Trigger Warning: This Story Contains Graphic Depictions Of Suicide
When I was seventeen years old I got stuck in a time loop. There’s no way for me to prove that this happened, but by posting my story here I’m hoping to find other people who have experienced something similar. Let me start at the beginning.
I’ve suffered with bouts of depression all through my teenage years. My depression hit the peak of its severity around the time of my seventeenth birthday. That’s when my dad died after a long battle with lung cancer. It was also during this time that my mom was hardly ever seen without a vodka bottle glued to her hand. She’d accrued multiple DUIs and ended up serving jail time for the entire summer. I was left alone for three months.
I became stuck in a time loop on a humid August night; one of those nights when the sweat clings to your clothes and your skin forms a sticky coating that makes it feel as if you’re suffocating. At the time we were living in a rundown apartment on the outskirts of town.
I remember lying awake on top of my bare, sweat-laden mattress. We didn’t have air conditioning and my bedroom was stifling hot. There was no chance of falling asleep—not that my mind ever let me sleep anyway—and this night was no exception.
The bad thoughts crept in slowly. That’s how they always come. If they rushed in all at once I could dismiss them outright. But when they creep in, when they speak softly, I listen.
“Nobody cares about you,” they said to me. “If you were a better son your mom wouldn’t need to drink all the time. She wouldn’t be rotting away in a jail cell right now.”
It took some time before I realized that tears were streaming down my face and not sweat. I had become so numb to my emotions that I didn’t even notice when I was crying anymore. That was the moment I decided to kill myself for real.
I’d thought about it many times. How I’d do it. How it’d feel. But the main thing—the real reason was I’d chosen this night to finally end it—was the heat. Such a minor discomfort yet it was enough to give me the final push to leave this world once and for all.
My footsteps echoed through the quiet neighborhood. Residual heat from the day’s sun radiated up from the asphalt and dissipated in the cool night air. It felt a lot nicer being outside than cooped up in that hotbox.
The road eventually turned up a steep grade and ended at the base of some woods. I entered the woods via a familiar trail and left the neighborhood behind. It was a cloudless night and the moon and stars illuminated the path before me.
An eerie silence fell upon the trees and even though I was on my way to kill myself, I felt a tinge of fear. It was as if something was watching me, judging me. Like the whole world knew what I was about to do. I picked up my pace.
The woods were sparse and it only took a few minutes before I made it to the open field on the other side. At the center of the field, casting a long shadow, stood a water tower. This was to be the spot that I took the final breaths of my pathetic life.
I’d spent many summer nights staring at the sky from the maintenance walkway near the top of the tower. It was one of the few places in this world that I ever felt at peace. So it was only natural that I would end my life there.
Climbing the ladder felt almost mechanical. In fact, everything leading up to the big moment was so unreal. It was as if I was watching things unfold from someone else’s eyes.
Sitting with my back against the cold metal tower, I thought I would be scared, or hesitant, or nervous. But honestly, I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t even feel sad anymore. Just numb.
I pulled my Swiss army knife out of my pocket and stared at it for a while. My dad had given it to me when I was a little kid. He had gotten it from a Marlboro Rewards catalog. In the old days, you could collect coupons from cigarette packs and cash them in for prizes. I still wonder how many years of his life he had sacrificed for that knife?
The moonlight glinted off the polished blade and created a knife-shaped apparition on my left wrist. The time had come.
I shut my eyes, took a deep breath, and lined the tip of the blade against the base of my palm. I had practiced the motions countless times over the years—dragging the sharp steel against my skin but never pushing down. But now I would push down; this time it was for real.
I exhaled hard and plunged the knife tip deep into my wrist until it hit bone. Lightning flashed across my eyes and ice-cold nausea exploded in my stomach. Vomit bubbled up in my throat and instinctively I looked away from the wound. But I wasn’t done. If I didn’t finish the job I wouldn’t bleed out.
Using every ounce of strength I could muster, I squeezed the knife handle until it creaked from the pressure, then I ripped it vertically down my wrist and forearm. There was an audible pop of tendons severing and hot fire gushed out of my veins.
It took a strong tug to free the blade from my raw flesh. I tried placing the knife in my left hand so I could cut the right wrist, but I couldn’t grip it. I couldn’t move the fingers on my left hand at all. Other than burning, I couldn’t feel anything below my elbow. Panic set in. I had to finish the job.
I struggled to my feet, smearing blood all over the tower and railing of the walkway. I thought, if I couldn’t finish cutting myself, I could at least jump from the tower and end the unbearable pain once and for all.
I remember looking over the railing to the dark field below. The blades of grass swayed gently in the breeze, inviting me to come rest on top of the nurturing Earth. I tried leaning my body weight over the railing so gravity would take over, but I was so dizzy that I ended up falling back against the water tower and sliding down to a sitting position again.
At that point, I was shivering violently. It was a type of cold I had never experienced before. It felt like something had sucked all the warmth in my body out through my pores. But the worse thing was the pain. It wasn’t just in my arm anymore. My head pounded, my joints were filled with broken glass, and a giant was squeezing my heart.
I wanted to get back up but all the strength had left my body. It took everything I had to tilt my head back to keep from throwing up. The stars were blurry and danced around in a sickening ballet. The moon had turned blood red and was melting in the sky. The air tasted of death.
With my life slipping away, my last thoughts were that of regret. The regret of not spending enough time with my dad while he was alive. The regret of not telling anyone about how I had been feeling for so long—the pain and sadness that wouldn’t let go. And most of all, I regretted that I hadn’t tried harder to live. I never did anything that would make people remember me.
Pain pumped through my body until the bitter end when white-hot light fired through my eyeballs and then the world faded to black.
I had died on a humid night in August.