I am disrupting my doctors blog series to talk about a day that has great significance to me, today is world suicide prevention day.
As many of you know I am a suicide survivor myself, having tried to take my life three times in September 2012, the last attempt landing me in the ICU in hospital for a week. I’m a bit fuzzy on the details but after taking a rather large overdose I passed out unconscious, I don’t know how long I was unconscious before I was found, and it’s not something I like to ask my mum about the details of because well as you can imagine it’s a bit of a touchy subject for her to say the least. I do remember several flashbacks though, I remember briefly coming to several times in the car on the way hospital, I was angry, I was shouting at my mum who was slapping me to keep me awake, I was shouting ‘fuck off, leave me alone’. I didn’t want to be saved I just wanted to die and in my eyes they weren’t letting me so I was angry at them for that, at the time anyway. A lot of the next bit is a blur, I remember being in hospital and being taken somewhere in my bed still in and out of consciousness, angry and not letting anyone touch me so they nearly restrained me to the bed. But I remember the porter taking me somewhere and he was praying over my bed, praying that I would survive. I don’t remember much else other than waking up briefly and my mum asking me what I wanted, I asked for my school counsellor and the next thing I knew she was there at my bedside, she then proceeded to wipe away my tears when I was asking her why I was alive, probably the only time in over 4 years that she has seen me cry. It was kept very hush hush what I did because of legal reasons of the country I was living in, but I got visit from my GP and my psychologist and my two best friends.
I was in such a dark place with my depression, caused by the pain I was in all the time, I couldn’t cope and I didn’t want to continue living if all my life was going to consist of was more severe pain and the misery that came with it. I had no hope, no hope that things would ever get better, no hope for my future because I didn’t want the future I could see that was in store for me. And I felt so desperately helpless, it seemed like no one could help and things would always be like this. I had planned my attempt for over a year, I was upset and angry that it hadn’t worked and that I was alive.
Chronic pain/illness can leave us feeling so desperately hopeless, helpless and alone so much so that we don’t want to live anymore and often people become suicidal, I did, I know what it’s like. But I’ve come to see that we don’t have to get better physically to be able to live a happy and full life despite our pain and limitations. There is hope and we can still achieve what we want to achieve. It’s possible even though it may seem like it’s not, I never thought it was but it is and I am proof. You may not recover from the chronic pain/illness but you can recover from depression, it’s not easy but it’s worth it.
To Write Love On Her Arms are a non profit organisation for the awareness of mental health, addiction, self harm and suicide are an organisation that I think are amazing. They are running a campaign right now for National suicide prevention week called No One Else, it’s message is that no one else can play your part, that your story is yours and it is important and people should hear it, you matter and your story matters, your pain and your hope matters. I think that is a very important message for people struggling with depression and things like feeling suicidal.
I don’t feel ashamed of my attempt on my life at all, though it’s not something I tell people I meet it is something I will talk openly about if I want or need to. There is so much stigma around suicide, it is such a taboo subject however it affects millions of people but no one feels able to talk about it for fear of being judged or shunned, I think that needs to change. Yes it’s not a very pleasant subject to talk about but people with depression feel like they can’t talk to anyone about what they are feeling because they fear they will be judged for it, for feeling the way they do, which in turn just makes you more depressed which doesn’t help. 1 in 4 people are affected by mental illness which is a staggering number, but it is a subject that people don’t speak about making the people that suffer feel more and more alone.
Take a moment in your day to smile at someone, to ask someone if they are okay and really mean it, no just one of them quick ‘Hi, how are you?’ comments where you don’t actually really care for the true answer. It could make all the difference to someone struggling. Be kind, always, for everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.