Well the wheel turned and I’m doing ok. Reading still but at a reasonable level. I consider myself pretty happy, I’m taking care of me and my family, eating and sleeping well and I have want to do stuff that I enjoy.
I do sometimes wonder how my good days compare to those without mental illness though. I wonder if my mental health has shaped me so much that I don’t return to the normal baseline others have.
Today a friend posted a video on facebook. ‘Messages for anyone considering suicide, from people who’ve been there.’ I watched but I couldn’t help rolling my eyes and scoffing at pretty much all of them. I am not suicidal right now, although I have been too many times to count, but I still can’t help but disagree with those messages. They make it seem so simple and easy when it really isn’t. It isn’t all that clear cut. I guess that’s why suicide prevention lines have never helped me. I just get annoyed with them and think that if they can’t help me I really am screwed.
I’ve posted the video below and gone through with my reaction to each one. I’m not trying to glorify suicide or even trivialise these people’s feelings. I’m just going through with my reaction to each one, how my brain reacts to it as a suicide survivor at a time in my life when I am positively not suicidal.
“Although it’s cliche, and you may not believe it now, it really does get better. I promise you won’t regret sticking through it.” How long do you expect people to stick through it. Is it a year to get better? 5? 10? 20? What happens if 20 years after feeling suicidal for the first time the person is still fighting this depression and suicidal feelings. Do you still tell them, just hang on in there it will get better. What happens when there is more life behind the person, filled with depression, than there are possible years ahead of them that could be filled with happiness?
“You deserve to give yourself one more try. You deserve to live. You deserve to be.” Really? How many more tries should people give their life? Yes they deserve to live and they deserve to be, but do they not also deserve to rest? Do they not deserve to stop fighting?
“Open up, let someone in so they can find a way to help you through your tough times. No one deserves to go through life alone.” What about when you have tried opening up? When sharing how you are feeling only drives people away. When people no longer have the emotional strength to deal with what you are going through. When friendships go better if you just stop talking about your difficulties? Yes, no-one deserves to go through life alone but a lot of people just don’t understand mental illness or have so many stresses in their own life that they cannot hold someone’s hand through their own hard times. We deserve to not be alone but so many people are and there isn’t a solution to that.
“Please reach out. I don’t care how ‘dumb’ or weak you think you are or sound. Get the help you deserve.” See my comment to the previous. A lot of people do reach out but they don’t have people around that can help. So many times in my life I have tried reaching out only to learn that it is better to say nothing. Yes at times there have been people who have answered my call but not always. When you are suicidal, and you’ve tried to reach out, seeing things like this just make you feel even more alone.
“Suicide is not a solution. It doesn’t fix anything.” I guess I can see where they are coming from. But it is a solution. You feel like you can’t cope with life, you’ve tried and tried. You’ve tried self medicating, you’ve tried the drugs the drs prescribe, you’ve tried talking, you’ve tried keeping it in, you’ve tried therapy. You’re tired and you just don’t know how to go on. Suicide means you don’t have to go on and you don’t have to be tired and scared anymore. It does solve that problem. It creates a whole bunch of problems for those around you, but it does solve your problem.
“This world needs you.” Each of us plays a small part in the world. When we die the world does go on. The world doesn’t need us, in fact there are probably too many people for the world right now. The people around us however, they do sometimes need us. Our friends and family gain something from our existence, even if that isn’t shown when we are alive, people’s reactions to the death of their loved ones shows it. The effect I have on the people around me, how they will feel at my loss and the help I can be to them whilst alive, those are the reasons I keep living.
“Even when you think your light is too dim, someone sees it”. And this one I have no problem with. We do truly affect those around us, even in small ways we may not be aware of.
“The people in your life are not better off without you.” Now here is where I think I have just lived with depression and suicidal feelings for too long. This one immediately gets to me, despite what I said above. Some people are toxic to those around them, sometimes it is only some people around them. Sometimes my mental health really does harm those around me. I struggle so much not to think that I am blight on the people around me a lot of the time, although I acknowledge that it is not all of the time. Sometimes I think that blight is enough to outweigh the times I am good for the people in my life.
“Getting help is easier than the alternative.” You must be fucking kidding me! Getting help is stupidly hard. How many people commit suicide whilst waiting for help? It is far easier to kill yourself than to struggle through, appointments and referrals, waiting lists and bad health professionals, condemnation from those around you and side effects of drugs. Getting help is a long hard road that you have to be seriously committed to. Suicide can be a pretty quick action made in a rush of adrenaline and hope.
“Don’t suffer in silence; the liar is counting on you to isolate.” My problem with this is that I have found over the years that most people do not have time or energy to deal with someone else’s mental health. That opening up can drive a wedge between you and that person so not only do you not have their support with your issues but you also no longer have the easy friendship and laughs you once had. You can often get that back by no longer talking about the mental health but then things like this tell you to and you’re reminded how alone you really are.
“There’s a difference between wanting to kill yourself and wanting to kill the part of you that wants to kill yourself.” Yes that is true, but what happens when you have lived alongside the part of you that wants to kill yourself for so long that the thought patterns have bled in. When you can be having the time of your life and still have those same thought processes. When you can be on the best holiday of your life and still assess every room you walk into for how you could kill yourself there. Where you can’t look at a place without seeing your ‘escape routes’? What happens when there is no longer a division between you and the part of yourself that wants to kill you?
“It’s just a thought. Don’t listen.” Way to trivialise it. Damn if I realised I just didn’t have to listen to the suicidal thoughts my life would have been so much easier. What happens when you are like I was earlier this month. When constant distraction, sometimes with two things at once was the only way to stop listening to that thought. When you are scared to sleep because there will be a moment before you sleep and just after you wake where you won’t be able to block the thought. Where you fear going out in public because even among the smiles and idle chatter the thoughts will be screaming inside your head and you’re scared you will just crumble to the floor under the weight of it all. What happens when you feel suicidal deep in your bones, in the constant state of anxiety it has put you in. In the sensory memory of previous attempts so you can feel it on your skin and taste it in your mouth. Honestly, fuck off telling people not to listen to it.
“Someday the light will come and it will be more beautiful because you are a survivor.” No. Just no. I think we are at the lightest my life is going to get. I get happy, things are going well. It is not made more beautiful because I have survived my depression, anxiety and suicide attempts. I do not see my scars as I go about my day and think how wonderful it is that I made it through.
Maybe again this is just another sign that my ‘happy’ is not the same as other people’s. Maybe some people go through depression, suicide and mental illness, come out the other side and have beautiful, happy lives and look back at their past and wonder how they ever felt that way. Maybe they actually get better. I don’t think I am going to get better. It has been 21 years and more than a dozen different drugs, plus several different types of therapy. I have lost hope that I will get better. What I do hope, is that I survive. I have a wonderful husband and daughter who I feel I can have a positive impact on at times. I do think they will be negatively affected by my death. And so I will keep on trying to survive.
Like with most of my posts I’m not entirely sure what the point was in writing it but I saw this video and had a reaction to it. I guess I just wanted to be a voice for those who have faced suicide but don’t feel like the people in the video. You can make it past suicide and lead a pretty good life without feeling like everything is rosey. Sometimes you are changed by it all and that is ok.