Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Samaritans or your local emergency services if you feel you might be at harm to yourself or someone else. For international support, please see our I Need Help page.
So this is a story about a man.
A funny, intelligent and articulate man who has recently snowballed into my day to day life.
Out of the blue. From Nowhere.
Completely unexpectedly, and completely unannounced. It’s kind of a complicated story. Involving an extremely complicated man.
We crossed paths via social media. He’d followed me on twitter. I checked his profile and clicked onto one of his blogs. And time kind of stopped for me. Literally. As I re-read his words and struggled to take in exactly what this guy was telling me.
Because as I read this blog it was clear that this guy had a plan. It didn’t involve following me, or anyone else for that matter. He wouldn’t have had time to sit about surfing the internet and making new acquaintances. He would have been way too busy being dead. Which is kind of a full-time job once you’ve committed to it. And from what I could see he was pretty committed. Up to his neck in it actually.
Anyway. Long story short.
Despite his well thought out and articulated plan, coupled with the fact that nobody actually knew quite where to find him at this point (which didn’t help the emergency services who were frantically trying to locate him) for some unknown reason, somewhere along the lines that night – it didn’t quite work out.
Mainly because he found himself very much “Not Dead”. When he woke up very much alive in the hospital. From an induced coma. With tubes going into places that really should only allow for stuff coming out. Along with various other pleasantries that had been carried out in a desperate attempt to save his life.
And that’s how the weirdest friendship in the world began. I sent him a message. He messaged me back. The rest is history.
He’s bringing out stuff in me that I can’t describe.
I feel an incredible protectiveness towards him. We are similar in lots of ways and share the same history. I’m hearing my story but told by a man and from a male perspective. We are both alive when we didn’t actually want or plan to be. And dealing with the implications of that. Our similarities are beyond weird.
We talk every day.
I try and walk the line between keeping him cheerful and making conversation that isn’t going to be too overwhelming. There’s a lot going on in that head of his right now what with him still being alive and all….
I take the piss a lot. There is no elephant in the room during our conversations. It’s how it should be. And I send him stuff. Snapchats. A song by 21 pilots called “Heathens”. I call it “My cheer up song.” It’s a private joke. Thankfully, he too thought it was funny when I explained. We share the same dark humour at times.
He has an adopted sunflower.
He didn’t get a say in it really. I just gave it to him. It lives in my bathroom where it gets plenty of sunlight. He gets regular updates and photo’s – as though he’s signed up for some random charity or other off the TV. “Look, Nick – here’s “Sunflower” chilling out on my windowsill.” (He doesn’t have a name. He’s just “Sunflower”), or “Nick, check out Sunflower and his brother in this pic. Yours is kicking ass. He’s grown loads”…
Although obviously, the Sunflower is a metaphor, the Sunflower is real. He is growing. Every day I see tiny changes in him. My friend is growing too. He might not always think so but he is.
I’ve known him no time at all, but I have the greatest respect for this guy and I wish that I could do more to help. I want him to be well. And far away from a psych ward. Being comfortable in his skin. Being happy. But that’s not my job to do and not my thing to wish for. It’s his. It has to be his.
I don’t have a magic wand. I can’t just wave something and make him better. It’s not that simple. Only he can decide where he goes from here. To a Penthouse or a Park bench. It’s 50/50. It’s going to be a long haul. But if this guy is half the guy I think he is, he’ll do it. With bells on. He just needs to cut himself some slack.
In the meantime, I’m honoured to know him. It’s like I see into his soul. And hopefully, my chit-chat helps. So, for now, the songs, the snapchatting and crazy Sunflower photos are staying on the menu. To try to compensate for the terrible hospital food. While he puts himself back together however he sees fit. Until he doesn’t need them anymore. Maybe because he’ll have his own garden again and can grow his own Sunflowers. No internet intervention necessary…. Or no garden at all. It’s up to him. It’s his life. And gardens are over-rated anyway.
Basically, what I’m trying to say to this man is this. That the past is the past. It’s happened. It’s gone. Nothing and no-one can change that. And despite his best-laid plans for his life at that point, fate appeared to have a different agenda when the shit hit the fan for him that night. And maybe there’s a reason for that.
He’s alive. With a fresh clean slate. If nothing else resonates right now, it’s a start.
Also known as a beginning.
But if I did have a wish for this friend of mine, it would be this…..That you would choose to begin Nick.
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