This post obviously comes with massive trigger warnings as well as a more personal warning that, if you know me or someone like me or are just sensitive, this could be a troubling post to read.
I am incredibly suicidal and I have been for over a year. My first suicide attempt was a year ago last week and since there have been attempts pushing double figures, more than one near enough to ‘success’ that CPR was required. Suicide to me has only ever been about ending what feels like inescapable pain – my reasons behind this are incredibly complex and I do not feel able to go into this now, things have also unfortunately been reinforced but again I don’t want to discuss those details publicly at the present time.
I do not want to die; I simply cannot bear to live in this pain.
Right now, I am in immense danger and I am receiving all of the appropriate support, so I don’t want you to worry about what follows; this post is simply because I want to explain how complicated it is to accept and properly engage with the appropriate support when feeling actively suicidal.
So, all of the appropriate people know that I am feeling suicidal and know that, due to a multitude of reasons, the next few weeks are when I am most likely to give in and act. I have an amazing team of professionals around me as well as an unbelievable level of personal support from family and friends; they know how unwell I am, they know about past attempts, they know that there are extra factors right now increasing my risk, they know that I am still thinking and feeling those things – but I still have to battle incredibly hard with myself to be honest with those who want to help when the suicidal feelings are intense. And I am fortunate to be in this position with this support.
So, what makes it so hard? So many things – and of course this will be different for every person who feels actively suicidal, and can even vary constantly for those individuals – too many and too complicated to cover here. So, I’m going to make a very basic list of the ‘warriors’ fighting on the ‘you can’t be honest’ side of the vicious battle in my head – in the context of an imminent visit from a worker from the crisis team, who are aware that I am very unwell and currently a particularly high risk of ending my life:
◼ Shame. I do not believe that anyone else should ever feel ashamed of being unwell or of feeling suicidal – in fact I work hard to try to help others not feel that way – but unfortunately I just can’t get past this. (This is also one of the very complicated points that has been reinforced externally)
◼ Fear. (It is incredibly scary to open up to a stranger – even if that stranger is a mental health worker – but to open up about this? Terrifying.)
◼ Stigma. (Stigma about suicide is unfortunately very prevalent both within the general public and within those working in mental health. That needs to change and I am very passionate about campaigning for this, however when you are very suicidal just one judgemental or minimising comment can send your thoughts and emotions spiralling – even if the exchange was otherwise helpful.)
◼ Guilt. (For me, this is 2-pronged.  I feel guilty about the pain my death might cause  I feel guilty about the negative impact of my continued existence in several ways. Presently, I feel like I am a burden and a drain on everyone in my life, causing worry, stress, work etc. for both those who know me personally and those who are taking care of me. For the future I feel guilty about this continuing, about me continuing to burden family, friends and services. Also, a present/future concern is that ending my life at a certain time feels to me – although I know this is through the warped perception of my mind, but I do feel like its logical – like it might minimise future distress, and therefore I feel guilt and pressure that if I miss this ‘window’ if trying to reduce the pain of others, then I am actually being more selfish and more cruel. This adds a strange time pressure that messes further with thought processes.)
◼ Not wanting to be stopped. (Truly seeing death as the best option for yourself and for everyone, and therefore being cautious about reaching out/being honest in case it really is better for you everyone but then you are prevented from acting, therefore feeling selfish and trapped.)
◼ Feeling ungrateful. (Both personally – looking at those less fortunate and believing that you don’t have the right to want to end your life – and due to feeling like it’s not fair to be receiving help/treatment/whatever and still wanting to end your life.)
◼ Feeling pathetic.
◼ Feeling like you’re wasting everyone’s time.
◼ Not wanting to burden or scare anyone else by sharing how bad you are feeling/what you are thinking.
◼ Not being able to put your thoughts and feelings into words, or even be able to make sense of them yourself.
◼ Being aware that objectively your thoughts and feelings do not make sense or don’t sound right, but still feeling that way, and judging yourself for that.
◼ A conviction that you don’t deserve help (everyone else does, but not you).
◼ A conviction that this is your fault/not an illness (even though you don’t believe that of anyone else suffering with mental illness – even when you campaign about that very thing).
◼ Believing that you should be able to deal with this yourself – even if that means the only way of dealing with it is by ending your life.
I think that covers most of my muddled reasoning without adding too much confusion or delving into the most personal history etc that has created or reinforced some of these factors.
I want to emphasise that I am not ‘pro-suicide’, I am not trying to put across the above points as true/logical/right, I do not believe that any of the above points apply to anyone else (although I recognise that others experience some/all of those things – hence me sharing).
PLEASE is you are feeling suicidal or have any thoughts or urges to harm yourself, reach out for help. The world would be less vibrant without you and you deserve help in the same way as anyone with a physical illness.
However, I am sharing these most inner thoughts – these thoughts that I am terrified to express even to the most experienced mental health professionals – in the hope to help people explain why loved ones might thing these things, why it’s so hard to reach out for help, why it’s so hard to accept help even when it’s there, why someone might have attempted to end their life etc. Also to help others see that they are not alone. In fact I kind of hope to trick anyone who might be feeling the same into thinking that I shouldn’t think/feel those things, so that I can say “well, if I shouldn’t think/feel this, then why should you?!” – even though I know that doesn’t always work, it can make you pause and think sometimes. But, no matter what, please know that you are never alone and you matter.
Also, please don’t worry about me. I have opened up to the team looking after me, and I’m going to show whoever comes from the crisis team this list to help them understand further what I’m thinking. I’m fortunate to have a good team around me – which only feeds back in to all that guilt and fear of letting them down that makes this all so impossible to deal with!
I am terrified about pressing that publish button, more than I ever have been before.
P.S. I just want to plead one more time that you reach out for help if you feel at all suicidal. I will try to edit and add details of contact numbers.