Sometimes the fun goes and the smoke leaves the room and the soul flies away. You sit on the floor and the blood is running in little swirls around you. You wonder what the people at school will say tomorrow, laugh at you for walking in to too many doors. You walk into lots of doors, and fall down the stairs, you used to bang your head against the wall as a child too, which is why you have the dent in the back of your skull. You are clumsy, you will never amount to anything, and tonight you will die.
The pills are there, the knife is ready. You have the vodka in front of you and you’ve already downed too many to go back now but you wouldn’t anyway because you have too many things you need to run from. The pills make you want to vomit, the blood is running away and filling your bath with it’s warm salty tasting liquid, metallic and tangy as it flows past your eyes and out of your veins. It makes you sick to think of it so you stop. The banging on the door carries on but you can’t hear it anymore, you’re away, far away. You don’t feel the paramedic haul you out of your vat of death, you don’t hear the sirens or the screams or the crying or the machines being stuck in your arm or the doctors standing by your bed who call you attention seeking because you tried to kill yourself. You are not there to tell them to fuck off, because what do they know? If you were awake maybe you would have hit them, screamed, run away, jumped, drowned, anything. You don’t hear the psychiatrist talking to you, asking you what you have taken, how you are feeling, you don’t look at the quizzical look on his face as he is wondering if really you can hear him.
You sleep and sleep and sleep and you don’t wake up for a long time. You are asleep, sleep is very like death you think, the lights of the carousel you were on come back and you can smell the cigarettes and the drink and the blood, the way you ran and fell and came home with grass on your knees and twigs in your hair that are probably still there.
You blink into the world. The glare of the fluorescent lights engulfs you. You feel that familiar sadness that you have felt before - that you’ve woken up again. No matter what anyone says that moment when you open your eyes was the beginning of the end, but the end of what? Nobody understands. Humor is very subjective. If you didn’t have a sense of humor, you wouldn’t find it so funny when people get so close to the truth you almost have to lie and run again. Nobody’s going to save you, I promise you that.
When you were twelve you put some bleach in soda, watched it froth around the rim like the foam on the top of the ocean. Poison, death will follow. But the cunning eye of the hawk-tiger snared it and you slept again like a weightless bird. You woke up in the land of scratchy sheets with a beep beep beep all around you, because yet again you failed. Childhood is stupidity, creativity spawns the kind of ideas that only a child had. You are not vicious, merely desperate. Kindness has not been practiced so it wont be preached. To be taught is to be conditioned, but kindness is given by the light.
I find it ironic that one simple act of violence can destroy a history of love. It’s not the other way around. Love does not make everything okay. If you hate it it’s smothering and makes you want to run as fast as you can up the nearest hill and sit on it and never come back. I nearly did. You don’t understand why it matters, why when the light leaves your eyes others will not rejoice in your salvation, like you do. Death might not be better? It is the unknown, yet what of hell? Maybe in death you will be in hell, in hell might be the agony you felt at the moment of departure.
You are calm. You are faintly aware of the lights and shouts around you. Of the screaming men with stethoscopes and the cowering women who sit in the corner and look on suspiciously, only vaguely caring if your eyes flicker open to see their bored, tired faces staring back at you, but not into you. People talk about the tunnel of light, but it’s not like that, it’s more like you are a feather floating indefinitely down a Cliffside, moving with a kind of spiritual wind as opposed to the lines and hexagons of life. It feels clear and it feels happy. But you don’t feel happy. Suicide is not a desire for death; it is a desire for the things in life to shift.
In theory you know that, but you think its bullshit. Which in most cases it is, it’s just at the end when the smoke clouds of time straighten out into a comprehendible line that it begins to make sense. Even now you can’t understand why people fought so hard to keep you alive when you wanted nothing more than to curl up into a little tiny ball and waste away, turn your body into bats and have them flutter away parallel to the looming moon in the sky. Free.
Truthfully nobody can change your mind. Not now, when that desire is the only purpose you have, everyone needs a purpose, even if that purpose is to have no purpose. I find that funny because surely I must have realized that relief wasn’t something I was going to get from the little bats. Relief is a living emotion. Nobody feels relief when they die. I have never died. I’ve been shamefully close but it’s never been death.
You remember the videos she took when she seemed to love life so much and you remember how closely she linked with you. You had a bond with her that you shared with no one else, even though technically anyone who has a sister can say they know what I’m talking about. Imagine waking up and going into your sisters room to borrow her shirt or to just play an early morning prank on her and opening the door to find her dead. Your heart ceases to work properly in that moment but when your body’s so broken and bruised it really doesn’t matter anymore, one more bump and scrape here and there won’t hurt you, right? Because you don’t feel the pain anymore, not really. Well you do, but you will never admit it, because the people who have made it their life ambition to make you as unhappy as possible get this venomous satisfaction that you can’t bear. It’s like somebody dragging chalk down a whiteboard, it’s as sickening as drinking syrup. Anyone can scream and cry and wail but it will all be muffled by the car accident down the street, by the weeping of the girl being neglected a few houses down. Your pain doesn’t matter. That’s what they keep saying, anyway.
I have a sixth sense for pain. I can always spot the people enduring a struggle. That woman sitting in the corner of the coffee shop shouting at her wedding planner in her pinstripe closely tailored suit. Her wedding must be perfect, because she thinks it will make everything better, then she’ll get married and realize it hasn’t. Years later her children will wonder why their mother threw herself out of the window.
Some things make you very morbid. I remember walking through the doors for the first time and seeing the wretched bright purple sofas. I thought I’d be there for six weeks, little did I know I’d spend much, much longer there. Looking back it’s hard to understand why I got so attached. At that point I was hardly attached to anyone at all. I sat there as they read my suicide note aloud, they asked me what I thought was wrong with me, I asked them when dinner was going to be. Darren was his name, the doctor I mean. He was strange, had an odd sense of humor. I liked him. His oddness struck my curiosity so that it overshadowed my unwillingness to let him delve into my mind. I’m still not entirely sure why I liked him, but we’re never sure of how we get on with people really, it could be that he’d been sitting in the right chair or wore the right colored shirt. I just did.
That was when they took me away, into an unfamiliar world of ‘talking” about your problems. I had to sit there all day long and focus on what was wrong with me. I have gained prime experience as an escape artist. I learned how to pick a lock, scale a building, leap over a five-foot gate, climb over a wire fence and outsmart (admittedly not the brightest) psychiatric nurses.
It’s an interesting dynamic, living with very unwell people. It’s a fatal combination of boredom, antipsychotics, a corner shop full of booze and a group of people who will very willingly do anything to forget who they are for a night. I remember mayhem, screaming patients being chased around the building and intravenously injected. I remember ten drunk/high patients against four members of staff. I remember the night they couldn’t cope and rang the police who locked some of them up for the night. I remember thinking how stupid they were, as the quiet more subtle patients sat upstairs quietly drinking ourselves into oblivion whilst downstairs pandemonium played out.
Much of it is a blur, a mix of intellectual conversations with a nurse or doctor in the middle of the night who you would never see again. I remember stealing my hospital notes and crying at what they had realized and also what they hadn’t.
I observe the adults around me with scepticism. I am always weighing up the risk they pose, always evaluating my surroundings. How do I know they won’t hurt me? How can I get out of this room? How can I avoid sitting directly in front of the door? Could I get away fast enough? Would I win in a fight? I don’t think I’m irrationally scared. I think I am aware of a danger that nobody else sees. People are dangerous. There are no exceptions. You never know what they’re thinking; you never know what they’re going to do next. One minute they’re all lovely and your best friend, the next they’re smashing a bottle off your head. You never know. I am suspicious of everyone. That way I’m much safer.
What really, really frustrates me is when people who have been hurt are offended by people joking about it. Come on guys; be happy for them that they find it funny, I joke about just about everything I’ve been through. When you spend months dwelling on something you develop a very odd sense of humor about it.
Looking back now, I realize that the turning point was when I turned to my sister for guidance. The problem I faced then was that I simply would not die. I had tried EVERYTHING. Hanging, strangulation, jumping off things, cutting my veins open, carbon monoxide poisoning, overdosing (the most painful way to go in my opinion) and every single time, every single fucking time I woke up with a different nurse or doctor looking…. not even disappointed but just sad. Sad that they now knew what was wrong with me. I expect they wondered what exactly they needed to do to make me trust them.
Trust is a difficult thing. There is only one person in the whole entire world who knows EVERYTHING that has happened with me. She’s been there right from the very beginning, but now she’s gone and here I am for whatever reason typing this all out. When she died I instantly felt the weight of all of the secrets only she knew about. Most people look at me like I’m not worth the ground they walk on, but she never did. Her words were always the same. “I wouldn’t bother if I didn’t think there was another Jake, someone behind the Jake who is so hostile and untrusting, that wants the chance to talk to me. I’ve never given up on anyone and I’m certainly not giving up on the amazing person who is hiding inside of you.”
I have learned so much in the past five years, about right and wrong and family and good and evil. Most importantly however, I have something much more important than a role model: I know exactly who I don’t want to become. I know that everyone can lead a happy life if they go out and grasp it. I continue to work on building a new life for myself even though many of the components of my old life that I would have liked to have kept are no longer here. When I look back on the last five years I am now entirely sure that I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t had the experiences I did. When I sit down for dinner with my girlfriend I feel so happy because I know the difference between this and what it could be like. Everyone can recover, everyone can change. I believe that with all my heart.