There have been times in my life when the constant grinding of my own cognitive dissonance has worn me down enough to question whether I should go on living.Sometimes it crashes around me from nowhere but other times it stays quiet in the background until I'm standing on a train platform.
I've reached a point in my life where outward signs of age have begun creeping into contrast. I'm plagued by an obsession with unresolved relationships, things I had squashed down into that cluttered cupboard under the stairs equivalent in the back of my mind, but trapped by a flattening inertia that prevents me taking the lessons and changing anything about the now. Sometimes it seems that all we have at our disposal to paper over the cracks of this fragile mess are platitudes, typed out on to photos of sunsets, posted in a neat square with a ream of hashtags underneath. In the quest to de-stigmatise mental health we've created a monster that prioritises less severe or enduring conditions and paints recovery as an easily attainable state.
Throughout human history, our desire to find meaning and purpose has driven us to seek validation; some have sought it on their own small patch, humble lives with small pleasures, leaving a legacy of a name in an archive for descendants to discover in time. Others have brought civilisations to their knees in despotic acts of violence and genocide, as if attempting to suck life from others into themselves. Legacy is shared human goal in an unendingly enormous universe.
It's hard to talk honestly about suicidal ideation without falling foul of the many vital guidelines that help us contain this dark shadow that dominoes through generations.
I feel that perhaps my approach to this jarring and nervy discussion is somewhat useful though, in its own small way. I can only explain it thus: It's a bit like giving up smoking but knowing you have that one cigarette hidden away in the back of a cutlery drawer - you know it's there if things go royally tits up, but just knowing that means never needing it. That's not to trivialise or liken suicide to smoking (!), it's simply an analogy for my own personal thinking.
Truthfully, I love the idea of life. I want to know what's going to happen in the future; which of the sci-fi oddities dreamt up by storytellers today will overrun the planet and force us all to move to Mars. As anyone who watched Tomorrow's World back in the eighties knows all too well, the most bizarre imaginings are often the ones that come to pass. I've always read novels about plagues and apocalypses and idealised the way the survivors got to start from a blank slate; It pains me to think I won't be around to see how it all pans out with the aliens once they've heard Blur's song 2 and come to see what the bloody hell these human idiots are up to. Or the manmade AI that will casually begin doing human better than humans do. I can only cling to the idea that by old age, this feeling will have been replaced with that calm acceptance of death that you hear old people talk about. I've pondered whether they just say that because it's not as cute to say you regret all the stupid choices you made and you wish you could take it all back.
All that aside, my darkest moments happen not when I'm in pain or suffering emotionally - nope, that would be far too predictable. Instead, they creep up on me when I'm in a rut, dragging myself through day after sodding day of maddening similarity. Considering how much I resist change, this makes very little sense. I'm a terrible decision-maker, impulsive, flakey and generally fickle. The desire to do something seriously dumb overtakes me when things feel boring or beyond my control and it's this feeling that pushes me to a romanticised idea of going out in a blaze of glory somehow. I've had all the usual firsts of life and none of them were enough to quite validate my being here. I find myself wondering when I'll be given access to the special secret that everyone else probably knows already - I want to be in the club damnit.
I've had long periods of living exclusively in my own imagination to such an extent that I get trapped there, designing and executing perfect relationships with unattainable people, venturing into a twilight zone outside of the boundaries of the real world, acting out when any real-life demand distracts me from this mental break. It's where I retreat to when I don't know how to change whatever situation I'm in, just the same as if I were to drive to an airport and just get on the first flight to anywhere with only the clothes on my back and the money in my pocket - I suppose Brexit will at least limit my European options here somewhat (probably the only perk).
You know as well as I do that there's no club for special people.
We either learn to grasp any small moment of passion or happiness (even bog standard contentment would do), or we allow the present to slip by whilst we cling to the past or worry about the future. Me? Well, I'm just here for the popcorn.