On Friday 29th September 2017, I decided to take a run alongside a river to clear my head, release some energy and feel better about myself. On Friday 29th September 2017, I was a few steps away from drowning myself again.
I cannot swim. I never learned how to as a child and since, some sort of self-manifesting fear and stigma surrounds the idea of water to me. Death, uncertainty, defeat. I could die in a large body of water, I have not attempted to swim in a decade and it is a force out of my control; a force in control of my life that I have never been able to conquer. Water is a force in which pain exists especially for me, I feel that something awaits inside it for me.
When I take showers, no matter the flow and temperature setting I command it to, they always fluctuate beyond my control. Whether it burns or freezes me, wrinkles my skin or rejuvenates it, it is a force beyond my control. In the past seven months, with the feeling of mortality surrounding me, water is the face of death, the inevitable grim reaper. It haunts me everyday. Every glance I take at it, a terrible swell of emotions befall my mind and the past and future, pain and joy, clarity and confusion, hope and hopelessness all blend into one bittersweet feeling. This bittersweet occupies my mind and turns me against strangers, friends, loved and respected ones and myself. It turns me against the mere concept of living, that I should leave my life, end everything. Death would relieve this bittersweet feeling inside of me and it would relieve me of all of my pain. I would no longer burden those that know me and those that will come to know me in time. I would become a statistic, a name, a face.
On that Friday night, I was feeling particularly low. The day before had been a failure to me despite what others had said. The expectation and hope of a new year and life at university had diminished to another distant dream I once had. I had my first set of lectures that day and I felt so crushingly hopeless and lost. I got ignored over and over again, overlooked. The girl next door never looked or uttered a word to me; she still has not and I have no clue why. I became another subject of awkwardness and oddity. A lecturer I have this year met me on my placement last year when I was in ruin. SHe singled me out of the crowd to talk, she remembers. I fear a deeper conversation with her and yet I crave a conversation with her too about this inner demon.
I crashed on my bed after my day feeling drained. I awoke an hour and a half later to the same despair. In the dark, alone for hours, a lingering tear remained poised in my right eye. It was invisible to everyone I saw later that night, but I felt it there, I recognised it, I knew the pain was there hidden in plain sight. I got out of the flat with some friends, sang a few songs and went home again. That same bittersweet feeling was unshaken despite my best efforts; the tear lingered. Once again at home, I sat, back alone in a dark room. I contemplated mortality yet again and I have lost count as to how many times I have done so now. In this despair, this emotional abyss, my only way out was a run to take the energy away. My mistake was to not take any music with me to occupy my mind.
My route took me along a river. I could have run to a forest and back or to a park and back. Although the route to the riverside was the route that my gut went with. Fourteen minutes of taking it easy and the midnight moon and stars glistened in the sky, reflected upon the water before me. At that point I could run no longer. All motivation of getting fit, clearing my head, dissipated and I was left with only that feeling and a means to end it. I looked upon the water. I stood mesmerised by the ripples and the calm current unpredictable and carrying on without any other human soul around. Wildlife and nature carried on by with the whole town asleep and in their beds. I was ultimately alone in the moment and the water was two steps away. I fantasized a death in mere minutes. I thought of whether I would regret it. I thought of just walking into it a step at a time to make no sound as I passed on into the next step life has to offer. Would I be reborn into an afterlife, a new body, would there be eternal darkness? Steps away from the very end of a life lived poorly, I regret failing to do it once again. I have told nobody, I have lied to absolutely everyone. Every day since and every day that I will ever have, I have and will continue to think none of this would have happened, not a single person looking into my eyes knows I came so close to death. They know about the depression, the mood swings. They know I have been suicidal. They do not ask. They dare not ask. All I want them to do is ask. They never will.
I went home and went to sleep still with that lingering tear in my eye.
The next day, I did whatever I could to pull myself out of that mood and now, I feel it is time to put these thoughts into a confession. I told nobody this and nobody noticed a single thing. I am wearing a mask again to fit in with every other character in the production and I am playing my part. I don’t see the point. I don’t see anyone looking beyond the mask. I wish that tear would fall and that I could release this feeling. It would appear this feeling, seven months long, is still here to stay and I could have banished it for good two nights ago. Whatever I go on to do with my life, whether I die in a week, a year, a decade, I know that that life almost never happened. I almost died again. And nobody noticed again. Either I am a winner for not giving up or I am a loser for not giving up.
The water looked peaceful that night. Water, a constant reminder of who I am inside. Water, my grim reaper.
Much love from your friend,