Why write about suicide?
This is quite a difficult topic for me to write about. Due to it being suicide prevention week, I felt that I should write something, but in all honesty, it’s really hard. I’ve started this blog so many times, and I just keep scrapping it. How much can I honestly reveal? What is OK to reveal? What is my overall message?
At this point, I’m going with revealing all in the hopes of letting others know they’re not alone, and there is always help and someone out there to listen.
My own mental health
For those of you that read my blog, or who know me, you’ll know that I’ve suffered with mental health issues for nearly 20 years. That is a frightening figure, especially when you consider I’m only 21 (plus 13). At first, I was diagnosed as having depression, then after my children I was told I had baby blues, then a few years after that, it was Generalised Anxiety Disorder & Depression.
18 years ago, I was put onto my first round of medication. Not that I took it seriously, and after my first month, I never went back to get more. I didn’t even give it a chance. It was when my children were toddlers that I was put onto my next lot of medication. I was medicated continuously for 5 years and I hated it. I hated how foggy it made me. I have been off medication for 7 years now, and it’s only been in the last 2 and a bit years I’ve really been struggling.
Some days I get up and I’m screaming inside. I’m screaming for the inner voice to just shut the fuck up. To stop planting seeds of doubt. To stop telling me I’m stupid, fat, ugly, worthless, horrible….To stop making me feel less than. Like I don’t deserve to be here. Like I’m failing at life. My inner voice has me convinced I’m a bad mother, bad wife, bad sister, bad daughter, bad friend, just all round bad. I feel so low and dirty. My husband & children tell me often they love me, but that little inner voice is just waiting to say something like “They’re just saying that because they have to”. Instantly, the moment is ruined.
I have likened my loneliness feeling to that of standing in a crowded room, screaming at the top of my voice to be seen and heard, yet no-one does. No-one sees me. No-one truly sees who I am, how I feel, and what I think. How could they possibly? I have spent years perfecting the art of being ‘normal’, to fit in. Sometimes I just feel so empty, that it aches. Like a thirst that cannot be quenched. I know I want to be happy, but I’m loathed to find anything that makes me feel the emotion for longer than a fleeting moment at times. Sometimes I do have days of feeling happy, but that is not often. Does this mean I’m naïve enough to believe that everyone is happy all the time, and that I should be? Hells no! I’m not that silly.
I have spoken to my husband about it, and he assures me that I’m loved and that things will get better. I know they will. Deep down I know that I will have more lucid days, where life wont feel so daunting and empty, but how long will it take to have one of those days? Will it just be for a day? Will it be longer?
How has suicide affected me?
I have attempted suicide twice in my life. Only once has it resulted in me ending up in A&E, this is something that I talk about in my blog about 13 Reasons Why. On both occasions, I didn’t discuss what I was thinking with anyone. It was an in the moment decision.
Suicidal thoughts are something that have affected me for a long time. It’s not something I openly talk about. I don’t discuss it with my friends. I’ve vaguely implied it to my husband when I tell him things like “I’ve just fucking had it. I honestly cannot keep going on like this!”. The only person I’ve really spoken about it with is my counsellor.
How often do I think about it? Well, if I’m honest, daily. At least once a day, I just think things like “Is this really worth it? Everything feels like an uphill struggle”.
How long do these thoughts last? They’re fleeting sometimes. Although, if I’m having a particularly low day, they may last a little while, and in turn cause me to feel even worse.
Have I gotten to the point where I actually would? No.
Do I think that it’s a matter of time? Honestly? No.
Why, deep down, I realise suicide is not the answer?
There is honestly no getting away from it. Suffering from any kind of mental health issue absolutely sucks donkey dick! There is no other eloquent way to put it really. It’s tough going. It exhausts every fiber of our being, BUT, and this is a big one, we do it every day! We get up, we get dressed, we face life! The one thing that scares/daunts us, we get up and we do it! Does that make us weak, or does that make us strong?
Physical disabilities are so much easier to see and empathise with. Mental illness isn’t something someone can identify with unless they’ve been there, because It’s just not something that is easily seen/understood. If you see someone with a visible disability, doing something you thought wasn’t possible, you would be saying things like “Oh my god, that’s amazing, look at what they’ve achieved”.
Here are some examples:
Stephen Hawking – In spite of his body failing him, he went on to live longer than any medical professional predicted and remains one of the most brilliant minds of our time!
Helen Keller – Deaf, dumb and blind woman who went on to get a degree, become an author and a political activist!
Stevie Wonder – A blind pianist/singer/song writer
Nicholas James Vujicic – Australian motivational speak, born without any limbs!
I think we can agree that each and everyone of these examples are extraordinary, right?
What about these people?
Kristen Bell – Actress – Suffers with anxiety and depression. Kristen gets up every day, fights her demons, and does a job that probably only flares that which scares/daunts her!
Michael Phelps – Olympic Athlete – ADHD. I appreciate this isn’t a mental illness, but, as mother to a son who has ADHD, I know how debilitating it can be. Michael is a real inspiration for not letting it stand in his way.
Ryan Reynolds – Actor – Suffers with anxiety. Like seriously? This shocked me too. Another who has learned to put such a brave face on things. Amazing actor.
Frank Sinatra – World famous actor/singer – suffered with bipolar disorder, and his volatile temper has often been spoken/written about.
Because their issues aren’t physical, would you take away from their achievements and how amazing they all are? I know I certainly wouldn’t. Would you say that because they’re famous, that they’ve achieved more than you in a day? Hell no!
Anyone suffering from mental illness, who gets up every day, and faces life, in my opinion, is a fucking legend! As hard as it is to see the good/positives, believe me, I know, never distract yourself from how awesome you are to get up and get on every day!
However hard you find things today, just remember how hard you found things yesterday, and you’re still here! When you think about ending it all, because that will be the only way to be free, just remember, that isn’t the case! When the grey mist of depression descends, it’s difficult to see that there was ever any colour, or that there will be again. You have had happy days, and you WILL have them again.
If you are struggling just now, and you’re not able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Please, talk to someone. Talk to a friend, family member, doctor, counsellor, or if you want to talk to someone anonymously, there is Samaritans. There is ALWAYS someone to talk to. You are NOT alone. Please believe that. So many of us struggle daily, and so many of us feel alone, but we’re not.
There is help there for us. Yes, in the UK the waiting list for counselling is ridiculous, but the sooner you make the appointment with your G.P, the sooner you get on the road to feeling better. It is not a sign of weakness to seek out help. If someone you knew broke their leg, would you think they were weak for attending A&E for help? No! So, don’t ever think you’re being weak by seeking help. If anything, you’re being strong by taking the first step.
If you are someone who’s already seeking help and feeling this way. Please, tell the people who are helping you. Be as open and as honest about how you feel as possible. How can they help you properly if you’re not honest? Don’t be scared to tell them everything, as it’s their job to listen and to help you. They can only help you properly, when armed with all the facts.
Doing this blog has shown me just how common it is to feel this way. I have a lot of you reaching out to me, often privately. Some of you I don’t know your real names, as you don’t know mine, but we talk. We take comfort in knowing our struggles are not uncommon. That others understand.
I really hope that if you have suicidal thoughts, that this blog has helped you see you’re not alone, and that there is always help out there!