During an extended phone call yesterday with my friend, he sends me over some pretty embarrassing photos of myself from many year ago back from a different time, a time fuel with drugs and alcohol and bad decisions, it made me laugh, I decide to forage through my broken Macbook it’s nearly 10 years old and is an unorganized mess, I’ve been meaning back up my stuff to move over to my other laptop anways, I take this opportunity to do so, so I’m sieving through all these old photographs, I have struck gold!
We’re exchanging photos back and forth, I’ve gone back as far as 2008, I’ve even found some of my old Bebo photos, a social media platform has long since expired, there is a lot missing though, I’m going through them, old relationships, old friends.
I thought i’d only find pain here, but somehow it was pleasurable I’d come a long way and actually although I paint my past with a tainted brush, it seems not all of it was terrible. It’s clear to see my struggles though, as I go further down the line you are able to see my demise into a life of drugs and alcohol and the sadness consuming my soul.
I reach a folder simply labeled “Pictures” I scroll though and at the bottom, I find something different, something I thought I had long since erased, I stumble across a document titled “Suicide” I immediately know what it is, I wrote this on 21st February 2012, I’m still the phone to my friend, I’m slightly set back, my friend tells me I should delete it instantly, I tell him no, I want to read it, I open it up, I read it to him, kind of fitting really, this was the night I was arrested by the police on my way to make an attempt to end my life by jumping on to the train tracks. The friend that I was on the phone to, was the very same friend who rung the police when he’d sensed something was up that night, I literally owe him my life.
He listened as a I read it, I laughed a bit, it was quite a surreal experience, I thought of all the things I’d tell my past self if I could.
Now I’m going to share with you the contents, so I’ll give you a warning it may be sensitive to some.
How many people get to read their own suicide note, not many I can assume. “If you are reading this, I’m most likely dead” that bit made me chuckle, fucking hell James, your future self is laughing at you now.
So that is that really, it’s a bit harrowing, and if you ask me how I feel now, I still feel mostly the same, but my perspectives have changed in many ways, I don’t want to end my life anymore, the thought will always be there somewhere, but I’m not going through with it, I can assure you.
My self worth has always been low, but I know deep down it’s not really true, just my brain is a fucking arsehole sometimes and likes to complicate things.
I can’t really remember what was going on at that point in my life for me, I remember being on a lot of medication, the rest was a blur really.
I abandoned attempting to take my life, shortly after I was arrested I had a bit of an epiphany, something was trying to keep me here, I don’t know what, I never will, but I felt more lost because I was now living in a world I hadn’t ever pictured myself in, I had never made any future plans because I didn’t see a future for myself, it’s hard to find your bearings when that changes.
I’d like to tell after that point it got better for me, it actually got worse the only thing that got me through was the drugs and alcohol, more and more.
It would take many more years for me to finally quit drinking and doing drugs, things became a little clearer it seemed they were clouding my eyes.
I got back into work, shitty retail for a bit, I started thinking about helping others, so I went and studied counselling, I got a level 3 Counselling and Person Centered Therapy, I applied to work in mental health, I wanted to give something back, I was told to go away and come back with more experience working in the field, I started volunteering as a peer support worker for Solent Mind, part of Mind, I had a small case load, I would then move on to working with vulnerable adults, I loved it, everyone asks me how you do it, it’s simple you just have to care enough, that’s it!
I would eventually go on to apply for the same job I applied for previously, this time I had nearly 2 years worth of experience, I went in on a 6 month trainee development program, I was adamant if I worked my hardest they’d want me to stick around longer, I did, they offered me a permanent job, I took it and I’m still in it today, nearly 2 years later!
I work on a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit, it’s pretty interesting, every day is different and it can often be stressful but I wouldn’t change it for anything, I adore helping others and I meet so many fantastic people, and you learn so much about yourself and the world we cohabit.
I’m a very different point in my life now, I see things for what they are, things have changed once again for me.
I’ve always had a very warped opinion on suicide, I don’t talk about it often but I had always believed that if someone genuinely felt that lost that they believed it was the only option for them, I hoped they would be at peace after, it’s weird because it’s my job to save lives and I will do everything I can to prevent it, but I’ve seen people be successful, I’ve seen people fail and permanently paralyze them self, and I’ve known my own friends to take their lives, it truly pains me, it’s horrible it chills you to the bone, and I really do hope they are at peace now.
But I have to say, I don’t believe it anymore, reading back on this note I felt like it was the only option at the time but somehow i’m still here, I’m sat at my desk on my shitty uncomfortable chair typing this up for you, in the hopes to just help even a single person.
So I’m going to say this…
I don’t know who you are, where you are, but if you are thinking about taking your own life, don’t do it, please don’t, I know it seems like there is no light but there is, honest, it might take a while and I’m not going to promise you it’ll be easy but you’ll get there, I did, and you can to!
Do not be afraid to reach out, there is amplitude of help out there just waiting and admit defeat and asking help can often feel horrible but it’s okay, sometimes we need a little help, there is no shame in that.
I’ve always said when it comes to it, when is my time to truly die, be it old age or illness, I will take my own life then, but it won’t be suicide, no not as you picture it.
It’ll righteous of some sorts, because hell I don’t wanna be hooked up to a bed, pissing through a fucking catheter prolonging my fading life.
I feel liberated having reread this, and I will keep it as a reminder of how far I’ve come and how much further I will go, alive and kicking on this godforsaken planet.
Before we go let’s all take the time to appreciate these three photographs of me from a time long forgotten, I think it can help you picture where I was.