*WARNING – this blog contains discussions of Suicide. If this topic triggers you in any way, please reach out and ask for help*
With September 10th being National Suicide Awareness day, I’ve decided to share my story. This one will be the most difficult, as with it I carry my deepest shame. But my hope in sharing, as it has always been, is to raise awareness, to break the stigma and to hopefully inspire others to share their story or to choose to Stay;
For those that aren’t aware, the semi-colon has become a world wide symbol for suicide, depression, mental health and addiction awareness. It is used by authors when they could have chosen to end a sentence, but instead use the semi colon, to continue that sentence.
My story probably starts when I was 10 I guess. That life altering moment that would indescribably change me as a person, right down to my core. (For those that are reading my blog for the first time, I was sexually abused at this age and have written about my recovery in my blog titled Taking my Power Back) It was this event that altered my path. It made me feel ashamed and guilty. It made me see myself as weak and powerless. It completely changed the foundations in which I grew up on.
I learnt back then how to block my emotions. Anything that my subconscious mind thought I couldn’t deal with was blocked and stored away. I didn’t even remember the event until I was about 16 and started having flashbacks. That’s how strong my ability is to block things I can’t cope with. And to this day there’s things I’m still blocking from that time.
Coming into my early 20’s when I started to try and deal with these emotions, I realised I didn’t even have the basics to deal with small emotions, let alone the ones that come up surrounding such a horrific event. I was an emotional wreck. I was depressed. I was out of control. I was drinking constantly to try and numb the pain. My way of blocking these emotions was no longer working and it was all bubbling over and I was powerless to control it.
I hated myself so deeply and so wholly and I felt like I couldn’t escape the pain. When you hit such a low point in your life, you’re surrounded in it. It completely takes over. It doesn’t just come and go. All day. All night it hits you over and over. It’s utterly relentless. It wears you down. I was too afraid to sleep because of the nightmares. Which left me completely neurotic during the day and always angry and on edge. I felt like I was on high alert to my surroundings and loud noises would make me jump and terrify me. If anyone tried to touch me it made my skin crawl and I wanted to throw up. I felt like people were staring at me, like somehow they knew my dirty secrets that I’d buried. And I truly felt that it would never end. It slowly built up over years and only ever got worse over time.
What follows next I’m not going to go into too much detail as I don’t think it’s necessary to get my story across. But it starts with thoughts of just wanting to take the pain away and thoughts of honestly believing that everyone in your life would be better off without you. And for me on more than one occasion, it’s ended with an attempt to take my life. On many more occasions it’s ended with me having these feelings, but choosing to Stay;
It’s hard for me to even describe what that feels like. To be so depressed and so low that you think the world would be better without you. Sitting here now with rational and logical thoughts, it makes no sense what so ever. I know how devastated my family and friends would be. But I can say hand on heart, that when I’m in that dark place, there is no one that could convince me that me leaving, would have anything other than a positive impact on them.
I know that people who haven’t felt this darkness, struggle to understand these thought patterns. I get it. If I hadn’t experienced it myself, I admit I would find it difficult too. However I beg of everyone reading this, if you can’t understand it please at least don’t pass judgement on it. Don’t judge someone for something you don’t understand. This is where the stigma and the shame comes from. Because people say it’s selfish and stupid to think like that. I can’t comment on what others feel, but with me I felt at the time that it would be the most selfless thing for me to do. To rid myself from everyone I care about so they don’t have to deal with me anymore. I truly cannot see the horrific impact it would cause when I’m in that darkness.
I feel that these judgements cause fear in people that are struggling. It makes it harder to reach out as people are scared that if they admit they are struggling and having dark thoughts, that they will be judged and criticised. They think they will be looked at as being weak or that they have something wrong with them.
We need to drop this stigma. We need to stop the judgement and criticism. We need to step up and speak out and spread the word that it’s OK to not be OK. It’s ok to struggle sometimes and feel like the world is caving in on you.
I truly hope that me speaking out can show a tiny part of my world that it’s OK to feel so shitty sometimes that you can barely breathe. And that it doesn’t make you a lesser person when you’re finding it hard to cope with life. I hope that by me choosing to stay; and writing these words, that I can help even just one person make that same choice. I hope that I can inspire others to share their stories. I hope that those that have in the past chosen to pass judgement on suicide and mental health, can maybe see it in a different light and show compassion to those in need. I hope that this message shows people that there is strength in choosing to keep fighting those battles inside their minds. I hope that by sharing this it can lessen someone’s shame that they carry from their story.
The one thing that really shines through for me when writing this is the hope I feel. Because it takes a whole lot of strength and a whole lot of guts to fight your way out of feeling utterly hopeless, and to change that to feeling to one of hope.
And my biggest hope, is that everyone finds their way and chooses to STAY;