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Trigger Warning

7 min read

This is a story about copycat suicides...

Box of tramadol

I took this photo on the 10th of August 2017. I had three boxes just like this, each containing 112 capsules of tramadol. I had deliberately stockpiled these capsules over the course of a 3-month period. A month later I wrote a blog called The Closest I've Come to Suicide. Only a matter of hours later I very nearly did succeed in killing myself.

I'm repeating myself. Why?

I've kept the photos. I've kept the blog posts. Why?

Why am I thinking about this stuff? Aren't I deliberately triggering myself? Am I not tempting fate? Shouldn't I try to forget; pretend it never happened? Shouldn't I think positive thoughts, abandon my blog and decide that I'm going to be cured and happy? Am I not deliberately keeping myself depressed and suicidal, by continuing to have this link to the past?

People kill themselves all the time. Suicide kills a lot of men like me. In fact, suicide is the thing that's most likely to kill me. I'm not unique - if you're a man under the age of 45, suicide's the thing that's most likely to kill you too. Suicide's more likely to kill you than a car crash, cancer, a heart attack, a brain tumour, a drug overdose, a freak accident or anything else you can think of. You should be worried about suicide - it's the #1 risk to your health.

Technically, I'm not really allowed to write this. It's too soon - there's been a recent event. I can't talk about the event, but it happened. It's not about me. I shouldn't write about me. I shouldn't write about how it affects me. I'm not allowed to do those things - to write about it; to feel things. It's not me who's been affected. I'm impossible to affect.

My thoughts are with some other people who are more directly affected, but there's something else. I can't talk about it.

I'm safe, but if ever there was an example of a trigger, this would be it. I can't explain what the trigger is, which is part of what makes it so dangerously triggering - when people can't talk about stuff, that's when they're in danger. When people stop talking, that's when they're in danger.

Arguably, you might say that my blog didn't help me to stop following through with my plans to kill myself. However, it was also through my Twitter followers that the emergency services were able to get to me in time and save my life. My blog was never really supposed to be a cure - it's a suicide note. I started writing this because I didn't want to die misunderstood. I think it's had therapeutic benefit, but it's clearly not been curative, because I still tried to kill myself and very nearly succeeded.

The more I have to self-censor and worry about who's reading and how they're going to react, the harder it is for me to use my blog therapeutically. The best thing for me is to write without a filter, but that has consequences. There are things I want to write about, so that I'm fully publicly accountable and I've stayed true to my mission to document absolutely everything that's happening to me in unflinching detail, but I've got to balance that with the need to tell the story in the right sequence, otherwise people will leap to the wrong conclusions. I also jeopardise relationships and my job when I write so openly. I need to write with pure honesty, but human lives are complicated - there's no synopsis that allows anybody to effortlessly understand who I am.

My mood was dangerously unstable last week. This week I'm exhausted and stressed, but my mood is not so low. I was going to skip work today, but I didn't, and more importantly I didn't feel suicidally desperate about it. I felt like hiding under the duvet and never leaving the house, but that's completely different from feeling suicidal. There's a whole load of stuff that's hit me all at once at the start of the week - good and bad - but I'm feeling considerably better than I was this time last week, when I wrote Cry for Help.

I've had a week where there have been a number of 'triggering' things, most of which I'm not prepared to write about at the moment. I've had a week where there were at least 3 disastrous courses of action I could've embarked upon, but I got through it.

It feels horrible to be going through a period where I'm constrained in what I can write about. It feels dangerous to be living with things that are distressing, but are too difficult to tackle without compromising decisions I made about privacy and things that I don't want to share [yet].

I'm not a keeper of secrets. I don't want to be a man of mystery. I don't like having things that are off-limits to write about. I think it's dangerous - I don't want to have things that are bothering me, that I haven't alerted anybody about. I'm a lot happier - and safer - when I'm allowing pressure to escape from the safety release valve. I need to blow off steam; to vent.

Clearly, I'm being antagonised. Some of it is me, some of it is circumstances beyond anybody's control, some of it is other people. As a coping mechanism, I'm trying to write about it without making things personal; I'm trying to write about stuff that affects me personally, and also be some kind of superhuman who always thinks about how everyone else is feeling too, and attempts to put my own feelings into perspective.

I'm compromised. My blog serves a purpose. My blog is mine. I'm in a weird situation where I've got to watch what I say. How do I deal with something that's triggering, while also being mindful of other people at all times? This isn't supposed to be like a regular social situation, where I have to be mindful of other people's feelings. This is supposed to be my place where I come and deal with the thing that's most upsetting - triggering - to me.

Should I switch to a private journal, I wonder to myself. But, then I lose my all-important public scrutiny. If I write about my most desperate struggles in private, I won't be discovered until it's too late, if there was a repeat of what happened last time I tried to kill myself. I'm not planning on killing myself, but it's something to bear in mind - my social media friends are there for me when it's life-or-death. If nothing else, this blog has plucked me out of some very sorry situations. I can't really abandon it, just because I get too much earache from a handful of people who think they've read enough already.

I feel like I've got to write a caveat: that my thoughts are with somebody I really care about, arguably more affected than me by an event. It's not a competition, but I can't pretend like what's happened is not 'triggering' for me though, for reasons I can't go into. It's such a damn pain when I can't speak freely because I'm boxed in by a whole load of considerations about other people. It's stopping me from being raw and honest, which is stopping me from being able to cope in the usual way: to write without a filter; without self-censorship.

I'm sorry this is so repetitive and cryptic.

I don't know how to proceed. I think I'm going to have to continue my story. I'm going to have to be selfish and self-centred and get what I need out of writing. I'm going to have to be true to my mission, which is to be authentic and honest. I'm going to have to be brave and put everything out there, because the alternative will lead me to being isolated and alone with my terrible thoughts and feelings which could drive me to attempt suicide again.

Half tempted to scrub this and write about what's really going on, but I'm not going to. I'm going to see how I feel about things after I've had some more time to think.