TW: SUICIDE, SUICIDAL THOUGHTS & ATTEMPTS, OVERDOSES, MENTIONS OF DRUGS, ASSAULT, MENTIONS OF EATING DISORDERS & SELF HARM AND GRIEF
I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to write this post in the last year. I half uploaded one at one point, but only spoke about how depressed and suicidal I felt at that point last month. The full truth is that I’ve been grieving the loss of not only my former life from before I was sick, but a beautiful, intelligent, creative, caring and imperfect human for almost a year and a half now and it doesn’t feel any easier than it did back then. Some weeks I cry everyday. Some weeks I cry once or twice. But what has just happened has made all of those feelings resurface, and along with my current own suicidal ideations, it’s absolutely destroying me and I need to let at least a little of it out. I’m not going to share everything because I don’t owe that to anyone. But somewhere along the line I need to admit that I’m still struggling with this and find a way to move forward.
When I was 14, I was really struggling mentally and physically. I don’t think I truly ever dealt with my brother’s death when I was 11 in a good, healthy way as I just turned to acting out and self harm instead. By 14, I was in the depths of dealing with my eating disorder and it was the beginning of me realising, coming to terms with and accepting that I had been sexually abused as a child. It would be another five years until I told anyone in audible words properly what had happened to me. As you can imagine, going through that at 14 would be hard enough, but I was also already struggling with chronic fatigue and pain. I’d been told by doctors it was normal and I just had growing pains since I was 10, even with my dislocations, so saying it was hard is an understatement.
I’m not particularly proud of the ways that I dealt with emotional and physical pain as a teenager, but I also accept that I was still a child. A traumatised, broken and confused child who was dealing with a lot. My town is small, and back then at least kids from the two secondary schools did tend to socialise with each other, especially the ‘alternative kids’ and emos. I met someone and I realised that I wasn’t straight. We had a short, not serious relationship and a bit of a best friends with benefits thing after. She’s gone now too. It was through her that I met my first love.
He was not perfect. Neither was or am I. But I was going through hell. I was being bullied horrifically, trying to come to terms with all of that shit and just desperate to feel any kind of love and affection, and he helped me. I don’t remember a lot of my time as a teenager, but one particular day that sticks out in my memory is when I was physically assaulted in my upper school hall whilst having homophobic insults shouted at me. It wasn’t a beating, it was having butter wiped all over my jacket. I can not describe to anyone how fucking humiliating that was. In front of hundreds of students. I went and reported it with a friend and the school did fuck all. Unsurprisingly. Because QKS is abhorrent.
It won’t come as any surprise that I didn’t feel safe in school after that. So I just walked out that afternoon. But if I hadn’t had someone to go to, I would’ve stayed there and ended up having yet another panic attack. We sat together and it was nice to just have the company of someone who understood me and didn’t expect anything.
It’s funny because now I’m writing this, more memories are coming back to me. I guess that’s a sign that this is the right time.
There was a phase where I saw him after school so many times. It was like this massive breath of fucking fresh air after spending six hours in hell. He never preyed on me even though I was vulnerable and he absolutely could have, he never pressured me into taking anything like a lot of others had tried to in the past. I remember feelings more than events because of my complex post traumatic stress disorder, and I remember feeling safe. Safety means a lot when you’re in that kind of place.
That arrangement didn’t last. I fell out with the other person who has now passed, the one I’d met him through, and they spent years together on and off. Since I’m being open, I fully regret that friendship ending too. But like I said, I was a mess. It happened.
The next time he was in my life, I was 17 and working at a fast food restaurant. You see the thing was that he had drug issues. I was always pretty anti drugs (bar weed) as a teenager, whereas now I’m a lot less judgemental and more understanding. So it made sense that we weren’t socialising in the same groups. My friends at that point were all people in their twenties from work who I would go out drinking with. But one day he messaged me and apologised for the way he had treated me.
That may not seem like a massive deal to some of you, but I have consistently been with abusive, controlling and shitty men for almost my entire life. Not one has apologised to me, unless it was just them lying to try and get me to sleep with them. He was never like that. He told me he was getting sober. Obviously it wasn’t easy, but he was trying. I found myself enjoying speaking to him, just as I had in the past. So we started seeing each other, going on dates. See that’s wild, before I started writing this I genuinely thought I’d only ever been on one date in my life, but now I’m writing it everything is coming back to me.
His family welcomed me like no family ever has before. I want to say this right now: his mother is one of the kindest, funniest and most wonderful women I’ve ever known in my life. Part of me hopes that she isn’t reading this because as much as it sounds stupid, I haven’t wanted to let the other people who loved him know how much I’m struggling with the grief because I would hate to be responsible for them feeling hurt. The first time I went to his house, he ended up going to bed and me and his mum ended up staying up, drinking wine and chatting for hours. I think because all families are so different, it’s so hard to find another family where you feel like you just click right into place, but that’s how it felt. And somewhere along the line we were together, and it felt good. I even helped him to get a job at my workplace. Again, I don’t remember all that much because of my trauma caused memory loss, but it was good.
The thing is that you can’t help someone if they’re not ready for that help, and unfortunately that’s the short version of what happened. We kept seeing each other and I don’t know, I hoped deep down that things would change eventually. But that didn’t happen.
Addiction is a disease and the victims deserve empathy. Him and my former friend continued their relationship until she died.
I didn’t really talk about the death of her much when it happened but it deeply affected me. We were inseparable for a while as teenagers and when you’re close to someone for that long, you rarely stop caring. I didn’t feel it was my place to get involved, speak or go to her funeral as we’d fallen out so long ago, but I was pretty ill for a while. I don’t know, it’s a different kind of grief when a young person passes away. You know it’s not their time and you know how many people will be hurting.
I think you’re also left with a lot of regrets when someone goes and it’s a surprise. I regret that last period of time before my ex boyfriend passed away in 2018. We spoke a little but I should’ve pushed to check on him everyday when I knew he was trying to recover from such a serious addiction as well as dealing with the death of his girlfriend. I’m well aware that people will tell me that I shouldn’t feel guilty and that I did what I could, but I don’t think I’ll ever believe that. As bad as my memory is, I clearly remember the last time I spoke to him via texts, the last time I saw him in person and the last I heard of him. The latter is the most painful.
The last time I spoke to him over text, he told me that he was getting help. I told him I was proud of him and would be there for him every step of the way, or something similar to that. We were speaking to each other everyday again at that point. He didn’t reply the next day, and instead of repeatedly reaching out I just stopped. I fucking hate myself for that. I should’ve known what would happen and I should’ve been pushy because sometimes, you just have to be.
A while before that, I saw him whilst I was on the way to a friend’s flat. He looked how he did when we were together again, like he was sober. Seeing him that day reassured me somewhat. We didn’t speak for long as I had a lot of bags and obviously I’m in a lot of pain so just wanted to sit down. As much as it’s so painful and I know that this is kind of selfish, but I’m glad the last time I physically saw him in person was like that.
A while after this, as I was already working a different job than I was the time before, I was working at the last place I worked before having to quit working. One of my former work mates from the fast food restaurant I worked in came in and told me that he was at this thing called ‘the birdcage’. It’s this big rooted seated area in the centre of my town, and the shop I was working in was literally two doors from one of the corners. He told me that he was in a bad way, but then I was told soon after that the police had been.
If I had known I was going to have to stop working due to my health I would’ve walked out right there and then and gone to be by his side. Of course there was a tiny part of me that didn’t want to see him under the influence again, but I’d had such bad experiences with my last couple of jobs and had spent months unemployed and didn’t want to go through that again if I got into trouble. I’m such a fucking twat. If I had thought for one second that what would eventually happen was going to, I would’ve gone to him. I don’t think I’m ever going to stop being angry at myself for this. I’m really bad with men who are drunk and high a lot of the time anyway because of my trauma, but I knew that he would never have hurt me. I don’t have that many regrets in life, but these ‘lasts’ at the end of his life are big ones.
That was before mid June of 2019 because I had to be signed off with pain around that time and never went back to work. It could’ve been May, my memory is bad.
Unfortunately he passed away at the start of September 2019. The 6th to be exact- the exact same date my brother died 12 years earlier. I spent a while trying to figure out if that meant anything.
Thankfully, a best friend told me and came to my house within ten minutes of that phone call. I think I held it together pretty well in front of people. I’ve lost a lot of people in my life and although it doesn’t get easier, it can sometimes get easier to present yourself as okay when you really aren’t.
I’m well aware that this post is already huge, but there’s one more story from when he was alive that connects to his funeral and I want to share it because it meant something to me.
We were together on my 18th birthday. It was a really big day for me, because at 10am that day I finally got the tattoo for my brother that I had been planning to get since he died when he was 11. I went for one drink with a couple of different people (I was full of energy back then, apparently) but that night I’d planned to go out into town, mainly for my favourite pub/bar that doesn’t exist anymore, called The Dun Horse. It was cheesy and I’d been going in there since I was 16 (and somehow getting away with it) so of course I wanted to go on my 18th.
It wasn’t the birthday I wanted as birthdays never really work out for me. Not as many people turned up as I’d hope.
But anyway. When we were in The Dun Horse, he requested for my favourite song to be played for me. High by Lighthouse Family isn’t just a favourite song to me. I used to listen to it when I was little, before we got away from my abuser to drown out noise as my sister had given me the CD. That song made my entire night.
I was absolutely distraught the morning before his funeral. I knew that I was going to have to have a drink to get through it, as I didn’t want to draw attention to myself with me being ‘an ex’ technically so I was trying to avoid crying at all costs. The radio was on in the kitchen, and as I poured myself a drink, which song came on?
High by Lighthouse Family.
I wasn’t even as spiritual then as I am now, but that was a sign. I know it was. There’s no other reason it would have happened.
The funeral was one of the most painful hours of my life. As I said earlier, funerals for young people, no matter who they are are tragic beyond words. For me, it was seeing his family who had been so kind and welcome to me be so devastated. The whole thing of trying not to cry didn’t work from that point. I’m grateful that my sister was able to take me and be there with me.
Ever since that day I’ve been crying. I thought that grief got easier to deal with in time, but it hasn’t this time. Whenever I watch anything with a suicide storyline I’m a wreck, and the same goes for whenever I hear about a suicide happening, which is why I’m writing this post today.
You cannot paint someone as perfect just because they’re gone. Perfect isn’t real, so doing so makes that person less real. I have been saying this since my brother died and I will stand by it forever. Obviously, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be respectful.
Mickey was one of the most intelligent people I have ever known in my life. He loved his family with his whole heart and admired his mum more than anyone in the world. He cared about the environment and as the type of passionate about it that we need in the world right now. He was interested in learning new things and spoke to me multiple times about trying to go back to college and doing a course in science. I wish he’d had the chance. He was funny. He was one of two men I’ve ever been with who haven’t made me feel like they just wanted me for sex. He helped people. He helped me, in fact it’s likely that he saved me from overdosing even more times a teenager, because the time when I used to see him was a respite from everything. He gave the best hugs, and I hate hugs so that’s saying a lot. He was so fun. We went to Media City in Salford for a weekend away together once, and we both loved being outside there at night as all of the bridges light up and look beautiful. There are bands and musicians I know and love today because he introduced me to their music. There are songs that I cry to every single time I hear them because they are so connected to him and the times we spent together.
He was also in a lot of pain, and I feel like that’s the only comfort to anyone now. He isn’t in pain anymore. But if I could see him one last time, tell him I and so many others love him, and thank him for what he did for me, I wouldn’t hesitate.
Samaritans UK- 116 123