I’m guilty of having unrealistic expectations of life due to the amount of time I immerse myself into the fabricated world of film and the pleasure I find in attempting to recreate staged narratives into candid parts of my life. In film you can be anything, as long as you fit it in to a well thought out and flowing stream of frames per second that doesn’t drag itself out, much like the Avengers franchise (sorry guys).
I’m guilty of having unrealistic expectations of death. I’ve seen a lot of films explore the death a loved one. For a story line it’s quick, it’s sad, but you’ll find the silver lining. I thought I knew the story. I never thought I’d feel ashamed. Nobody was prepared for suicide. A heavy burden of guilt pushing you down to earth and making you face reality.
I began to dream up superhero scenarios in my head where I went back in time and saved Ellen. Constantly replaying the scene, going over the script, and perfecting the happy ending. Time passed and I realised this probably wasn’t a healthy pastime and tried to lower my expectations. Instead I time travelled to memorable moments in the hopes that I could change her mind, tell her that I loved her, or just hugged her so tight that she knew. Like all superpowers, it began to take its toll. She begun to ask me how I’d gotten there in the nick of time to save her but I didn’t have the answer.
It wasn’t until a few months later that a good friend of mine assured me that this guilt I harbour isn’t warranted. If I asked Ellen today if she was disappointed, mad, or upset with me for not being able to save her she’d probably slap me across the face and tell me to stop being a nob. I realised that people who suffered from mental health issues were not damsels in distress but in fact superheroes who were fighting their own battle. When you are mourning the suicide of a loved one you are always questioning if you did enough for them. It’s important to realise that some paths are taken alone. Not because you weren’t there but because it wasn’t your story to write. Some things are not in your power as much as you want them to be. Villains don’t have to be human, they can tear the strongest of people down without causing a scene. Mental illness can be destructive, unlike the chaos caused in superhero films, you can’t always see the broken parts to help put them back together again. I don’t have the answers on what to do in this situation because I haven’t found them yet, but I’m beginning to learn what not to do. Harbouring guilt, anger, or vengeance on others will only feed the antagonist in your own story. It’s so easy to place the blame despite there not really being any. There is so much negative emotion from the experience that you try and push it to one place because it makes it easier than carrying it on your own shoulders. The voice of reason is something you need to listen out for, it may start out sounding like nails on a chalkboard but the melody becomes sounder.
Mourning doesn’t take time, it won’t take anything you throw at it. You can’t blast it into space or wake up in the morning like it was all a dream. Even though it’s a part of you it doesn’t define you, you can still bloom amongst the rubble.
We are not limited to 2 hours of story line and 24FPS, there is more we can do with our narrative if we want to help. We’ve been working as a group to create Mermen For Mind and the journey has been uplifting. Working with Ellen’s close friends and family has shown me that despite fighting our own battles, we are all still able grow.
Written by Caroline Fergus | 28.08.2018
“At times the world may seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe that there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may in fact be the first steps of a journey.” Lemony Snicket