What Happens When You Kill Yourself? | Emily Bashforth

What Happens When You Kill Yourself?


It's heartbreaking to think that some people feel that there is no other way out of a dark place other than to take their own life because, the truth is, there is always an alternative, despite how hard you may find that to believe.
To anyone out there at the moment who may be going through indescribable pain right now and feels like they're ready to go, I wanted to write this for you. "What happens when you kill yourself?" you ask, because you feel like it's your time, well, let me tell you...

When you kill yourself, you're gone and there's no bringing you back. You are no longer around to witness the aftermath, instead, those around you have to learn to adjust to life without you. After you kill yourself, your Mum walks in the door. She's just arrived home from the supermarket with her weekly shop in hand. She bought your favourite cereal because she knows you love it. When she walks in, she calls out your name but doesn't really think much of it when you don't reply, she thinks you just haven't heard her. So she calls again. And again. And again. She gets suspicious and so runs up to your bedroom, leaving her grocery bags on the kitchen floor. She knocks and there's no reply. So she barges in. Nothing could prepare her for what she was about to witness when she walked in. She stands in the doorway and looks down to the floor, only to see you lying there, only it isn't you, it's your lifeless body. The body of someone who fought so hard yet believed they were never good enough, yet had no idea that they will always be more than enough. After a few seconds of holding her breath, your Mum begins to lose her balance and so grasps onto the door handle so hard her knuckles turn white. Her mouth is wide open and all colour has drained from her beautiful face. All she can think to do is scream. She rushes over to your side, cradling the body of her precious son or daughter in her arms. She shakes you repeatedly, slaps you in the face, cries "WAKE UP, WAKE UP" repeatedly. She sobs like nobody could ever sob as she holds you tightly to her chest. Everything and nothing is rushing through her mind all at once. She couldn't believe what was going on and she didn't want to. She was holding her baby in her arms the way she did when you were born, instead she was the one crying. She stays there for what seems like eternity, frequent cries of "NO" escaping from her lips. After some time, she pulls her mobile phone from her pocket, never once letting go of you. She calls your Dad and attempts to tell him to come home from work. "Now," she says with a hoarse voice and short breaths. He questions her, "Why? What's happened?" But she hangs up and waits with you until he returns, never wanting to be parted from someone who made her life so whole, despite being unable to see it.

Your Father returns and sprints upstairs, although your Mum doesn't hear him because she's in too much shock. The faint whisper of "Oh my God" coming from your bedroom doorway causes her to turn around, only to be greeted by the pale face of a man who had the same expression she did an hour or so ago. He repeats her actions, rushing over to your side, grabbing you with so much force it's a wonder he didn't snap you in half. He cups your face and shakes you the way you used to shake your Christmas presents as a small child, to try and guess what was inside. As your Mum sits there, numb but with unstoppable tears still streaming down her loving face, animalistic noises come from your Dad's mouth as he sobs in a way he never vowed to sob. He was a man, he didn't do 'emotional.' He was always the brave guy. But not anymore. The sight of Daddy's little girl or boy lying dead on the ground in front of him was what it took to completely shatter everything he was. Your parents sat there for hours because they couldn't believe the perfect little creature they created would ever think to take their own life rather than reaching out to them for help. They always thought it would be you burying them.

Your parents then had to tell your siblings. Your brother was like your Dad, a tough lad who refused to let anyone see his weak side. I talk in past tense because, after he heard the news that his baby brother or sister wasn't going to be around anymore, he changed. He stopped going to parties and getting drunk, he stopped flirting with girls, he stopped getting into the odd fistfight, he stopped playing computer games, he stopped playing football, he stopped with the practical jokes. Instead, he spent every day locked away in his bedroom. He spent every day lying in bed, staring at the ceiling with red eyes, just hoping for you to barge in and start jumping on his bed so he could shout at you to "Go away and annoy someone else." It didn't take long for him to sink into deep depression. He was like a walking corpse, still not able to come to terms with the fact that he wouldn't get to see you again. He partly blamed himself because if only he hadn't told you to leave him alone or if he'd let you win at that car racing game, you might still be here. He lost all of his friends because he didn't want to hang out with them, he fell so behind with all of his school work, he got fired from his Saturday job because he never showed up. You felt so broken than you felt the only way out was to kill yourself, but little did you know that would break him too.

Your sister's life shattered into tiny pieces too. She had to come home from University for your parents to tell her the news. She was angry at first, angry at life, the world, for making her baby brother or sister feel so alone and so worthless to the point where they couldn't see a light at the end of the tunnel. Once she calmed down, everything went downhill. She went from being a girl with her whole life planned out to someone who couldn't even contemplate tomorrow without bursting into tears. She always thought she knew what she wanted from life. A degree, a career in medicine, a house, a loving husband, a family, a prosperous and healthy life. But, right now, all she wanted was you. She was kicked out of University for never attending classes. She did the same as your brother, spending all day in her bedroom yet not sleeping because the grief was too much. She stopped eating too and so suffers with an eating disorder. Your sister no longer cared about her future because her life and family were broken.

After your funeral, your parents fought every day. They argued until they were blue in the face over the most trivial things. Whose turn it was to wash the dishes, who was supposed to hang the washing out, your Mum shouted at your Dad when he didn't put his shoes away and your Dad shouted at your Mum when the dinner she made turned cold, despite the fact that he spent half an hour staring at it because he had lost his appetite. They were on the brink of separation yet couldn't actually bring themselves to divorce because they wanted to stay together for a family that had already well and truly fallen apart. They blamed themselves for your death. It was all that ran through their mind. "We failed as parents," is what they would tell themselves. If only they had kept an eye on you, if only they bothered to ask if you were okay, if only they spent more time with you, if only they noticed your sadness. They thought it was all their fault but, of course, you weren't there to reassure them that it wasn't.
Your Mother stopped sleeping because all she saw when she closed her eyes was the body of her baby lying motionless on the bedroom floor. Your Father too. He stayed on the sofa each night because he thought it was best for his marriage but it only gave him a bad back and made his insomnia worse. He turned grey before he was fifty and your Mum's face was wrinkled too. Your Dad turned to alcohol because he just needed something, anything, to numb this pain he was feeling momentarily. Your Mum went out one night and had sex with a stranger for money because she hadn't been going to work and needed to pay the bills. As each day went by, more life was sucked out of them. Every twenty four hours was a struggle and even the smallest of things caused them to break. Your Mum could no longer each your favourite cereal. every time your Dad saw your baby photo in his wallet he burst into tears, your favourite bands, your favourite movies, your friends, it made them think of you. They didn't forget you, they never could, but they were in so much pain and the people who always kept the family together had hit rock bottom.

But it wasn't just your immediate family that suffered. Your Aunties, Uncles and cousins' lives were turned upside down. Even though they didn't see you as much as they would have liked, that only caused them more suffering. They just wished that they could turn back the clock to get one more precious second with you. If they had spent more time with you, perhaps you would still be here. You little cousins no longer had a positive role model to look up to. They didn't tell you how much of an inspiration you were to them, because they could never find the words, but they always looked at you with such light in their eyes and saw you as someone to aspire to be like.
Your Grandparents became very ill. They were old but always had a spring in their step, however, after they lost you, they became so much more frail. Your Grandma forgot so much more, the names of those closest to her, her childhood, sometimes, she failed to recognise your Grandad, but one thing she never forgot was you and her times spent with you, playing in the park and baking cakes. She always remembered your happy times together, which only caused her more upset. She sat in the same chair in the lounge every day in silence, with the book you bought her for Christmas in hand yet she was unable to concentrate on any of the words.
Your Grandad completely shut himself off from the world. Whenever neighbours would wave and say hello, he would simply continue walking as if they weren't there. He spent most of his days in the garden which you used to love. He always made sure he watered the flowers, mowed the lawn and kept everything in tip top condition because you used to do all of that together and he didn't want to let you down. He was out there all day every day and would pick up weeds that weren't even there. He rarely spoke and there wasn't much life left in his brain. He couldn't believe that his granddaughter or grandson had had a funeral before him, a man in his seventies with a whole head of grey hair and who needed a walking stick most of the time.

You always thought your friends didn't care about you, but they cared more than you could have ever known. The day that your headteacher called them into the office to break the news of your passing haunts them forever, the words she said to them stuck on a loop inside of their minds. Many people told them, "I'm so sorry" every day, but it was never enough. No amount of apologies could make up for the aching in their hearts. They remained together, but didn't speak much. There was no conversation at the lunch table or giggling at the back of class. They no longer went out shopping or attended parties at the weekend or had sleepovers or just hung out for no particular reason to do nothing in particular because nothing was the same without you. You held the group together without knowing and they longed to be able to tell you how sorry they were for not making you feel included. They just wanted everything to be normal again but it never could be.

Your boyfriend or girlfriend went into meltdown. They never got into another relationship. After years, they tried talking to someone again, but it wasn't the same so nothing ever came from it. No relationship would ever be the same as the one you two shared. So, they began to hurt themselves. They thought that they deserved to feel even just a fraction of the pain that you felt because if only they knew what was wrong, they could have fixed it, fixed you. They didn't know why you left, but that's what made them think it was their fault. They self harmed most nights and reached the point of taking their own life as well, because they didn't want to spend another day without you. No amount of medical help, support or pills could mend this aching feeling that they carried around with them everywhere they went. You were the only thing they needed and each day they began hating themselves more and more to the point where they were unable to look in the mirror. They were disgusted with themselves and how worthless their life was if it wasn't spent by your side.

Even people you didn't think cared or perhaps you'd never had a proper conversation with, they grieved too. Your first crush couldn't believe what he was hearing. Your next door neighbours felt so guilty that they lived on the other side of the wall yet had no idea what was going on. The lady who worked in the corner shop was horrified when she asked your Dad how you are and he broke the news - you didn't realise how fond of you she was. Your teachers cried too because they always saw so much potential in you and were certain you had a bright future. The school bus driver no longer had to stop at your bus stop and a wave of sadness hit him every time he had to drive past it without opening the doors. The girls who used to laugh at you in the corridor felt their throats tighten upon hearing the news. The guys who used to trip you up during your walk home from school went numb. So many people's worlds were turned on their heads because you were no longer in it. So many people cried for hours, days, weeks, months, years, so many will never be able to come to terms with what happened. You put so much light into their lives but, without you, they were living in darkness.

So, to answer the question, "What happens when you kill yourself?" that is what happens. You family falls apart, your friends become unrecognisable, everyone around you stops caring about their own lives, their health, their appearance and their happiness because, instead, they spend every waking moment longing for you to walk through the door so they could tell you how much they meant to you. Killing yourself may take away your problems, but it only passes them on to those who you love and they will have it a thousand times worse because they lost someone who they could have saved. I know that suicide may seem like the best way out, the only option, the gateway to a peaceful life, but trust me when I say that it isn't worth it because the damage you would leave behind is greater than anything you could ever experience. No matter how emotionally drained you are or how despondent you feel, thank you for reading this and always remember that there is an alternative. If you kill yourself, you kill everyone around you too.

Hang in there.

Love, Emily :) xx

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