I sometimes need to remind myself how important my book deal was to me. I sometimes need to remind myself that it might have saved my life.
On Monday, May 12, 2014, I seriously considered jumping in front of a train.
I was heavily depressed, living at home, single, and struggling to find work. I had taken a temp job that had me filing crime scene photographs all day, including rape and child abuse cases. I had never felt less like I wanted to keep living.
As I waited for the train that would take me to the job I hated, I found myself working out the best spot to jump from to make sure I would be killed instantly, but also where I wouldn’t arouse suspicion before the train arrived.
I went and stood there.
In the past I had idly contemplated suicide, but generally lacked the conviction. That day, as the rails hissed and the train came into sight, I felt how simple it could be. A sense of momentum overtook me, the same momentum that could pitch me over the edge of the platform, that would take me past the point of no return. Every muscle seemed to sing with it as the train drew closer.
People struggle to understand suicide because the thought of killing themselves is unthinkably frightening. But for those who reach that decisive moment, the thought of continuing to live can be infinitely more terrifying.
Standing on that platform, I wasn’t sure which was more frightening. Life or death. The balance could have tipped either way. The one thing that tipped it in favour of taking a step away from the edge, waiting for the train to stop, and giving my life a chance, was my book deal.
I had signed it six months before. Panther was going to be a real book. At the time it was still a year away, but it was going to happen. It was everything I had ever wanted.
In that moment, I think it kept me alive.
So whenever I look sideways on Twitter and feel jealous of the success I see around me, I try and remember what that first book deal meant to me. Truly, it meant everything.