Friday, 7 March 2008

The Trouble After Suicide Fails Is That You Still Have To Face Life

One reason why I have not been blogging much recently is because I have been facing pressures: severe ill-health during my first holiday since 2005 and now bad news about my employment prospects. I suppose I should have not expected any more. In this age we should expect to have to have twenty plus jobs in our lives. I have been fortunate that at a time when 2 year contracts or less are the norm, my last job went on for 4.5 years and this one will reach 4 years too if I complete the latest contract in August 2009. For a man in his twenties, two years is probably enough in a post, but as I age it gets harder, exacerbated by having to move across England and then move house twice more during the 2 years 7 months that I have had this current job. Anyway, yesterday it was revealed to us that the company had found out it was doing worse than it thought and was looking at cutting jobs. Of course the high ups will be unaffected they always are and will not even see a pay cut. The most vulnerable are people like me, the contract workers. They do not need to pay redundancy money they just do not re-employ us. This means another move and now of course I have to sell the house (the value of which is falling) which could easily take 5 months or more given it took 7 months to get in here. My industry is not one with jobs everywhere so I will be back on the road again. The longest I have spent in one town was 6 years in London and it looks like the average is about 4 years. Anyway, I just could not face the uncertainty, the need to keep on applying for jobs (I usually get 1 interview for every 25 applications I make and 1 job for every 125 applications, that is hours and hours of filling in forms) all made worse by now being over 40 (my insurance companies keep telling me this fact and why it means my premiums have to rise).

You will not be surprised to find that all of this simply made me tired with life and I began taking an overdose of prescription medicine last night. Of course I bottled it (for non-UK readers, I lost the courage to finish it off), I made the mistake of not getting drunk first and having watched a particularly bleak episode of the science fiction series 'Torchwood' this week about a man brought back to life, I became terrified of what lurked waiting for me beyond life. Initially it had felt really relaxing and I had no desire to write a note or anything, just to get away from all the stuff piling on my head. Today I feel incredibly cowardly that I am still here, extremely weak in terms of my resolve and so rather than yesterday when I felt courageous I now despise myself even more. I do feel rather numb which is quite a good sensation because the big problem of failing to kill yourself is that you still have to face up to all the rubbish you were trying to leave behind and that is where I am now, but the fear of unemployment and the house respossession that would inevitably fail, the need to throw away so many of my possessions so I could fit into a flat I could afford and give up what I have accumulated in my life, is dulled now, though of course it has not gone away and is still to be faced.

They say unemployment has fallen from the 4 million out of work of the 1980s down to somewhere like 1.6 million people these days. However, I think there is a lot of missing unemployment, unreported and also for people like me, underemployment in the sense that my next job is unlikely to pay sufficient to keep the house. How foolish I was to fall for the pressure and the lure of buying the house, and how incredibly quickly (it is just over 3 months since we moved in) that it is all coming apart. This is my moment of being truly middle class, it is likely to expire in 17 months if not sooner. Men are obsolete, the new jobs being created are low paid and unappealing. What a waste of government money all my education was in that it cannot keep me in a decent job and in my house. I should have simply left school at 16 and I would be in no different position now. I would probably have had fewer experiences, but so many of them have been about stress and pressure, I would have given up the bulk of them. I can see why the suicide rate among young men in the UK is so high, there is nothing to live for. If you are lucky you will get a decent life for a few years, but then it will evaporate sooner or later and certainly when you retire if not before. How dare people try to stop young men exiting the so bleak existence that lies before the bulk of them.

This was another point which angered me. My housemate got angry that I would kill myself in my own house with a 6-year old living here. For a start I reserve the right to kill myself in my own house and no-one is going to stop that. Second, I have ended up as de facto father figure to this child (you cannot avoid it, beware of this two adults plus child, no matter what the relationship, end up being perceived as the parents no matter how badly qualified one or other is for the role. I imagine it even applies with two people of the same sex living in the house but it is even easier if you are a different gender to the real parent) and apparently that means I cannot kill myself. That is ridiculous, the strongest woman I ever knew had had both her father and uncle kill themselves and it made her outward going and intelligent and incredibly well travelled. The reason behind this is because children who come from two-parent families are too weak to live in this modern world. Only children from single parent families stand any chance these days. They are not pandered to and early on they learn to be tough and resourceful. If I had not been brought up by two parents I am sure I could cope far better with the situations I am facing. It is rubbish to say families need fathers; two parent families are unsuitable for western society in the twenty-first century and that 6-year old would be better off without some pretend father.

So where does this leave me now? Well, I guess the numbness will wear off and the fear of the future will return. Also massive regret over so many things I have done wrong. Every decision I seem to have made since 2005 has been a big error. Leaving my old permanent post for a contract job in more expensive region of the UK was a major mistake especially as they reneged on three-quarters of the relocation expenses I had been promised. The second thing was not to downsize immediately and try to keep the space I had previously enjoyed, that is impossible in South-East England. I picked two wrong houses to rent. They initially seemed good but the behaviour of the landlords cut the ground from beneath me and costs thousands of pounds in moving and moving again let alone a lot of stress. Of course the house purchase was handled very poorly, getting so little for my London flat, paying so much for this house and getting a fixed-rate mortgage when interest rates were at their peak. Done differently I could have got £5-10,000 more out of the deal and not eaten up all my savings for a house I will not see two years in and that money could have tided me over the period of unemployment that is coming up. I have been a fool at every turn.

As you can tell given that nothing has changed in the circumstances that led to me trying to take my own life (something I can never get right, I tried to hang myself at the age of 22 and the hook to which the rope was tied broke dropping me to the floor) remains. Next time I am going to get a lot of alcohol to keep the frights away as I do it and I am going to make sure that I have far far more medicines so that there is no chance I will come back simply with a headache. Then the government can simply continue its authoritarian steps (still trying to push for 42 days detention without charge and now rushing through identity cards for all foreign nationals in the UK, a cynical ploy as the libertarian right are strongly against identity cards but they hate immigrants even more) without me.

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