It was about a year ago when Rhys’ mobile rang. His nephew we’ll call ‘Trey’ in Liverpool was in hospital after yet another suicide attempt. Naturally, we were alarmed, however, the story that unfolded put a damper on the family’s empathy.
We all know that statistically suicide rates soar after Christmas. On December 28th of 2018, Rhys’ aunt (the one who raped him) rang to tell him that Trey had cut his wrists again.
This has been a pattern for Trey who has drifted in and out of various group homes since his troubled teen years. But we thought things had changed. We had high hopes for Trey. He’d been on a path towards independence, going on job interviews and happily shopping for his first flat.
The next thing we knew, he was back in hospital, wrists bandaged and so heavily medicated that his responses to Rhys’ questions were monosyllabic.
A few weeks passed before Trey was released back to his group home and Rhys could have a meaningful conversation with him.
What had seemed to be a spontaneous expression of hopelessness, the proverbial ‘cry for help’ was actually nothing of the sort. With a wink and a chuckle, Trey confided to Rhys that his ‘suicide’ had been carefully orchestrated. A cut just deep enough to draw blood without any damage to tendons or veins. A scratch really.
It seems his six month Section 3 was up for review and Trey doesn’t want to be free. Yes, it’s that simple. He doesn’t want to be responsible. He doesn’t want to work. In a nutshell, he simply refuses to grow up.
Hence the ‘suicide attempt’. It was just enough, perfectly timed, for his Section 3 to be extended for another six months which is exactly what he wanted.
It’s so much easier to let The System foot his bills, dole out a generous allowance and care for his every need at no expense to himself.
The worst part is that he laughs about it. To him, it’s one big joke.
Trey is a disgrace to all the suffering people who genuinely struggle with depression and the desire to end it all who are truly in need of the care he takes but doesn’t need. He sits on his idle backside in a bedroom in a group home that rightfully belongs to someone else. He lolls in a hospital bed that should go to someone truly in need of care.
He’s a slap-in-the-face to all of us who struggle along, working hard every day regardless of how we feel mentally, emotionally and physically, to be financially independent and pay our taxes.
Worst of all, he’s cheating himself. If he continues this charade, someday he’ll go too far. A six month section will be extended to a twelve month section, repeated ad infinitum. It won’t be a game anymore. If he ever does decide he wants to grow up, earn money, fall in love and start a family, what then? How will he achieve his freedom? Will he admit it was one big lucrative game, a fraud?
My empathy, once so deep, has run thin. My alarm and concern for his safety have given way to nonchalance. These so-called suicide attempts no longer upset me. He’s cried wolf one too many times.
That may be the worst part of all. What if Trey does it ‘for real’ someday? What if he becomes genuinely suicidal? What then? How will we know if he’s in danger or just playing yet another game?
When will this charade end? How will it end? Only time will tell.
It’s not funny, Trey. It never was.
Photo by szapucki