I know why people suicide on their way out of depression.
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t twirled the idea in my own mind. When I picture it, when I picture myself dangling from the end of the rope, I’m always under myself, about knee-height, looking up at my body gently swinging and twisting. The image is done in golds and reds, with that glimmering overexposed quality people normally associate with Christmas or really bright teeth. I don’t picture this every day, but I’ve seen it several times this day. That’s not all I see, either.
Sometimes, when I’m feeling especially unappreciated and unheard, I envision inserting a largish gauge needle into the left vein of my left arm, just under where that one vein cuts over to the right, intersecting the right vein. I guess I need a tan, because my skin is so pale I can track the veins all the way up my arm. Of course, no one out here on Asteroid 372 has a tan, but they aren’t so pale as I am. Maybe that’s why I contemplate pushing that needle in, because I can see them so clearly, like I can see it now. I can hear myself make that sound, you know the one, when you suck a breath between your teeth: ssS! And I can feel that little “pop” of the needle when it finally breaks the skin. After that, it’s a smooth vector into that bluish greenish little worm.
Once the needle is in, great gouts of red blood squirt out. I see it wash over a white wall, always a white wall, with the red, red blood just painting the wall. My blood is really, shockingly dark red, because of the reduced oxygen here. Sometimes it even looks black in the gloom of Asteroid 372, but in my mind I poke my veins in a bright white room, so the thick red blood can paint the wall and hurt my eyes.
I’ve always had trouble seeing red and white together. I don’t know why, really, but it seems like the two colors don’t mix well in my brain. They do when it’s red blood on the white wall, though. When I picture that, I don’t have any trouble it all, save for the intensity of that red, oxygen-deprived blood of mine.
After I puncture my veins (“See!” I say, as the blood jets out of me, “See how much I’m hurting? I’m bleeding for it/you/them/this company”), or, that is to say, after I picture puncturing my veins and squirting blood for people to see my agony, I often picture my body, as it looks after I’ve hanged myself, as if I were some Christmas Goose out of Ancient England. Scrooge’s little errand boy couldn’t have seen a prettier goose dangling there, if you believe Books.
That’s how I picture it. I only picture it when I’m in that desperate place. In the very quiet rational place in my head, the little psychiatrist who constantly evaluates me tells me this is what happens on the way up. That as long as I don’t have a definitive plan, but am just picturing it in the abstract, then it’s a healthy way for my mind to communicate to the conscious me that it’s in pain. This part, this overly dramatic teenager part of my brain, thinks that there’s no way out of the pain I’m in, but the fact that it’s communicating with me means that I’m actually getting better. Because, hey, killing yourself requires effort, and when I’m lying on my pallet, barely breathing and scaring the shit of the Company shrinks, I don’t have the energy to actually do it.
I tell my inner counselor to stuff it in her twat, because the conscious me knows the truth: I really do want to kill myself, but I’m such a fuckup that there’s no way I wouldn’t, well, fuck it up. And it would hurt. I’m a coward when it comes to that. I’m not much fond of pain.
That’s funny, because there’s so much of it on Asteroid 372.
I shake my head, why? Why? But, as usual, there’s no real answer. I should have taken school more seriously. I shouldn’t have slept with Tommy Knockwell. I should have read the fine print on the recruitment mag, and I should have been nicer to my mother.
It’s too late now.
I lift my hand and give the Miner’s Fingers to the camera blinking at me up in the corner of the Bus. There’s only one Bus on Asteroid 372, and it only goes to one place: Happy Acres Facility for the Chronically Distressed. Leave it to this nutsuck to get a job on the one asteroid in the whole System that houses the Depression Colony, and then get roped, stunned, and sent there when she’s actually feeling a bit better. Yes, my friends, Antoinette Birch Flemming is on her way to the Depression Colony. And now I totally understand why people kill themselves when they’re just starting to come out of it. As it turns out, when you’re coming up out of it is when you realize that there really is no hope, after all.