The very mentioning of death and more specifically the idea of killing one’s self usually brings out the ghouls and goblins, the freaks and the curious. It’s ok as I pretty well fit into all of those groups. You could say that I am good at blending.

When did suicide become a thing? When did suicide become my thing? It feels like it has always been an ever-present friend. Suicide, a friend? you may well ask. A friend or a comfort whatever you want to call it has been with me for almost as long as I can remember. I remember the first clarity of thought I had about the idea of suicide so strap in because that’s where I am about to dive back to.

It was almost 50 years ago. It was my 7th birthday. I was lying in bed not wanting to leave the warm cosy confines of my bed. I was living at 33 May Street, Constitution Hill. My birthday falls in the month of June. It’s cold. It’s always cold. It’s cold enough to freeze Hell over and turn it into an ice skating rink. I get asked, “aren’t you getting up for your birthday?” My reply, “I don’t want to turn 7, I want to stay 6”. If it were just that sentence you might find it cute or even adorable coming from the mouth of someone so young almost like a Christopher Robin statement from A.A. Milne’s, Winnie The Pooh series of books. It was in those moments that the idea of suicide crystalised in my mind. It was what I wanted. I was a child in the wrong world. I was a child in a violent world.

There is a name that comes back to my mind on so many occasions and each time it strikes me down with white fear. That name is Vic. More fully that name is Victor. A soccer coach. I pretend I can’t really remember. I pretend that it is just childish nonsense. I pretend. What is the use in remembering? Seriously, what the hell good is a memory that dwells on evil. This part of my past I have long stopped wanting to remember or talk about and in fact, I have gotten to the point where that door is nailed shut and plastered over. I can still hear the laughter from family and others when it got to the point that when he came to visit I ran screaming and crying only to hide under my bed until I was totally sure he had left.

There was this one day when I was told that, Vic, had left and that it was safe to come out. Hmmm, there was something odd in the way that it was said. I waited and waited. In the end, I came out from my hiding spot. As I left my room and turned into the hallway, there he was! I could hear the laughter for a split second before I screamed and went running to my hiding place. I wore the huge lump on my forehead as a slammed into the bed frame as I went to dive under. I think I blacked out for a moment. When I came to I scrambled to get to where I was safe. No one understood. People laughed. I cried.

Yes, I remember when suicide crystalised in my mind as a real thing and a good thing. I knew when the self-loathing began. I remember when innocence turned to guilt. I know when the desire to play sport or go to training stopped. I remember things, Vic, that no child should remember.


The Cyclops of Loneliness

The glare of the desk lamp glows in the dark like a spotlight. It casts long shadows but doesn’t dispel the dark. It makes some of it scurry but it doesn’t overcome the dark. As soon as the light goes off the darkness races back to overcome the areas that were once claimed by the light. In many ways that is like my life.

I sit here with the glare of the light that is like a Cyclops in the darkened room. It reminds me of my aloneness. The absence of people while surrounded by things. Possessions are not the sum total of my life but they threaten to rush in and take over the place where people who are the light of life.

I spend so much time alone that the loneliness is like a constant companion. Like a ever present darkness. The scary monster of defeat and gloom that stalks me constantly until I feel I cannot go on. It is like I am drowning in a vast ocean of emptiness. It is the loneliness that is the hardest part to deal with, it is never defeated and rushes back in like the darkness after the light.

I don’t want to give into it. I feel guilty for feeling it. The lonely starts as I drive in my driveway and attacks as I open my front door and there is a feeling of dread when I close that door.

As I sit and watch yet another hour of boring television I grow into that sad old single bloke that lives down the street. I Facebook to try and feel like I am plugged into some kind of community, to talk to somebody, to feel. Nothing works! The lonely is always there. It is so palpable. I can’t find the cure nor do I know the answer.

The Cyclops of loneliness is a powerful enemy.