My Story. We grow up thinking everything happens for a reason. Truer words have not been spoken. In late February of this year, whilst in an Acute Mental Health Ward, I tried for the first time in my life to commit suicide.
I have run all of my life, from everyone, from everything, and the plain truth of the matter is, that all these years of running I was actually running from myself.
I had run out of hope, out of energy and the will to fight anymore. The flashbacks, insomnia, anxiety, stress, anger depression, self-esteem, debilitating PTSD, had swallowed me whole.
This horrendous concoction of mental health issues I was living with, had won. The hardest thing I have ever done in my life was to keep living…when every muscle, tendon and sinew, every feeling, thought and emotion was screaming at me to just lay down and die…and the thought of peace was so very tempting.
My thoughts had been taken over by the most primal sense of threat. I felt death was following right behind me. I was walking on eggshells. The level of my self harm had elevated way beyond my wildest nightmare. My life had ended, and I made what I thought at the time was the only decision I felt I could make…my most desperate and final attempt to escape my suffering.
If you are not in the grip of Suicidal Depression, it’s very hard to understand suicide. I have lived through at least 45 years of unrelenting psychological pain. Mental illness has raised me from early childhood to the situation I find myself in today.
To think what has become of my life, was a shameful reality for me. I am a proud woman, who had no hope for the future. I felt I had no purpose. What good could I do in this world with nothing to offer, except a lifetime of pain, distrust and shame.
At the time of my suicide attempt I felt like I was in a trance like state, with a distorted sense of time, and I truly believed that how I felt at that moment was going to last forever….and why wouldn’t I think that my triggers, my flashbacks day in and day out, year after year, and the constant nightmares and night terrors had claimed my soul. I already felt dead inside.
So here I am a couple of months down the track and doing the best that I can. I have had a lot of help to get to where I am now. Not much has changed yet, but I can say that I definitely don’t feel suicidal at this point in time.
I stopped running…and now I stand and fight.
I now have a group of people supporting me and I stand with them. My doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, social worker, my family and most of all my partner, understand I did the best I could with what I had to deal with.
I raised myself. There was no wisdom, no kindness, no love ingrained in me. A pack of wolves would have done a better job than my family. I understand that nothing will work, unless I do the work. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to change a lifetime of behaviour that was grounded on a bed of mental illness and not a glimpse of human kindness.
I am entering a new era in my life of emotional maturity. I am learning why I do the things I do. I’m learning how my brain has protected me the best it could. I’m starting to develop a new way of looking at ways to cope and reaching out to those who can help me slow down my racing brain, and to not make decisions on the run.
PTSD Is Like A Cancer
PTSD at its best is overwhelming. I didn’t accept for a long time that I have PTSD. Soldiers get PTSD, not me! However, accepting my childhood and stepping back and acknowledging the fact that my tired old brain has done the best it could under the most despicable circumstances, is probably the most sane thing I have ever done.
PTSD to me is like fighting cancer. When you don’t fight it, it’s terminal. Sometimes it’s not so bad and at other times it’s totally debilitating. So your either in remission or heading down the terminal track.
I am attending a course run by the hospital, and much to my surprise I am enjoying it. I will be in mental health classes as an out-patient for the next two years. At the moment a two year commitment seems so long and so hard and it sometimes seems more than I can manage. However, I have promised myself and my beautiful partner that I will go to any and all appointments, that are recommended to me.
The running is over, and the fight has begun!
As I have stated so many times, but can never say enough, this is my story, and mine to tell. My story is no better or worse than anyone else. However, I have chosen to share my lifetime experience, the good the bad and the ugly, in the hope that somebody may read my struggles and in some small way, they may reach out and ask for help and fight for themselves and their family.
Is Suicide Selfish?
Suicide appears selfish to those who have lost a loved one, or if someone close to them who has tried to kill themselves…but I say this from the bottom of my heart…hurting my family or my friends was the last thing on my mind at the time. I could only think what a burden I was to them. How they would be better off without me.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I no longer sit and think of reasons to ‘go’, I just think about getting to tomorrow, and minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, I think of all the reasons to stay. Its bloody hard work, don’t get me wrong, but I have been handling all this for decades on my own. Imagine what I can do with a little help, kindness and the right support team beside me!
Have no shame, ask for help, acknowledge you are not coping, believe in yourself and remember you are stronger than you think. If you can no longer fight, go enlist an army who can help you! People are not mind readers, tell them you need help! There is nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s the people who think they have it all together and see themselves through rose-coloured glasses that worry me the most.
The kindest and most generous people I have found, suffer from their own mental health issues. They have loving arms, they know how you feel, and they speak the truth. If you only have the energy left to do one last thing for yourself, don’t waste it on self harm…invest that energy and help the best friend you will ever know to reach out and ask for help.
Be kind to yourself,
Love Dee xx