Affliction

Affliction - a state of pain, distress, grief, or misery. Five boys. Smiling on camera. Broken in the shadows; miserable, suicidal, and ready to die. Hope is lost- all five of them have entirely given up. And when the unthinkable happens, they're left trying to pick up the pieces. Even with the help and support of the boys of 5sos, there's no telling whether they'll be able to save each other. It's quite possible that this could end in one (or more) of them committing suicide.

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1. Prologue

Hey everyone. This is my first story on here- I've got the prologue, and about five chapters written so far. Updates will most likely be every couple of days or so. Before you read- please note that this story- especially the prologue- is going to be extremely dark and triggering. I think I've tagged the triggering things- so please be careful when you read. That's all from me, enjoy. 

 

Almost choking on my fingers, I wince, pulling them out of my mouth, as vomit begins to splash into the toilet, the mere sound making tears come faster down my cheeks, clinging to my neck. When the vomiting fit finally ceases, I glance at the blood in the bowl unemotionlessly, reaching up to flush the toilet. Slumping against the wall, I close my eyes and just let myself break.

I should be used to this by now- it isn’t my first time purging- and it sure as hell won’t be my last. It’s almost been a year since I’ve started, and I doubt I’m stopping anytime soon. Vomiting blood has been recent- not that it scares me. This can’t kill me. I could very well kill myself- but I know that purging up everything I eat will do nothing to kill me. It’ll just satisfy all the fans that think I’m nothing but fat.

At first, it was just one account. One hate account, sending out tweets about how fat and ugly I am- how I should get cancer and die. And to be honest, one account really didn’t bother me- sure, it was kinda disheartening to read, but I brushed it off. Went and attached myself to Zayn’s side for a while, let him baby me a bit, and then it was all-okay again. I was all okay again. I forgot it after a while- the tour was the only thing on my mind.

Then people started to agree and support the account. Needless to say- my mentions flooded with hate- calling me fat, ugly, and worthless. I was a lost cause, after that. Too obsessed with going through the hate- like Harry used to do- a depressing cloud forming over me as I continued to self-depreciate. I had the option of going to Zayn, but he’s been looking really exhausted and depressed lately. I didn’t want to bother him. He doesn't need to worry about me- I don't deserve that.

Wincing, I rise to my feet, wobbling slightly, and stumble over to the sink. As I wash my hands, I stare at my pitiful reflection, face twisting in disgust. I have a double chin; my cheeks are flabby and puffy, eyes red and bloodshot. I’m a mess. I look disgusting. No wonder they all hate me. No wonder everyone thinks I’m the ugly one in One Direction. I definitely look it.

If you ever asked if I’ve contemplated suicide in my lifetime, and I said no, I’d definitely be lying. Sometimes, when I’m performing or meeting fans- all that’s on my mind is what life would be like, without me in it. It’s extremely selfish, I’m well aware of that- and believe me, I hate myself for it. Don’t get me wrong- I love each and every single one of my fans with everything in me- and I can’t even explain how humbling it is to hear/know that I’ve saved their lives. But honestly, why would you want a hypocrite as an idol? I tell my girls not to hurt or starve themselves, then go home and do the same damn thing.

I don’t even know why I was put into the band? Pity? It’s obvious that my voice isn’t as strong as the others’, and I definitely can’t sing very well. Maybe that’s why I barely get solos- okay, so I have more on Midnight Memories, but I barely sang solos on Up All Night. Maybe they didn’t think I was good as Zayn or Harry or Liam? Louis didn’t have that many solos either, but his voice is the backbone of all our choruses. You can really hear him- without him; the sound isn’t nearly as full. The band needs him. The band doesn’t need me.

I can’t tell you how many times fans have shoved a camera into my hands, and told me to take a picture of them standing with Zayn, Louis, Liam, and Harry. More often than not, the boys have declined, saying that they wouldn’t take the picture if I wasn’t in it. But I just shake my head and tell them to take it- otherwise I’ll be blamed on Twitter later. I put up with it, because I’d rather feel worthless, than like a complete fuck up.

I’m not going to kill myself anytime soon. I’m too much of a coward to do that. Too much of a coward to finally make that single slice- because I know everyone will just call me selfish afterward, or hate on the boys for not doing anything to save me. I don’t want them to know how suicidal I am- they don’t need that. They don’t need to worry about me. No one needs to worry about me. I don’t deserve that.

I was supposed to be a miscarriage. My mum says it’s a miracle that I survived. She calls me her miracle. But I don’t agree with her. I start to wonder- what if I had been a miscarriage? What if I was never born to begin with? I wouldn’t have to deal with the incessant pressure and price of fame. I don’t like to complain- this isn’t me asking for sympathy. This is me expressing how truly and utterly done I am with being famous. I’m not even sure I want to be on One Direction anymore. I’m only staying for my brothers.

I’m a suicidal, purging mess, at this point- and it really doesn’t bother me. I just wake up every morning and do my best to survive the day- that’s how my life is now. An ongoing cycle of trying to survive, in a world that’s much too harsh for me.

I don’t know how much longer I can live like this.

I’m ready to break- and something tells me that when I do, life will change for the worst. I just hope it won’t hurt the boys too much- that’s the last thing I want to do to them.

Either way, the world might be claiming another soon.

Cause of death- tried too hard to be what society shoved down his throat.

I exhale smoke from the cigarette in my mouth, holding it there for enough time to make another slice to my wrist. I take the lit cigarette from my lips, as I watch the crimson blood well out. I feel no pain, and I regret nothing. I don’t regret harming myself. If anything, I’d love to hold the lighter to my fresh cut, causing me more pain than ever, and bringing respite closer.

My eyes darken, as thoughts of hate consume me. I scrolled through my twitter feed this morning, and all I saw was hate. Racist slurs, comments about how I’m ungrateful, useless, worthless, stupid, etc. I just don’t get it, and I don’t think I ever will understand what I’ve done to deserve this.

It hurts to know that so many people hate me. I’ve done wrong. I exist. That’s wrong. I wish it were me, instead of Niall, or Liam, or Harry. I wish I had been a miscarriage. Niall almost was. I am so fucking glad he’s here with us, but for a few minutes, I wish I was him, and I wish I hadn’t been born. I wish I only had one functioning kidney, and it ended up failing. I wish I were younger than the required age for the X-factor. I wish I could just die.

I tug the leather jacket tightly around my shaking form, sighing. I need to pull myself together. I need to get a grip on everything. I’m not allowed to be weak- not allowed to ask for help. That’s weak, and I can’t show weakness. Lou and I are the strongest of the band, and I need to keep it that way.

The fans have noticed the change in demeanor. They know there’s something wrong, but she doesn’t know what, or how to approach me. I slice my wrists and thrive on the pain, I starve myself until I can’t anymore, I purposefully injure myself just to feel. Just so that pain is real. Just so I can get through the day.

I’m sick. I’m sick and twisted and I belong in a fucking mental institution. In a white padded room, with nothing but my thoughts. I belong in a loony bin, because that’s all I am, right? A mental freak.

I don’t belong here. I don’t deserve the money, the fame, the talent, or any of the boys. They’re too sweet, too kind for me. They deserve a fifth member who isn’t ripping his skin apart so he can feel some kind of emotion.

I blow out another puff of smoke, casting a gaze over the ledge I’m sitting on. If I jumped, I’d probably die. I’m at least 10 feet above the ground. Jumping could definitely kill me, and it would inevitably mess me up more than a fucking bit. I just don’t know if I want to do that to the fans. To the boys.

Suicide has been on my mind for more than a few weeks now. I jut want it all to end, and I don’t care how it happens. I just wish there was a painless way, and it wouldn’t cause pain to my loved ones. They don’t deserve to hurt because a cutting, smoking useless fifth of their band decided to take his own worthless life.

I feel like it’s never going to get better. Like I’ll be in pain forever, because no one will ever notice the agony. It feels like I’m being cut open, bleeding onto the stones each and every day, but everyone fails to see the blood. It’s like the blood is invisible, or overlooked- just like me.

I can’t please anyone. No one is ever satisfied with how much of myself I put into this band, this life. I put my heart and soul into every note I sing, but no one notices. No one cares. Not even the boys. They’ve drifted away from me, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel abandoned.

They’re all happy. I’m not. I’m the odd one out here. I’ve always been the odd one out- the Muslim. Niall is Irish- but at least he looks like the others. Physically. I look odd. My skin is darker; hair is black, compared to their brown. I count Niall as brown because it is his natural hair colour.

I don’t feel like I bring anything to the band. Sure, I’m the only one that can sing those high notes, but that can be done by anyone- with vocal training. My voice isn’t something extraordinarily unique. I could easily be replaced, and I doubt the boys would give two fucks about it.

I’ll never be enough, so why bother trying? I’ve been trying for so damn long, and I think I’m just tired. Tired of trying, tired of pretending, and tired of being. I don’t want to do this anymore.

I just want to die.

That would be better than living the way I am.

Alone and betrayed, sick of myself. Barely able to hold myself together. Cutting to feel, burning to hurt. Starving to match the image I’ll never reach. Lying to everyone, pretending I’m fine. Pretending there’s nothing wrong with me- lashing out at any prying person. Isolating myself to self-depreciate, hurting the boys for my own needs. Acting like an asshole because that’s all I really am.

I feel like a mistake, and I really am one. Things would be so much fucking better if I wasn’t here, and I don’t even think anyone would miss me. There would be no gap/hole in anyone’s life, no void that I would fill. I’m just there- just a waste for space, and time, and energy, and a perfectly good life that could’ve been given to someone who deserves it.

I don’t deserve to live.

I’ll kill myself soon, so thanks to all the haters. You got what you wanted. You finally broke me in all ways possible.

Was it really worth it?

I wince, watching the crimson blood spill down my arm in trails, going numb from the pain. I make no move to clean up my arm, just staring at it- mesmerized by the crimson. The blood forms sickening patterns as it trails down my arm- and damn, I sound so fucking sick for just sitting here and watching it happen. Not making any move to clean up my arm or stop the bleeding. It’s gotten to the point where I really don’t care anymore.

If I bleed out, I’ll bleed out. I can just play it off as an accident- I never cut with the intention of killing myself- it’ll always be an accident if I do. The deeper I go, the higher the risk is, but it doesn’t scare me. Death doesn’t sound scary- not anymore, at least. It’s almost comforting- and thatsounds sick. Those words are what’ll put me into a mental institution, aren’t they?

I guess I’m just done trying to be optimistic- when it’s obvious that nothing will ever get better. I’ll be stuck in this depression forever- so why bother trying to be happy? I haven’t been happy in so long- the smiles you see on stage, and the jokes and laughs I have with my brothers are fake. I’m a good actor. At least, I think I am- considering no one has noticed how depressed I am. That’s the way it should be.

I rise to my feet, wobbling dizzily- waiting for my vision to become clear again. I stumble over to the bathroom sink, running my arm under cold water. I don’t want to die- at least, not yet. I need to stay for my brothers- I can’t be this careless. Sighing heavily, I grab a towel and wrap it around my wrist, cringing as the material begins to stain red. I need to get rid of it, before one of the boys sees.

I slump back against the wall, tilting my head back and closing my eyes. I’m just so…tired. Not physically tired- though I am physically tired very often these days- I’m tired of pretending to be okay, having to fake a smile…I’m tired of pretending to be something I’m not. I’m not happy. I’m not okay. I need help. But obviously- I can’t get any, so I just have to suffer in silence. Not like I haven’t heard that before.

After we were put into a group on the X-factor…the succeeding days, when we all went to Harry’s father’s property, and just talked, laughing, playing footie…those days are the ones I wish to get back. I actually laughed, back then- we all did. We had fun, joking around, clicking instantly, even though we had known each other for only a short period of time. We were innocent, no cares in the world. We had no idea what would become of us- what fame would bring- how broken we’d eventually become.

We hadn’t been exposed to the famous lifestyle- we had no fucking idea how bad the hate would become, or how in the next few years, we’d all become more withdrawn. Zayn used to be quite talkative in 2010, right after the X-factor, and now, he just sits in a corner with his earbuds in, scrolling through his phone. I think he gets a lot more hate than all of us- the guy doesn’t tweet very much, and hate even caused him to deactivate once. He’s definitely been affected, and that breaks my heart- I really wish Zayn didn’t go into a shell every time he got slammed, but that’s the way he is. He doesn’t talk to anyone.

Back to me, for a second…I’m not sure what I’ve done wrong in life. Hell, my own father walked out on my mum and me, right after I was born. Troy Austin may be my biological father, but to me- all that bastard is, is a sperm donor. I consider Mark my father- and even though he’s fucking amazing and he’s made me into who I am today, I can’t help but wonder…why wasn’t I enough for my real father? I was just a baby, I don’t think I could’ve done anything wrong, but I guess…I was too much of a fuck up, even for him, even at that age.

Sometimes I want to go back to Doncaster. I want to go back to being a nobody, laughing with my sisters, enjoying time with my mum…seeing Ernest and Doris grow up, for fuck’s sakes. I’m their big brother, and I’m missing the most important years of their lives. I don’t want to be a stranger to them. I want to be the older brother they deserve, but this tour is making that fucking difficult. And we’re doing another one next year, for FOUR. It’s not that I don’t love touring and being in One Direction…I just get homesick and miss my family so much.

We all love touring- we love getting to interact with the fans. That’s another thing. I wish we had more time to spend with our girls. It gets hard, when we get mobbed everywhere we go. But it’d be nice to be able to talk to our girls, let them tell us how we’ve saved them- it’d be nice to hear that. I love making people happy- knowing I’ve saved lives makes me so proud, you can’t even imagine. I love every single fan so fucking much, and I really wish I could be better, be okay, for them.

It’s hard to tell someone to stay strong, when you’re breaking inside. It’s hard to tell someone not to lose hope, when you’ve already given up on the chance of anything getting better. It’s hard to be someone’s only reason, when all that’s tethering you to this Earth, is the pain you would put your loved ones through, if you left. It’s hard to fake a smile, and blame the depression on tiredness, when you know that you’re depressed and suicidal, and those are feelings that can’t just “go away”.

The pantry door swings open, leaving me staring at the numerous stacks of food. Cookies, candy, biscuits, chips, our pantry is basically a realm of junk food. Sugary snacks that will just add to my already growing waistline- leaving me heavier than before. Chubbier than before. Snacks that- if consumed- will cause the number on the scale to elevate, reaching a new height, declaring me fatter than yesterday. Confirming everything any hater has ever said about me. Everything rests on whether I decide to rip open a package of Oreos, and stuff my face full.

There’s nothing more I would like- than to be able to eat whatever I want, and not have to exercise like a mad man, to make sure I don’t gain weight. I’m not sure when I became obsessed with the number on the scale, but trust me- after that, my life started to spiral out of control. I’m so obsessed with what I see in the scale- numbers. When I see food, all I can think about is how many calories it has, or how much trans fat it contains- that translates to how many meals I’ll have to skip, if I eat it- or how long I’ll have to run on the treadmill.

I never used to be so obsessed with my weight- before the X-factor, I was fine. I was happy, healthy, and I ate whatever I wanted. I don’t think I was fat, back then. I was healthy, and I was happy. I was happy with myself, and I was innocent. I wish I could have that innocence back. I don’t remember what it feels like to not have a care in the world. Every time someone directs a negative comment at me, it leaves me broken, trying to figure out what I did wrong- why people hate me.

Leaving food aside…I’m not just hated on for my weight. Somehow, my innocence has turned into me being a manwhore. Some fucking womanizer, that fucks a girl, and then leaves her, breaks her heart. When have I ever been like that? I don’t understand why every girl I talk to- leads to rumors about how I’m dating her. I’m not a manwhore, and I certainly don’t sleep with girls just because I’m horny and in need of a good fuck. My mum would be ashamed- she taught me how to respect women. Women aren’t meant to be objectified- and I get really uncomfortable in interviews, when I’m asked if I would have sex with someone, or how many girls I’ve hooked up with.

There are rumors going around, saying I’ve hooked up with 410 women. And to be honest, if you believe that, I think you’re ridiculous. I don’t think any person would hook up with 410 women in his lifetime, and let’s be real here. When the fuck would I have time for all of that? We’re doing WWA, and if we’re not touring, we’re writing, or recording, or I’m hanging out with my mates. I’m not looking for love right now- I don’t want a girlfriend. I just want people to stop coming up with these absurd rumors about me- because all it does is create more hate- hate that I have to deal with.

I’m not happy anymore. I don’t think I’ve been happy for a long time- I pretend to be happy, so no one knows what’s wrong- because god forbid, if someone did, there’d be more rumors in the papers. Harry Styles, ungrateful for the fame? Some shit like that. Honestly, I don’t care about fame. My goal is to make fans happy with the music we make- that’s the entire point of all of this. I don’t care about how many Twitter followers I have, or whether or not we win an award. None of that matters, if the fans aren’t happy.

They need us, and we’re trying our best to be the idols they deserve. It’s hard- when all we see on our Twitter feeds is hate. I’ve said before- I do read it…I know I shouldn’t, but it’s all just sitting there, waiting for me, and I need to self-depreciate sometimes. I go through the hate, and make myself feel worse- my only form of respite being slicing a blade into my skin.

The amount of bracelets covering my wrist is almost suspicious, but the boys assume I’m just trying to hide very old self-harm scars, I used to cut a bit, before auditioning for the X-factor, and I really don’t want fans seeing those scars. They need me to be okay for them- they don’t need to know that I cut myself too, that I’m just like some of them. They don’t need to help me, I need to help them. I need them to stay strong; I need them to realize that life is worth living.

It’s just hard…sometimes the hate gets overwhelming, and I’m left wondering whether I’m really cut out for all of this. I’m just a nobody from Cheshire, and now, I’ve become part of the biggest band in the world. And I’m not entitled in the least- I don’t care about fame. I care about making people happy. The media gets the idea completely wrong, and people hate on me for it. I don’t control what those bastards print- and half the time; they’re printing bullshit, just because it makes a good story.

I don’t think people care what I feel anymore, and that’s fine; I’m not asking anyone to care. But if they just stopped the hate…just let us do our jobs and make our girls the happiest in the world, everything would be okay. The hate is what broke us. And now, I don’t know whether we’re going to be able to lie to our fans and tell them it gets better, when we know that it won’t.

I’m tired of lying to people. I just want the truth to come out. I want people to see how badly hate has broken us- because fame isn’t all it’s thought of being. Fame is hell.

I stare at my Twitter feed, a tear slipping down my cheek at the numerous hateful tweets. There are ones telling me to kill myself, telling be to get cancer and die, calling me fat, worthless, you name it, it’s on there. And I just don’t understand it anymore. I don’t understand why people feel the need to do this. What are you getting out of it? How is hating on a celebrity helping you in any way? I doubt you go out and boast to your friends about it. Congratulations, you’ve managed to make someone you don’t even know feel like utter shit about themselves.

I never wanted to resort to self-harm. I always thought that it was so sad, so heartbreaking to see our girls with cuts on their wrists, and I vowed to myself that I would never cut my own skin. Saying I broke it would be an understatement- my thighs and stomach are covered in gashes- I don’t usually cut my wrists, because I tend to wear short sleeved shirts, and I don’t think bracelets are enough of a cover up.

I know how it feels to hate yourself- I was heavily bullied, even before I auditioned for the X-factor. I had to learn how to box, just for the sake of self-defense. No one came to my 16th birthday, and god fucking dammit, that was depressing. I felt so shitty, so worthless that night. My mum and sisters tried to comfort me, but nothing worked. Reality was so fucking painful- and I never wanted to feel that way again.

But I do. And it’s so much worse, now that I’m famous and 1/5 of the biggest boyband in the world. People have nothing better to do- than hate on us for no fault of ours. Ticket prices high? We didn’t choose that. Not coming to a certain location? That’s not our choice either. Not able to meet fans? Hell, we try and argue with security, to let us meet and sign your autographs, but we’re shot down more often than not. We try so hard for you guys, and this is what we get in return. I’m not saying all of you are horrible people- not in the least- just the haters…please tell me why the fuck hating on us is necessary. If your reasoning is valid, carry on, but I doubt it will be.

I hate what the hate has done to my brothers. It’s not even me whom I’m concerned with, at this point. They’re so broken- and I can see it- and seeing them like that depresses me even more. I’m Daddy Direction- I’m supposed to be taking care of them, making sure they’re okay, that sort of thing. Louis might be the oldest, but people have declared me the most responsible, and the boys listen to me. I’m supposed to make sure they’re okay, and I’ve let them fall into depression. I’m a shit person.

I hate how distant we’ve all become. We all used to be so close, we used to share everything, hell, we used to sleep in the same bed and cuddle at night. And now, we don’t tell each other anything. None of the boys know about my depression or my cutting, and I really wish I could tell them, but they can’t know how weak I am. To them, I’m the strong one- they can’t know how many times I’ve broken. All I am is a weak fucktard that can’t even pull himself together to take care of things- and that’s all I’ll ever be.

There are some days I hate waking up. I hate waking up and having to be Liam Payne, the guy who’s always calm and cool and collected and never yells at anyone. If I’m having a bad day and snap at someone, my mentions flood with hate. Hell, if I even curse, I get shit from management. I’m sick of not being able to breathe- because all I have to be is nice, nice, nice. That’s not the real me, and the fans know it. Why am I forced to be someone I’m not? The moment I snap at anyone, I know that I’m going to be cutting a lot more that night.

I just want someone to listen. I want someone to care, someone to hold me when I cry and tell me that everything will be okay. I want someone to be there for me, someone to help me out of the suicidal hole, and remind me that my life is worth living. I’m not asking for sympathy, I’m asking for an allowance to be human. I’m human, and just because I’m famous, doesn’t mean I lack emotion. I’m allowed to cry, I’m allowed to hurt, and I’m allowed to need help.

If I weren’t famous, everyone would be appalled with how much hate I get, but just because I’m famous and I make a lot of money, no one cares. It’s not about the fame, or about the money. It’s about the fans. It has always been about the fans, and it’ll always be about the fans. If I didn’t earn a dime, I wouldn’t care. I’d love to use the money to help fans that need it, or to give back to my parents, but I don’t think I’m allowed to. I don’t need any of this money or exposure, or shit like that.

I just want you guys to know that I love every single one of you. And that if I commit suicide in the next few weeks, it’s not your fault, and it never will be. I’m just…done…done being a shitty person. I’m done being a horrible idol, and I’m done trying to pretend I can handle it, when I simply can’t. I never want any of you guys to hurt yourselves, the pain is agonizing, and none of you deserve to feel that way.

I don’t know if I’m going to kill myself- at this point- but I do know that I’m close. Really close. And I don’t know what’s stopping me anymore.

Thoughts? Thank you for reading- I hope you enjoyed.

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