• Tara Vaughan

To Die Would Be An Awfully Big Adventure



I love that title. Ever since I watched Peter Pan I’ve always agreed with it. To die would be an awfully big adventure and one day I’m sure I’ll find out, but not yet, not yet…


I’ve been toying with the idea of writing this for a while now. The truth is, writing about death, suicide, wanting to not exist isn’t easy. These thoughts are scary.


“You win” that is what I want to write to Hugo but the thing is, he’s not winning. He didn’t break up with me knowing that I would not want to exist anymore. “You win” is really one part of me giving in to another part of me. It has nothing to do with Hugo and I keep having to tell myself that. Every time he pops into my head, I think it would be easier to be dead. I have to recognize that those are just thoughts. And I am not my thoughts.


I’m not sure when I first thought about wanting to die but I remember the first time I wanted to commit suicide. I was 16 years old and it was Christmas Day. I had a few packets of different types of paracetamol lying round my room, none of them full and a packet of iron supplements, Pro Plus and vitamins. I laid them all out on my bed and sat there staring at them. The thought crossed my mind that the vitamins might equal out the paracetamol and nothing would happen. It didn’t matter, my father called me to come downstairs for lunch and I was more scared of disobeying him then I was to commit suicide.


At twenty, my depression got too much and that’s when the suicidality appeared again. Not wanting to exist, trying to find a way to escape this world, that’s what it was really about. I was put on medication and that numbed the feelings a bit but the thoughts would still creep in every now and again.


“I’ve been fighting demons in my closet for far too long. It’s about time I cleaned it out. It’s dark in here… God Almighty show me the light.” – Dankie SirKwanele


When Hugo broke up with me, it was life altering. My world shattered into a million different pieces. Not only had the man I loved broken up with me because he runs every two years (that’s his trauma), he had taken my world with him. I was moving to the countryside, part time, I'd split my week between London and Wales. I had found two horses, one for each of us. We were going to live off the land as best we could, chickens to start with, then sheep and a garden to follow. My whole world fell apart and I wanted nothing more than to not exist. Luckily, I think, a small – very small part of me wanted to stay around to see this life through. I asked my mother to remove my cooking knives from my bedroom. In London one time, I called my brother, Jeremy, one evening to come and get me. He found me with a knife to my wrist.


Things calmed down a little when I was travelling in Vietnam and India. But when I reached Oman for the family holiday, my suicidality skyrocketed. I had never wanted to be more dead then I did on that holiday. It was a para-motoring holiday, so not the best place for me to be really. Up in the air was quiet, a place I could get away. When it was time to come in, that’s when I would think, “now, now is my time, cut the engine and fall to the ground, the pain will stop”. I would get in the bath at the end of the day and look for something to cut my wrists with. I kept having this thought of how selfish it was of me to kill myself abroad, the added difficulties my family would have to go through to get a dead body back to the UK.


“You wake up every morning to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before, and that, my love, is bravery.” - Unknown


In January my mother got a ‘help me’ message. I had asked and Hugo promised to let me know when he was coming down to visit our friends. I wanted to be able to prepare, put myself in a safe situation and surround myself with resources. He didn’t tell me and I found out. I spiraled out of control and into self-destruct mode. I wanted nothing more then for him to know the pain he was causing me. I was in the bath when my mother found me, knife to wrist. I couldn’t decide if it were easier to slit my own throat or to cut a line up my left arm. I had tears streaming down my face. The thought of the unknown doesn’t scare me it welcomes me. The thought of not being able to come back when I’ve had enough of the unknown, that scares me a little.


On the Monday morning, I received message on a group chat to say that a friend I was at prep school with had accidently overdosed that weekend. I hadn’t seen him for a couple of years but I knew that he had his demons that he was battling with. I remember walking downstairs and sitting on the sofa and telling my mother. I was in such shock. More so I think because I realised that that message could’ve easily been about me. I had tried to kill myself that weekend, I wanted the pain to go away, and I wanted it to end. A teeny tiny part of me wanted to live and that’s why I’m able to write this now. I’m one of the lucky ones who escaped death. There is no coming back from it. You can’t just be dead and then come back to life as and when you want to. My old friend doesn’t have that luxury.


My friend is gone but will forever remain in our hearts. His death has made me realise just how short life truly is. How I need to live my life. Fight my demons. And strive to be the best person that I can be. It’s not easy. Every day I fight and some days it’s every hour but I will beat my demons. I will rise up above them and take control. I will learn to take their power from them and turn it into my power. I am not the thoughts that I battle with in my head.



I wrote this a few months ago and I remember saying to myself at the time, that’s enough, that’s enough now, no more suicidal thoughts. Now going back over and re-reading it I can tell you it’s not as easy as that, I wish it were. Something can trigger me and I can be right back in that suicidal place. My horse, for example, was put down a month ago and nobody told me. She was old and I new she wouldn’t live forever. It wasn’t her death that put me in a suicidal place, as I was expecting it at some point, it was the people closest to me who kept it from me. People who withheld the truth because they thought they were doing the right thing to protect me. Their thoughts of doing the right thing is what left me to write a suicide letter to my mother, say goodbye to my dog, and try to end it again.


I have just heard the news that another school friend has died. She had been battling with mental health problems for many years.

It is so easy for me to feel as if I’m struggling alone, like I am the only one battling with my demons, struggling alone in the darkness and utter despair. I find it hard to remember that others struggle, that others suffer in silence and that we do not have to do this on our own. We can offer support, love and prayers or even the simple act of giving a hug. We all have our struggles so we know how it feels when someone reaches out, showing that they are there for you. There are always people wanting to help. If anyone is suffering please do not do it in silence. Speak up. Depression isn’t an emotion, it is an illness and if it has driven you to thinking about suicide please reach out. The cure always varies, but love and support always helps. I’m trying a new way – away from the doctors, I’m not sure if it will work but I know being on the drugs isn’t working.


You never know what battles people are trying to fight in their own mind. Be kind.


If you need to speak to someone call:


Samaritans: 116 123 – 24 hours, 7 days a week


Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men: 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day


Papyrus – for people under 35: 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 10am to 10pm, weekends 2pm to 10pm, bank holidays 2pm to 5pm

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