30 September 2017

Guest blog: Hanson was My Suicide Note - Jan Childers


***As many Saturdays as possible, you'll see posts from people regarding their own experiences with their mental health. Use #BreaktheStigma on Twitter to share yours***

***Trigger warning: suicidal thoughts*


                It took roughly twenty years and four months after hearing “Mmmbop” for the first time before I got to see Hanson live for the first time. I had been among the millions of rabid fans as a teenager, but while my love had softened as an adult, it had never waned. Circumstances had continually kept me from seeing them, and this time was no different. Tickets sold out in a stunning four hours after going on sale. I’d given up hope of ever seeing them, or at least seeing them in the next several years. Yet fate smiled upon me, and I managed to obtain a single ticket mere days before the show. A very long drive, a wait in line just as long as my drive, and a small stampede later, I was four rows away from the stage.
                The show itself was everything I’d imagined it to be. It was a beautiful mix of both old and new, from the earliest days to the latest album. I teared up several times, but one song hit me much harder than anticipated. “With You in Your Dreams” was a hit from the day it was released with its mix of both childishly tender, yet shockingly powerful lyrics about death. I hadn’t listened to it in two years, whether by active or subconscious choice, I cannot say. By the opening line, tears were rolling down my face.




If I'm gone when you wake up
Please, don't cry
And if I'm gone when you wake up
It's not goodbye

                I was no longer visiting the carefree days of fourteen. Now I was sixteen, alone in the darkness of some godforsaken hour. I huddled beside my CD player, sobbing as quietly as I could into a pillow as I tried to find any shred of courage I might possess. I knew where my father kept his gun. It was in his bottom desk drawer, unlocked and always loaded. Everyone was asleep, so I wouldn’t get caught being awake and outside of my room. I could slip upstairs and back again, quiet as a mouse. All of my pain would be over in a matter of minutes. I just needed to find the courage to stand up and walk out of my bedroom.
                Through my tears, Taylor continued singing:
Don't look back at this time as a time
Of heartbreak and distress
Remember me, remember me
'Cause I'll be with you in your dreams
                Visions of my brothers danced in my head. They were so young then, too young to remember the pain of death several years before, but old enough to feel the pain that comes in the aftermath of death. They had not truly experienced loss yet. They would mourn me.
 But If I'm gone when you wake up
Please, don't cry
And if I'm gone when you wake up
Don't ask why
Don't look back at this time
As a time of heartbreak and distress
Remember me, remember me
'Cause I'll be with you in your dreams
I wondered if they would understand why I did it. I wondered if they were old enough to realize how many aspects of our lives were cruel and inhumane. Did they remember life from before? Would they understand I wasn’t strong enough to continue? I wanted to be there for them, but it was too much. I kept the song on repeat, losing myself in the lyrics. It was a beautiful memento to leave behind for them. Maybe if they listened to it, they would know I would always be with them. I wasn’t abandoning them. I would always watch over them from beyond.
Don't cry, I'm with you
Don't cry, I'm by your side
Don't cry, I'm with you
Don't cry, I'm by your side
                My reverie was interrupted at the concert. My tears had evolved into body-shaking sobs. All at once, every dark night I had ever had emerged at the forefront of my memory. I was sixteen, too afraid to get my father’s gun. I was nineteen, but I didn’t have enough pills to finish the job. I was twenty, too afraid to take the leap off the mountainside. I was twenty-two, my hands shaking too hard to put the belt around my neck. I was thirty, deciding which barrier I could crash into at high speeds. I was thirty-two, staring at the box that held my husband’s gun, knowing this time, I wouldn’t be too afraid... if only I would decide to open it.
And though my flesh is gone
I'll still be with you at all times
And although my body's gone
I'll be there to comfort you at all times
The girl beside me placed a hand on my shoulder. Her face was gentle and concerned. I couldn’t hear her voice, but the movements of her lips were unmistakable. “Are you okay?”
I don't want you to cry and weep
I want you to go on living your life
I'm not sleeping an endless sleep
'Cause in your heart
You have all of our good times
Oh, all of our good times
I had no words of my own. In spite of the many times I wanted to die, I was alive. I had lived through all the times I thought I couldn’t survive. I lived through my darkest days. I was alive. Whether it was through strength or cowardice, it didn’t matter. From that night in my room until the day I stood alongside this stranger, I had lived. I survived my worst enemy. I survived my own self-destruct button. I couldn’t find the words to tell this kind stranger just how much this moment meant to me. Even if I could, there was no guarantee she would understand, let alone appreciate this incredible occasion. I was alive!
And if I'm gone when you wake up
Don't ask why
Don't look back at this time
As a time of heartbreak and distress
Remember me, remember me
'Cause I'll be with you in your dreams

                There will always be dark nights in my life. I hope I will continue to have the strength to fight my way through them. I hope that during those nights, I will look back and remember how for one night, being alive was a moment to be celebrated. I want to remember how for one night, I wept not in despair of life, but with the indescribable happiness that I lived.

No comments:

There was an error in this gadget