If I could write a letter to myself and send it back in time to the night I tried to kill myself, I think it would read something like below.
I know you are hurting and I know how bleak it all appears. I can envisage you sitting there, lost and directionless like a terrified child wandering through a high walled maze in the dark. It's bloody difficult and I won't patronise you by promising the light at the end of the tunnel or the fluffy cloud with a silver lining; the only silver lining you can see is the cool, sharp edge of a knife. There is something I do want to communicate to you and I want you to listen. You won't be able to immediately process it so what I write will be like a dripping tap over a barrel - it will seem insignificant at first but over time the barrel will eventually fill until it is overflowing with cool, fresh invigorating water. Your mind will be that barrel and these words are the plink, plonk of life giving H2O.
Tom, you are awesome. Seriously, you really are. No, it's not arrogant, conceited or egotistical, it is a beautiful, profound and poetic truth. I know you are wincing at those words because all you feel and see in the mirror is a pathetic and pitiful creature. Awesome is a word you have lost from your vocabulary like the way a face becomes lost in a crowd. The thing with that face though is if you look hard enough you can find it again. In time you will find your awesome face again and trust me (trust me, Tom) that horrid reflection you see will become transcendently tranquil.
Okay, I understand you dismissing such a vacuous statement because simply suggesting you are awesome or amazing doesn't particularly dispel, dissipate or destroy those terrifying desires to end your life. Incidentally, I still feel your pain as you grapple with the overwhelming urge to kill yourself. I cry for you Tom because you see no way out and you are hounded by the darkness. I know you feel stalked and preyed upon like a demon is clawing at your mind. I hurt for you because I am there with you on October 23 2015 as you claw at your head trying to stop the incessant inferno in your mind. You feel broken and alone; you feel a burden to those you love and you feel like a worthless, useless fool who offers nothing of any substance to the oppressive world you inhabit. I want to hug you and let you know you will survive. I want to stay your hand and stop you from attempting suicide but I can't and therefore I will comfort you in the hope that will come after.
Out of the dreadful despair you are experiencing comes the true beauty of love. You can't currently follow me in understanding this beauty but just as a caterpillar does not understand its almost mystical transformation into a butterfly, you too will emerge from the dark, dank cocoon to fully appreciate your own transformation. It's the love bestowed upon you which will be the catalyst of your emergence from the place you are in. You will be amazed and astounded by the way people treat you in the coming months. It will humble you.
In the weeks and months after the lowest you have ever been you will experience the true wonder of what makes being human such a priceless gift. As I write this I know I still don't fully appreciate the sacredness of humanity. I am still learning to let the lovely little things wash over me like the warm, summer rain. But, Tom, you are going to have your mind utterly blown by how fantastic people are and how much they love you. Each week they continue to unconditionally love you and reassure you that you are appreciated and adored. They also bring a bit of reality too, because your ego does like all this attention, by reminding you that you're not as much of a celebrity as you like to make out.
It's good though, Tom, because it means there's humour in your life again. You're going to properly belly laugh and cry with laughter instead of loathing. You're going to dance like an idiot and not care because you're happy and just want to dance and laugh and relish how good it feels. You're going to get all soppy and teary-eyed from little things your loved ones do because you're a mushy romantic. You're going to get your swagger back too. Swagger? Really? Yeah, it's going to be fun to exude confidence again and that will attract others to you. That's right, Tom, you're going to realise a new found confidence and you won't want to hide away from the world, not getting out of your Hugh Hefner dressing gown. You'll enjoy the outside world again and find a vigour and vitality which will actually surprise you.
I know none of this will make any sense to you on the dark and lonely night in October, but soon you will find the beauty of life again and it will be wonderful.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) is a registered charity, which exists to prevent male suicide in the UK. Call 0800 58 58 58 or visit thecalmzone.net
- The Mix is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: email@example.com
- HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Mon-Fri 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41