I was 17 at the time, undiagnosed, and my mind had been circling the roaring abyss for weeks. I was isolated in the fact that I was currently living in Irkutsk, Russia deep in Siberia with a friendly but altogether unfamiliar Russian family. I had signed up for a summer abroad trip and Siberia seemed like the place for my dark mind to go. I was ravaged daily by thoughts to hurt myself and others, sometimes without thought I would lash out at those around me, silently in my mind. I had purchased the only artists music I knew how to say in a terrible Russian accent, Marilyn Manson, which I listened to religiously trying to soothe the ever growing hollowness that seemed to burrow its way into my chest. Also when I bought the music I got the only DVD that was in English and not subtitled, Cmeptb Smoochie, or in English Death to Smoochy.
When I wasn’t reading my favorite book, Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Zufon, or listening to the screams of Marilyn Manson to drown out the hate speech for myself that my mind vomited at me, I was watching Death to Smoochy sometimes multiple times a day trying to find room just to breath. I was severely depressed, but that doesn’t quite do it justice, I was drowning in an abyss of self hate and loathing that I had no way to escape. I thought I was evil, broken, and unworthy. Then my mind in all of its twisted glory said “Ah but you see, there is a way out. Death.” And just like that my mind opened the door; suicide was not only a possibility to end my pain but a viable one. Once you open that door there is no closing it, not even once you get better, it still slithers up in the back of your mind reminding you that there is always a way out.
It was a roaring storm and for whatever reason the family I was staying with was out for the night. I slipped onto the cement railing of the family’s 5th story balcony, rain pelting my face as the wind roared around me as if to send me sailing off before I was even ready to. I looked down and realizing I was only 5 stories up I would have to do a swan dive to make sure. I put one foot out into the storm. In that instant I had a choice to make, one I thought I already made, but I remembered my mother, my caring, sweet, loving mother and how devastated she would be to know I died abroad and if they would even send my body back for her to bury. I didn’t hate myself any less and I still wanted to die, but I stepped off that ledge, not for life or myself, but for her, because I couldn’t do that to her.
The next day I went out and bought my first pack of cigarettes, the bold terrible Russian kind, and I forced myself to smoke the entire pack in one sitting. I hated it, they tasted terrible and the sheer amount of nicotine I pumped into my brain made me uncontrollably sick. It was a silent disgusting killer, but more than that, it was socially acceptable to hurt yourself in this way. So I began to smoke. Even after cutting my study abroad trip short I still smoked, knowing, hoping it would kill me one day.
That night was 12 years ago. Since then I have gotten diagnosed, treated, started therapy, and I have gotten better, hell I even quit smoking cigarettes. But I opened that door that night, flipping a subtle switch in my mind, and in my darkest times I go back to that option. I fight it and will continue to fight it, but I can’t help but wonder if I am living on borrowed time, that in an alternate universe I am dead and had not been able to see my nieces grow up, or my brothers fall in love and get married or see and experience all the great films I have seen, Marvel movies and all the rest. Say what you will about films, books, music, or even games, for some people that is all they have to live for at certain moments in their lives.
Living for others is easy. Living for yourself, that is infinitely harder.
I encourage people that identify with these feelings to reach out for help. It does get better.