Trigger Warning: Suicide
Someone once explained to me that life is a long journey. You take the path that you feel is more suited to you. Life is an exploration of yourself, as you traverse the deep canyons and climb to the tips of mountains. The discovery of oneself is something that should be pure, not interfered with.
But in everyone’s life comes a time when they are forced to take a detour they know is wrong. They are forced, pressured into doing something they know they will not enjoy. I remember when I was just 6 years old, naively claiming that no one could make me do something I did not want to. I am now sixteen years old, and everything has changed.
I may seem to be the same on the outside. Quiet, enthusiastic about school, an avid reader, and even a football(soccer) player like I was eight years ago. On the inside, however, a hot mess of emotions fill me every time I sit down and think. There are so many things that aren’t true about me. I am not enthusiastic about school anymore. The very mention of it makes me nauseous and fills me with dread. I do not enjoy reading anymore. The stories that brought me joy so many years ago now seem empty as I flip through page after page. Stories about Scarlett O’Hara and Tara no longer conjure dreams about the red soil of Georgia. Even football doesn’t make me feel any better. I spend practice after practice wondering when I can leave, taking half-hearted shots at the goal occasionally. I turn on games, and end up gripping a slender, silver knife.
That is only the surface. I dread what lies deeper inside my head. I spend hours and hours each day, locking up all my doubts and fears into the strongest vault I can picture. I imagine myself throwing it off Mount Everest, sinking it off the Mariana Trench, and even dropping it into Krakatoa. Those thoughts that plague me, those whispering about death, don’t seem to be ever confined. For, I am only a teenager, going up against the strongest force in the universe.
I can’t take much of anything anymore. Those doubts that once seemed like fairy tales haunt my dreams every night. I spend time scrolling through the internet, seeing posts about confidence and ways to make yourself “better”. How wrong they seem. Do these people even have demons in their heads like I do? No demon yields to a few motivational phrases. I even watch videos about ways to suppress suicidal thoughts. How crazy that seems, for a child to have these thoughts. Just a few years ago I was happily thinking about my future, about my dream job and that elusive house. Now, I spend time trying to convince myself that death is not the answer to my problems.
These videos drone on and one, but my heart has shut itself off already. These people in these videos seem so optimistic. They talk about the world you leave behind, the people, the things. I am but one person in a world of billions. This planet is but one in billions and billions of planets. Why would my death change anything? These people in these videos, why would they mean anything? I can only hope that someone can explain this to me.
Which brings me back to this morning. Namely, the morning I was forced to quit my activities in exchange for those branded “more prestigious” and “better for your college applications”. I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. Those demons laughed in my head, calling me weak, pathetic, and cowardly. I was frozen, my body automatically responding. My heart, however, didn’t respond until I heard the clock chime as the minute hand moved by one spot. When I burst in, demanding to know why I had to do this, I was given these phrases.
You can do better. You must do better. Failure is not an option.
These phrases repeated in my head as I walked to school, my hand fiddling with the notebook in my hand. My face was still puffy with the tears that had cascaded down my cheeks as I threw last night’s homework in my backpack. I touched my arms absentmindedly, the white scars stretched from one end to the other glimmering in the light. Maybe it was time to leave. Maybe it was time to give up, to let the demons have the final laugh.
And why should they not get that yet again? Look at all the famous Greek heroes, who succumbed to these demons as well. Ajax, Heracles, Antigone, and Cinyras all fell to these demons. I turn a dull blade in my hands, taking glances at the entrance of the small storage room I blocked myself in. It would take around 10 minutes, maybe 20 for the school to realize I was gone. Another 15 minutes would pass by before they would start looking. It would take them likely half an hour to find me. I have more than an hour to take my own life. How melodramatic. In all those stories, characters are hurried into taking their lives, for love, fear, or whatever emotion that influences their decisions. They make huge gasps, plunging the dagger or tipping the vial of poison with a flourish. As they die, they whisper out final words that seem to be inspired on the spot. I sit on a cardboard box, turning this knife over and over. What will be my final words? Am I to be remembered and praised in history? Will I become some martyr, a rallying symbol for campaigns against self-harm? On the other hand, I can almost certainly predict the outcome of my suicide. A thirty second blurb on the news, an obituary in the local newspaper, and a tombstone that flakes easily. I whisper to myself, I will only do it if I can list all the words for goodbye I know without having some reason to live.
Addio per sempre