“Thank you Scott, you saved my life”
I say these words, to myself, frequently. The sad irony is that the person they are aimed at will never hear them, he took his own life last May. He was Scott Hutchison, lead singer with Frightened Rabbit, and his death saved my life.
I never met Scott but was a huge fan of his band and more importantly his lyrics, I saw them perform a couple of times, and each time it felt very cathartic. He wrote from the heart, and the lyrics whilst sometimes very funny, were always very serious and painfully true. Much has been written about him, a lot by people who knew him and had had the pleasure of his company. They tell tales of a man, who loved people, loved being in their company, a born story teller who would do anything for anyone. A man who was filled with depression, anxiety and who eventually could only see one way out.
I didn’t know him, so can only write from my perspective, as a fan of this genius lyricist, as someone who knew exactly how he felt, and as someone he saved.
On the night of May 9th 2018, Scott sent a couple of troubling tweets “Be so good to everyone you love. It’s not a given. I’m so annoyed that it’s not. I didn’t live by that standard and it kills me. Please, hug your loved ones”, followed by “I’m away now. Thanks.” He then left the Hotel in South Queensferry and was never seen alive again. His body was discovered May 10th at 8.30pm in the Forth near Port Edgar.
I remember hearing the news early on the 10th that he had disappeared, and despite my head telling me it would be fine, my heart told a different story. Having read so much about him in the previous years, and knowing how honest his lyrics are, this news of his disappearance just pointed to one inevitable outcome. Once the news broke that they had found his body, mine and everyone else that loved Scott had their worse fears confirmed. Another suicide to add to the ever-increasing list of the biggest killer of men in this country, and yet another high-profile singer who could no longer cope with everyday life.
At this time, I was struggling, work was relentless, and I couldn’t cope. I had financial problems, all self-inflicted and started to struggle with serious anxiety attacks. I had always been slightly anxious, and constantly struggled with self-belief and confidence – despite being in a job which is largely customer facing and where you must be an outgoing confident person, I had managed to find a work persona to deal with this. But, steadily and painfully this started to disappear, leaving me defenceless and open to harm. I started to miss work for the silliest of reasons or making up excuses to not go in or to leave early. I was struggling to commute, having panic attacks during rush hour and trying to totally avoid the underground system.
My moods were extreme, either stupidly happy or crushingly low, I was exhausted in just trying to control them. But then I couldn’t sleep as my mind wouldn’t switch off, so my exhaustion just got worse and worse. This then impacted on my health, and my long-term back injury started to flare up again.
I’d previously had suicidal thoughts, lots of what if’s whilst waiting for a train or standing by the side of a busy road. But these were fleeting moments that vanished as soon as they had appeared. Now though, they weren’t fleeting, they were there constantly, I’ve said it before, but it was like two voices fighting for control over whether I lived or died, and I had no say in their argument.
I had been listening to Frightened Rabbit more and more during this time, and slowly realising Scott was singing about me, well not directly but I understood all that he was saying, I’d always related to the lyrics but now I fully understood why. I read the press articles about him, the words his friends were saying about him, their grief, their pain, and realised they could have so easily been talking about me. If you read some of the interviews since his death, people like Frank Turner, Biffy Clyro, The Twilight Sad, how they describe Scott is how most of my friends would describe me. It wasn’t a bolt of lightening moment, where suddenly a light bulb went on in my head. But, over the next few days, weeks I started to understand things more, and realised why I related so much to Scott, his lyrics and sadly his death.
I lay bed one morning, not able to move, sickness in my stomach and acid in my throat. Tears rolling down my cheeks and a scream inside fighting to get out. I knew I had 2 options, seek help or end it all. I chose help, and never regret that choice. Over the next few days when I told people what I had been going through, I used the story of Scott to explain why I had suddenly asked for help, and why I hadn’t spoken out before (I don’t think I need to explain the whole men/feelings conundrum). I watched as my wife went through stages of anger, regret, denial and some acceptance all the one conversation. I saw my Mum whom I thought wouldn’t understand, suddenly show a side I had never seen from her, a caring, loving, concerned side. I saw my oldest friends just relieved that I had said something, and so caring at that moment and since then.
I’ve since met a group of people whom understand all that I have been through, and all that I continue to struggle with, and whom I feel closer to than any friends before in some respects.
So, the sad thing is that I can’t thank Scott, I can’t buy him a pint, give him a hug and say “Thank you Scott, you saved my life” – What I can do is continue to listen to his music, contribute and promote the charity set up in his memory ‘Tiny Changes’, purchase the covers version of ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’, and keep introducing people to his lyrics and hope he can save other lost souls like myself.
This article was inspired by a couple articles written by the very Talented Peter Ross, one appeared in the Guardian and the other is an interview with James Graham from the Twilight Sad – I thoroughly recommend both.