It’s #worldsuicidepreventionday today and I want to share a story with you that I have mainly kept private.
Back in February my ill health hit a peak and I attempted to take my own life. I have no memory of the days that followed, of being found, of the ambulance ride, of my stay at QA, of multiple seizures and multiple tests. These are however memories my loved ones have and for that I have many regrets.
I had been having suicidal ideation for around 5 years, and had experienced these feelings previously and had told no one. Sometimes the ideation became planning. Losing someone very special, seeing the transfer of pain, feeling my own personal response, highlighted I needed to do something about how I felt but I still did not utter the words for a very long time. Confronting things in my past and exploring my pain was difficult but it now felt necessary. It was the only thing I hadn’t yet tried.
Last year I shared a lot about my mental health struggles and what was most overwhelming was the messages I received from people struggling themselves, some I knew well, some where strangers, some I’d had no contact with for many years. I promised myself then that silence helps no one but I struggled to keep that going after February. Due to shame mostly. So this is hard but I still feel silence serves no one so here it is.
I’m doing OK now and I’m continuing to try and focus on, prioritise and engage fully with all the therapy, life changes etc that I’m being told help. In some ways I’m the best I’ve been in 6 years. I’d just got incredibly skilled at hiding it from everyone. I know though that ups and downs are a given and on bad days that doesn’t mean I’ve failed, it’s just part of my journey. On good days I’m grateful that I was very lucky that day and I remind myself that even when they are few, those good moments are priceless and worth fighting for.
If you feel you need help & support yourself reach out, to a loved one, a doctor, a teacher, a support service, a stranger … someone. If you need to, reach out again and again and again until you find the right person because that’s always worth trying first and any of the reasons your not reaching out, including any bad reactions previously are NOT worse than the alternative … even if your brain is telling you different.
It’s lovely to welcome March in today as I always find Feb particularly challenging. I’ve been highly focused on #selfcare since last June but it all went out the window last month – eating better, sleeping better, writing, drawing, talking, being mindful, radical acceptance and all the other things I’ve poured energy into as part of my recovery just stopped for the month. I suppose I stopped being willing and my wilfullness returned. New month, important awareness day, fresh white blank sheet laid out in front of me and receiving this card a few days ago reminds me it’s time to accept the shit month, forgive myself and forge forwards. I wrote this card to myself on my birthday and then forgot about it – 6 days later I was stupid – I can’t remember a couple of days – for which I’m grateful. This Tues the card dropped through my letter box. I read it and wept -released what I’d held in for 2 weeks. It’s funny how quickly your thought process can change in a matter of days and I’m glad I got to read this letter. A letter written to myself on a day my brain was on my side.