Monthly Archives: February 2012

Here It Goes Again — Part 2

I’m home. And more importantly, nobody is home but me. I was just at Kroger and Target buying the last two things I’ll ever buy: a hair dryer and an extension cord. The date is January 30th, 2012. Today is the day that I die.

There isn’t anything inherently significant about today, except that it’s the first day I get to be home alone since I decided that it’s time for me to go.

Last weekend was probably supposed to be my chance to study hard and catch up with my classes, but I’ve instead spent it contemplating how I’m going to kill myself. I’ve sifted through the list and had some trouble finding a relatively easy and reliable method. I don’t have a gun license, so I can’t get one. I don’t know of any building tall enough for me to die by hurling myself off of it; at least, not any that I could easily gain roof access to. I’m given to understand that death by self-cutting is very challenging and excruciatingly painful.

Finally, I find one that seems approachable: electrocution. Fill a bathtub with water, get in it, and drop in a hair dryer or a toaster. Sounds easy!

I’ve been informed time and time again that if you’re considering suicide you have to talk to others who care about you. And I did that over the weekend. The problem is that I’m not just having mere passive thoughts about self-harm; for the most part, I’ve decided that I’m going to do it. This means I can only talk to people who aren’t in any position to actually stop me.

After all, you wouldn’t tell the cops that you’re planning on robbing a bank.

This limits my options mostly to friends I’ve made through the web. They’re very kind. They make it clear that they don’t want me to do it, but they’re not forceful or judgmental. They handle the situation very well, but there’s only so much they can do.

But I’m not talking to them today. I’m done talking to people. I’m done pretending that I’m anything besides an insufferable failure. The world is better than me; it doesn’t need me.

It’s time for the main event.

I plug the drain and begin filling the bathtub with water. This is going to take awhile.

I connect the extension cord to the hair dryer and plug it into the socket across the room. I make sure it works; it works just fine. No turning back now.

I undress myself. For a moment I ponder why. Does it really matter at this point? I suppose it’s habitual for me to undress before I enter the shower, but I doubt my family would be all that concerned about the soaked clothing on my dead body.

The bathtub isn’t even half full yet. I set the .mp3 player on my phone to play the theme to Mirror’s Edge; ironically, the song is called Still Alive. I’ve been listening to it a lot lately. The lyrics don’t really match what’s going on right now, but I think the song itself has a strong feeling of finality to it. Plus I just happen to really like Mirror’s Edge.

I sigh and watch the water rise slowly. No turning back now. I can’t fail again.

Finally, the bathtub is about full. I set the hair dryer beside the tub and lie down inside.

No turning back.

I sigh and grab the hair dryer. I turn it up to high and hold it above the water, my hand trembling.

Come on, Justin. No turning back. Finish what you’ve started!

I let out a faint cry and push the dryer into the water.

I hear the dryer make some noises. Then I feel a strange, tingling sensation through my arm.

I wait for a few moments. Nothing is changing. Just a weird feeling in my arm. I move my other hand closer and farther from the dryer; it’s emanating from there.

What’s going on…?

Why isn’t it working? What did I do wrong?! Is the dryer not powerful enough? Is there something wrong with the bathtub? What’s going on?!

I was afraid of this. Something is wrong here. I don’t know what it is, but it’s my fault for not knowing. Just like with everything else, I wanted to do something, but didn’t care enough to put the effort toward learning all the details, and now I’ve failed again. I’ve failed at suicide.

I sigh, set the dryer outside of the tub, drain the water and proceed to take a shower.

Note: Since the incident I’ve learned that modern bathtubs have safety measures implemented to prevent electrocution from occurring. Had I known that at the time, I may not be alive to tell you all this now.

Once I’m done showering I take the dryer and the extension cord and pile them on the bathroom counter. I probably should hide them from my brother so he won’t put two and two together, but… Whatever. I don’t want to think right now.

I step out of the bathroom door and hear my mother calling for me from downstairs.That’s odd. She’s home early. Why’s that?

She just wants me to come downstairs. I don’t know what this is about. I get dressed and go meet her. It turns out her last client of the day didn’t show up. (She’s a counselor.)

“Did you go to class today?”

I’ve been making an effort all along to hide my struggles from my mom, but at this point I give up. “No.”

“I thought so. You’re home too early and showering. Why didn’t you go? What’s wrong?”

I’m definitely not ready to tell her the full truth. “I’m behind in all my classes and I don’t think I can catch up.”

My mom quickly becomes upset, and for good reason. This is the second time I’m failing all my college courses. Her son doesn’t seem to have any drive to better himself.

She threatens to kick me out of her house if I don’t get my act together. I am speechless.

She recognizes what might be happening. “Don’t go down that road again, Justin. Please don’t become suicidal again.”

After a long pause, I reply. “Too late.”

She becomes more upset. She goes on to lecture me about how I need to talk to her more so she’ll know what’s going on. This is a speech I’ve heard many times before.

That’s it. I give up. I fear her response, but I’m done hiding it.

“Hang on, I want to show you something.”

I go upstairs, take the dryer and the cord, and bring them down.

“What’s this?”

“I bought it today so I could kill myself.”

Pause.

“It didn’t work.”

Another pause. She thinks for a moment before the tears start to come.

“I could have come home today to find your corpse?!”

At this point I can’t hold myself together. I begin to cry as well. We embrace. I don’t know what to say, so I just apologize multiple times.

What have I done? I’m making her cry. How could I do this?

I won’t relate everything that was said, but many tears were shed. Once we get back to talking about school my mom tells me that college might simply not be for me. She assures me that there are many other options available for me to pursue a career without graduating from a university.

I don’t know what to say to this. I had literally never considered it a serious option before. For as long as I can remember I’ve been taught to believe that anybody who wants a reasonable income simply must go to college. Sure, you have your occasional Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, but I always just dismissed them as exceptions to the rule.

Eventually the conversation ends, because I have to go to work.

Surprisingly, I don’t have any sort of breakdown at work. It’s just another boring day, certainly not interesting enough to dwell on.

When I get home my brother Josh is playing some game on the Xbox and my mom is watching. It feels like just another night after work, so I go upstairs, change clothes and get on my laptop.

Josh shows up at my door. “Hey… You want to talk about it?”

I stop what I’m doing, turn to him and look down. “I don’t know…”

Josh walks in and sits on my bed. “You know, Justin, you don’t have to go to college if it’s not for you.”

I nod. “Yeah, I know.”

“There are a lot of options. You can get stable, good employment without having a degree.”

Pause.

“I think you’re going to be just fine.

I give a genuine smile. “Thank you.”

We talk for a little while, about my life and my options available. Eventually he leaves, and I resume my usual nightly routine of reading online forums and blogs and playing video games.

I’m playing Left 4 Dead 2 with my friends later in the night when the door opens next to me. I expect it to be Josh, but when I turn to look, it isn’t. It’s Neil, my other brother who lives an hour away. He came to see me.

I immediately close my laptop and stand up and he embraces me tightly. My friends can wait.

“Hey, Neil.”

I spend the next few hours with my family, talking about things and having fun. Eventually Neil and I end up being alone again and he asks me if I want to talk about it.

We do talk about it, as well as many other things. He tells me about how proud he is that I’ve stuck with my gaming blog and gathered a modest following of readers. He makes me view it in a way I haven’t before.

Each time I publish a post I generally get over 100 views from that day, and gradually less views from each subsequent day. If you were to count up the views I gain just for posting something new it would be probably around 200 to 300, or maybe even 400. That’s a lot of people who are sufficiently entertained by my blog that they’re willing to spend their time reading it.

I hadn’t really looked at my blog as something to be proud of, but Neil tells me that he, as well as Josh and Mom, are very proud of me for it.

One thing he says stands out in my mind: “Justin, you could never disappoint me.”

I feel a great sense of relief, like hundreds of pounds of weight being lifted off of my shoulders.

I don’t have to go to college.

I could never disappoint my family.

I’m going to be just fine.

The date is February 15, 2012. I’ve planned to withdraw from my classes within the week, and I’ll be seeing a professional counselor in the near future.

I don’t know where I’m headed in life or how I’ll get there, but for the moment, I’m happy to be alive.


Here It Goes Again – Part 1

Trigger warning: suicide

On Monday, January 30th, fourteen days ago, I tried to kill myself.

Obviously, I failed.

I had never attempted suicide before then. In 2009 I contemplated it, in 2010 I planned for it but got cold feet, and now in 2012 I finally went through with it; or rather, I attempted to do so. All three of these incidents have been caused by troubles at school; specifically, by me buckling under pressure and attempting to run and hide from all of my problems.

This time, however, I have a blog. And this time I’m going to describe the why and the how of this attempted suicide in close detail. If this might make you uncomfortable, I recommend that you vacate the premises (i.e. read something else instead).

The how will be in part 2. Here’s the why.

So, as I said awhile ago, this semester I made my second attempt to go to college. My first semester was in the fall of 2010, when I moved away from home, went to school full-time, majored in mathematics, and then crashed from stress, isolation and loneliness. We assumed the problem was that I dove into the deep end without quite knowing how to swim yet (so to speak), so this time around I was going to a community college and only taking two courses (C++ Fundamentals and English). They both conveniently take place on Monday and Wednesday.

Wednesday 1

I go to my C++ class. The professor hands out the syllabi and explains some stuff about the basics of C++. Very, very basic stuff that even I, someone who knows absolutely nothing about programming, can mostly wrap my head around.

I’m not paying too close attention, because today is also the day of the big SOPA/PIPA blackout protest. I’m reading about the protests and turning on the blackout for my own gaming blog, Ninja Game Den. But I pay enough attention to get the important bits, and today’s assignment is incredibly simple: he gives us a paper with several lines of code written on it, and he tells us we need to copy the code onto MS Visual Studio, compile and execute the file, and email it to him. Easy.

Anyway, onto English. The teacher explains what the class is about, and talks about reading and writing. She tells us about the books we need, and gives us syllabi and a few handouts. The assignment for today is explained on the syllabus. She assures us that this assignment is quick, simple, and on the whole an easy A.

Since both assignments are exceedingly easy, I decide to wait until the weekend to do them.

As it turns out, while I was able to do the C++ assignment in just a few minutes with minimal fuss, the english assignment involves answering the questions on the handout — a handout that I apparently didn’t get. I looked through all the papers I received on Wednesday and I couldn’t find anything with questions, or anything resembling an assignment.

The teacher won’t be available on the weekend. Damn. Well the syllabus does say that she accepts late work. I’ll ask her about the assignment on Monday and she’ll surely tell me what I need to know.

Monday 1

I go to my car and find that one of the front wheels is completely flat. Well, shit.

I ask my neighbor to help me replace it and he kindly obliges. While we’re working on it, he looks at my other tires and tells me that they all need to be replaced, and that a few of them are actually overdue. He also says the alignment needs to be fixed. Holy shit, really?

So after exhaustively replacing the dead tire with my spare, I drive over to the tire store. I’m aware that spare tires aren’t exactly designed for long distance, so I probably wouldn’t even make it to class, much less make it back from class. I’ll just take care of the tire business first.

Turns out replacing all four tires and adjusting the alignment is going to take roughly three hours. Okay then. No class today; at least not for me.

I can already see myself sinking into a hole again. I’m now behind one session in C++ and essentially two sessions in English. I’m not sure what to do at this point, so I send an email to each of my professors asking them what I missed and what I need to do to catch up.

Wednesday 2

Neither professor responded to my emails.

So, C++. Today the teacher explains to us something about integers, and implementing something on a thing about… something. Apparently missing one class has left me so far behind that I can’t even see the others in the distance. At this point the professor might as well be speaking in Greek, because I can’t possibly understand what he’s prattling on about.

I explain to my professor after class that I got a flat tire and missed Monday. He says that I can catch up by reading the textbook, and that the assignment for last class was posted on a school assignment website that I was thus far completely unaware of.

Wait, what?

I thought I knew about all the school website business. There’s one for the public, and one for students to sign in, register for classes, make payments, look at their schedule, etc. You’re honestly telling me that there’sanother one?!

Whatever. I guess I have a lot of catching up to do. Onto English.

The teacher tells us to take out our books that we read from last class and get in groups to cooperatively answer the questions she presents about them.

Thing is, this is a book I didn’t have. Oh, shit. There were two books I needed. I thought I only needed one. And I got the one that we didn’t need to read last class.

The teacher walks around the room and sees how the groups and individuals are doing. When she asks where my book is, I explain that I missed class due to a flat tire and I don’t have the book.

She orders me to leave class immediately and buy a book at the bookstore.

I ordered my other books online. I don’t know where the school bookstore is; I didn’t even know we had a bookstore. So after a moment’s hesitation, I ask: “Where’s the bookstore?”

She squints at me and replies, “Are you serious?”

I shrug. I hear other students giggle.

“You know the area in the front with the fountain?”

I nod. Of course I do; that’s where the entrance to the building is.

“Well the bookstore is right there in that area. There’s a big sign that says BOOKSTORE. How can you miss it?”

I get up to go get the book. In an attempt to be funny, I say “I’m the most absent-minded person you will ever have to teach.”

She replies, “I don’t have to teach you. You chose to be here.”

I hesitate for a moment and stutter. “I know, but… Well, I mean, I want to be here-”

“Then go buy the book.”

I give up and leave. I hear laughter behind me when the door closes.

Thoughts of death and self-harm reawaken in my head as I walk through the halls to the courtyard in the center of the building. I look around at all the walls, as I did when I entered for the first time. I see a cafe, a library, and an office. No bookstore. Have I entered the Twilight Zone, or am I just critically failing my spot check?

Eventually I go to the front desk. The lady smiles and says, “How may I help you?”

“Okay, apparently this is a really stupid question, but… Where’s the bookstore?”

She laughs and says “It’s over there, right next to the back door.” She points to the back door, across from the front entrance.

I nod and turn to walk that way. She adds, “I get the question 50 times a day.”

I smile back. That’s slightly comforting, I suppose.

So I walk down and eventually see it. Yes, there’s BOOKSTORE in big letters on the wall. The letters are also the exact same color as the wall, and positioned right below and above huge windows that allow for bright sunlight to attack your eyes. I don’t see how this can’t be considered hard to spot if you don’t already know where it is, but whatever.

I enter the bookstore and walk to where the English books are. Then I facepalm as I run into yet another dilemma: I don’t actually know which book I’m supposed to get. There are multiple books just for the specific class I’m taking, and none of them are the book I already own. I genuinely have no clue which of these is the one I’m supposed to buy, and they’re not cheap.

The most logical solution is to go back to class, ask the teacher which book I need and then go back to the bookstore. But, good lord, I do not want to do that again. I know she’s going to call me out and mock my cluelessness and stupidity again, and I know people are going to laugh at me again. I don’t want to be humiliated anymore. I don’t want to be here anymore. I don’t want to live anymore.

So instead I sit in the cafe and watch the clock until my English class ends. I go back after the room is (mostly) empty. Once the teacher is free I ask her what book I need and what the assignment is. She explains that if I simply tell the guys at the bookstore which class and which teacher I have, they can tell me which book I need.

I thank her, pack up my stuff and leave.

I don’t want to be at that stupid school anymore. I don’t want to think about it, or really anything, anymore. But still, I haven’t completely given up hope. I decide to go to the bookstore on Friday to buy the book so I can do the assignment for next Monday.

I show up on Friday at around 2 PM. The store is closed. Turns out that on Friday, it closes at 1. It’s not open on weekends.

That’s it. This is all my fault. Everything that’s happened has been my fault. I’ve fucked up far too many times. I’m not just going to fail again and have my family be disappointed at me again. I’ve put it off for too long. It’s time to kill myself.