Thoughts From Someone Suicidal by Roosevelt Zachepa
I am a living ghost, more connected to what is behind the veil of life than life itself. The call started early for me. I seem to have had a knack for final solutions to temporary problems.
The first time I heard her call was in 2014. I had gotten a spot of bad news and thought my life is over. As many times I had rehearsed this impending life ending event that would come my way. It was a matter of when more than if. When that would come, I would book my next flight to heaven or hell through a rope.
I thought a hanging was more defiant. An act that said “he was done”. Poison felt too easy to chicken out of. I could ingest some and then get ferried to the hospital and saved. But a hanging now that’s the good stuff. You enter the loop and once the squeeze starts and instinct kicks in, there’s nothing you can do. The conscious beating the subconscious. My will beating my nature, very poetic. By the time someone would find me. I would be dangling, a symbol to the transcendence that just occurred. My spirit flying through the universe and my body left behind.
But I’m not here to tell you suicide is bad and don’t do it. Or its good go for it. This is more an open letter. A shout in the dark to the voices that say things like “killing yourself is wicked; problems can’t be that bad; there are people fighting for their lives and they just quit” and my all time favourite “if only they had said something I would’ve helped” or “I should’ve noticed earlier”.
Killing yourself is wicked. The bible does say it’s a sin. And I’m not debating beliefs here. The part of me that brought up the thought “kill yourself” didn’t care about what the church will say. If anything through experience that’s one of the toughest places to get help. When the pain is too much and you feel out of place. You don’t want to be around anyone. you feel wicked already, that act is just the manifestation of this thought.
For me, I felt that I had to take the trash out. The useless waste of space I was. I would have better you every penny I had that no one would miss me. funny enough I wouldn’t know if I ever did pull it off. The dark thoughts or black dog has a way of hounding you into a corner and convincing you no one loves you, not even God. Look at your life.
Problems can’t be that bad. Well sure there are big problems like world poverty, wars and the economy. But those aren’t the problems that strike at my head and lead me down that path. No and who is to judge the quality of a problem? Who gets to say this is not a problem worthy of killing yourself over? Yes, other people had it worse than me but did their mind think like mine? Did they have a thought process that told them its final.
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They’re useless and should just get out while they still can? I sat on that cold tiled floor, staring into the gaps between each tile and the huge problems of the world didn’t come to me. what came was a familiar sound. A black paw and a bark going, you messed it up again. My brain had gone to Defcon 1 and was hell bent on destroying itself for the mistakes it made.
When dealing with that thought it’s like two entities exist. The one that is worthless and stupid and the more pristine one that can’t bear to keep going with this dichotomy. It would rather just finish it off before it gets any worse.
If only they said something.
If only I could say to my cousins, brother or parents that hey I think I’m going to kill myself. Would their reaction be love and hurdle together or would it be disgust? I didn’t want to find out. I was already feeling alone and misunderstood. If anything, that would just affirm what I was already feeling.
What more can be said? I am done with living. Besides we all just gives a cursory look at each other and say we’re all fine and we believe it. Its an illusion we conjure and sustain amongst ourselves until one of the pack stumbles at the magic trick and fails. Then we go about wondering what happened. Why didn’t they say something? And we start “checking” on our friends. What were we doing this entire time? We do it until we forget that someone killed themselves and we are back to the trick. Chanting I’m fine X∞.
I should’ve noticed earlier.
Well. This is a doosy. Humans are masters of disguise. We pretend to be in love and that everything is fine. We keep up with Joneses and keep a stiff upper lip. In 2021 we flood social media with symbols of how our lives are perfect and we are all dialled into the cult of “me”. its hard to break from that and look at someone else who is doing the same. In this grand temple we are in shrouds. Praising the god of the self.
When we think of someone who is suicidal, we often paint an image of a gloomy person locked in a dark room hunched in some corner plagued by dark thoughts and ready for the jugular. What we don’t see is the days of bargaining, debating whether or not to do it. The little remarks of “I’m going to kill myself” that is often ignored as mindless chatter and the glee of coming to the resolution of ending it. The high from that decision that lifts us high and leaves people wondering and bemused. Leaving them muttering about how we didn’t look depressed at all, we seemed so happy just the day before.
Spoiler alert. I didn’t go through it. Seven years later and I’m still failing at this life thing. Still falling and picking myself up. Still dealing with my mind. And making sure it never weaponises again. This time I am more vulnerable. The façade has been dropped for the warts and all. Suicide is about having more pain than coping resources. The pains of life feel huge. Each one of us burdened by something. Like Atlas and the globe, we hold it up until we slip. Then we remember we are more human than titan and I think atlas would be envious of us. He can’t share his burden but we can.
Roosevelt Razzaq Zachepa is a Malawian writer and poet. He has self-published two poetry collections; Jungle and By. He is currently working on a collection of short stories to be released later this year.
He is 28, and in no rush to leave this little rock before making it better for others through his writing.