The loss of Robin Williams is a sad one. Saddest of all I feel, for him. To feel so very low as that is quite simply one of the worst things in the world. I should know. I should preface this with a warning, I will write about suicide, depression, self harm and rape. I will not be oblique. If any of those things might upset you, stop now, go somewhere else. Or at the very least make sure someone is on hand to hold you.
When I was 15, my mum died. That made me very sad. But I was depressed before that.
When I was 14, a girl at my school, in my choir died. This made me very sad. But I was depressed before that.
I’m sure that I must’ve been happy as a child, but from the ages of about 11 through to now, i’ve had some or other degree of depression. There’s been a few good spells, but the bad ones have been longer.
When I was 11, I didn’t want to commit suicide, I just felt that if my family suddenly moved across the country, I wouldn’t much mind. We were on holiday in cornwall. My mum noted how much happier and more relaxed I was there.
That holiday, I tried to harm myself for the first time.I’d read about it in the papers, and I thought it was maybe something i’d like to try. I dragged the sharp edge of a broken off pop can tab down the length of my arm. It stung, and when I went in the sea it stung even more. I didn’t much like it.
When I was 13, I tried it again. I slashed my arms open with a razor, and then I learnt how to dismantle them, burning the plastic with a lighter until it curled and melted away, heady from the fumes in my enclosed bedroom.
I stopped, then started, then stopped again. I felt better. I felt worse. My mum died and a slow decline became a headlong rush.
When I was 15, I tried to kill myself. On more than one occasion. I took a handful of paracetamol and went to bed, I woke up in the night to be sick, again and again.
That christmas, I took all of my anti-phsycotics at once. I could hear my own heartbeat. I went to bed and lay down to die. I didn’t. I woke up elated, went into town in the clothes I had slept in, bought hair dye and started to look after myself for the first time in months. I had reached my very lowest ebb, and even though I knew that people cared for me, and that it might hurt them, I couldn’t see a way to go on. It is the saddest feeling in the world, knowing that you can’t cope any more, than nothing will make any of this right.
I got better. I cleaned myself up and left therapy. I was happy. For a whole, entire year, I thought that maybe depression and sadness were behind me. That I would look back on this and smile remorsefully at my foolishness. I moved away to uni. I got raped, by a stranger in a bar, I cut off all my hair so that I didn’t cut up all my arms, and then I did anyway. I cried. I stopped getting dressed. I stopped leaving the house. I stopped living.
I got better, slowly, slowly, and then it happened again. This time, I was on my anti depressants, they helped numb the pain a bit. This time it wasn’t a stranger. I left work. I stopped leaving the house.
I pulled it together, I felt like this was going to be my year, and no-one would fucking stop me. I got anxious, I got upset. I had another breakdown.
I tore up my arms for the first time in years and everything made me cry. I had panic attacks so bad my chest hurt and ached. I terrified my tutor when I told him I felt that I had to die so as to escape. I tried to explain to a lady from the samaritans that I didn’t want to die, not really, but that I couldn’t see another way forwards.
She talked to me. She talked and talked and talked whilst I sat on a pavement in waterloo and cried and hurt and thumped the ground. She talked until I felt safe enough to go home, to be near a road. I only left the tube there because it has the safety screens, I was so very scared of what i might do.
I’m happier now. A horrible cliche, a fucked up sad clown who works in the arts because it’s so goddamn romantic and correct to be mental and artsy. I take a little white pill every day and it makes my brain run on time. I have a girlfriend. I have two cats. I can see through the veil. It doesn’t stop me thinking about it though. Whenever anything goes wrong or if I walk past a bridge. I’m not scared of heights, i’m scared of myself.
People say it’s a waste when someone kills themselves. That’s not the waste. What’s wasted is their life. When you feel so sad and low that you know you can’t go on. You’ve lost everything. It all hurts, and to be taking up space and air makes you feel like a waste.
You aren’t, even if you don’t believe it in that moment. Just, remember this. If someone tells you they’re feeling suicidal, it’s a cry for help. A desperate scream for you to hold them and never let go. Because feeling that sad is so, so frightening. You can’t trust yourself anymore, you can’t trust anyone. So believe them, hold them, don’t let go of your sad friends, even if it’s a great effort. Even if you can only see them in the house and they haven’t washed. Help them. Don’t let them get that scared.