THIS STORY DEALS WITH DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE. DO NOT READ IF YOU FEEL THIS WILL BE TRIGGERING TO YOU.
Author's Note- This story was inspired by the song "Adam's Song" by Blink-182. It's not a word-for-word interpretation of the song, as some song-fics are.
The lines in italics (except those right after Adam wakes up, and right at the very end) are the letter Adam is writing. Strike-outs mean he's crossed out the word or words.
This story was written pretty quickly, so forgive me if it isn't perfect , but I really felt like it was a good idea to publish it now. The story was pretty rushed, but something told me to publish it. A revised version isn't impossible in the future.
I hope you like the story. Please comment if you do.
"Fuck it," I said. "Fuck it."
I was fed up. Fed up with life. I had been depressed for a year, and it wasn't getting any better. I was in pain all the time, and finally, I decided to do something about it.
It's funny, really, the way my life is about to end. Out of all my friends, I was always the one who was happy, smiling and laughing. I'd had a great sense of humor, and though my grades were (at one point) respectable, I was a class clown. I was the class clown. I lived to make people laugh, to make them smile. I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life, but it never felt like it mattered.
But that all changed one September, two months after I turned sixteen. I had just started eleventh grade, and all of a sudden… things were different. School was tougher, and more stressful. I didn't want to disappoint my parents, or myself, or my teachers, so I tried to work, but I couldn't- I just couldn't. I felt like the only one in the world, or at least the only one in my small San Diego suburb, who didn't know exactly what they wanted to do after high school. My grades slipped- first a little, and then they hit rock bottom.
I stopped laughing. I didn't want to think about the future, and I figured- if I didn't have a plan for the future, that would be okay, since my life could end early anyway. It became harder and harder to get out of bed. I wasn't sure if my parents realized anything was "wrong" with me, but did it even matter? No matter how amazing and loving they were to me, they fought with each other, and nothing they did could cure my depression.
So I began writing my letter to say goodbye.
If you haven't noticed, ever since the start of junior year, I've basically been
I know you'll miss me, but
Does it even matter that I'm dying? God, I don't know. I loved life at one point, but eventually, it was just too much.
Every day after school, I'd just come home and sit in my room, staring at the ceiling. I used to skateboard to and from school, but then I stopped enjoying it, so I just walked. The town's streets were made for skateboarders, but that no longer mattered to me.
Skateboarding wasn't the only thing that I had lost my love for. Everything that used to matter to me- school, my guitar, the school newspaper. I wasn't very good at the guitar, but I had fun playing it nonetheless. I had been playing it outside of school when I met Josie. I couldn't get rid of it, even if I was never destined to be a rock star. Even if I no longer played it again.
I longed to feel normal, to feel happy, to be the guy that I used to be, before eleventh grade. Before I became depressed. Before I started wanting to die, before I became… not me.
The truth was, I was a coward. I never faced my problems. Once upon a time, I loved life. But then the pain became too much, and I couldn't deal with it anymore, so made the decision to end my life.
It's not your fault, Mom and Dad. It's just that life became too much pain for me to handle, and I had to go.
The pain inside was too much to bear, and after almost a year of it not getting any better, I couldn't take it. Sixteen was horrible. Who's to say seventeen would be any better?
It's funny, really, the way my life is about to end. But does it matter? Six months from now, I'll be long gone. Dead, buried in a box six feet under, beyond all of this.
I know this is going to hurt you, but I know that eventually, you will pull through, and you will all forget about my death, or at least get past it.
Also, please don't throw away my things.
Give my guitar, my notebooks, that Rancid t-shirt I used to wear all the time, and my Converse, to Josie. Give my CDs and my stereo to Jeff. Give my t-shirts, my jeans, and the rest of my clothes to Dave. Give my studded belts, that Dickies messenger bag, and the wood things I made at day camp to Matt. Give my skateboard and the posters on my walls to Ryan. Also, give him the picture of the two of us that he took at Warped Tour last year.
Ryan and I had gone to Warped Tour together every year since we were twelve. It had become a tradition. I knew he'd want the picture. It was the last time I remembered being myself- being Adam.
Since then, I didn't know who I'd become. But I wasn't myself. And I hated it.
Mom and Dad, I know it's going to be too hard for you, so please, once you clear my stuff out, please, don't go in to my room again. Just close the door. Lock it. Board it up, if you have to. Leave my room alone. I know this hard, but it'll just make it harder if you're in there.
I could imagine my mom, sitting on my bed, staring at my empty, poster-less walls, crying her eyes out. I couldn't let that happen.
Jeff, remember that time when I was eight and you were six, and I spilled that cup of apple juice in the hall?
There had been a cup full of apple juice, sitting outside of my bedroom door. Jeff knocked on the door, and I opened it.
"Mom says it's time for dinner," he'd said. I had followed him downstairs, and, in the process, knocked over the cup of apple juice.
I'd blamed the incident on Jeff at the time, but my mom, who had put the juice there (I'd said I was thirsty, but I was in a "phase" where I didn't want to come out of my room), blamed it on herself.
The truth was, though, it wasn't Jeff's fault, or my mom's. It was my own.
There was enough pain, but I was done. Done. I was done with life, and soon, it'd all be over with.
I don't really have anything else to say. You're all probably wondering why I did this, and the reason is because I just couldn't take it anymore.
So I guess that's all.
I swallowed a handful of pills, and for good measure, using the razor blade my dad had given me when I first started to get facial hair, made a nice, deep cut across my wrist.
I lied down on my bed. I was tired. Everything looked fuzzy, and I just sat there bleeding, for several minutes.
Then I heard someone shout, "Adam!" and suddenly, everything was black.
I blinked my eyes a few times, unsure of what I was seeing, then opened them fully. All I could see above me was white, and I was in a warm, comfortable bed.
Is this heaven?
I blinked again, and then turned to the right where I saw my mom.
Why is mom in heaven? She's still alive, right?
"Adam?" her comforting voice said. "Oh, Adam! Adam, how are you feeling?" she asked soothingly.
"Is this heaven?" I asked.
"No," she replied, "you're in the hospital."
"What- what happened?"
"You swallowed some pills, and there was a pretty big cut on your wrist. Josie called 911. The paramedics took you to the hospital. Adam, they- they found a letter," my mom's normally confident voice was shaky. "Adam, you tried to kill yourself."
"So... I'm alive?"
"Yes, you're alive."
"What time is it?" I asked.
"Just after seven in the morning."
"Morning?" I asked. "What day is it? How long have I been out for?"
"About seven hours. Josie came by and found out just after midnight- she wanted to be the first to see you on your birthday."
My birthday. God. I used to love my birthday, and yet I had almost missed this one.
"She's here, too, and Dad and Jeff." I sat up a bit, and looked around.
"Ryan's on his way," Josie said. "He wants to see you. We all do. I can't believe you almost left us."
"I can't believe I'm alive," I admitted.
"I can't believe you almost died," Josie replied. "I love you, Adam."
"Adam!" My best friend Ryan interrupted, as he burst into the hospital room and ran over to the bed. "Man, are you okay?"
"I guess I'm okay now."
"I had no idea you felt so-"
"- yeah. Adam, why didn't you talk to me about it?" Ryan's normally cheerful expression became one of concern. "I'm your best friend."
"And I'm your girlfriend. You can talk to me about anything," Josie added.
"I- I know, it's just-" I struggled to say. "I don't know."
"I can't believe you did this, but you're okay now, right? I mean you're not going to…" Ryan's words trailed off.
"I don't know if I'm okay now."
"But you will be, Adam, right? I've known you forever, I know you'll…" again, Ryan was unable to finish his sentence.
"I know you'll be able to be the person you were before you started feeling this way," Josie said.
"I hope so." I said. There was a silence after that, which was slightly awkward. I loved Josie and Ryan- Josie was my girlfriend of nearly two years, and Ryan had been my best friend practically since birth- but right now, I just wanted to be alone with my mom and dad.
"Ryan, Josie, I think Adam wants to be alone with us," my mom said, referring to herself and my dad. "Can you take Jeff to get some coffee?"
Without word, Ryan and Josie left the room with Jeff.
"Adam, I wish you would've spoken to us about this," said my dad, who had been silent the whole time. "If we had known how you were feeling, we would've gotten you help."
"I know, it's just-" I sighed. "Ever since the beginning of junior year, I just started feeling depressed. I was scared of the future, and everything was stressing me out. Being sixteen was great at first, but then it was just…" I didn't know how to finish the sentence, so I started a new one. "I thought I could do this alone. But I couldn't. I thought I'd be fine, I thought I'd be happier eventually. But I wasn't. Sixteen was so horrible, how did I know things would get better at seventeen? So I gave up."
"But why, Adam? Why didn't you just talk to someone, if not us, Josie, or Ryan, or Mr. Jones?" Mr. Jones was my English teacher sophomore year, and the faculty advisor for the school newspaper. Even after I stopped writing for the paper when I became depressed, I still went to talk to him after school all the time. I never told him how I was feeling, but did he know anyway?
"Because I'm a coward," I admitted. "I didn't have the guts to go tell someone how I was feeling. I thought it would mean I was weak. So when I couldn't take it anymore, I just…" I saw my mom's eyes fill with tears. My dad's eyes were shining, too.
"Oh, Adam," my mom said, pulling me tightly in a hug. "Adam, we love you so much, don't you understand that? We're going to get you help. We're going to make sure you get better." I smiled a half-smile.
"Thanks," I said.
"We love you," my dad told me. "I love you. Your mom loves you. Jeff loves you. Josie loves you. Ryan, Dave, and Matt, they all love you, too."
"I- I love you guys too," I admitted.
"You know, by the way, Adam," he replied, "today's July eighteenth. You're seventeen now."
I was seventeen. I had lived to the age of seventeen. I was alive. Sixteen was over, and as sure as I had been that seventeen would be no better, I knew I now had to give it a shot. I would get help, and maybe things would get better.
But I was seventeen. Seventeen years old, and I, Adam, was alive.
It was awhile before they let me out of the hospital. I was on suicide watch at first, and spoke with multiple doctors- physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists- as they tried to figure out what had been wrong with me (depression was the conclusion). The day after they left me out, Ryan and I went to the Warped Tour together. Not only did we get to see all of our favorite bands, we even got to meet some of them. Out of all the times we had been to Warped, that time was the best.
After we got back, Dave invited us over to his house for pizza. But I declined the invitation; I wanted to go home, and be in my room.
Only this time, I didn't want to just sit on my bed and stare at the ceiling lifelessly. I wanted to sit down, and figure out what I was going to do after high school. I had decided I wanted to be a journalist, and now that I knew where I was going, it was only a matter of figuring out how to get there. The future didn't scare me anymore, because I knew that whatever happened, it would be better than the past.
It's funny, really, the way my life almost ended. But I'm still here, and I'm not sixteen anymore. I'm seventeen, and I'm alive. What happened in eleventh grade, and the pain I felt inside, is behind me now. Sixteen was hard, but I know that tomorrow holds better days.
I never conquered, rarely came
Tomorrow holds such better days.
Author's Note- So, what did you think of "Tomorrow Holds Such Better Days"? I hope you liked it!
This story was inspired by "Adam's Song" by Blink-182. I didn't interpret it 100% word-for-word; I feel like if I had done that, it would've felt forced.
Exactly how the song "ends", I'm not positive. The kid- who I assume was named Adam- that it was written about apparently did go through with suicide. In Mark Hoppus's words "there are better things to do than kill yourself"- so maybe the character in the song didn't end up killing himself.
Either way, I knew that I wanted to tell a story of hope, that there is light at the end of the dark tunnel that, for Adam, happens at age sixteen? I didn't want to write a depressing story, that ended with a suicide. I wanted to write a story that would showcase that even after you have lost hope, it is possible to find it again.
The first short story I ever wrote was "Hold On", inspired by the Good Charlotte song of the same name. Again, that one deals with suicide and depression, only the main character doesn't go through with her attempt. However, I realize now that it's kind of a mess. I interpreted the song just about 100% word-for-word in that case. I tried to be a little less literal with "Tomorrow", which I think worked better.
Also, yes, the name Josie was taken from the Blink-182 song of the same name. Josie apparently wasn't a real girl, more of an idea of Mark Hoppus's "perfect girl". I imagine that Adam was absolutely smitten with Josie, but that he tried to push her away when he started feeling depressed, who, in his case, is "real". Props to anyone who figures out where I got the names of Adam's friends (Ryan, Dave, Matt).
If you are considering suicide, please, please, please reconsider. I know it might not seem like it now but there are better solutions to your problems. Please, talk to someone. Talk to a parent, friend, teacher, counselor, anyone you trust, or even call a hotline such as 1-800-SUICIDE. It's okay to get help. I know you may be skeptical, but getting help works- I'm living proof.
I really hope you enjoyed this story. Please comment and let me know what you thought.