Mental illness is like internal bleeding and if it isnt treated in time it can cause death or life long complications.
The past few weeks have been more of a struggle and I’ve already fallen at the first hurdle for not admitting that sooner. It’s great that there is more awareness of mental illness but suicide is still a heavily taboo subject. Sometimes its harder to admit it to yourself let alone anyone else. I kept thinking about the future and I couldn’t generate any images in my mind and that continually brings me back to the brink of suicide. Fear of the unknown. It became so overwhelming that over the last two days I overdosed on paracetamol before sleeping and wished as hard as possible that I wouldn’t wake up. But if I’m going to die I don’t think it will be due to over the counter drugs, I’ve tried and failed that multiple times. So instead I have planned my suicide, going over ever detail so I know how much the equipment would cost, how long I have to wait before the point of no return etc,
Those of us who feel suicidal are constantly told things such as
- “Everyone feels that way at some point in their life”
- “It will pass soon”
- “Why can’t you see how lucky you are!?”
- “You’re spoiled and ungrateful”
- “You should go to the doctor if you REALLY feel that way”
- “Don’t be selfish, how do you think your family will feel”
That last one really gets to me. Killing yourself is considered a form of selfish behaviour but who is it selfish to? This is something that has been nagging at the back of my mind. For those contemplating the act they are in the depths of dispair and every breath taken is resented. I know, I’m with you there. Is it really selfish to want it to stop?
I often use my “chronic headache” story when I’ve been sneered at because of my anxiety and depression. For me, it encapsulates mental illness in several ways. Firstly, there’s no visual sign of injury with a headache but a bump on the head followed by a headache is a neon red, sirens blazing, warning sign of internal damage. Secondly, the stigma against antidepressants because they are there to help alleviate rather than cure symptoms. Thirdly, how easy it is to fall into the cycle of substance abuse.
‘One day you’re walking down a country land and you’re admiring the vibrant pink flowers, fresh breeze, the warmth on your skin. So wrapped up in the experience you don’t look where you are going and trip over a small rock. Its okay though, you just stumble a little and recover your balance but you continue a little more cautiously until once again you get wrapped up in the gorgeous country side and this time when you trip over a rock you go down and bump your head. You’re a little bruised but nothing bad enough to warrant treatment. You arrive home and get into bed but you can’t sleep because of a gnawing persistent pain where you hit your head. In the morning you dont want to get up, your head seems to get worse with every noise and smell so you don’t want to eat or be around people anymore, you get snarky at them in the hopes they will leave you alone. At first they sympathise but soon they tell you to get on with life. You go to work but the pain in your head wont let you focus and you have to leave the basketball game even though your favourite team is playing and you want to cheer them on. On the way home down that same country lane you dont notice what colour the flowers are, you dont care if its warm. All you want to get home so you can crawl into bed where its quiet and take something to ease the pain. Just some relief for a little while. So you take something, and it eases it for a little while but then its back.
- What is the quality of your life now?
- How long would you want to live with the pain of this headache?
- How would you feel if people decided you must be lying if the pain medicine isn’t helping?
- Do you remember what colour the flowers were?
Why would you want someone you love to have such a terrible quality of life? I’m in now way saying that anyone should or shouldn’t commit suicide only that branding it as a selfish or dismissing the feelings push us to feel more trapped than we already do.
After accepting suicide as an option and planning all the details do I can now control when I want to do it. Back when I full of life, hopes and dreams, I wrote a bucket list and I haven’t ticked anything off. Maybe one day I will share the things on there with you but for now my goal is to finish my degree before I die. It’s a goal not because I love it, or it fills me with joy and happiness, it’s a goal because my former self wanted it and helps to reduce the remorse of past failed suicide attempts.