This is must be the hardest one I’ve written yet. The word sits heavy on my tongue; it sticks to my cheeks like sand on wet feet; my throat tears, cut on its sharp edges. One year has passed, and yet the word felt easier to say then than it does now. I’m not sure why. Bravery borne of apathy? Or maybe it’s the chasm that sits a mile-wide between who I am now and who I was then. Regardless of the reason, I must confess it has become painfully difficult for me to admit that it is my anniversary. My anniversary of life.
One year ago today, I attempted to end it all. (You see how I so delicately dance around the word, never quite saying it?) Thee-hundred-and-sixty-five-and-a-quarter days. The earth has taken its slow lap around the sun. Time is relative, they say. And, indeed, it feels as though it’s been a lifetime and more. So where am I now?
Well, a lot has happened! I was fired due to my mental health, in that polite, fancy way that companies do. I moved, and moved again. I applied for college. I got a new job. I started college. I applied for uni. I lost my best friend. I gained work colleagues I desperately needed. I was published. And published again. I went to a London publishing house. I got into uni. I got a new job. I have almost finished college. I have fallen deeper in love. I have found out who my friends are. Who my family are. I have realised how strong I am.
I won’t pretend it was an easy ride. In truth, I have no idea how I got here. I think back to the night I was released, as I lay in that bed with the evidence of my act still apparent on the bedside table, not yet cleaned up. I remember wondering how soon I could do it again, with the finality I desperately craved. I had those thoughts many times. I still do, in truth. It’s like a hunger or addiction that resides within me. Most days, the monster sleeps. Sometimes, I am altogether unaware of its presence. Other days it growls and howls, begging to be free. But I keep winning. It’s not bravery or strength or determination. Or maybe it is. I certainly don’t remember making the choice to keep on living and yet, 365 days on, I’m still here.
It’s not been smooth sailing. It was a long way up from the bottom. I slipped, tripped, fallen and stumbled my way through. The bad days still win. But the good days win more. I know who I love. I know who I can rely on. I know what my principles are. I know I am stronger than I think. I know that this is a fight I will always have, but it is a fight I will always win. I know now that I put others before myself in an unhealthy way. I know my fear of failure is my undoing. I know I have daddy issues and men issues and the entire fucking world issues. I know some days I doubt reality and I see monsters in shadows and creatures in me. I know that my happiness can depend on others. I know my loneliness. I know my weaknesses.
This past year has been one of learning. Learning myself; learning others. Discovering, piece by piece, who I want to be, and taking steps towards becoming that person. It’s been a sad year; a harrowing one. One of loss, and pain, and struggle. But it’s also been one of love, friendship and pride. One of power.
Is it a day to be celebrated or mourned? A day to be ignored or discussed? Why is there no etiquette guide on the appropriate behaviour after such acts, I wonder? Alone, I choose to neither celebrate nor ignore. I simply acknowledge. A tip of the cap, a flick of the chin, a nod of the head. A salute.
Today marks one year since my suicide attempt. Happy anniversary to me.