WARNING! This post may contain triggers.
Hello. My name is Aoife Brown, and today I did not kill myself.
I suppose it’s a lot like other days, in that way. I mean, a lot of other people went through today without killing themselves too.
I could go on a nice little speech about how hopeless I felt, and how useless everything seemed, and how, even though I knew it wasn’t true, I still couldn’t believe that there was anything in me worthwhile enough for me to deserve another day on this planet. I could try to make you understand the intense crushing despair of it all. The feeling that no matter how hard you try you will never be good enough to deserve anything. The conviction that deep down all of this despair is due to an internal fault in you and is so somehow “your fault”. I could even try to explain how everything bad in the world is somehow your fault too. As if you could have fixed it all but you didn’t bother. The world is crap because you are lazy, and need to do better, and should have worked harder…
I could try to explain all of this to *you*, my reader, but the truth is that I don’t understand any of it myself so it would probably be a wasted exercise. Instead, I’m going to focus on something else:
Today, I did not kill myself.
I suppose I’m like a lot of other people that way.
But the question I’m asking myself is, how many other people didn’t kill themselves today?
Not the people who didn’t think of it, but the ones who really, truly, made an effort not to kill themselves?
How many people felt like it was the only way that they could stop feeling this horrible feeling that follows them day after day… and didn’t do it?
And how many of *them* does anybody know about?
How many of them did the same thing yesterday, and the day before… last week… last year…
How many of them hide it from everyone in their lives, and put on a brave face, and go back out there and try again. Day after day. Like me.
Because, you see, today I didn’t kill myself. And it isn’t the first time. And every time I put the smile back on, and pull myself together, and brush it all under the carpet. Because it wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair of me to even consider suicide. It wasn’t fair of me to look for a way out. I’m the way I am, and I need to deal with it.
Sometimes I try to leave hints that I’m having difficulty coping. I say things I hope people will pick up on, or announce that I’m feeling “really pretty bad” as if that’ll somehow give it away. And then I cop onto myself and cover up any hints and re-assure everyone, because it wouldn’t be fair of me to worry people. Well I’m sorry people, but I’m not going to worry about what you worry about any more. If you’re worried that I’m in a bad state then I’m going to say “Thank you for your concern. I appreciate it.” and I’m going to keep on going. Because I *am* in a bad state. And I *do* appreciate that people care enough to care.
Today, I’m not going to put the smile back on straight away. And by Gods, that’s hard. I feel embarassed about how I feel… how I felt. I feel like I don’t want people to know. I feel like I should delete every reference to it, and act like it never happened. I feel like I was weak even to consider it, and that talking about it is only going to put the people I care about through even more hardship. I feel like even bringing it up is me “being a drama queen” or “looking for attention”. But I’m not going to listen to those brain gremlins right now. I’m going to ignore what they’re saying, and say something of my own:
I know how to get attention. I could get all the attention I want with far less effort and guilt in other ways.
I know what makes people upset. And one of those things is people they care about hiding things from them instead of letting them help.
I know what weakness is, and TRUST ME: If you feel the same desperation that I do then YOU ARE NOT WEAK! No one could get as far as this if they were weak. No one could have coped this long. If you’re depressed enough that suicide seems so tempting, and if you haven’t gone crying to everyone who’d listen long ago and begged them to please, please, PLEASE, make this feeling go away. If you’ve been strong this long… then weakness has nothing to do with it.
No-one deserves to feel this way. It is not normal. It is not “just part of being human”. It’s something horrible, and if you feel this way then you have EVERY RIGHT to be upset and miserable and scared. It’s not something to feel guilty about. It’s not something that you should have to hide. It’s a perfectly reasonable reaction, to a completely unreasonable feeling.
Today, I didn’t kill myself. And I’m going to celebrate. Because it’s a big deal, and I deserve it. I’m going to get myself a pizza, and pour myself a drink, and raise a toast to all the people who did and say “I’m so, so, sorry that you ever had to deal with this. And I am so, so proud of you for getting as far as you did.” And I’m going to raise a toast to all those people who’ve made it one more day and say “I’m glad. Good luck. And I hope to toast you all again tomorrow.” And I’m going to raise a toast to all those people who have no idea what it could ever feel like, and I’m going to say “I hope you never do. But thank you so much for trying to understand me anyway.”
And most importantly, I’m going to raise a toast to me, and say “Go you! You did good.”