It’d be a waste if you stopped writing

The ocean doesn’t want me today
But I’ll be back tomorrow to play
And the strangels will take me
Down deep in their brine
The mischievous braingels
Down into the endless blue wine
I’ll open my head and let out
All of my time
I’d love to go drowning
And to stay and to stay
But the ocean doesn’t want me today
I’ll go in up to here
It can’t possibly hurt
All they will find is my beer
And my shirt
A rip tide is raging
And the life guard is away
But the ocean doesn’t want me today
The ocean doesn’t want me today

The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me
Tom Waits

There have been two times in my life when I wanted to kill myself. “Wanted” as in, “truly intended” as opposed the much more common “felt I’d be better off dead”. The first was when I was five or six years old. And the second is an event I told the young people at church, at least, the young people who could be bothered to show up this afternoon, a little bit about during a session originally meant to be about developing a positive and responsible attitude towards alcohol.
We’d just gone through a set of sobering (no pun intended) statistics about alcohol and one of the members of the group asked about the link between alcohol and suicide – about which followed on from the other. Generally it depends on the situation, and we said so – sometimes the alcohol induces a state of heightened emotion, in which a person may find themselves more likely to commit suicide, and sometimes an already suicidal person may use the alcohol to kill inhibitions they know would normally prevent them taking their lives – a kind of suicide by stages. It was at this point that a memory returned.

Back in the glory days:
Everybody else in the house was out. I knew that life wasn’t worth it. I knew that suicide was the only way out of a hopeless situation. I knew that a sober Tim wouldn’t follow through with the intention and for a while something cold took over.
One trip to the off license later, I sat down and started drinking. It’s so long ago now that I can’t remember if I drank straight from the bottle or if I was dignified enough to give the Jack the respite of sitting in a glass before I tipped it down my throat. Half a bottle later and the cold thing wasn’t satisfied that the rest of me was docile enough, I didn’t notice any effects of intoxication and was perfectly lucid when my housemates returned. The human part that was still awake told them everything and they physically restrained me as the cold part tried to force its way into the kitchen where the knives were.
Again, it’s too long ago and there was so much craziness back then, I can’t remember if that was one of the times a member of the house was dragged along to hospital to wait in casualty for four hours by desperate housemates only to be sent home with a note for their GP in the hope of starting some form of medical treatment that might help.

The years have passed and I’ve grown up a lot since then. The cold something raged all the louder as it was squashed and gradually frozen out of my life and life since then hasn’t been an entire bed of de-thorned roses, but the cold something is lucky these days if it gets a word in edgeways. I know the warning signs better now.

To dive into a metaphor – I haven’t been down to the beach for a long time, although I’ve often dreamed of going for a paddle.

In an effort to further freeze the cold something out, I’ve been trying to think about things I’m good at.  I’ve been told in the past that writing’s one such thing, and this morning (aeons before this afternoon) a friendly warm thought popped into my head:
It’d be a waste if you stopped writing.

Thank you to everybody who’s left comments over the past few months, and for all the “write some more” reminders.  I can’t promise to get back to being a regular regular again, but I’ll try to eat my bran.