Trigger warning; suicide.
For most of the summer, I lived in Edinburgh, working at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It was an experience, to say the least. Working six days a week for six weeks for no money was difficult.
It's worth pointing out, though, that we were one of the better treated groups of workers who did the festival. We were given £40 a week for food and given good accommodation, which is a lot more than many other workers are given. The problem is that there are a line of people waiting to take your place if you drop out, so the only people who can afford to work there are those desperate to get into the arts industry and/or those who are rich enough to subsidise themselves while they work. That and the fact that there are no unions for the workers.. but anyway. I digress. It was something that angered me throughout my stay in Edinburgh (that, and how inaccessible Edinburgh/the festival itself was), but it isn't the main point of this post.
I will ill for most of it. It was the first major depressive period I'd had since the spring, I think. Except this time I didn't have a doctor I could go to, or a mum who could help support me. It made me realise how much I rely on my parents, and how lucky I am to have them be able to support me in the various ways that they are able to. Too many people I know can't access this kind of support simply because of money or distance or bullshit like that, and when I'm myself (ie. when I'm not ill), this kind of thing makes me absolutely furious.
When I was in Edinburgh things were bad. I didn't really have the support network of friends that I thought I had there, either. I mean, I have some friends up there, but only one or two would I feel comfortable going to in the state that I was in for a lot of the time I was there.
It got to the point where I was making plans, almost everyday, and waiting to carry them out. I was planning to kill myself for most of the time I was awake. I couldn't tell my parents at home because they would (understandably) worry. I couldn't tell the people I worked with because we didn't have that kind of relationship. I talked to my mum about cutting the trip short and coming home early, but I couldn't leave the company without me for the rest of the festival, because they only had about ten of us working. I've pretty much lost count of the number of times I cried in bathrooms or walking home or trying my best not to when I was on a front of house shift at the venue.
It came to a head when I rang my mum, explaining all that I could without worrying her too much, and we talked about whether I should leave. I counted down the days until I left, and I knew that I had Committee Training the last week of August, and that all of my travel had been booked for it, that I'd see some of my friends, that it was worth trying to hold on till then. And somehow, I managed to.
Before I came home, I got a tattoo. The tattoo is from this poem. The poem has hung in my room for the past two years, above my bed. I know it almost off by heart. In as far as possible, it means I'm reminded what it can't do, what it won't change. Permanently inked on my skin, it'll be there until I die. And unfortunately, I think I'll need to be reminded of this for a while yet.