I am feeling very low today, and this post contains a trigger warning for talking about mental health and suicide. Today I tried to do a good thing, and just made things worse and demanded emotional labour from someone I love who is hurting. I’m sorry.
I write goodbye letters on days like today.
Days when I haven’t slept, and my head is full of a heavy fog that I can’t shift. Days when I can’t breathe. Days when I’m shaking and feel like I’m going to throw up from fear. When I can’t eat, and I cannot stop crying. When I don’t know if it’s my mental health or my physical health that hurts most: maybe it is a vicious cycle, and I can never escape it. My mind looks for ways to escape, and when it can’t find them it begins to write goodbye letters. If sleep were possible I would sleep, but I can’t stop crying.
I write goodbye letters on days when I can’t remember why I should stop crying.
I know I should, of course. I know there are good things in life. I could even list them for you, if you wanted: the smell of melted chocolate and sunrises after a night spent under canvas and sweet kisses with pretty girls. But today those things are just words, and they are just memories, and they are dead and empty. Hollow dreams and emotions. I can’t understand why words like happiness and fun and hope connect to my life. I can remember what peace and joy feel like. I think. Maybe it’s been so long that I’m just kidding myself at this point. I can’t stop crying, because I can’t escape from the nightmare.
I write goodbye letters on days that feel like nightmares.
I know that this is just a nightmare, and eventually I’ll wake up. But it’s not like a dream: I am very awake. I can hurt myself in this nightmare; I’ve hurt myself in this nightmare before. Rational thought doesn’t work in nightmares. I feel trapped, unsure how to make myself up; begging for anything to make it stop. And I’m scared that I might not realise what I’m doing to make it stop.
I write goodbye letters on days when I’m scared.
I write them when I’m not sure what I’ll do next. Because while I know my rational brain will try to keep me safe, today I don’t trust it. I’m scared that the rational reflex won’t kick in, that it won’t stop me from doing something silly. That I won’t stop me. It is not an emotion or thought for the people around me: I am scared for me. Scared of what my head is doing; scared of what I might do to make it stop. And maybe, if rational thought creeps in, a little scared to die. But why would that matter? After all, I am useless.
I write goodbye letters on days I feel useless.
When I’ve tried and tried and tried until my heart is breaking with the effort. When every step, every second, it feels like I am Syphilis, pushing the boulder uphill I cannot ever reach the top. When even the most basic actions feel utterly beyond me in every way. When I can barely choke out the words I’m fine when a stranger stops me in the street to ask me why I’m crying. When I hate myself for being so weak, for being so utterly not ok.
I write goodbye letters when I self-harm.
I don’t hurt myself in big ways. Not ways that people could notice. But starving my body and digging my nails in and pulling my hair at the roots until I scream is self-harm. I don’t expect anyone to notice, but it still hurts when they don’t. It makes me feel more alone.
I write goodbye letters on days I feel alone.
When I want to be with people, but don’t know how to share what I feel. Or I push people away because I know even if I ask for what I want, what will help me, they cannot give it. Because I expect too much, ask for too much. I care too much, and that care hurts so, so much that I want it to stop. Surely it is better for that hurt to stop than for me to keep living my stupid, foolish life? I am alone, and the only thing that could reach out to the people I love are my words. So I write letters to say goodbye.
I write goodbye letters in my head, because if my life is not worth living, why should words from beyond the grave mean anything to those I leave behind?