When I was twenty-one, I swallowed the contents of a full Paracetamol tub and went to bed.I had made the reasonable assumption that my life would always be painful. There was no one who needed me. There was no one who wanted me. I was being logical and courageous. There was no call for help. No attention was necessary. All I required for the job was at hand. I knew exactly and utterly what I wanted.
My expectation was that it would be a relief to those that knew me. That I would be found sometime in the next week, having died peacefully in my sleep.
As far as I was concerned, there would be no one to inform. No funeral necessary. No one would miss me. Perhaps the local shop owner would chat about me for five minutes with a customer. Maybe the ladies downstairs, in the tea shop, would have a natter about me for the duration but I was fairly convinced that my death would go unnoticed and I would be unmissed.
There was small part of me which felt some would feel pleasure when they did eventually get the news. Those whose lives had been made difficult by my birth. They would be grateful for my decision. They would finally see me. They would see that I had understood. That I was a courageous, strong individual and that maybe, they would feel sad that they hadn’t known me very well after all.
I fell asleep super easily. A glass of wine helping down the powdery pills. I swallowed the rest of my supply of contraceptive tablets too. I wanted the sleep of the Pharaohs, only ‘at peace’ and smiling. I had zero intention of waking up. I had zero intention of carrying on with my woeful existence. My pain remained whatever I did or wherever I went. There was never any relief. I feared each morning and each night. Sleep, when it comes to those in pain, is such a blessing.
Going to sleep that night was the best. Firstly, the pain relief was good. There was a panic that I was suddenly quite well. But thirty-two paracetamol will do that. After all they are supposed to help with the pain. I slipped into a lovely sleep thinking that there would be no tomorrow. No pain to wake up with or to. My painful life would be over.
Three hours into my ‘forever’ sleep I woke. Sitting bolt upright I realised everything was the same. My image stared back at me from the wooden mirror. The old dressing table barely giving room to anyone wanting to pass. The chunky Edwardian foot of the bed hiding my view of the door. Nothing had changed.
I pinched myself. I was still alive. Then, like something from The Exorcist, I vomited over all the visible matter in the room including myself. I cried as I cleaned up the sickly stench of my failure. This one so unexpected but at least private.
In the bath I contemplated my actions and thought of other options. I had no other medication. I didn’t own a gun. I didn’t have a rope or anything to hang it from. It didn’t seem fair to jump from the window as people were walking by and could get hurt.
That would be typical of me to hurt others without even trying so I put my plans on hold and went to work instead. If an opportunity to discuss what had happened to me that night ever came up, I didn’t recognise it.
By Samantha Harris
8th January 2018