On Being Suicidal (or Why I Carried a Rope in a Bag around London for 3 Months).

perfectionism_linked_to_childhood

I carried a rope in a bag around London with me, every day, for 3 months.

Why?

You might well ask.

Was I a master of the Indian Rope Trick, ready to give my performance at the drop of a hat (or, indeed, turban) perhaps?

Not quite.

How I might look performing Indian Rope Trick.

I had booked into a squalid B and B in London’s Earl’s Court where I was to remain, subsisting mainly on whisky, cigarettes and bags of crisps, for 3 months.

Prior to booking in, I had visited a B and Q store to purchase a rope. I had selected it with meticulous attention to detail : not too long, not too short. Not too thick (it needed to be pliable enough to tie an effective noose) and not too thin (it needed to hold my – at this time in my life – not inconsiderable weight).

My intention was, on the first day of booking into the B and B, or, at the latest, the second, to get extremely drunk so that I would have enough courage (in contrast to what some believe, suicide attempts are not a ‘coward’s way out’ – they actually take tremendous courage) to hang myself.

But then came the practicalities of actually finding somewhere suitable to attach the other end of the rope (ie the end which would not be wound around my neck). I knew the drop would have to be sufficiently long to break my spinal cord, thus severing its connection to the brain and fatally depriving it of oxygen. If the drop was too short, I knew that I would face death by slow strangulation. Thanks very much for the offer – but, no thanks.

Everyday I would go to a nearby pub (my rope secreted in my bag) and plan to carry out my final, decisive task in a nearby park under cover of darkness from a suitable tree that very night. Despite carrying out my reconnaicense work, I could never find a suitable tree. The ones with high enough and strong enough branches were impossible to climb (in retrospect, should I also have purchased a ladder and masqueraded as a window cleaner?)

I suppose, had I been absolutely determined to end it all, I would have found a way to accomplish it. But I convinced myself that the only reason I was not getting round to it was purely that I could not locate a suitable place to do it. I did not have the motivation to travel to parks or wooded areas further afield.

In this way, I dithered and procrastinated for 3 months, having taken the rope in my bag out with me every single day, fully believing ‘today will be the day.’

In the end, I gave up the idea of hanging myself and I bought a Stanley Knife with the intention of cutting my wrists instead – but wasn’t there a special way of doing it? If I did it wrong, wasn’t it possible I would not die but lose so much blood my brain would not be fed enough oxygen and I’d incur irrevocable brain damage, thus suffering the fate of becoming an even bigger moron than I was already?

The whole episode, then, was a farcical failure. It was also an expensive one. The cost of staying in my squalid room alone had been nearly £5000. An expensive holiday – I decided then and there not to book again next year.

Many would say that ‘deep down’ I did not, in fact, want to die.

This could, on an unconscious level, have been true. But it certainly felt to me that I did.

David Hosier BSc Hons ; MSc ; PGDE(FAHE).


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