Disclaimer: This article talks about suicide and suicidal ideation.
Two weeks ago, I sent messages to my friends. I told them, “I love you. Please remember that”. Then, I proceeded to add in brackets that even though this is a random message at a very strange time of the day, I’m not trying to kill myself.
But it’s not the first time I’ve done this. Every time I send a message to my friends to tell them how much I love them, I have to add a disclaimer. It’s what happens when you attempt to unalive yourself and fail. You’re stuck feeling that your friends are constantly watching you, waiting for you to try again.
Two years ago, in the thick of the pandemic in 2020, and after the worst breakup of my life, I was tired. I was always angry, and I cried enough to singlehandedly stop the effects of global warming on the ocean. At that time, life itself didn’t make sense, and I wanted it all to end. I was such a danger to myself that I decided to put myself out of my misery and end my life.
Since you’re reading this, it’s obvious it didn’t work. I don’t think ghosts have found a way to use laptops even though I think the tech community should look into it. They can call it Web 111. Anyways, it was a very trying time for me. Sure, I was going through physical and mental exhaustion, but my friends? Every time I remember the attempt not working, I think of the mental and emotional strain I put themthrough, and I feel selfish. Even more so, knowing that I wish it worked and I wasn’t alive to deal with the guilt.
The thing nobody tells you about living with a failed suicide attempt is how strained your friendships become. No, they don’t hate you, but they’re cautious for the first couple of days, weeks, months and in cases like mine, years. They don’t tell you anything, good or bad, for fear that it might trigger another depressive episode. So, you’re on social media trying to fit pieces of their life together. You feel isolated and exhausted, but you don’t blame them. Not in the slightest. They’re doing it because they care about you, but it doesn’t suck any less.
It doesn’t stop there. Not only are they purposely keeping information from you, but they also watch you like a hawk. Monitoring for the slightest change in behaviour so they can alert everyone. If I had not added that I’m okay and they shouldn’t worry, they’d have called my mum, and that’s a whole other ball game.
I’m 20 years old, but I feel five when my friends get like this. I feel helpless and stupid and like a huge burden whose mere existence stresses the lives of the people around me. It makes me feel like when I wanted to aliven’t, which is the exact opposite of what my friends wish.
It makes me realise that this might be why some suicide attempts feel so out of the blue. They don’t tell anyone in case they fail again. So they won’t have to deal with the cycle of coddling, watching and feeling like a parasite that exists just to suck up people’s joy and happiness. They don’t tell me these things, but I can’t help but feel it.
I’m in no way blaming my friends for how they act. Everyone wants to protect the ones they love, and I consider myself lucky. Lucky that people care about me so much that they pay really close attention to detect any form of pain I feel. It’s a blessing and a curse I just have to live with. I don’t think there’s a solution for this.
I just have to get used to my new way of life. A life where random 2 a.m. messages of how much I love them might be met with calls to every member of my immediate family, or in extreme cases, them storming my house to find out if I’m alive. When jokes about committing suicide end in silence and questions of “Itohan, are you okay?”
I guess that’s one of the consequences of a failed attempt. Living with the fact that I’ve made my friends cry, gain and lose faith in gods, and worry to the point of developing physical pain. I have to live with it, and if it gets too much, maybe not live.