The local council recently resurfaced the road that leads us to the river. Unfortunately, some bright spark didn’t think to adjust the road sign. The obscured part should read, “penalty charges apply.”
Our hour and a half walk in the afternoon (oh, yes, Jack has me in the palm of his paws) often takes us to a nearby park. We have walked along the same railway path countless times, but today was to be a little different. Trains are a regular sight along this stretch. The nearby station is where I almost took my life a few years ago.
Fortunately, I don’t remember much about that afternoon, as I waited on the high speed Gatwick Express. There must have been countless trains passing through that day, with people buzzing all around me.
My brain felt like it was melting and an alternative solution did not exist. I had rehearsed this “option” in my head countless times. That day, I was on automatic pilot.
It might have been the sound of a steam train and its distinct old-fashioned whistle, that brought me back to reality. Rolling into the station was the famous and very beautiful Orient Express, with its luxurious 1920-50’s restored carriages.
I would love to travel on the twenty-four hour route from London to Venice, via Paris, Innsbruck, and Verona. A one-way trip will set you back £2,055.
Whether it was the slight glimmer of hope seeping into my consciousness, a hint of desire, or a possible future… or maybe I just bottled out, I do not know because I never once looked back.
This afternoon, as I watched two Gatwick Express trains tear alongside the railway path, I suddenly realised that I no longer recognise the person I was back then. It is difficult to imagine the edge of that platform, incomprehensible that I would wish to end my own life.
I have come from a very bleak place, where it’s difficult to imagine anything other than the emotional pain that torments us day and night. When people say, “It will get better,” we feel as though they misunderstand the magnitude of our pain or the helplessness of our situation.
Recovery does not come easy, I cannot pretend it does. I just had to force myself to start it. I remember struggling to find the energy, the willpower, just to pick up the phone and speak to someone. I dragged my body along to appointments. My paranoia stood in the way and the crippling anxiety almost made me give up.
This was His Royal Nibs, Jack, by the river this morning.