The Falling Leaf

What were you doing when England qualified for the World Cup semi-final for the first time since there were two Germanys, the Hubble Space Telescope was still chilling on earth, and long before Ant & Dec ever had a music ‘career’? Me? I was researching a way to travel back in time like some kind of music ‘career’ T-800 to try and ensure that particular travesty never occured. The future is not set and all that.

Oh, but I wish I could be that whimsical. Fair warning at this point to anyone who is: still on a high from the football, on a beer run down the Thames, or otherwise in a sunshine-induced haze of joy. This will absolutely ruin it. Go back to your drinking and save it for later. Likewise, anyone who might struggle with the topic (that means you, family members): going to be talking quite openly about suicide from this point onwards. If that is not going to be to your tastes please give this one a miss for now.

I’ll wait.

And wait some more.

For reals.


You had your warning.


What I actually did during the afternoon’s football was google two things: what the highest bridge in London is, and what to do when you’re experiencing a suicidal crisis. Well, that, and sleeping. My ability to sleep has temporarily gone missing,which is one of the signs that life is fucky (no, it’s not just the heat)- but triathlon is pulling it out of the bag on that one, because off the back of a bare minimum of rest the night before, a 100km ride in this heat will make me react to watching an England game more or less the same as any time I’ve tried to watch an England game in the last few years – drooling on myself and doing the comedy-snap-wakeup-roll-off-the-sofa thing every time the neighbours start screaming. Well, as soon as I’ve made use of the 60 minute window where everything consumable in the flat is at risk. Also handy, because my appetite has failed as well, and I’m struggling to make myself eat unless there’s a four-figure calorie deficit in my intake. That’s the second thing that’s gone.

Apparently I should be on my way to A&E at the moment, or at least ringing whatever the out-of-hours GP service is. I’ve been having pervasive suicidal thoughts for the last few days now, hence the bridge thing. It’s funny – over the last few weeks, when it’s been a flash urge, it’s always trains. Trains are reliable, I know trains, there’s lots of them in London. When I have been seriously considering it, it is jumping off something, which is a new one. Maybe because after all these years I have confirmation that I’m a shit swimmer. I kind, of course; I’m not s shit swimmer, per se, I’m just uncoordinated. But my swim sets over the last year have included enough backstroke to make me sure that when I go, I really really do not want it to be drowning. None of the bridges in London have enough elevation to be reliably swift.

Anyway, enough of that. That’s just what’s going through my head at the moment, and if I’m not going to A&E any time soon then the best thing to do is to do anything really, because anything is a distraction. Just writing about it, and acknowledging it, helps. I can’t decide if I’m not 100% lucid at the moment or if I am more chillingly realistic than I have been in years, but even I can recognise that it’s a fairly unpleasant place to exist in.

There’s a rather good exhibition on at the moment (although I would say that) about the volunteers who make up the vast, vast bulk of the operation at Maytree. I had a gander on Thursday, shortly before this trying period kicked off. Before you ask – no, it wasn’t the cause, it didn’t ‘trigger’ anything. It was a different straw, and you’ll have to trust me on that. I left the exhibition feeling far more positive than when I’d arrived at it; practically positive.

It was a timely reminder of the need to be honest about suicide. Moreso, that if it’s hidden and treated as a problem to be fixed – a trap I have fallen into – then that only heightens the stigma and fuckery of it all. Being that I’m very partial to it myself, I get that this is a hard concept to grasp, that the usual “but you have so much to live for” is sometimes the least helpful thing in the world.

It’s a liberating feeling, honesty. I miss that feeling of a place where I could talk openly about things society tends to shy away from. There was something very necessary, at the time, in the way I forged a new me out of whatever little scraps of pride were left over years ago; but that short-term necessity is now coming back to take me apart again. It was kinda nice to forget about that part of me for a few hours.

If a world exists in which you can have functional alcoholics, and functional heroin addicts, I don’t see why I can’t be functionally suicidal. There’s still a mountain to climb in August, after all. I’ve decided after the flap at Leeds Castle that I am going to do this Swedeman thing, because there is no pressure to look like a likely punt for Kona or to earn a GB spot. It was purely an enjoyment thing, and it still is. The hard work starts after that.

Listening: Gustavo Santaolalla – All Gone (Seasons) (The Last of Us soundtrack); if I’m not going to be sleeping there I’m sure as fuck going to enjoy those extra hours, and I have a date with Left Behind.

Reading: Ross Tucker – Can We Trust the Tour, Sky and Chris Froome: Le Monde Op-Ed; yes, I will still be watching the TdF because it’s entertaining, but no, I don’t trust any of them (barring Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and I especially don’t trust Team Sky.

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