Trigger Warning: Suicidal Thoughts, Self Harm, Death
When I was 14, my best friend died. I remember the moment that I found out as if it were yesterday.
I was sat in my South Birmingham netball kit, waiting to hear from my coach about whether the match was on. The house phone rang and I jumped up to answer it.
“Is your Mum there?”
The voice didn’t sound familiar and it sounded strange so I just handed the phone over. I stared at Mum as she tutted and “oh dear”ed to the person at the end of the line. I looked at my sister, confused, trying to work out what it could be.
Mum hung up and looked at me.
“Josie died last night.”
I put my hands to my mouth and blinked. And blinked. Then tears. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I don’t actually remember what happened next. I guess that I walked in a daze for a while, but one day it turned dark; someone had turned off the light.
Dealing With The Loss Of My Best Friend
It got to a point where I couldn’t listen to my favourite music anymore. Everything was dark; my music, my clothing, my outlook on life. I’m Not Ok by My Chemical Romance became the song I listened to on repeat; I would scream The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows; I would turn my emotional pain into physical pain and share it with my friends. We wallowed in our sadness together, wearing sweatbands to cover the marks we drew across our skin.
It got to a point where I was hurting myself every day; evolving from scratching with my nails to scratching with scissors, making sure to never break the skin, but digging deep enough to create a welt that stung to touch. One day, I opened the medication cupboard and gazed longingly at my sister’s anti-psychotic tablets. There was enough to release all of the pain and anger I held in my body.
I shut the cupboard and went back to bed.
The Silent Struggle
This happened more times than I care to remember over the next 14 years. Some days, I would be fine. I would look like everyone else; smiling, laughing, cuddling with my nieces and nephew, but behind closed doors, I was a mess.
I would claw at my thighs, my stomach, my wrists, anywhere that I knew would heal by morning. I found a place to belong online and they understood what I was feeling. I would draw on my walls in pencil, write song lyrics that my friends would worry about, and I would plan my last day.
Despite the overwhelming sense of grief and isolation that I carried in my chest, I never went through with it.
At the beginning of 2018, I was struggling again. My mental and physical health was constantly warring with the life I wanted to live and it became too much.
As I walked home one day, I stood on the kerb and closed my eyes, tears streaming down my face. I didn’t know what I was going to do. It was almost as if I was asking the universe to make the decision for me. I opened my eyes and my feet carried me home.
Living With My Thoughts
This has happened so many times that I’m now resigned to the fact that I will never go through with it. I never could.
I wouldn’t want my Mum to have to go through the trauma of burying her youngest child. I wouldn’t want my nieces and nephew to look at family photos years later and why their aunty felt that she couldn’t face life any more.
They are the only reason that I am still alive.
When I stand on the kerb and close my eyes, I see their faces and I hear their laughter, and my feet move backwards.
I don’t know whether to love or loathe them for this, and that wracks me with guilt. It’s a huge burden to put on four children aged between 10 and 3, but they are the only reason why I don’t go through with it.
My body is tired; my brain is tired; my soul is tired.
As I’m writing this, I’m sat on the edge of my bed, feeling like a visitor to my own bedroom. The blank walls tell stories of band posters, the books look unfamiliar and the headboard feels like it’s miles away. It doesn’t feel like my life anymore, and that’s the horrible thing about depression.
You feel like a stranger in your own life. I feel like I’m existing instead of living, I’m playing a passive role in my life and I have no impact on what happens.
Maybe one day I’ll wake up, fulfilled with the life I have created for myself, and not be plagued by nagging doubt in the back of my mind, telling me that I’m not worthy of a good life. This voice will creep in when I feel content, and suddenly I’m worried that the life I’m living isn’t enough. It also tells me that I’m wasting a life and that Josie would’ve lived it better.
But I have achieved some amazing things in my life and there is a part of me that’s excited for more. Just because you may have these thoughts doesn’t mean you have to go through with it, and it also doesn’t mean you can’t live your life and deserve it.
-Bloom From The Darkness
Author Bio: Naomi Proudman
Naomi is a ;lifestyle blogger from Birmingham who writes about a variety of subjects from life to love to mental health and more.