Suicide awareness and prevention
Ever wondered what it’s like to be suicidal not receive any help when asking in desperation and then surviving an attempt? I have decided to write a post about my experience to try and open up discussion around this, still very stigmatised, uneasy topic in today’s society.
*TRIGGER WARNING – contains references to suicide*
The days and weeks leading up, I began to feel nothing but constant emotional pain and felt I was a constant burden on everyone. I felt that everyone and world would be a better place without me.
The days just passed me and world was spinning around me. I didn’t feel like I even existed – I was watching from a distance. Things didn’t matter anymore, as I thought I won’t be here much longer. I specifically remember buying a tea and women was so happy and smiling; I thought – I wish that could be me. I also thought these people have no idea what I have planned and it flash before me that life will go on; this lady will be back serving tea again, but the difference is she would never serve me again.
Then this began to scare me, what was I thinking, how did this one thought and plan become so real. I realised this is wrong, only from my insight through my recent perinatal mental health training. I reached out and asked for help. Sadly, I got nothing back, my CMHT ignored, me like they didn’t believe me. I felt I had no one and this made me feel my decision and thoughts were the right thing. Everyday next was the same, I can’t do this anymore -I need to do it, I need to go and be free.
I tried everything distraction and wrote a poem:
The silent but honest battle within.
Happiness isn’t here, all I see is the dark
Why is it so hard.
I’m coward I can’t say how I really feel,
You say just take my hand
But is this the real deal?
Love ones say they care,
But can they not see it’s too hard to bare.
You shout and say just do it,
But I can’t I’m too scared,
You say your be happy if you dare.
Why can’t I do it, I’m a coward.
I feel empty and selfish,
I should be happy and grateful,
But I’m stuck in some sort of hellish.
I’m sick of waiting and trust me I tried,
But if I hear on more be patient,
I just might try.
I can’t go on like this, all can do is cry.
I don’t know who I am anymore,
And all I get is closed doors.
I’m suffocating and can’t escape
You say don’t trust them,
You’re my only real mate.
I was so confused and fighting this battle of I want/ need to do it; but I can’t- I’m too scared or this is wrong. This went round and round, my head for days. I sat on it, talked myself in and out of it.
Then I came to a decision this was never going to stop, the torment of overdosing; being a way out of this cycle and living hell. This was it, I asked for help and help wasn’t given to me. This made me realise, this is what is meant for me now, this was the right thing to do.
This was it. I was shaking with the voice shouting: “This is your chance to finally take back control, you’re a burden on everyone, this is what you need to do, no matter how difficult frightening or wrong it is, in end it’s what needs to happen.” For me to be free and happy and no longer a burden or liability. Everyone will be better off without me, this world really isn’t for me. It’s my time to say Goodbye. Goodbye to suffering, Goodbye to fear and hello peace and happiness.
I spent ages fighting it, thinking over and over; trying to talk myself out. However, this wasn’t working, I couldn’t talk myself out, I had gone past that, it was too late. I reached out to my CMHT in crisis – my last plea for help. Again, I was let down and ignored and knew they weren’t listening or taking me serious. They showed me no-one cared and this was it, this was the right thing to do.
That was that! The negative words of others replayed over and over in my head. “You’re a danger to others, yourself, I am affecting others, you’re a liability, an Issue, a bad mother and wife.” Now for once I was being brave and doing what needed to be done for everyone.
But then I felt ill. What have I just done, I feel so ill, this shock back to reality saved me. It stopped me and I realised I needed help. I rang 999 as it was the only thing left for me. This shock – feeling like I just stood under an ice cold shower, saved my life. I felt guilty, petrified, hopeless and scared what will follow, what will happen next, will I even survive this.
I was terrified and felt so alone and lost. I didn’t know who I was anymore. The shame and guilt took over me – how could I let this happen? On flip side what is wrong with you, you’re a coward. You can’t even do this properly or right. The emotions and thoughts that consumed me were overwhelming.
I am lucky I got help and the paramedics took over and got me to A&E. The care in A&E unfortunately was not there and I was sent home, as soon as deemed fit medically. My psychiatric assessment was non-existent and I was sent home with self-help sheets, like nothing happened. No contact or referral to crisis team.
I felt an overwhelming guilt and shame – the reaction my family had, made me so guilty. I was angry at myself, how could I do this to the people I love. I told myself it was a mistake and I was wrong. My family felt it too: anger, fear, confusion but I accepted that they would feel it as I did too.
I wrote a poem about what it feels like recovering from an attempted suicide:
The lesson I learnt the hard way.
To my husband.
I honestly felt the pain was too much,
The world around me was spinning and I had lost touch.
All I could think of was everyone was better off without me,
So I needed to go to sleep to be free.
The guilt from the realisation of my action,
Kicked in and I was desperate for help,
You may say I was selfish,
But I lost all hope for a fraction.
I thought it was right, but I learnt it was wrong.
I know I need to fight this and be strong.
You will never understand why I did what I did.
However, it’s enabled a spark within me, and my candle is now lit.
I am glad you can’t understand it otherwise it means you would have felt it.
I would never wish it upon anyone, as it weighs a ton of bricks.
I know it was the illness, playing its nasty trick.
I promise I love you with all my heart,
And all I want is to never fall apart.
I learnt the hard way I am not well,
And the Reality is, there is no magic spell.
I’m on the first step of my journey to recovery.
And for me to make a rediscovery.
It’s no-one’s fault this happened,
I just felt completely broken.
I need you to know, now more then ever,
your constant love is enough to make me feel better.
I’m sorry for the anger and hurt I caused
I was not me and it was my biggest flaw.
I know this now and all I can say is sorry.
I know it upset you and caused you huge worry.
I haven’t lost hope, and I will continue to fight,
Cut the long story short I have survived,
I known I can do this now and I will thrive.
Sadly, I still not had any support to date about what happened. Instead, I had to work it out myself. I still to this day feel confused and overwhelmed by what happen; that the fact it scares me it could happen again.
I have struggled with suicide ideation for several months leading up, but never thought I would actually act on it.
This showed me how Ill I have been and how powerful and important your Mental health is & that it’s not okay to be ignored. Risk assessment and attitude towards suicide ideation from professionals and society needs to change.
I should not feel ashamed that I am a suicide attempt survivor – I should feel proud, lucky and grateful that I am a survivor and still fighting today. That actually I am not selfish, as every day I fight harder and stronger than anyone who isn’t fighting the battle of suicidal ideation. I have found strength I never knew I had, to continue to fight this – even though it’s the hardest thing.
I am staying strong and telling myself I can’t relapse – it’s not the answer. I am fighting for my son, for my husband, for my family and me.
Now being diagnosed with BPD, suicide thoughts are part of the illness symptoms. Now knowing this information, has made me gain understanding and acceptance. I realised it isn’t my fault, it’s the illness.
I am always going to have days and moments where I suddenly feel like I can’t do this anymore. However, now I have realised this is not the answer or right thing to do; if I distract myself and not let it consume or overwhelm me then it will past. This is much harder and not easy, but I’m learning skill to help me manage.
However, the most important thing and start to recovery: was accepting what happened.
It is not okay that services are just not there, to help people who are really suffering; despite all the pain and overwhelming emotions, find the strength to reach out, to then be ignored! This should never be allowed to happen!
Professional and society attitude to suicide threats and ideation needs to change. I was honest yet no one listen to me or took me seriously. Risk assessments need to change, appearance isn’t everything. Just because I might look okay and functioning on the outside, underneath I am really not.
On the contrary, society attitude to suicide ideation can be stigmatised over reaction. Which makes sufferers to feel its worst possible thing to have suicidal ideation and you’re now a burden/ liability. There is a difference between suicide ideation and being actively suicidal. I had suicide ideation for months leading up. People acted over the top and no longer wanted me. I was a huge burden.
In fact, while I was struggling with the thoughts, it was only a thought. I would not act on it. Then when I was actively suicidal things were very different- I had made plans, I wanted to do it. This was new and scary and completely different to when it was just a thought.
People need to understand the difference in suicidal ideation & being actively suicidal. There is a huge difference and that is Risk!! If more people knew and understood the difference then they would be able to support and give care without stigma. Instead, there is still confusion and fear- that people run a mile, if they know you have suicide thoughts. This is ultimately the worst thing you can do- make someone feel like a burden. However, this was my experience.
Important note to end with:
Please if you’re suffering like I was and need help, please, please keep going and reach out. It’s important to know that, although you may feel alone, no-one cares life is better without you, etc. – this is so wrong! This world needs you, people do care, people would not be better off without you – this is all the illness talking. Suicide is not the answer. Please seek help in a crisis.
Suicidal thoughts can be common in mental health conditions. So, remember you’re not alone, these thoughts are real too. It’s okay to feel how you do, just make sure you tell someone. If the thoughts turn to plans and become real please, please seek help and support.
I still get the thoughts, with BPD it’s an emotional rollercoaster; every day is different and can go round and round in circles of emotions. It’s exhausting. I have learnt that this is okay for me, I will have days where the thoughts are strong. They will never just magically disappear; it’s all part of my condition and recovery. Instead, I have learnt the difference between suicide ideation and being actively suicidal. I am learning how to manage the thoughts and let them past. When I get to crisis point; I must seek help and tell someone, when thoughts become active.
Please keep an open mind and willingness to talk and understand suicidal ideation and being actively suicidal.
Suicide is very real, please help support someone if they tell you they are struggling, don’t be consumed with fear and run a mile. You only make the burden more and decision to stay safe harder. Just telling them that you care and your here, can save lives. Please don’t run, if it’s overwhelming and you don’t know how to support someone; the best thing to do is get professional help involved. Show them you care and don’t judge them.
I am 26, a mother, a wife and a suicide attempt survivor.
If you need support or information please visit our Emotional Support page.