Does the sight of this word offend you? Did it take you aback to see it as the title of my first “proper” blog post? It’s not your fault. It’s not really anyone’s fault. I could say that society has stigmatised suicide. But, don’t we make up society? Who would I be scapegoating if I were to lump all the blame on them? I think we are the proverbial them.
I wanted my first blog post to be light, witty, controversial, maybe slightly offensive… All the things that I am when I’m chatting with my friends. I wanted to slide slowly into the bloggersphere. Dip my toe in the water before I ducked my head completely under. That’s the kind of person I generally am, I test the waters before I take the plunge. But enough swimming analogies, I’m sure my journalism tutors would blanch reading them. “Bad journalism. Have I taught you nothing in five years?”.
Last Saturday, I attended the Out of the Shadows walk in Perth, Western Australia. Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, & Thursday is R U OKAY? Day. This week has been emotionally draining & I just glanced at my phone to realise it’s only fucking Tuesday. I’m really tired. I’m sure there are so, so many people out there who share my sentiments. I KNOW there are. I know them personally. I know too many of them personally. & I watch others from the spectator stand of ‘loose acquaintance’ struggle with the same thing. For all my passion & support of suicide awareness, I must admit hypocrisy. Awareness of suicide is so important. 400,000 people think about taking their own lives each year, the ABC tweeted this morning. Yet, do I talk about it? No. I told everyone that it’s okay to talk about suicide today on my Facebook. I mean it, I truly do. IT IS OKAY. & this dialogue needs to be started. But will I sit down & talk to someone about suicide today? Most likely not. I find it overwhelmingly hard. It is the elephant in the room everywhere I go, for it is something I carry with me every nanosecond of every waking moment of my life. I promised honesty, & holy shit I’ve just gone straight to the deep end.
When I was seventeen, I met a boy. I fell in love. It went pretty badly. I loved him so much that I HATED HIM. He INFURIATED me. I wanted to smack his fucking face & sometimes I did & then I would beg for forgiveness & ask him never to leave because please god I can’t breathe without you. Needless to say, it did not last. Not because I didn’t want it to but because I couldn’t let myself love someone like that. I had nothing left to give anyone or anything else. It drained me & hurt me deeply. So I found someone else, I busied myself, & I got on with making my first love a painful ex who I pretended to loathe because I would rather you think I hate his guts than you know that I have no idea how to ever not love this kid. More relationships, more breakups, more moving on while pretending I did not give one shit let alone multiple, huge, stinking shits that stained my heart. Then something miraculous happened. I actually fell in love with someone else. Head over heels, all in, make-this-the-rest-of-my-life kind of love. But did the other go away? No. Not really. This is what I think people don’t talk about enough: your first love will be forever. & somehow you have to make ALL the rest of your relationships work too. While having a very special, unattainable part of your heart firmly locked away for someone else. It’s messed up.
While holidaying in Bali with my current partner, my phone was ringing in the safe in our hotel room & I refused to answer it because “international calls are expensive & it’s ME who pays, not you”. No but really, I apparently HAD to answer this call. I don’t remember the finer details from this part of my life, probably because my subconscious blocked it out because there’s only so much heartache you can feel at one time before your chest really does explode, & your aching bones shatter & you just drop dead from sadness. But my first love had decided this place was not somewhere he wanted to be anymore, & I would never, ever, ever see him again in this lifetime.
“But he was your ex. As if you care that much. Didn’t you hate him? You didn’t want to be with him anymore, surely that made it easy for you to deal with”. I could almost hear people’s minds ticking over as they thought these things about me. “WRONG. SO TOTALLY WRONG. YOU COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG!” I shook them violently and screamed in their faces in my imagination. It has split my world apart. That’s the thing about suicide, it affects so many people. It makes the day-to-day a battle, for everyone that ever knew, met, spoke to or loved that person. Whether it was a moment together, a year together, or a lifetime together. When someone commits suicide that indelible print that they left on each person they came into contact with is then marred with pain at the thought that what they had with them is never coming back. Even worse is when you torture yourself with what you would do & say if they were still here.
I feel as though I am babbling, it’s hard to write succinctly about something that has changed your life so much. Let’s talk about suicide. Please speak to someone, because otherwise you leave behind people like me that will miss you so much that the pain is tangible. Daily. Forever.