The other S-word
I have long thought about killing myself. If there had been a way to do it in an instant, without any pain, I would have done it already.
I feel like my life is over. I have lost the ability to dream or expect anything new to happen. I have lost the optimism for future, the kind of expectancy, almost a demand that we are guided to have about our lives when we are young. And I cannot do any better.
I write this in a relatively calm state of mind. At present I am relieved that I have a long weekend off. It is sunny and warm. I have plans for today but not for tomorrow and the day after which I am very pleased about. Those days will be dedicated to doing my own things. However maybe seventeen hours ago I didn’t want to live anymore. I am not certain if I do now either but the thought of tomorrow is not as unbearable now as it was then. I ache but I try not to think about it.
One morning I walked down to an Underground platform. I was on my way to work. The next train was in 3 minutes, an eternity for a Londoner at that time of the day. I was at the platform’s edge not thinking anything and thinking furiously all at once, wondering if I had enough courage to jump in front of the train.
It wasn’t the first time. Feeble excuses had always crept up in my head. Once I was going to a wedding and I thought it would be selfish of me to kill myself on their wedding day, although I was a minor guest. I was given the invitation in a rush, as an afterthought. I thought that if they found out that I had killed myself on my way to their wedding it might disturb them for the rest of their lives so I didn’t. Mostly it is my cowardice though that has prevented me from doing it. I cannot bring myself to endure the pain. I have thought about slitting my wrists but it would be a slow death. How much and how long would it hurt if I drowned or hung myself? How quickly would I die if I smashed my skull against a pavement? What if I would not die but end up an invalid? My life would not end but change dramatically for worse and I would have to depend on other people’s care. This is almost as frightening as the seconds of pain that I cannot bring myself to endure. An overdose of sleeping pills or shooting myself with a gun would be ways that I could handle. The first is gentle and the latter is fast. They are both however difficult to get hold off.
That morning though as I was hesitating on the platform I remembered my mother and I realised that I would not want to do it to her. She has always been mentally unstable and it would cause her too much grief. It would come out of a blue and she would not understand. She hasn't really been a mother figure to me but she loves me with that relentless and even childish love that mothers have. It hurts me to see her in pain.
I decided that morning that I would not kill myself, ever, but go on living. I felt crushed then, I still often do. I couldn't and still cannot bear the thought of my life stretching in front of me like this, without any relief.
I don’t know how to write about those moments when I cannot see any other way out except to kill myself. That feeling of utter worthlessness, hurt, hopelessness. I feel like someone has hit me in the face, punched my wind out. I feel unloved and forgotten. If I try to cling onto some glimpse of hope I feel like I am deceiving myself. Then I wish someone would come and save me but knowing that no one will I want to end it all. I am in so much pain.
I try to reason with myself sometimes. ‘If you are nothing, how come can you feel something and how come do you feel pain at feeling like you are nothing? Does it not mean that this feeling of being a zero is something that is amiss and therefore not true?’ and ‘your friends wouldn’t say and do the things that they do if they didn’t like you therefore you cannot be unlovable or a wrong kind.’ But it has been nearly impossible to not believe what I feel. That I am a failure and a zero, that nothing that I do can make me lovable. I am a wrong kind, I am always too much or too little, at work and in relationships. It doesn’t help either to be in so battered inside. It has made me unappealing.
It hurts long afterwards. I wonder how I can get through the day, the week, all that is to come. I worry about how well I am able to cope at work where I am expected to give so much. All that chat and charm, I keep it up because I am afraid of people sometimes. They can be cruel when they perceive weakness.
I have decided to live and I despair when I think of the future. I do anything to make my days worth living somehow. The Zen-like phrases of living in the moment and enjoying the small pleasures in life have become my daily bread. I have to see beauty, I have to photograph it. I have to create something beautiful or otherwise meaningful out of this waste that my life is. I pour it all into art. I will photograph, I will write, draw and sing. It is one of the very few things that give me something. It also drives me. And that is how I will get through this life. Art is to be my redemption.
I sound defiant but I am shattered.