tried once. I know that people who have attempted suicide before are vastly more likely to die from suicide and I always have to hold back when it comes to mental health professionals because I don’t want to raise any red flags there, and when it comes to my family I don’t want to worry them. I am completely trapped in my current situation because the fear of being stuck in an environment like I was at the first job has imprisoned me here. I got close to telling my therapist, but held off the last part, that what I fear the most is becoming stuck in a place like that around people who want to tear me down because I know now that I would end up killing myself for sure.

I didn’t do it back in 2006/7 even though that was the absolute most miserable, wretched period of my life for a number of reasons. One was that I hadn’t crossed that line into genuinely considering suicide at that point. It’s difficult to remember back to a time when I hadn’t made that mental leap and I have to remind myself sometimes that most people (nearly all? I don’t know exact figures) never actually consider ending their life as a genuine thing they might do, but once you have crossed that line I don’t think you can ever go back again. It took a good 3 years of depression for me to get to that point and I can’t see myself getting away from it again unless I go through some significant upheaval which seems more and more improbable every day. Another thing is knowing how to do it. I don’t want to get into details too much because I don’t want to give anyone ideas, but it’s easier now than ever to get access to things that you couldn’t back in 2006. When you are 21 no matter how depressed you are, there is still a tiny part of you that knows, even if you can’t admit it, that things can still change. I got a second (and third if you count my university reprieve) chance but I don’t know that if I fucked things up again in my mid 30s that I would get a fourth.

I’m running out of time and options. Sometimes it spurs me to desperately try and make strides towards improving my situation, but I can never stop from getting overwhelmed by how far away I am from getting back on track. The events of the past 9 months have not helped matters (I will write about what has been happening with my mum soon, the short story is that she has been through a hell of a lot but is hopefully on the road to recovery now). Being alone is the constant thorn in my side when it comes to this. I meant to write about it before, but you simply cannot imagine how much it impacts your life when you are so isolated if you haven’t been in that situation youself. It drains and immobilises you on every level and in almost every aspect of your life.

One thing I have learned, much to the chagrin of my younger self is that it’s not possible to live a fulfilling life purely inside your own head.

There have been many times when I have been in the dark place and life not only seemed not worth living, but I actively wanted to die but so far I have never put myself in physical danger since then. I will admit here that when my mum got her cancer diagnosis and I feared that she was going to die, I got to the point of buying pills because I didn’t think I could survive mentally, or materially without her but I have got past that for now.

I write here because this is the only place I can be brutally honest about how I’m feeling. I know the reason why is because I desperately crave some kind of validation for my feelings and there is no way I can talk to the people I know in real life this candidly. It’s shameful really, but what I actually want is for someone to hear about what I’ve been through and what my life is like and tell me that I am justified in being so miserable. That it *is* fucked up. That I don’t deserve it. That I am not a terrible person. That it is understandable, for large periods of time, that not being alive seems vastly preferable to living like this.

The only people I ever speak to in real life are my mum, dad and ever more rarely, my sister. I can’t honestly accept what they tell me though because they are not objective about me at all. I think I did manage to get some genuine thoughts out of my last therapist after my usual mental jousting that I always end up engaged in, but 50 minutes a week for a couple of months barely scratches the surface of my messed up life.

I feel as though I’ve gotten massively off track here… To be honest, the reason posts on this blog became more sporadic was because it was easier for me to try and supress my feelings and avoid facing up to things than to endless rehash them like I used to. Coming back here always makes me think back to when I first started writing about my mental health. It was the beginning of a chapter of my life that I have very mixed feelings about. In a lot of obvious ways, it has been extremely painful, but I have also grown a lot over that time. As weird as it sounds to type this, I like the person I am now a lot better than who I was in 2007 when I first admitted I had mental health problems. My earlier writing embarrasses the hell out of me and even though most of it has been done in relative isolation, I think I’ve experienced a lot of good things and escaped the limited existence of my teens to early 20s, even if only briefly and was better for it. Physically, I am yet again back in the same room, sitting in the same bed writing this post as I did in my earliest writing. As I have done before when reminiscing like this, I decided to look at the social anxiety forums where I made my first foray into reaching out and see what some of the people I used to talk to are up to. One of them I recently removed from facebook because of their horrible reactionary views, one I still occasionally talk to but I am afraid to let them know how pathetic my situation still is because they’ve moved on to bigger and better things. Another, who I probably wrote about extensively on here because I had a stupid crush and minor obsession with, surprised me because I just saw that she is engaged. Maybe I can see it as a small success that it didn’t make me miserable or jealous to read that. I’m not proud to admit it but a few years ago that would have devastated me because I had such a stupid unrealistic desire to be with her. When we first “met” I remember reading about how she was in danger of being kicked out of college and her story resonated with me so much because I was in virtually the same situation myself a year earlier. Of course, it’s a nightmare actually trying to get to know and stay in contact with people who have severe social anxiety and I ended up losing touch with her but never forgot the few conversations we had that gave me hope and helped me more than it logically should have. Of course this just hammers home the point that yet again I am being left behind by everyone I have ever known. I’ve written before about childhood friends have gone on to have normal lives and how pathetic I feel in comparison. It’s almost got to the point where it doesn’t hurt so much any more because I expect it.

It’s depressing to contemplate the fact that I am in a totally different universe to everyone else. I will keep on getting left behind, in the dust of everyone I ever knew. Simply getting through the day without actively wanting to die is the best I can do, and although I have just managed 10 years without crossing the line, I can never rule out the near certainty that my life will end that way. I don’t know when, all I can do is hope that I can find a reason to carry on. It seems ever more remote, but perhaps I can force myself to take solace in the fact that I have come this far so maybe there is something deep down, as I now know there was in 2009, that I have to live for besides not wanting to upset the dwindling number of people who would notice if I died. I just decided tonight after all this reflection that I will try to find something. Wish me luck.

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