And now for a bit of light reading:
Warning: The below content may cause you to feel unhealthy amounts of concern and sympathy for my situation. Sympathy is nice but it don’t pay the rent. If you want to help me, please share my stories.
Suicide is another topic we generally don’t like to talk about. It creates a huge divide between people. Huge. Like the ocean, suicide has the ability to make us feel small and helpless because its pull is so powerful and so unpredictable. It frightens the shit out of people. I understand why. It’s as scary as it is unnatural.
We’re all slapping on the SPF 25, getting pap smears, taking our multi-vitamins like good little puppies, all in the hope of winning the rat race and evading pre-mature death.
We’re afraid of death by car accidents, terrorist attacks and cancer, but the thought that the biggest threat to our survival might actually be our own mind, is an unpleasant pill to swallow.
What makes The Shining such a fucking scary book is not just those freaky twins.
It’s the fact that the guy swinging the axe isn’t some stranger. It’s not the bogeyman. He’s the father and husband. He’s familiar. And he’s supposed to be safe. You think you know someone…you think you know your own mind. Until it turns on you. It’s very unnerving.
It pisses me right off when people say: “Oh suicide is so selfish!” “Suicide is an act of cowardice”.
Imagine standing at the top of a cliff, getting ready to jump, not knowing what’s waiting for you on the other side. You don’t even know if there is another side.
Close your eyes for a minute and imagine that scenario.
Which cliff did you choose? What are you wearing? Is it windy? What do you see when you look down? Is it high enough? What if the impact of the jump isn’t powerful enough to kill you? What if it just breaks your legs? What if you fall awkwardly, resulting in your protruded rib cage piercing your lungs? What if death is slow and painful? What then?
There are so many unknowns.
I don’t think there is a braver act in this world. Suicide is neither right nor wrong. But it is always tragic. It is a reaction to our problems outweighing our capacity. Our mind and body are simply overwhelmed. Most of us don’t want to die. We just want everything to stop. I didn’t want to kill myself per se. I wanted to float aimlessly through space. I just wanted a bit of nothing for a while.
Writing about suicide is difficult. What if I’m rejected by society? What if you all club together and pelt me with rocks and sticks? What if the next time we see each other you say “how aaarrreee you?” just a little bit slower and softer than usual? You’ll have that concerned look in your eye. You’re thinking “Oh you poor lamb. You poor troubled soul”
What if you’re angry with me? I’ve committed the biggest sin there is. The ultimate taboo. And you don’t know why. And you’re really pissed off. Really fucked off. What a fucking attention seek.
You’re reading this and you’ve already labelled me. You’ve put me in a drawer. Don’t hate yourself for it. We all do it. Stereotyping one another is essential to our species survival.
But I’m still the same person I was before you decided to read this. I haven’t changed. It’s you who’s changed. How has this new information affected you? Are you entertained? Educated? Indifferent?
I agreed early on in my blogging career that I would not censor myself. I knew it would get ugly. I want to write openly about Depression and with as little shame as possible.
In case you were wondering, this is not a cry for help. You, my precious readers do not have to worry about my life. That is not your job. I have a therapist for that. Let’s not blur those boundaries.
I’ve had one failed suicide attempt. Even writing that. Saying that out loud for the world to read makes my heart ache. I am so ashamed. It takes my breath away. What am I doing? My friends, my parents, even my boyfriend will read this and be shocked and sad and angry. I am sorry. I am so sorry everyone. But that is the truth. Depression is a motherfucker. And suicide just happens to come with the territory.
At my lowest, after my fourth batch of anti-depressants, failed me, Depression flung me into a dark hole and sat on my face. I couldn’t eat because I had no appetite and was constantly nauseous.
Also, I didn’t have the energy to walk to the shop, figure out what I was going to make, select the food, wait in the queue, pay for it, walk all the way back, chop the food, cook it, and lift it up to my face.
I felt like I was walking under water. I was heavy. And my brain was cloudy. I couldn’t read books because I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t watch movies because I couldn’t follow the storyline. I was exhausted but I couldn’t sleep because I felt so jumpy and anxious. I saw no way out.
One evening, I was alone at home. I had a cranking headache. I took two painkillers. They did nothing. I took two more. Still the headache remained. Then I took two migraine tablets. Then two flu tablets. Then two anti-anxiety pills. Still I was wide awake and the headache persisted. Then I thought, why don’t I just continue taking all this stuff. Yes, that sounds like a good idea. That sounds like something a respectable adult would do.
There was an all-you-can-eat medication buffet happening in my bathroom that night.
After munching my way through as many tablets as I could find, I patiently marched myself to bed and waited for peace.
Peace did not come. Instead my stomach began to throb and hurt. My lower back ached. I managed to fall asleep for an hour and when I woke up I was pissed that I hadn’t slept for longer. Like forever.
I felt dizzy and nauseous. Someone had obviously used my stomach as a punching bag while I was asleep. I started losing the sensation in my arms.
I thought, oh my fuck what have I done? Fuck. I did my best high-school cheerleader impression and stuck my fingers down my throat. I puked up all the contents of my stomach. And then some. I rewarded myself by resting my hot, stinky body on the cool bathroom tiles.
After a few hours, I came to and pulled myself into bed. I slept until the next morning. When I woke up, my back was sore and I felt like Jean-Claude van Damme had just done a number on me.
I didn’t tell anyone except my therapist. I didn’t go to the doctor or the hospital.
As I mentioned above, I do not want sympathy with this post. I don’t want you people flocking to me with your head tilted to one side asking me if I’m ok. I will be really fucking annoyed if you do. I don’t want all that. Instead I want to highlight that suicidality is a common side effect of Depression.
Depression is a disease of the mind. It physically and chemically alters our perception of reality. Of course a healthy person with a healthy brain would say “But that’s mad! Why would you wanna die when you have everything to live for” I don’t want to sound arrogant, but the concept of suicide is going to be very hard to understand with a healthy mind.
Our human instinct is to do everything we can to remain on this planet. The survival of the species. This instinct is not something that we’ve had to learn. It’s innate. We don’t even think about it. We only realise it was there, when it’s gone.
I remember a story of a plane crash many years ago. The survivors were stranded on top of a snowy mountain. With no food, but plenty of cadavers around, the survivors began to eat the dead. When faced with death, people will go to extraordinary lengths to survive, even eating human flesh.
Depression subdues that natural desire to stay alive. Which makes it such a dangerous and unpredictable disease.
If someone throws us in the water before we’re able to swim, do we not struggle and fight for breath? Do we not look left and right before crossing the road, so we don’t get hit by a truck and killed?
We fight to stay alive all our lives. Until the very thing keeping us alive (our mind), the very headquarters of our bodies, is telling us that no, life like this is not worth living, death is better than life. And we believe it. Because it’s always known what’s right before. And we only have one brain. One mind. And why would it lie to us?
Depression warps our way of thinking. It throws everything out of balance. It lies. It tells us things will never get better. It tells us that death is better than life. It tells us that nobody loves us. It lies and says us that we’re a burden to those around us and that everyone is fucking sick of our constant whinging. It tells us that the world will genuinely be a better place without us. Depression is an illness that lies. And suicide is the final stage. Stage IV. It is the sad and tragic realisation that the disease has won.