Three months. For three months, he posted online about his depression, suicidal tendencies, and the self-esteem that had vanished entirely. In the early days of him sharing everything from music videos and memes, to poetry written by his own hand, people were concerned. Quite a few ended up in his inbox, offering a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and offered support. None kept up their word, and why would they?
It wasn’t that he didn’t go to them for help; from friends, therapist, to random strangers on the internet, he tried all forms of therapy, and speaking his art out. It’s just, people don’t possess that reservoir of empathy, and the ability to fully absorb what the other person is saying. More often than not, the speaker is unable to fully convey their emotions, and in a hurry to ensure the listener doesn’t misunderstand, they lose their train of thought. Flustered, they begin covering up, stuttering in half-formed sentences, until they go quiet.
“Just…just ignore me,” he used to say often, “I don’t really know what I’m talking about.”
Another favorite was, “Don’t you worry about me, because I’m fine. It’s nothing serious, I just love shitposting.”
The posts escalated to the point some people unfollowed him on Facebook because he took up their entire feed, and there’s only so many people could endure.
Sad; they called him sad. He wasn’t depressed, or suffered from any major illnesses. He had simply given into the “norm” of claiming he was mentally ill when really, he was just a loser who did nothing, which wasn’t strictly true.
He attended all his classes, finished assignments on time, met his social obligations, volunteered at the local animal shelters, and regularly played gigs at various cafes in the city, to manage his own finances. His mother was rather proud of her sweet-natured, obedient, and creative child. She’d given into him performing as long as it remained a hobby, and didn’t get in the way of his future career.
However, she couldn’t see behind the façade he fought so hard to maintain. If we’re all being honest here, she didn’t really want to see the lingering sadness in his smiles, the lost look in his eyes which gained clarity at an alarming speed if mentioned. It reminded her of his father.
Soon, the posts began to decrease in number, as did his hours online. He paid more attention to his academia, and co-curricular activities. His friends were happy with him again; he’d spend time in their company, whenever they wanted him to. His teachers were impressed by the amount of work he was currently putting in. The cafés he performed at received more visitors than usual, and his employers often sent bonuses his way. It was all going smoothly. Things couldn’t be more perfect.
Until the day he took his own life, by a single gunshot through the heart. His mother had to be sedated until she was calm enough for the funeral proceedings. The gun had belonged to his father, who had chosen the same path, unbeknownst to the son who had never met the man whose photograph hung in the hallway, and eerily resembled him.
An account had been set up, six months ago for his mother, to support her in her old age, because he could not.
“My chest feels hollow. There is something beating inside of it, with a dull thudding sound. I cannot feel the blood – pumping, flowing, rushing – through my veins. What flows through me besides a sluggish, chemical puss which has corrupted my system from the inside out? This sick, foreign, entity in my chest is deceptive in nature. I wish I could feel it again, at least once more. Anything would do if I could breathe something besides the poison that has stunk up my being.
I don’t regret this, for it either means a breath of fresh air or no air at all, and I prefer the latter.”