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The Hardest of Days

(this is an excerpt from

There is no conclusive research as to how long the average human can go without social contact before they go insane. There are reports of individuals living in almost complete isolation for over a year, but these individuals didnít survive with their sanity intact. As little as ten hours alone can leave most people with a physical and psychological craving thatís not too dissimilar to the same amount of time without food. Then you have to take into account the individualís preexisting mental state and the presence of other stressors. Then, of course, there are the fundamental differences between everyday interactions such as purchasing goods and meaningful human interaction. How many visits to the supermarket equate to an hour talking with someone who is present with you?

Eventually, after some time, I turned to myself for some sort of validation that I was here and that the social vacuum wasnít, in fact, a dream. Had I maybe put myself in a coma when I had the bike accident? Had the last however long been spent in a hospital bed with the only sounds emitted from me being steady beeps? I felt something like how a ghost must feel when they first realise that they are in the domain of the living, but they arenít alive. Strange how we associate them with causing terror when I imagine that theyíre in a great deal of distress. Pain. I look around my apartment and listen to the ringing in my ears. There is nothing here to confirm whether I am here or not.

I feel nauseous. I want to sleep. But the last time I tried that I saw five people made of shadow looking down at me. They were in a complete circle as if my body wasnít there. It was too soon to be a dream, I had only closed my eyes for a few seconds. The other day I had woken up and one of them was looking at me through the gap in the bedroom door. Perfectly still, the height of a young girl. I started my day with her there, by the time I had opened the curtains and made the bed she had gone.

I should reach out to someone. But when I think of trying to talk this through with a human I can feel the choking sensation that radiates sickness up to my jaw and down to just above my clavicle. It feels as if the one last move I have before checkmate is to surrender myself into the arms of a stranger and just weep. A final attempt at finding some lightness, whatever that might look or feel like. I have enough caffeine powder in the house to induce a heart attack. It would take between 2-8 grams of tramadol to induce an overdose. I only have one. I mustn't let on to anyone that Iím thinking like this if this is even thinking at all. The worse thing that could happen to a man when it is time to die, is that someone should stop him because they think they know better. Another 27 Ultracet tablets and Iíd have 2 grams of tramadol combined with 17 grams of paracetamol. However, my body has developed a lot of tolerance to attempts to cause it harm. I would need to double that to be sure. Can the human body swallow 108 tablets before it starts to reject them? Surely there is a part of the brain responsible for survival that overrides even the most carefully thought out acts of reasoning.

I cannot take my own life. I cry as I say it out loud. I cry because I have travelled far enough down this path to know what works and what doesnít. That is enough to know that things are not good, and have not been good for a long time. I cry because why should life contain such a persistent state of agony? I cry because I cannot take my own life, nor do I want to live it as it is. My sister and I have lost both of our parents. I cannot take my own life because she has experienced too much death already. She is saving me, but I am not sure if that is a blessing or punishment. Everyone else would be fine, but not her, and she has endured enough pain.

God forbid, if anything should happen to her I will be free to go. And then, if the religionists are correct, I will be able to sit with her and finally confide in someone just how bad things got. I weep as I say it out loud. There are only six people alive in the world that know how much pain there is in me. One is the nurse that bandaged up my wrist eleven years ago. The second is the clinical psychiatrist on duty who assessed me as no longer being a danger to myself. Then there is Adam who sat with me in the ambulance, someone I barely knew. Then there are the two people who drove to see me at the hospital at 4 am and take me home. I will not give them names. To them, I am best forgotten. And finally, my sister... She has endured enough pain.

The tramadol is next to me. I get up and push it to the back of a drawer. This is not an act of strength. It is one of submission. I boil the kettle to make some rice. How proud they would all be if they could see me now. Grinding away through this. Chewing robotically on nutrients. Maybe they would ask themselves how they never thought to ask ďare you okay?Ē Just like I do. I am not okay. I am existing in the opposing hemisphere. I am no one. Not even a broken thing.

I smoke a cigarette. My arms are trembling. I have said enough for now. Just know that when you approach a person in pain be wary of judging them by recent events. Do not dispose of them as the result of their most up-to-date shortcomings. It is rarely that. Sometimes we spend long periods surviving. Carrying a weight that almost cripples us, but somehow we keep on going. It is often applauded as strength. No matter how immovable some of us might appear, we are at the point where it is impossible to take any more. Yet it finds us, and it is often placed upon us by either ourselves or those who never thought to ask ďare you okay?"
Written by CruelHandedWriter (Jamie Rhodes)
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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