The Samaritan woman wondered if I had thought of killing myself. I have taught myself not to, and this is how.
I wanted to die, and looked longingly at buses- could I fall under one? I started thinking more seriously of it. I decided I must not hurt anyone else. It would hurt my father to know I had killed myself, so it must appear like an accident. But crashing head on, on a fast road, might kill the other driver and their passengers.
-It would be murder, she assented.
And it must be relatively quick. I could not think of a way which satisfied these three requirements, so I did not.
People regret, sometimes immediately. A procurator fiscal told me of a man who had hanged himself with sisal, then tried to loosen the knot, scratching desperately at his neck, but could not. A coroner’s assistant told me of people throwing themselves off the cliffs at the South coast, and landing on a ledge a short way down. Perhaps they broke an ankle, could not climb back up, and died of exposure. Those who survive jumping from bridges- their first thought is often to the effect What have I done!
I contemplated how I loathed killing spiders. I would if I had to, because of my arachnophobe friend, but find them fascinating and beautiful. How much more beautiful is my hand! I might hate myself and want to escape, but how could I kill something as beautiful as this organism?
In 2003, I had had enough. I decided to take painkillers, and thought they would kill me more easily, and I would become unconscious more quickly, if I washed them down with whisky. I went into the living room to get the whisky and found my bathwater dripping through the ceiling. I could not bear that. I called the landlord, who called a plumber to fix it, and when he had gone the feelings had gone away. That was my proof of the existence of God for years after. I told a friend who said, “Your guardian angel knows how you tick”.
-Yes, she said, guardian angels, God looking after us
-sometimes the synchronicities work really well.
In 2009, I was sitting in the office and decided I would kill myself. I had got sleeping pills from my GP, but they were too strong, making me feel tired all the time by day. I kept them in case I decided on suicide. I left the office at 1pm, and went home. I would lie in the bath with a mug of hot chocolate and take my pills. I got home, sat in my living room, and realised I did not want to kill myself, I just had to leave that situation there and then, immediately, without any plan of what to do next.
Since then I have realised how fiercely I want to survive. I could not kill myself. It colours my view of assisted dying. Suicide is stupid. A friend said every time the subject came up, “It’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem”. Perhaps he too had had to talk himself out of it.