I have a fantastic life. I get to travel the world, do exciting things, meet brilliant people and have access to places and events that money can't buy. I've been featured in magazines and nominated for awards, I've partied with rock stars and dined with my heroes. Life is fun, life is exciting, life is good. And I regularly think about killing myself.
Since I was a teenager, I've been riddled with these dark thoughts about doing myself in. I can't talk about any specific mental illness as I'm not sure what I have. I've never spoken to a doctor about it so I've never been diagnosed and I've never taken anything for it save self-medication with a lot of socially-acceptable lubricants. But I have something. I have suicide. And it sucks.
One would be forgiven for thinking that as you get older, experience makes things easier to deal with. It doesn't. It makes you jaded. It was easy to bounce back at 20 and 30. There was so much to look forward to, I thought I could crack this thing, I imagined a life beyond it. Fact is, I forged forward, had great times but I still brought my suicide with me. That wasn't supposed to happen and as I approached 40, I couldn't help thinking that I was never going to shake it. It drained me and got harder every day.
This confession will come as a surprise to most people I know, even those closest. I don't talk to anybody about it, see. Nobody knows. Not one person. It's totally ridiculous as I have a successful one man show about suicide, I've been interviewed about it many times but I've always answered very tactfully, careful not to disclose any details about my own feelings. The truth is, if anybody could open up about having suicide, it's me so if I find it difficult, I can only imagine how hard it must be for teachers, farmers, soldiers, footballers...
This is no reflection on the wonderful people I have around me, they are very loving and caring. It's not that I feel they won't listen, it's that I feel I don't want to talk to them. It would be an admission of failure. I'm a bloke. I have it all. This amazing sense of entitlement, I'm lucky to have such a fortuitous standing in society. I can't complain, I have to be strong. I don't just hide my suicide, I project an exterior of contentment and success. I am an enviable man. I'm happy for everyone to hold that view of me, that suits me just fine, not the reality, I'd rather be dead than that.
Then, recently, I got to thinking... Everybody thinks I have this hilarious, exciting life... Hang on a minute... I do! Suicide made sure of that. Long gone are the days when I used to indulge it, sat in a dark room, listening to The Smiths. I forced myself to confront it. I wasn't going to let it get the better of me anymore. I now recognise it as an adversary that I go into battle with, it takes a huge amount of strength some days but I manage to knock it out of the ring. I absolutely have to defeat it because I know what happens to me when I don't.
These days, suicide sucks my cock. It wants me to stay in bed but I don't. I set myself unachievable goals and dare myself to reach them. This has led to a lot of good fortune. I've turned those dark thoughts into positives. I've had hit shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, I've toured them internationally, spoken on the steps of Australian Parliament, appeared half-naked on billboards across Europe and fulfilled a boyhood dream of being in films. All of these things terrified me but not half as much as my suicide has. If you've put up with those thoughts on a daily basis then you're pretty much built to take on anything. What's the worst that could happen?
Don't get me wrong, I have had spectacular failures; I discovered that I wasn't really very good at stand-up comedy and I'm in no rush to play my guitar in public again but that's been half the fun. Sometimes you have to admit defeat. So what? Have a day on the sofa, just don't listen to The Smiths, watch reality TV instead as that can't fail to make you feel better about yourself. There is always someone worse off than you. The Kardashians will make that crystal clear.
Suicide is always going to be part of my life but I view it differently now. I see it as fuel for the next leg of my journey. I've recently completed my first novel and I plan to show my first art exhibition in the next twelve months. I also want to conquer the Bach Cello Suites by the time I'm 50, yes, 50, I'm very optimistic for a suicidal man. I've never picked up a cello in my life but my suicide will give me the confidence to see it through. Suicide invited itself on this journey and I've had to accept it, I'm almost becoming fond of it, it's helped me to achieve some brilliant things. My only regret is that I didn't make friends with it years ago. Once a curse but now a blessing, my suicide gave me a life worth living.
For advice or help, or if you have been affected by suicide, visit the Samaritans website. Campaign http://www.thecalmzone.net/ also has help and resources for anyone affected.