This post is pretty personal and emotive, covering the topics of suicide, self-harm and death. If you don’t feel you are in the mental space to talk about that, you know you best. And if you do read this and feel like you need to talk urgently – or if you need to talk urgently for any other reason, suicide prevention lines can be found here. In the UK you can dial 116 123 for free.
I tend to be a night owl when it comes to life, and especially so when it comes to when I chat with people. Every day, when it hits midnight I tell my friends “Happy tomorrow”, which looks so odd on the outside but means so much on the inside to me. If I am chatting to someone, or doing something, or thinking about someone – I’ll do it then.
It’s personal, but to a lot of the world it just looks like I’m… weird. But it, for me, is a reminder of our inner strength and resolve and the fact we are lucky to be alive. I am starting to realise now though, that perhaps it is a lesson in life that might benefit other people from thinking.
The truth is, our time is finite, and we don’t know when a day may be our last. At all. That is scary. It might be our last day in a job, our last day with something we take for granted, or our last day we can tell someone we love them. I have had far too many of those days.
2017 was probably one of the worst years of my life. My world, and our family’s world, came crashing down earlier in that year when a beautiful member of our family passed away far too early. I have never felt so broken as I did when my mum had to tell me, by phone, that she was no longer here on this earth with us.
I remember exactly where I was told, exactly when, and exactly how quickly I dropped to the floor in tears in front of the windows of our packed student union bar, Loco’s. I remember the embrace my friend Jas gave me, I remember sobbing to myself in my bedroom for weeks, and I remember the misery that defined the months that followed. I still miss her now.
Fast forward to the end of that long, painful, draining year. It was a year beset with difficult times, filled with difficult decisions, and punctuated by difficult emotional development. The first day of January 2018 could not arrive sooner. And as soon as I heard the countdown on BBC One finish and 2018 start I let down my shoulders, breathed out, and stopped to think how glad I was for 2017 to finally be over. “I made it”, I thought to myself. “Well done me.”
I remember the distinct cut off between those two years vividly and never felt so proud to have got through the year.
2018 wasn’t much easier. Instead of being defined by misery, pain, and sadness it instead became defined by living life and – alarmingly – having far too many close calls with life’s arch nemesis: death. I had far too many days through that year where I reflected at the end of the day with horror as to what I had faced. “Had I fallen 10 seconds earlier, that Northern Line train would’ve killed me”. “If I had been spiked with anything stronger, I wouldn’t have made it home from Heaven”. “If that police car didn’t turn on its lights around Ealing Broadway, I would’ve been mugged.”
I kept on realising I was lucky to make it through 2018 as well. And I have no idea what the trigger was that made me think about it, but I realised it was not the year or the month or the week I was glad to get through. I was glad to have made it through another day. I started to think of the days I wasted. Days I didn’t leave the bed because I was depressed, days I couldn’t get into Central London for a date because I was having anxiety attacks induced by the snow, days I just could not be bothered. These days were wasted. I can’t waste days anymore.
So every time I get the chance to, I remind my friends that tomorrow is a day they deserve to have and yesterday was a day they made it through. I do it in less words than that though. I do it as “Happy tomorrow”.