(TW for discussion of death, suicide, suicide ideation and trauma.)
At age 14 – 15, I wasn’t what you’d call a “chuunibyou” in an outward sense. Aside from sinking far too much time into Tumblr and TV Tropes…as well as anime, manga and fanfiction…I was pretty ordinary.
That said, one of my stories from that period – one of many during my time as an amateur writer, but one of the biggest ones from that time nonetheless – takes a dark turn when it begins to focus on death, which is why I peg myself from that period as a “mental chuunibyou”. It was known in its first incarnation as Ro.Te.O and in subsequent iterations as Resurrected Angels. It was a story about…well, angels and devils fighting for victory at the end of the world.
It sounds vaguely familiar, right?
What if I told you the character that single-handedly caused that dark turn – an adolescent boy – was about to commit suicide by jumping off a building when one of the characters introduced previously came in and rescued him by flying in on their angel wings?
Sounds a lot like Mirai and Nasse in episode 1 of Platinum End, huh?
Keep in mind Platinum End‘s manga didn’t start until the end of 2015 and the story I talk about began its dark turn in mid-2013. I don’t want to claim that entire storyline as mine – it’s said there is no such thing as an original storyline in this day and age, plus especially since whenever I try to give Resurrected Angels an end, it gets too big for its own good, as an ensemble cast has a tendency to do. However, seeing Platinum End play out last week at the anime club (as of the time of writing) was almost like a screenplay I’d written had been adapted.
Also because Platinum End is by the creators of Death Note, it has a lot of the same trappings – a supernatural being bound by many rules with a tool of death, guiding a supposedly ordinary Japanese teenager, for some examples. It was these trappings that brought this entire concept down – people want more Death Note, they get more Death Note, right down to women being treated horribly and shlocky murder scenes.
So why do I bring my old story up, after almost a decade and a pandemic? The pandemic taught people that nothing is ever safe – not even the extroverted world (Anglophone) society used to operate on. The unstable job market – and my inability to break into it, as an extreme introvert with years of experience in customer service without being paid a cent – put me in a pretty bad mental place last December and I only recently succeeded in getting my ass out of it…again…on Friday. It is Sunday as I am writing, so that was 2 days ago.
I got out of it because a place offered me 2 trial shifts – I’ve been ghosted several times after receiving a single trial shift before, so to receive all the paperwork and the second trial shift gives me confidence this attempt will really go places. Even though the incomplete paperwork sits in front of me, it still doesn’t quite feel real.
Trauma manifests differently in different people and so, the character I wrote, who was basically a sobbing mess or a nervous wreck most of the time, might be relatable to someone who actually deals with their trauma in that way. However, the way it manifested in me was more a cycle of anger, sadness and/or being somewhere more neutral and “dealing with it”. I would stop watching anime for periods at a time, too unmotivated by my spreadsheet of over 100 episodes to continue. Whenever something bad happened to me while I was in that state of mind, a voice in my head would whisper to me getting rid of myself was an option I could take.
I have a pretty graphic imagination, so suicidal thoughts would not be a particularly pretty thing if you were to see inside my brain. While crossing the road with a car approaching from a while away, I’d imagine my legs crushed by that car, me screaming in pain. One time, I imagined my left wrist, bleeding from self-inflicted scars…That sort of nasty imagery.
I never acted upon my dangerous thoughts because they never lingered long enough for me to act upon them, but I did stumble upon internet accounts of people who did act upon their impulses while thinking like this – not through searching Google directly, but through Discord self-care channels and Reddit – and that was obviously a hazard for myself. Also, I found, after finally letting the job news sink in, my thoughts had essentially wiped out my sense of embarrassment and shame, so I was only left with an empty sense of anger when I should have felt humiliated.
As I was writing up this post, I was reminded of a post by Biblionyan. Their raw honesty about mental health and what’s happening in their life is something I’ve avoided up until now, but I wanted to channel it in this particular post as a sign of the changing times. I am no longer the person I was a decade ago, or even 4 years ago. I wasn’t any equivalent of depressed back then, I didn’t call myself demiromantic/asexual or fully understand the LGBTIAQ+ community, I’d never seen a global pandemic hit me where it hurts…and more stuff in that vein.
As to why this post is coming out on a random Friday in March, instead of being immediate like any other unscheduled post, that is deliberate. This is such a touchy subject, one I’ve only really talked about with a select few people (and then I’ve been dismissed when I tried talking about it with close people in real life), that this post cannot be rushed.
Hopefully, by the time you see this post, I will have survived one week in this new job and will have started to enjoy the 2nd anniversary of Hypnosis Mic ARB.
So here’s to a new chapter in my life!