I’d been considering it for years. Many years, in fact. Thinking about, planning, my own death. Psychiatrists call it suicidal ideation. Simply, having suicidal thoughts, often very intrusive and unexpected.
The number of ways I imagined doing it was considerable, from overdose of tranquilisers to cutting my wrists in a nice warm bath, to all of the other popular methods. Maybe not hanging; that seemed unnecessarily painful. There are ways of doing it that make it uncertain. Those I’ve said aren’t definite; they can be treated if someone found me soon enough.
No, it would have to be a method that had absolutely no chance of survival, and in this group I had my own ideas. I’d thought of driving the car into a wall at speed. But there are very few such opportunities; the motorway had very few such walls (I’d researched it), whereas there were plenty on industrial estates but without much chance of getting up to speed. Apparently the key is wearing a seat belt so one doesn’t get thrown clear.
My certain method of choice would be falling off a tall building. A multi-storey car park. To ensure I wouldn’t have the chance to change my mind halfway between building and pavement, maybe I’d need to take some of those tranquilisers, preferably with one or two substantial glugs of vodka. No-one has survived falling from the tenth floor of a building, as far as I’m aware.
I’ve been suicidal all my adult life.
But now an opportunity has arisen which some might think is even worse of a gamble with absolutely no chance of succeeding. Normally I wouldn’t even consider such a thing, but I’ve been feeling playful.
One night recently, wide awake with just the sound of the radio playing, I made a decision to ignore social distancing and self isolation and to become the extrovert I’ve never been. I’d go outdoors as much as possible, go shopping for food I really didn’t need (especially if I didn’t live to eat it) just so I could mingle. I’d go to shops and cafes which were still open subversively behind doors which declared themselves ‘CLOSED’.
The point of this was to catch Coronavirus.
I’m physically healthy despite my lack of regular – or any – exercise. Mentally, it’s a different matter, as you’ll have guessed by now. This was a problem. I wondered if developing an unhealthy habit such as smoking would increase my chance of succumbing to the virus. There probably wasn’t anywhere enough time though.
The other sticking post was that the mortality rate for those who are physically healthy is relatively very low. It was, what? – less than 20,000 from a global population of more than 7 billion people. Also, to put things in perspective, the influenza pandemic straight after the First World Was numbered up to 50 million dead.
Going out and trying to catch a virus turned out to be tricky to say the least. There are police everywhere; nosey and authoritarian. I could get away with shopping if I ignored rules and brushed against fellow shoppers who looked at me like I was a murderer or suicide bomber if I came within two metres of them. I considered volunteering for the NHS but there were too many of us and I wasn’t wanted.
I went everywhere I could, using the excuses of shopping and daily exercise if the police stopped me. I got into the habit of breathing in deeply around people, which actually made me feel more healthy. I was failing miserably. Even touching as many surfaces as I could seemed to fail me. I have OCD so I was used to touching things, putting them in order, anyway. I didn’t wash my hands even once in almost two weeks. How did I shower? I wore latex gloves. That just gave me a rash.
Now, after this time and effort I felt not at all ill. My suicide by virus was, I realised, a ridiculous idea that was never going to work. The irony of it all was that by week 3 I appeared to show very slight symptoms that were no worse than a slight cold. Though I might have imagined this, what with the hypochondria I seemed to have developed.
I hate failure. I could kill myself just at the thought of it. What a failure I am, full of life!