Last week’s blog was a tough one to write. It was an intense subject matter and I think it gave you the reader a real insight into my mind. From my point of view, it was a great release. To cover that many emotions and feelings in a relatively short blog was a good step towards unburdening myself of the mental struggles I have had in the past. I hope it’s another foot forward to reaching a resting place where my mind allows me to be happy and stay healthy. I admit it was a lengthy read last week, so thanks for staying with me if you did. I felt I could have written for pages and pages on that topic but this utopia of the mind I am searching for will only come at the right pace. In this week’s blog I am going to talking about the night of Sunday 17th October. I have mentioned this in a previous blog without going into the specifics of the night and how I was feeling.
It had been a heavy couple of months of drinking on nights out, weddings and stag dos and I had got back into a habit of drinking more regularly. Without recognising the early onset signs, I had been starting to slip. Sleeping in too late after a heavy night or not performing properly for work to mood swings from one hour to the next. This is and was a bizarre feeling. I could go from being euphoric to feeling like the world was ending in the space of five minutes. I would give myself little things to look forward to on a night time whether it was a few pints in the local boozer or a bottle of wine to engulf that night, sometimes both. Those little things I would see as wins for me, when in truth they were causing those mood swings I mention above. On this particular Sunday I met a few friends who had also come to the see the unveiling of the new Newcastle era at St. James Park following the highly publicised takeover, I don’t know if you heard about it…? This should have been a very happy day for me, and every toon fan no matter what the result was, and I am sure it was for the vast majority. Things started off fine, I had even slowed my drinking down and started with a couple of soft drinks. I saw everyone around me enjoying themselves and having a few pints and thought yeh, I am having a bit of that as well. This a special day so let’s make the most of it.
I didn’t get too drunk that day, because if I did it would have made what happened more understandable to me. The game was quite a strange one, I can remember the atmosphere being absolutely electric, the flags, Jimmy Nail’s Big River blasting out before kick-off. Everyone was genuinely happy and after the appalling couple of years we had with COVID and not being allowed to do anything let alone go to football matches, coupled with the torrid tenure of Mike Ashley at Newcastle it was great to be in the stadium and feel the collectiveness come back. Even with old cabbage head himself Steve Bruce in charge for his 1000th game he couldn’t ruin it for everyone. We scored after a couple of minutes, and everyone goes mental (maybe a dodgy choice of word to use in a blog about mental health but let’s run with it) myself and the fella next to me embrace and its joyous it really is. You are probably thinking, how does it go bad from here? Spurs hit back within the first twenty-five minutes of the game and are ahead, but this doesn’t dampen the spirits of everyone. This is a new beginning, a new dawn and fresh hope so the game continues, and the carnival atmosphere remains. This is until something quite terrible happens. Just before half time a man tragically suffers a heart attack in the East Stand of the ground. This is the stand over to my right as I look at the pitch. There is a huge commotion, with fans desperately trying to get stewards attention. Eventually thanks to some of the players and fans help is given but watching this unfold I found it to be very distressing to a point where I had to go down into the concourse and have a drink. A wise move brain Denton thinks but in reality, not a great one. The alcohol mixed with emotions from the day turn my mood and I begin to feel very low.
What happened next was all a bit of a blur so I can’t recall it all specifically. I remember going back to my seat for the second half and watching the first fifteen minutes with nothing too memorable happening. My mind was full, fixed on the poor man that had suffered the cardiac arrest and it made me feel incredibly sad. I started to think what if he has died? How awful would that be. To come to a game on such a big occasion and potentially not go home the same night. Around the hour mark my vision became blurred, not literally but my surroundings seemed to disappear, and I was transfixed with what had occurred. I don’t remember any part of the game from there.
I was motionless and a wave of anxiety started to grip me like I had never experienced before. You’d think zoning out of a Newcastle game would have become the norm over the past two years but this was different. It was almost like I wasn’t present any longer. Something in my mind changed and I made the decision there and then that I would not be returning home that evening. I don’t know if the event in the crowd had triggered something, but my mind had flipped. Chloe, my girlfriend had arrived at my flat and was waiting for me there so we could spend the night together when I got in, but I decided that I wasn’t going home. The last few months had finally caught up with me. I went to the darkest place imaginable. I felt the despair creep in and that I no longer wanted to live. All the darkest parts of my past leapt to the forefront of my consciousness. This was it, I had finally reached the end. Time to go. Time to stop feeling like this. I was at the point of sadness and defeat, there was no way back from here. I thought about my family, friends, and everyone I care for and concluded that I had to stop putting them through it all. Stop disappointing everyone, stop feeling like I didn’t really belong anywhere. I made a plan to get back on the metro for one final time. I am one of those weirdos that actually like the metro for some reason. I went to the closest pub to the metro at central station quickly dispatched two or three pints for old times sake and got on the metro.
I got off at my usual stop and instead of turning left for home I went right and walked to a place where I knew no one would be around, I didn’t need an audience for the final act. My mind had been made up for a good hour or two now and nothing was going to stop me. I had written out a message of goodbye to Chloe and asked her to make my family and friends understand. I trusted her to deliver this for me. Analysing this now this was a terrible thing to ask of her, but I knew she would come through for me. I walked for around half a mile onto the metro railway bridge and removed things from my pockets. I had not planned things to total perfection as I now had to wait for a train. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your opinion of me normal service on the metro for a Sunday is pretty infrequent so the wait was long. Finally, I heard it, the sound of the train hammering along the tracks. This was it, the end. My heart began to race but I knew this was the right thing to do, put an end to years of failure. In the long run, once the initial hurt was felt I reasoned that everyone would be better off. I went to climb onto the ledge of the bridge, the timing needed to be right. The train was hurtling towards me now and I closed my eyes ready to jump. But I couldn’t do it, failure again. Not delivering on a promise I had made yet again. Fear gripped me and I couldn’t bring myself to jump. The train passed by and I broke down in the darkness and sat on the ground. I felt useless in that moment, a total fucking loser.
My phone had been switched off for a while now and of course I was not naive to think people wouldn’t be worried at that moment. I ignored every message and every call from those trying to reach me, selfish again putting those people through that. I am sorry for that. I don’t think I apologised enough at the time. My plan then changed, and I began walking through the nearby fields. I must have walked for two hours maybe more, determined to try something else. I knew a busy road could be the alternative, not thinking of the poor unsuspecting driver I planned to jump out upon. Whilst walking I could not stop the feelings of complete shame and failure again. Why couldn’t I do it? Fear mostly but that shouldn’t have been enough. Having walked for that time eventually I answered a call to my dad. I felt he would understand, he would know how I felt. I was still determined to end what I had started but couldn’t find the courage to do it. For days, weeks possibly after I regretted not making the jump and ending my life. I would have finally found some peace, away from my dark thoughts and moods. My dad found me and the enormity of what I had done to my parents and loved ones was evident, but I felt nothing. I felt cold, empty inside even more of a failure. To this day, other than the fear I don’t know what else stopped me in that specific moment. I came back to my flat with Chloe waiting for me. My parents and stepdad also came in and stayed with me to make sure nothing else happened that night. The worry I had put them and everyone through was awful, but I still felt alone. I felt I had unfinished business with death, and we would be back meeting on that bridge again very soon.
I had never properly experienced feelings like that before, I had never physically got to the point where ending my life was right there in front of me. I honestly hope I never go back to that place again. I know that so many people don’t make it back from the bridge, sadly too many are lost to suicide. The feeling that is the only way out for them, it is heart breaking for so many families. I despise reading or hearing people say that suicide is cowardly, that is absolute rubbish. It takes courage to make the decision and take that final action, but there has to be another way for anyone in that moment. We must do more as a society to help the most vulnerable people in these situations. I have been lucky I know that, others don’t have people that are there for them. If you are reading this and ever feel like you are at that point, please talk to someone. Anyone. There is light when the darkness ends, I promise.
Been a heavy one guys, so apologies if this hasn’t brightened up your Monday evening. I wanted to share this experience to help me try to make sense of that night. I still don’t quite get it myself at times. I hope that it can also be a reference point to others that not taking that final decision can be the best choice you make. Next week I want to talk about how I am feeling right now and what I have been doing in the last two months to try and make myself feel as Atomic Kitten once said, whole again.
Thanks again for all the amazing comments and support. I have an interview with BBC Radio Newcastle coming out on Wednesday at around 10am talking about the blog and how it is helping me and other people. Feel free to tune in and let me know what you think.