Here’s a hypothetical/philosophical question: If you’re crying out for help and nobody gives a fuck, do you really need help?
Yes, you’ll have noticed I didn’t start this post with a picture, which is usually a sign that I’ve no intention of this being a happy, fuzzy blog post. This isn’t the ‘Angry Comedian’ that you’ll usually find upon visiting my page. There’s no political commentary here, no social satire. It’s time for me to get real. Very real. Read on at your peril.
Around two weeks ago my eternal depression once again overcame my enduring sadomasochistic love of being tortured by life and I decided to kill myself. In fact, not that anyone noticed or cared enough to try to stop me, I actually attempted it. To explain why I got that far down, it’s time for me to reach deep down inside my soul, to seek catharsis and, since the powers that be apparently don’t believe I need psychiatric help, I thought I’d take advantage of having a blog to pour my darkest, innermost feelings onto the internet.
Why? In theory, it’s a permanent record of exactly what’s been going on inside my head for the past twenty-six years, one month and twenty-nine days. A permanent record so that, just in case I do eventually just think ‘fuck it’ and dive in front of a train, my friends, family and anyone curious can find out exactly what took me to that decision. So let’s go back to the beginning…
When I was a child, I was equally cursed and blessed. I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life; I knew that I wanted to grow up, get married and raise a family. If you’d asked me what I wanted to do for a living when I was a child, I’d probably have told you that I wanted to play football or entertain people and I was lucky enough that I had some semblance of talent in both fields. Yes, I could play football, but I was also a talented writer, a decent actor and (as you might expect) the class clown.
However, it was in these formative years that perhaps the most telling sequence of events in my life occurred.; when I was two, I burned my arm, permanently scarring it. At four or five, I cracked my head open, leaving my head permanently scarred, too. When I was six, I killed my brother.
Okay, I understand that some will read that and immediately think ‘what the fuck?’ so let me explain: I came home from school late one day to find my mother, pregnant with my brother, doubled over in pain. She had septicemia. I panicked, I wasted time, I didn’t know what to do. Eventually I managed to get help, but it was too late – he was gone. Some may say it’s irrational, but they’re wrong: I’m entirely to blame. If I’d not been so late home, if I’d not panicked, I could’ve done something about it. I could’ve saved him. And I didn’t, which will haunt me forever. I can never forgive myself for that.
For a few years in my tweens, I managed to be ‘normal’ for a while. I was never ‘unhappy’ at that point; I had a ‘girlfriend’ that I’d have sworn blind that I loved and a large group of friends. By the time I hit secondary school, however, my life had completely disintegrated. Within weeks of starting, I was knocked off my bike whilst cycling home from school. The accident left me with yet more permanent facial scarring and by missing so much school whilst I recovered, I became almost entirely ostracized from my peers. I was, at best, a social leper.
As I slowly rifted to the fringes of the social circles at school, I began to become more and more depressed. It was the first time I’d battled the disease and it hit me like a juggernaut. When I was fourteen years old, I made the first of many suicide attempts as I tried to strangle myself with my school tie. I can;t even remember for sure what triggered it; life, as usual, had just piled on top of me. It was this event that finally persuaded someone that I needed help, ad I was taken to see my first psychiatrist.
The psychiatrist whilst nice enough, apparently had just fallen off the back of a turnip truck. Having asked such probing questions as ‘would you like to draw something?’ she decided that I wasn’t depressed, I just had learning difficulties. ADHD, apparently, is a common cause of suicidal urges. Yes, that’s sarcasm. Over the years since, I’ve been diagnosed with a litany of other problems: dyslexia, autism and borderline personality disorder are just a few. But I was about sixteen before anyone ever mentioned ‘depression’ as being something with which I was struggling.
Incidentally, it was when I was sixteen that i made yet another mistake I’ve always struggled to forgive myself for. A group of friends and I had picked up a ‘hobby’ of stealing from the local shops for ‘fun.’ I have no idea what possessed us, or why we thought this might be a good idea, but it became something I was quite good at. Until I got caught. Whilst working in the local newsagent, I thought that maybe I could get away with stealing cigarettes. I’d been smoking for some time by then, but it was hard to afford such a habit when you only earned £3.04 an hour. So I stole some. To this very day, I can’t justify it. I’ll always carry the guilt of having done it. I was recently – twice in the space of a week, actually – accused of stealing from both of my places of employment and it was probably the most upsetting accusation I’ve ever been faced with. Apart from one. We’ll get to that shortly.
After I finished school at sixteen, I decided to stay on for Sixth Form. The dream was that I might become the first person in my family ever to go to university. Instead, what I became was the first person in my family to piss away an opportunity because I really enjoyed messing around and smoking weed all day. I failed my first year of Sixth Form when I should’ve picked up straight As in my A-Levels. And this came after I’d already messed up my GCSEs for the same reason.
So I went to college; sure, having been knocked back one I redoubled my efforts, determined to make something of myself. And, eventually, I made it out alive. With an AS Level in English and Two Es at A2 in Media and Film. Yes, all that redoubling of effort for two poxy Es. My mistake that time? Too much time focusing on other things; I served on the college Student Union, working my way up from Secretary to President in the space of a year. I worked three jobs, too: One in a TV studio, to behind bars. But you know what the worst thing was? That pesky Mary-Jane following me around. Still, I made it to university. Just.
I arrived in Middlesbrough in September 2004 and immediately regretted it. It was 300 miles from home, every talked funny and it was cold as hell. Not only had I turned down offers from the University of East Anglia in Cambridge and Kingston University in London, both closer to home, but I’d also failed to pursue provisional offers from several universities I’d applied to in the US on the grounds that I could never have afforded to go. In a rare moment of lucidity, I’d taken the SAT exam online and scored a 1560 – good enough for just about any university you can imagine. Ironically, I’d later become so depressed in Middlesbrough that I applied to several more US universities and was offered a scholarship to Emory. Again, I managed to reason myself out of it.
Backtracking a little here; the summer between college and university I’d moved to Trowbridge in Wiltshire to pursue the possibility of making a living as a professional wrestler. I worked in a bed factory, loading mattresses into trucks at night and trained on the weekends. It was whilst there that I made the biggest (and longest-running) mistake of my life. In a movie, they’d call this part “enter ‘the girl.’”
Mel and I were always destined to be trouble for ourselves and each other. Two people in unfamiliar surroundings, lonely despite being surrounded by people and, it could be argued, mentally unstable. We both had a need to be cared for and, as time progressed, we ended up caring for each other. Then we ended up sleeping together, she got pregnant, I dropped out of university and we got engaged and moved in together. Our daughter, Chloe, was born nine months later. January 19th 2006.
In the short time we’d been together, Mel had already cheated n me half a dozen times but, out of some sense of old-fashioned loyalty, I’d stuck with her for Chloe’s sake. I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t destroyed me inside. My spirit was crushed, my soul destroyed, any dreams I might have had of happiness became a distant memory. But I stuck with it, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Four months later, Mel became pregnant again with our son, Taz. Again, she’d cheated on me during the pregnancy, her moods became erratic and, it’s safe to say, there were days when we hated each other.
Taz was born on February 13th 2007. It should’ve been the greatest day of my life: I had – on paper – everything I’d ever wanted: Two kids and a partner – a family. In reality, what I had was a nightmare. I was twenty-two years old, engaged to a woman who didn’t want anything to do with me, a father-of-two with no stable income and no self-respect. To make matters worse, I was basically enslaved; I’d become the figurehead of a company that Mel had set-up, run badly and been too afraid to take responsibility for her mistakes. Her own personal, convenient scapegoat. A role she still makes me play to this day by trying desperately to distance her company from me.
Her final betrayal came on August 21st 2007. Yes, I remember the exact date. We’d argued, I’d gone to take a bath and calm down. Whilst I was in there, she called the police and told them I’d hit her. She actually lied and told them that I’d hit her. Within minutes, I was ripped away from my life, from my family, my belongings and thrown into a cell at Blackpool Police Station, falsely accused, unable to defend myself and treated like shit. I’d been assaulted by one of the officers that processed the arrest in the process and never saw justice for that; the resulting shoulder injury hasn’t healed to this day.
The following morning I woke up to a cold cup of tea to face a magistrates court, accused of domestic violence. In my entire life, I have never domestically abused anyone. I openly admit that I got physically aggressive with Mel once, an act in which I was completely justified because she was trying to kill me at the time. I was tried by the magistrate on the basis of a prosecution statement entirely fabricated at some point over night and given a choice that was put t me as follows: I could plead ‘not guilty,’ be banned from going home and have to return for a trial… or I could take a ‘guilty’ plea, go home and be with my kids. So I did what I was asked; I took the hit of a criminal charge for a crime I didn’t commit for my family. But Mel wasn’t done kicking me in the balls quite yet. Why?
Enter Jim: The boy Mel had been seeing behind my back, who had mysteriously appeared and moved in with my kids, my family overnight and is still with them to this day. In just over ten hours, he’d gone from being some friend I was vaguely aware of to stealing my entire life from me, to essentially kidnapping my children. To destroying my life. The two of them, who I can honestly say I will always hate more than words can ever describe, had colluded to take everything I had in the world, set it alight and throw it in my face. n the (nearly) four years since that happened, I’ve been allowed to spend exactly nine days with my children. I miss them every day, and being apart from them is the most painful thing you can possibly imagine.
So there I was: homeless, jobless, penniless and stranded. Once again the dark mists descended on me – the police took me into custody yet again to stop me harming myself, to stop me throwing myself off the end of the pier, never to be seen again. At some stage I got in touch with my family, managed to persuade them to come and rescue me from the nightmare. Little did I know that it was only the start.
Ever since that day, I’ve been back in Oxford. My physical condition degenerating by the day. I struggle to find work, debts mount up, usually unpaid, from my student days and I spend every day hiding from life in my room at my grandparents house, afraid to go out for too long to face the world, knowing that I can never again trust anybody that I meet. I have friends and family that I can’t trust because my brain won’t let me, because I don’t know who the next person to stab me in the back will be. I’m terrified of answering the phone and opening my mail because I know it’s a demand for money I don’t have, and probably never will.
I live my life in a dark world, a terrifying, lonely world that I’ll never be able to escape from, never be able to change. Every day, the dark clouds over my head descend closer, waiting to swallow me whole. Every night I cry myself to sleep and every morning I wake up wishing I hadn’t. I wake up living in fear of facing the day. And when I dream, I dream only of the sweet release of death.
I can only hope that release comes sooner, rather than later. Because when everything in my life has already gone so horribly wrong, why should I carry on? This blinking cursor on my computer screen is, at times, my most loyal friend. The only conduit through which I can express myself and those thoughts inside my head.
Even though you could argue that I desperately need for someone to read, to understand, to empathise and maybe to provide comfort, I know it’ll never come. I know that nobody is listening, that nobody cares, and that nobody ever will.
If you’re reading this, please pray that I die tonight, It’s the only act of mercy I have left to ask for.