I attended the 2nd to last daily support group today. For me at least. A daily forum for thoughts and feelings. How grim it was. I can’t discuss other patients or what they talked about but the subject turned to suicide. Nearly everyone shared their own take on it and some their own experiences. Myself and a few others abstained. There was lengthy discussion surrounding the emotions involved when a person reachesa point in life where suicide is a viable choice to make. This involved a heated debate about the actions a person should take in such a situation.
So, these actions could be loosely collected into two groups:
- Inform (tell someone i.e. being talked off the proverbial ledge)
- Isolate (do nothing because the drive is too deep)
The ‘inform’ camp thought that no matter what happened or how bad someone felt that it was always possible to reach out and that it should always be done. The ‘isolate’ camp argued that if you’ve reached that point all reason would be absent and that the ‘inform’ route would be negated completely.
I’d argue that it’s not quite clear cut. Thinking rationally outside of that debate it’s obvious that the ‘inform’ window precedes the ‘isolate’ stage and that the period in which someone might seek help would vary massively according to circumstances and personality. In some cases I would concede that the ‘inform’ window would be almost non existent. I would also say that for some the perceived stigma, internalised fear or even a lack of supportive resource might also remove the ‘inform’ window from the flow of events.
Anyway, I’m beginning to ramble on a subject I’m sure has been analysed by statitiscians and psychologists and is certainly much more complex. It should also be made quite clear that I’m fully in favour of seeking support in such a desperate time of need. Just ask. The world is overwhelmingly full of compassionate people.
This linked directly to the circumstances that led me to be admitted to hospital by request from my partner and parents. To cut a long story short, which I will tell, I’ve been dealing with mental health issues for most of my life. I am now 41 and well over 30 of them has seen my state of mind well below par. When things are good life is bearable but at it’s worst life is unimaginable torture. Over the last year things have degraded again to the point where three weeks ago I was begging my partner and mother for permission to commit suicide. Odd, unfair, desperate, pathetic, cowardly and cruel are all words I could attribute to that.
I had reached the point where my three main barriers to performing that final act were whittled down to one. My family and my partner had been taken off the list. They would in time come to terms with their loss. The final barrier though stopped me taking action on what I had planned. The plan I had kept locked away in the darkest corner of my mind for so many years. To drive to a remote bed and breakfast and take an overdose. I couldn’t do that to my children. The thought of their faces wet with tears after being informed of my death was unbearable.
So I did the most selfish thing I could have done. And I feel regret. Deeply. I begged for permission that would somehow supersede that last barrier. I had reached the point where I could see no solution to the turmoil, doubt, confusion and difficulty I deal with every day. The point where my depression and anxiety had hit almost bottom. My idealisation of suicide had reached critical mass. In my eyes it was the only way to escape. My salvation.
Where am I now?
Well being here in hospital I have learnt a lot. I know so much more and I am beginning to see a clearer picture – more than the labels that have been assigned to me. At a more granular level mine are a unique set of problems. I also have DBT therapy planned which I have been told is very successful and there may possibly be different therapy or therapies along my journey that will help clear my psyche.
It is all very daunting and if truth be told I don’t feel much different to when I came in. That final barrier is still firmly in place and almost, frustratingly, indestructible. I will endure (my loved ones understand, I hope, that the endurance I have in favour of my children is in no way indicative of any form of diminished love for them). I will fight the fight that has been raging for what seems forever.
I dream of spending whatever time remains of my life on this planet being able to feel, as appropriate, uncorrupted happiness.
To feel unmasked.
Without that ever present grey cloud casting it’s shadow.
Recently a ray of sunshine broke through…