Before we begin here, there are a fair few things I have to address. Long before I started UnopenedMale, I knew I would have to talk about this eventually and therefore have taken a significant amount of time thinking about the precise words I was going to use. I started writing this piece in May 2020 and wanted to release it in September of that year for World Suicide Prevention Day, but I was not mentally or emotionally prepared.
I've come a long way in the last year and while there has been an aching in my stomach for every second I have been writing this, I feel that if I put this off for another 12 months, I may never release it and it will continue to eat away at me. Part of me is still not ready for the repercussions and inevitable conversations that will come from me posting this, but it's something I can't put off any longer.
This piece is not here to condone or defend my actions. It is simply there to share my story, release some of the shame I feel towards what happened and hopefully help somebody out there that may be experiencing what I did those many years ago.
It's deeply saddening that the biggest threat to my life is not cancer, car accidents or even shark attacks, it's me. As a young man, I am the biggest threat to my own life and it seems apt that the closest I have come to death is at my own hands.
Suicide is an epidemic in this country like no other as it seems as though it's the option far too many people turn to when all other alternatives have been exhausted. This is not the case though, help is out there. If you at all are feeling suicidal or that you have no other options, please call any of the following helplines who can provide you with incredible support:
Samaritans - 116 123
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) - 0800 58 58 58 (5pm to midnight every day)
Papyrus (for people under 35) - 0800 068 41 41 (9am to midnight every day)
Childline (for children and young people under 19) - 0800 1111
SOS Silence of Suicide - 0300 1020 505 (4pm to midnight every day)
Shout Crisis Text Line – Text "SHOUT" to 85258
YoungMinds Crisis Messenger (for people under 19) - Text "YM" to 85258
Or get in contact with your GP for an emergency appointment or call 111 if your GP is out of hours and they will help you get the help that you need.
Here goes nothing...
The straw that broke the camels back
Followers of my content will know that my school life was far from an enjoyable one. So much so that I would either fake illness or self-sabotage myself to such an extent that I would actually become sick. Anything to not have to take another step in that school and deal with the consequences of being a social outcast.
In the summer of 2008, at what would be my final year at the school that had hurt me so much, the bullying became so much that I finally had to reach out for help. Let that be a lesson to you all, nobody bullies Dave Tyler for a decade and gets away with it. Or so I thought.
I still didn't know how to ask for help and I was too shy and anxious to simply go up to a teacher and tell them what was going on. So I wrote an email, detailing everything that had been occurring for the past decade, that every second at school was hell and that I couldn't cope with it anymore. Two pages of a Word document later, it was ready and I clicked send.
Days and weeks went past and still no response. I checked my outbox relentlessly to make sure that the email had actually sent and that I'd used the correct email address. In the days of AOL and wired modems, refreshing the page seem to take forever and my anxiety spiked every time I clicked the button. More time went by and still nothing. There was only a short amount of time left of the school year so I told myself to just get though that last stint and I'd be at a new school in no time. If I wasn't going to continue to be ignored, at least it wouldn't be for much longer.
Fast forward to one of the final days of school and with it comes the usual end of year assembly. This is an opportunity for teachers and students alike to discuss all the successes of the previous year.
The speech was business as usual until it was coming to an end, where the final speaker took a pause and turned their final page. They said that they had received an email from a student that upset them and they had to address it.
As the words reached my eyes, my heart tried to escape my body through my throat.
Omitting only my name and the other names I included, they proceeded to read my email verbatim. Each second they are reading it is worse than the last. My cry for help is being read out to hundreds of people. I'm completely frozen. The only parts of my body that are working is my heart which is racing at an undreamt of speeds and my sweat glands which are working on overdrive. I dread to think what I looked like.
While they didn't say names, the email had enough specific details in there for people to quickly realise it was me that wrote it. People turned in their chairs in search of me in the crowded room and I heard hushed whispers of my name scattered around behind me. Those that didn't know who had wrote it at the start, knew it by the end.
They had used my speech to further an image of having a hard stance on bullying while doing nothing to actually resolve the situation. The hardest thing I'd ever had to write had been used as a stepping stone for this persons career. I'd become a pawn and had never felt smaller in my entire life.
When they were done slapping me in the face with my own speech, the assembly was finally over. Students stood up in rows and left the room, more faces turned to me. I kept my head down, I had to. If I caught another persons eye, I would have either cried or thrown a punch, most likely both.
When it was my turn to leave, I walked as quickly as I could to the nearest bathroom and locked myself in the first stall I could find. Cold sweat was dripping down my arms onto my shaking hands.
What I had written in my darkest hour had been thrown back in my face.
In that moment, I had an epiphany. I wholeheartedly believed that there was nobody in this world that cared about me and I would be doing everybody a favour if I was dead. Up until that point, I held out some hope that the bullying would stop and eventually I'd get my fairytale ending and be happy. But after his speech, I changed.
I view this day as the day I became a completely different person. While my later suicide attempt would not be successful, the person I was died that day. Although I didn't know it at the time, I would never be able to see the world the same way again.
What I did know was that for the first time in my life I wanted to die and that night, I would try to take my own life.
It's finally over
When I got home that evening, I did my best to act as though that day was just a normal day at school. My years of pretending that I was okay had all been practice for that day. I got changed, ate my dinner and went straight back up to my room.
I took a pen and paper and began writing my suicide note. Most people don't know when they are going to die, so they can't choose their last words, I was not most people. I took a deep breath and began to write.
The letter I wrote was poised, deliberate and brutal.
I named a number of individuals who I wanted to know that they were directly responsible for my death. I felt as though my life probably had little meaning to them, so I would make sure that my death did. I wanted my death to be a scar that they would have to wear for the rest of their lives.
I'm not proud of doing that.
Looking back, my actions could have likely lead to mental health problems or possibly even worse for those people. We don't make the world a better place by taking an eye for an eye. But the teenage version of me didn't care about making the world a better place for the world he wouldn't be in any longer. He wanted vengeance.
The letter inouceated the point that while I wanted the people I deemed responsible to know that they were responsible, everybody else reading the letter should not feel sorry for me, but be happy about the fact that I would no longer have to go through another day with pure misery seeping through my veins.
I thanked some for being there for me in their own way and concluded it by apologising to those (if they existed) that would be saddened by my death.
Signed, David Tyler.
The easy part was done, now time for the hard part.
Suicide was not exactly a subject I knew much about. The only ways I knew of people doing it were in films either hanging themselves, shooting themselves or taking a bottle of pills. The first two of those options weren't feasible, so I went for option three.
In our kitchen, we had a part of a cupboard that had a shoebox filled with various sorts of pills, ranging from painkillers to seasickness. I grabbed what I could and went up to the bathroom.
Looking at myself in the mirror as I poured a glass of water, the only thing redder than my skin were my bloodshot eyes. I was a sorry sight. The person looking back at me looked dead inside. It seemed only fitting to put him out of his misery.
So I began to swallow as many pills as we had. Three or four at a time until I got to about 20. Based on what I had seen, that seemed as if it would be more than enough to get the job done.
Since I've started UnopenedMale, I've read countless stories from people who have attempted to take their own life. A theme that has ran true through most of them is that once they had done the act and were past the point of no return, they immediately panicked and regretted what they had done.
I did not.
What rushed over me was a feeling of calmness, deep to my very core. Countless hours of meditation have never given me anything close to the that feeling of pure tranquility. Thankfully, this is not a feeling I wish to chase. But in my mind, my suffering had come to an end and I could rest. I would be at peace.
I laid down on the beanbag in my family living room, took one last look around and closed my eyes for what I thought was the last time. A single though played on repeat in my mind as I drifted off.
"It's finally over"
It must have been only a few hours later when I woke up. I wasn't sure whether the feeling in my stomach was shame or the copious amount of pills I had just injected, but I had to go and throw up. What can only be described as a black sludge came out of me.
Once the sickness and dizziness had worn off, the only thought running through my head was "wow, you can't even do that right".
In hindsight, the only thing that saved my life was pure ignorance to what I was doing. I'm ashamed to say that if I knew then what I know now, I would have died that day. Taking a handful of aspirin, sleeping pills and seasickness pills is not the smartest way to end your own life. But I wasn't thinking rationally, I only had intent on my mind. An intent to no longer be a part of this world.
I resigned myself to the fact that I couldn't even die. I was destined to stay alive and live out this miserable life.
In the years to come, my mentality flip flopped between two completely opposite ends of the spectrum. The first being, to make such a success of myself that I could go back to the school and make a speech lambasting the school for what it had done to me. The other being, that it doesn't really matter what happens to me because eventually I would kill myself.
This story does have a happy ending however.
Since that fateful day, I have never made another attempt at my own life. That being said, for many years, I used to have a suicide note saved on my laptop that I would update periodically as new things happened that made we want to take the final action. I don't anymore, it's long been deleted.
If you're reading this and feel concerned about me, I promise you that you don't need to. I have not thought about suicide in around five years and value my life far too much to take it. While my depression still takes me down some very dark paths, I do not want to die anymore.
I've learnt the value of life and all its beauty. The answers to my problems are not in death, but in making something meaningful out of my life. There are wonderful people in my life who make me cherish it and I would do anything to not cause them any kind of pain. I want to make them as happy as they have made me.
I have depression, but I am happy.
I want to thank everybody since that day who has taught me what it means to be happy. You have quite literally saved my life. I may never be able to truly repay you all for this gift you have given me, but I will live my life trying to.
Until we speak again, keep hanging in there.