Recently, the feelings within that whisper ‘suicide’ became deafening. Unable to reach out, I was fortunate a stranger did. Connection matters, even if you discuss nothing in particular.
Trigger warning: readers who may find the topic distressing are advised this article addresses male suicide. If you or anyone you know has suicidal thoughts or tendencies, please seek professional help or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Wanting to end your life in the furious pace of a sprawling urban metropolis is a peculiar feeling. A place bereft of solitude or peaceful nook. You often walk like a ghost through a roaring landscape. The possibilities of silence forever voided by the movement of something. People, traffic, narratives. Four million separate stories you’ll never hear. I’ve often sat impressed and recoiled at the beauty of the general ignorance. You can walk and touch people, but never reach them. We’ve all done it. Other people are a problem to be stepped over, or avoided. We all just want to go home. I get it. Despite being in earshot of your neighbour, squeezed together on the subterranean tin cans we ride, the silent voices that scream behind blank faces rabbit on unheralded.
You will be on a train looking for exits, trains full of other bodies, all commuting to a home, a place, an escape route; you, you are leaning against the doors, hoping they open on accident and you fall through – can I pry these doors open with my hands? Will anyone stop me? Would it be quick? Would it be enough?
They’re questions often asked, and indeed you might be asking your own, namely: “why not ask for help?”
Well, that in itself reveals a bigger question. Is it worthy of that? Is it enough to check into a hospital over? Being thrust into a white room by caring cold faces, holding your pants up to take the slack of the belt they confiscated is galling tableau. You’d have to be sure. Be sure of your will. Work and family and those other worlds spin on as you stop. Can everyone else handle that? Who’ll pay the bills and feed the dog? Can you drop out of existence for a while with a minimum of fuss and damage to others you care about?
Also on The Big Smoke
There are two concepts you constantly battle with. Is this one of those days where it would be easier if I just vanished, and could I overcome the fear of actually doing it? What really only stops you, is you.
What enabled me to write this, was the day that I had last Wednesday. I was thrown around by these feelings that control me, and I found myself wandering through the verdant parks of the inner city. I was battling the shame of being here again. I know there are people that help, and they certainly do, but this was a day where I couldn’t bridge the context with someone. Uttering the words “I feel suicidal” to a voice on a telephone seemed like capitulation. The stigma of crying in public as a male sadly rings true.
With my thumb hanging over the number, the rest of me found a bench. Coexisting on this bench was another, whose voice wound beyond the borders of my telephone, and indeed my anguish, shattering the walls of solitude, with the seemingly pedestrian query of “Nice day, hey?”
It turns that it was. What followed was, at least on the surface, the most prosaic of discussions: the unseasonable crest, the geese who ran the city, what we both did; immediately forgettable, however in the frame of mind I was in, entirely unforgettable. Having someone reach over the walls of the room I sheltered myself in, meant everything. Being addressed by a stranger, somehow, mattered. That feeling of connection, even though we never discussed what I was truly feeling, or the reason why I found myself on that particular bench.
The point I’m trying to make, is try and connect with someone, even if it’s just small talk, as you have no idea who you’re talking to, and what they silently fight during those short lunchtime hours.