Tag Archives: suicide

I Don’t Want to Die…

Follows from Up To Scratch.

My parents have always been very hard on me. My mum only knows how to express love through actions, a knock on effect from her mother, who terrified me as a small child. My dad expected a lot of me and I worked my ass off because I enjoyed making him proud of me. I worked very hard through school and college and I got much better grades than my parents did at my age. I got accepted into a well-respected university. I went to university with very high expectations of myself. And I wasn’t measuring up. I was barely keeping up with the work and found most things much harder than I’d been anticipating. All the way through school I had applied myself and when something got tough I just worked harder at it. But at university I was in over my head. There weren’t enough hours in the day to apply to all the things that I found difficult.

I was revising for my exams. I remember talking to my dad on the phone and explaining that I was hoping to pass. He said that wasn’t good enough. If I wasn’t going to get a 1st, then why going to university? Why have a sub-standard degree? My dad didn’t actually classify on the degree course that he got onto through clearing, as I recall. He just passed. I was looking at passing and not classifying. And honestly, that was the best that I could do. I was upset that my dad couldn’t see that I was working hard but worse, I was upset because I was a disappointment. I was letting him down by not doing well enough.

On the day that I took my second solid mechanics exam, which had been my worst subject in the first semester and would be my most hated subject all the way through my degree, I took an overdose.

It wasn’t a big overdose. I took double the recommended dose of an anti-histamine I was taking that had a sedative effect. It was helping me sleep without having to go to the doctor. But in my head, it was an overdose. I wrote a note. It said “I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to keep on living.” I lay in bed in the dark and panic began to creep over me. What had I done?

I phoned my best friend Silver, praying that he’d answer. He lived next door and I knew he turned his phone off before he went to bed but I didn’t know who else I could call about this. I almost choked on the words.

“I’ve taken an overdose.” The response was instantaneous.

“I’m coming over, don’t go anywhere.”

I got dressed and he called an ambulance. It couldn’t come up the university residences because the gates were shut at night so we had to walk across campus to go meet it. The pills were starting to kick in and I was so tired I could barely stand up. My friend more or less dragged me across campus. It was gone midnight and things were largely quiet. We passed someone that we knew and Silver said that we were out for a walk whilst I leaned heavily on his arm. I was only semi-conscious. I drifted in and out of consciousness in the ambulance and sitting around at the hospital as people looked at me and talked about me. They put me in a bed and made me drink liquid charcoal. I don’t recall ever having drunk anything so foul. The point was that it would absorb the pills so that they didn’t overload my liver and cause it fail. I managed about three quarters of it before I could barely keep it down. Then they let me sleep.

The following day was hard work. Silver came back to the hospital to meet me when they discharged me. We were signing the contract for our house for the following academic year. We walked there and I had a bath and signed the contract and crept upstairs and fell asleep on the bed in the empty room that would be mine. I was completely exhausted and nobody knew what had gone on the night before. When I got back to my room on campus the note was there, waiting for me on my desk. I didn’t know what to feel. I was tired of everything.

Phoning my mum was the worst part. I wasn’t sure what she’d say but what I wasn’t prepared for was the crushing disappointment in her voice.

“Why?” she asked.

I didn’t have an answer.