On “good” days I have an affinity for mental health awareness and thus encapsulating suicide prevention. On “bad” days I will scream “I am not mentally ill, I’ve just been dealt a shit hand and if I want to die then you should let me!” The latter is where I’ve been at for the past few days and thus my blog posts and interactions on instagram have fallen away.
The reason I have chose to speak up about suicide is because very much like Voldermort, it’s a taboo that we all know too well exists and all (even those who have attempted and failed) try to brush it under the carpet with an array of euthanisms or a complete denial. “Normal” people don’t want to be reading this depressing shite. They want to go about their lives pretending it doesn’t happen. And those who have been been through it don’t want to be that “attention seeker” who talks openly about it or that person with it still in mind who wants to make sure no one has a clue about their next effort. – that is my belief why it is not something widely spoken of.
It is, of course an extremely serious matter and I don’t intend to deter from that throughout this post. I want the guys in the same boat as me to feel more understood and less alone (although no two experiences will be the same) and for everyone else to realise how utterly exhausting wanting to take your own life can be. Be warned, this is not a post about how thankful I am that I didn’t succeed. This is the raw, candidness that I’ve always promised.
If guns were as readily available here in the UK as they are in the US, (as us Brits are continuously reminded by the media,) I might have been dead as young as 14 and at the very latest, my courage would’ve set in by the 10th of September 2011, at the age of 20.
I woke up this morning more disappointed than ever before.
You see these documentaries about those who have survived leaping from the Golden Gate Bridge in attempts to end their own life, only to change their minds halfway down and be glad to have not succeeded in their suicide.
That wasn’t me this morning.
I’ve mentioned it before and pulled out the graphic in evidence. In the UK suicide is the number one cause of death of males between the ages of 5 (yes five!) and 49. But we don’t talk about it as readily as we do cancers and rare, ‘interesting’ illnesses. Not to say these physical life threatening problems aren’t as important but the ratio of the IllnessesWeOpenlyTalkAbout:NumberOfDeaths is sadly so out of whack it’s scary.
Last night my cousin had seen my blog and brought round a charger. I spent my last £13 on a takeaway and an episode of Poirot from amazon prime, not intending to wake up, I felt this beautiful sense of calm wash over me.
I don’t want sympathy, psychiatry or a list of self affirmations stuck to my mirror each morning and although I can’t speak for anyone else who has failed or succeeded in taking their own life, I don’t think those things can help anyone on that extreme verge, about to free fall into what they see as their own perfect peace.
I have a wide network of support, either at the other side of the phone line or keyboard and I bet this is also true for many other people who wish and have wished to take their own life. But what most people don’t realise, is that when you come to that darkest point of not wanting to be here anymore, those support systems become obsolete.
I popped all the pills out of their aluminium trays and collected them carefully on the frosted glass table. Around 70 tablets, different shapes, sizes, colours. I’d already downed 3 cans of cider and had a Dr Pepper waiting.
When I’ve got to that stage before, I’m usually wiping snot all over my face, unable to concentrate through tears and sobs of telling myself what an unlovable person I must be and how I deserve to die. It’s almost like I used to feel like I was doing everyone else a favour by ceasing to exist. Instead of it being something I wanted.
Even my note, wrote on a mothers day envelope from my children, had a different tone, it wasn’t the usual vomit about shame and guilt and how sorry I was for being a burden, in essence I believe it reads as a “well what did you expect.”
Suicide either builds itself from the breakages of a diseased brain or forms itself together from the products of a person’s circumstances.
Last night I was the most ready I have ever been. There was no crying or telling myself what a worthless person I was. It was a sheer acceptance that I was allowing myself to go. I knew and still know there is nothing left that I can try to change and swallowed every last one of the pills which in itself was an achievement.
I got into bed, feeling warm and protected. With a settled, yet incorrect realisation, that these were the last moments I’d have to live, I smiled to myself in an odd sort of way. I made sure my auto-instagram app was running incase people were checking up on me and I put the episode of Poirot on and in what seemed like seconds, I drifted away.
For a brief moment I still had the smile on my face when I woke up around 14 hours later. “Yaay I’m dead!” A few more seconds and I was fully aware yet another try had failed and the usual jibes of “you can’t even kill yourself properly” came pouring in with nasty remarks from some other part of my mind.
That’s when the waterworks started. The sobs, the cries of “why won’t you let me go!?” aimed at some imaginary figure past the ceiling.
There was one strange moment somewhere within the 14 hours sleep which I was unsure whether to mention… In a semi conscious state I was fighting with someone trying to pick me up. I wasn’t dreaming but I note that one of the symptoms of overdose of one of the tablets was in fact delirium and I’ll put it down to that.
I don’t feel that sudden epiphany I have felt before “you stupid woman“. I don’t feel guilt nor shame “what about your children“. I don’t feel regret or a reason to keep fighting “it’s just a rough patch”. If anything, I feel a numb disappointment.
I don’t profess to know any answers or even an insight that might comfort others. These moments are ones I have owned on and off for 13 years and who will continue to own me, I am sure, until my last breath.
So, suicide prevention, is it possible? In my view there are only three ways. Firstly, locking someone away against their will with absolutely no means of taking their own life. Secondly, changing someone’s mind, whether that be through blackmail, bribery, kind reminders, psychotherapy or medication. & Thirdly? Hardest of them all; Changing your own mind.