This monologue deals with suicide and the beginnings of depression.
There is no particular date where I can confidently say “that was the date I started to suffer from depression”. My descent into depression was a culmination of one too many bad days.
Everyone has bad days, but I have always been the type of person to over-analyse and rehearse certain events in my head until I can piece memories together little by little. This obsession with minute details of mistakes I have made means I vividly remember random pieces of information from my past and other people’s pasts. It still baffles my friends of how I can remember what was specifically said in a conversation we had years ago.
What started to happen though was that I started to doubt my value as a person. Constantly I would analyse things that I should have said better, things I should never have done and, though I would rarely admit it, I wondered what people’s lives would be like if I wasn’t there. The horrible thing was that I believed that the people I loved would be happier, and that their lives would be better off if I hadn’t have met them, or if I were to disappear. With the feelings of worthlessness and self-hatred, I became more isolated and withdrawn from people.
Like I said, I cannot pinpoint the date I started to suffer from depression but I know that when I started Sixth Form College, things started to escalate. There were two men, whom I admire and love: let’s call them Tom and James. I went to school with these guys and felt so inferior compared to them. They were smarter, more socially confident, had many friends and Tom could grow a simply marvellous beard (seriously, he started shaving at 14. If that doesn’t impress you then you need to reassess your priorities). However, despite my obvious inferiorities, Tom and James seemed to like me and, although it took me a long time to realise, they actually saw me as a friend.
In the time that we spent together, I was hiding all my anxieties. I created a façade of being outlandish, saying quirky things or acting like I was in a pantomime- my hope was that if I acted this way they wouldn’t spot how desolate I was feeling. I did not think that they would care or believe me. The worst case scenario was that I would tell them how wretched I was, and they would reply saying something like “I genuinely don’t care about you. Don’t you realise how much of a burden you are to us?” This will probably sound exaggerated but these were thoughts that were going around my head whenever I felt like telling them how low I was feeling.
Eventually I started to feel more isolated and depressed, constantly berating myself for being a burden on Tom and James, the only people who I believed were actually kind to me without any malicious intent. Then one day in January, I had a very bad day and, due to my over-analytical mind, can remember so much about that day. 20th January, 2012. I saw Tom on the train and didn’t really say much; I didn’t feel like anything I said would be worthwhile. Walking out of the train station, Tom and I were discussing what time we’d be heading home. I remarked “think I might go straight home after that or I may lose the will to live.” Tom smirked.
For the record, the irony has never been lost on me. James arrived just before my last lesson finished and I had felt bad for not seeing him. I desperately missed him and just wanted to chat with him, even if it meant staying at college for an extra two hours just to see him. However, for some stupid reason I was feeling angry and frustrated; I had recently done a very minor thing with a girl and decided to make a big deal out of it as part of my attempt to conceal how vulnerable I was feeling. When I was with James, he found the girl on Facebook and decided to jokingly message her about what happened. Of course, it was meant as banter and I see that now but at the time I was, to put it bluntly, pissed off and blindsided by the desire to lash out.
At the train station near the college, I struck him. I hadn’t done that before and I haven’t since, and I completely regret what I did to him. That 10 minute train journey home I was attempting to justify my actions but once I got off at my stop, I realised how much of a twat I had been and before I left the path James usually took to head home, I turned around to apologise to him, but he wasn’t there. I immediately ran back to the train station in an attempt to find him; again he wasn’t there. In vain, I sprinted to his house, only 5 minutes away, in an attempt to catch up with him and beg for forgiveness. No sign of him. I then decided to text him. Roughly a minute later, I received a text from him which simply read “No. You crossed the line.” Reading that, I felt like I had been stabbed in the chest and all feeling had left my body. I slowly walked back to the train station, not caring about traffic or other surroundings until I reached the station and sat down. There, I repeatedly punched the shelter and started to weep uncontrollably. I knew that I had lost one of my closest friends and I could envisage Tom, after finding out about what happened, also deciding that he wouldn’t want to talk to me. And then I realised that all my fears, anxieties and concerns about me being a burden on those I loved were true. A train passed by and it all made so much sense; if I am to truly stop hurting people then I have to commit suicide. In my mind it was the only way.
I had contemplated suicide before but this time I felt there was no alternative. A train was about to pass. I stood up merely inches away from the gap, but I just couldn’t jump. I felt like such a coward; I was so useless that I couldn’t even kill myself. Again, I broke down in tears. After recovering, I decided to sit back down and wait for the next train when it came. Night was starting to fall and the temperature was dropping, but I felt so numb that I couldn’t feel any real change in the wind.
I thought about my family, about how they would feel about me committing suicide. Leading up to that day, I hadn’t been getting on with my parents and had been arguing especially with my dad about trivial things, which seem so insignificant now, but suicide seemed justifiable. People would be happier, indifferent or better off if I were dead. However, realistically I knew that they would not see this initially, so I did something I had never done in my life; I prayed. I murmured, closing my eyes, and when I reopened them I saw, on the other platform, James and Tom walking
I panicked as they spotted me and crossed the bridge to my platform. My heart was beating faster as I tried to think of a lie to get them to leave me so they didn’t have to see what I would do, but I couldn’t do it. In an amiable tone, James asked me what I was doing and I simply said “I tried to jump. But I couldn’t.” They couldn’t believe what I was saying, reassuring me that what I was doing was stupid and how much they would hurt if I were to commit suicide. With the sound of the train drawing nearer, I couldn’t listen. I stood up and walked towards the end of the platform, James and Tom instantly standing up and restraining me, while I attempted to break free. The train passed, I fell to the ground and burst into tears and grabbed hold of James shouting “I’m so sorry James. I’m so, so sorry”. But, even at my lowest, James found a way to make me smile. I started to feel confidence that I had friends who actually cared about me, that suicide would have made their lives awful and that I was so lucky to have friends like Tom and James. Arriving at my house, I was unaware of the torment that would follow; this was the beginning of my ordeals of depression, with many ups and downs to follow. However, as I stood side by side between Tom and James, I finally had something which has been one of the reasons I am writing this piece today- I had people who I knew loved me and would, as James said, do anything for me.