My Experience Of IAPT.

My Experience Of IAPT.

 

 

*Self-harm & suicide*
*Pictures of dressings shown but no scars etc. visible*

 

 

One year ago tonight I had a breakdown at my group therapy session, and self-harmed in the break. That was the point my life spiralled down to the mess it is now. I still vividly remember that night.

 

I had arrived early, to ask to speak to one of the therapists afterwards about an issue. That issue was what I called ‘transference’. I wanted help to know how to cope with it, so that it wouldn’t become a barrier for me in the group. I was terrified about talking about it. I felt sick with anxiety in the time leading up to it. I felt I had to do something, and this was definitely something new for me, so very hard to do.

 

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I got to the building and pressed the buzzer to be let in….. no answer…. I tried again, and again…. no answer. I phoned the therapist we were told to phone to be let in…. no answer. So I stood there for fifteen / twenty minutes by myself, until someone else turned up. It was almost time for the session to start by this point. We were the first ones there. We went in when someone else came out, and went up in the lift and stood outside the doors to where we had to be. A couple of others turned up, having done the same, so four or five of us were just lurking by the lifts, wondering what was going on. I was really angry that on this one day where I needed to talk to them before the session, they ignored me. And that now there wasn’t time to say anything! In the end another member of the group phoned the therapist… and this time he answered! Which given that I was transferring on him, made me feel personally rejected, like the other person was special to him but I was irrelevant and to be avoided. I was nothing. So it all set me off in a very bad way… It turned out the buzzer wasn’t working. I don’t know why the therapist didn’t answer my call, but answered the other person’s. I’ll never know that.

 

There was no time to ask to talk to them later. But I knew I had to say something. I spent the first half of the session zoned out. I couldn’t focus. I was so anxious about confronting the problem, that I wasn’t paying attention to what we were doing. I hobbled to the break and asked to speak to Matt. I told him I wasn’t able to take anything in… that I had a problem and could I speak about it afterwards… he said the line I heard far too often on that course – that there’s limited time as they have to be out of the building by 7:30pm. I was starting to cry by this point for holding it all in. So he said we could have a chat there and then. We went into the next room and sat on one of the couches. I don’t remember all the words – not to quote them anyway. But I remember I was following a plan of how to tackle the issue. I had problem-solved and decided how to approach it, to save any misunderstandings or embarrassment. I was building up to saying what I needed to. But before I could ever get to that point, Matt steered the conversation away. He skirted round the issue, and kept talking about me having an appointment made with my individual therapist. He wasn’t hearing me. He wasn’t giving me the opportunity to say what I needed to. Okay, I should have just blurted it straight out, but I was scared, so I was working up to it. I’d done all this problem-solving homework that week, to figure out what to say and do about it….

 

 

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It didn’t go at all to plan. I didn’t get beyond three or four points, before he led the conversation. With all the skirting around it, we ran out of time and had to go back in for the second half. I was still heavily burdened, and in fact felt even worse. I felt unheard, misunderstood and rejected in a sense, in that he was stopping me speaking to him and forcing me to do things a different way. In one pocket I had my grounding object. In the other I had something to harm myself with, wrapped in a small bandage. I had never intended to use it. I had hoped things would go better than they did. It was ‘insurance’. It was just in case things went so badly I couldn’t cope anymore. I shouldn’t have had it on me. I know that. But I was in a very bad state of mind, and it was so I felt I had options.

 

I followed Matt out of the room, and was so close to making the right decision. I was just behind him as he went in the door to the main room. I had my hand in my pocket on my grounding object, but the prospect of going back in that room, with nothing feeling better, nothing released, for more of the same – hearing nothing and being lost in upsetting thoughts, I felt ‘what’s the point?’… I couldn’t do it. I felt trapped. So I told Matt I’d just be a minute, he said okay, and I walked in the opposite direction, to the toilets.

 

I was beginning to cry and was muttering to myself as I went. I had difficulty getting in the toilet door, as another door was open just inside, and it was preventing the door opening. This added to the feeling of frustration. When I finally got in, I went to the farthest cubicle, shut myself in, pulled out the tool, and with one quick and impulsive movement I had gone too deep. When I saw what I’d done I began to panic. I was hyperventilating. There was no pain at that point, and in fact it took a while to even bleed, but once it did, it really did. I grabbed some tissue and as I did, the blood went all over the floor. I’d never harmed myself that badly before, and I still graphically remember seeing it, and hearing the blood hit the floor. I’m not trying to glamorise it. And I am actually leaving details out. I am traumatised by the experience and still have unwanted flashbacks. It’s not something I can forget.

 

I don’t know how long I was in there, but it was the loneliest feeling I’ve ever felt. I was speaking out loud saying ‘I don’t know what to do… what do I do? What am I going to do… I don’t know what to do’. I was panicking. I was kicking the side of the cubicle whilst crying ‘NO! NO! NO!’…  I felt sick seeing the wound. I had already had a bandage on my arm from previous self-harm. I used what I had taken off to put over the wound and bandaged myself up, just so that I could come out of the cubicle, to the taps with some tissue and clean the floor up. I was worried someone would come in and I’d be caught. I thought I could hide what I’d done to myself, but if they saw it on the floor that’d be it for me. So I cleaned the floor up. And then I tried my best to clean my face up. I had cried so much I had panda eyes. I had all the signs I’d been crying, and I didn’t want people to notice if I went back in. I knew I had to go back in, because I didn’t have anything to treat myself with. But in my bag I had steri-strips and a dressing. This would seem odd to people. But just as I had ‘insurance’ by having the tool with me, I had ‘insurance’ just in case it happened. Again, I never thought I’d need it – that’s why I didn’t have that on me in the toilets! When I self-harmed I wasn’t in my right mind, so I didn’t think of the consequences in that moment.

 

I didn’t know what the time was at this point. Had I missed ten minutes? Half an hour? Was the session almost over? I walked back to the session, went in whilst trying to hide my face. I sat back down in my seat nearest the door. I wasn’t present. I think the therapists were trying to include me, but I was just focused on how to treat my arm. It was throbbing by this point, and I felt really sick. I decided I had to do something, so I just grabbed the bag that had the treatment stuff in, and dashed back out again.

 

This was what alerted Vicky, the other therapist, that something was wrong. I don’t know what happened in the room after I went out. All I know is that initially I went to the room next door, sat on the couch and started to search for my steri-strips. I then realised what I was doing and how foolish it was to sit in a room that anyone could walk into at any minute. I then went back to the toilets, to the end cubicle, having wasted valuable time, and unbandaged my arm. I was searching in my bag for what I needed, and I heard someone outside the toilets talking. It sounded like they were calling me. I didn’t answer. I started panicking more. I had to rush to treat it before anyone saw. Then I heard Vicky come in. As lovely as she was, she had quite a brusque tone, and it made me feel scared that I’d be in trouble. I didn’t want her to know what I’d done.

 

But I realised I didn’t have a choice. I think she was asking me to come out. I reluctantly told her I had a problem. That I’d hurt myself and it was the worst I’d ever done it. I was crying the whole time. She had to persuade me to come out and let her see if I needed treatment. I felt so ashamed – nobody ever sees my wounds and I didn’t want her to see it. She had to tell me she wasn’t mad with me, she just needed me to come out so she could help me. Eventually I reluctantly came out. It didn’t feel real. She said it would need stitches. I got a bit distressed, as I didn’t want anyone to have to know. I hadn’t needed to seek treatment for self-harm for about ten years… after that one experience I said never again. I hated worrying my family like that. I talked things through with Vicky – about not wanting to give my family more to worry about… we’d had a bad enough year. I don’t remember everything we said, but I remember her saying ‘old habits die hard’. I remember her reaction when I said I had something to treat it with. When I got the bits out, and she was like ‘What is this? Is this your kit?’… It felt attacking and judgemental at the time… and looking back actually. I felt so ashamed. I can still feel that kick of shame right now. As it turned out it was just as well I had something, as they’re not kitted out for things like that. She got me to hold the wound closed while she put the strips on. She advised me to get it looked at for stitches still.

 

I was so apologetic. I didn’t want anyone to know. One of my first questions was who would have to know about it? She said ‘Well I’m going to have to tell Matt’. That was one person who I didn’t want to know about it. I didn’t want him to feel it was his fault, having just spoken to me. She said my individual therapist would have to know. And then as the session was coming to an end I had the choice to stay in there, or to sit in the room next door to the group. I asked Vicky to put my stuff in the room next door, so I could avoid seeing anyone at the end. I had been getting a lift home each week, but that particular week, because I was intending to have a chat at the end, and didn’t want anyone to know about it, I said I’d get the train. So I was suddenly stranded at the end of the session. So after another chat with Vicky I phoned my dad for a lift. And initially waited in that room. Vicky tried to lift me up by saying to look at the positives – that I came out and got help from her…. that I knew it was the wrong choice and regretted it… She said one of them would phone me the next day to check in on how I was. Matt tentatively popped his head in the door whilst we were talking, and I felt so guilty seeing him, as obviously he knew at that point something had happened. Apart from how to tell anyone I needed to go to the hospital, how Matt felt about it was my biggest concern. Daft I know.

 

I had to wait for my lift, so walked over to the train station to be met there. I got in the car – obviously my dad knew something was wrong as I’d said I wasn’t good and needed picking up. But I couldn’t admit it. I said I wasn’t sure whether to tell him or what…. but I waited until we got home, and told my mum instead. We went straight back out, to the minor-injuries unit. It was all a bit of a blur. It didn’t feel real. I didn’t want what was happening, but just had to go with it. I think on some level I zoned out… detaching myself from the reality of it all. I remember sitting in the waiting room, feeling so completely drained and flat, and noticing how sparkly the floor was…. mesmerizingly beautiful. I found an odd sense of peace in it. I was seen really quickly, probably because it said I had ‘a cut on my arm’ on the form I had to fill in… I guess they prioritise things like that in case it might prove fatal. They commented on what a good job Vicky had done closing it. They decided to leave it as it was, and not to stitch it, but to put special dressings on it, and I had to go back in every couple of days to have it checked and changed.

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They were really good about looking after it. I never felt judged.  Until the last check-up I had, where the nurse made me feel like shit, took the strips off too soon and fiddled with the wound until it hurt. She interrogated me, and made it sound like I shouldn’t have been there, and should have gone to my doctor’s surgery to have it checked – despite having been told to come back there. Lucky I had someone in there with me – we just got up and walked out on her in the end. I complained about her.

 

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But going back to that first night with the wound – it was difficult. I found it hard to sleep. It hurt so much and I couldn’t risk sleeping on it. I was also haunted by the visions of what had happened. I started writing a letter to them about it, because I was so angry that I’d been left in that situation. I was angry that I hadn’t been listened to, and that I’d been made to do what I did (yes, I know it was my choice), and for everything I’d gone through that night as a result. I was so angry I was crying about it. So I wrote it out. A part of me felt I wouldn’t go back to the group. Part of me felt they wouldn’t let me. I was worried I’d be in trouble and I’d be abandoned in that state. I decided not to make any decisions that night. The next afternoon Vicky phoned. I couldn’t tell her why I did what I did, but said I’d written something to explain it and would let them read it the next week. I was excused from doing the homework that week.

 

This is a sample of what I went through in those first few days after it happened:

 

 

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It was a difficult week – full of pain, flashbacks and wound checks. The flashbacks I was having were so vivid… graphic… disturbing. I had to keep my senses fixed on the present, so took to colouring and other visual activities like jigsaw puzzles, to try and keep my mind off it.

 

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I had tendon pain, from the wound up towards my thumb. I had this for several weeks and had to be careful what I did. They checked I had sensation in my hand, so were sure it was okay, and just bruising or something. I felt I had no right to complain about that pain though, as I had done it to myself. But family kept reminding me it wasn’t my fault, and I still didn’t deserve to be in that pain, just because I self-harmed. It did wear off eventually, but I’ll never forget that pain. I even drew on my arm to show the area where I felt pain…

 

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That week was just about surviving and getting through it, and catching up on sleep I couldn’t easily have. When I went in the next week I texted and asked to come up earlier, as having to catch public transport I had to wait around in town for a long time, and I was really anxious about going back there. They said that was fine. Vicky spoke to me before the session to check in. I gave her what I’d written. I apologised again, saying I never wanted that to happen again. I asked them what the group knew about what had happened, and they said that I just left and wasn’t coming back into the session. I don’t know what the truth is. I don’t know at what point Vicky told Matt – was it quietly at the end, where someone else could have heard? I was worried this might be the case. But that session I really threw myself back into it positively. I joined in more. At the time it felt like a turning point…

 

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I later wrote about what I learned from the experience myself…

 

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At the end of that more positive session I apologised to Matt, saying I hadn’t wanted him to feel bad about it. He said that he actually learnt from the experience, that he should get straight to the heart of the issue early on. He realised I was close to releasing something and he didn’t give me the opportunity to do it. We spoke briefly about my self-harm, and how it had come from a sense of feeling ‘trapped’. I said I’d written to explain it. Then they offered me some of the left-over biscuits from the break and I left… knowing that the next time I saw them they’d know what had happened and why.

 

This was part of the previous ‘problem-solving’ homework – where I assessed how it went.  This was written in a bad moment where it was hard to find positivity!

 

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The rest of the course was difficult. There were better weeks, and others where I didn’t cope well at all. One week I was really anxious (I took a diazepam before the session, despite not having it prescribed for that) … I had difficulty speaking out and asked Vicky for help with it by giving her a note… she nodded to say she would help, but when it came to it she didn’t. This was so I would push myself to do it without help. But I wasn’t happy with this. It happened the same week that someone was a bit abrupt and stand-offish with me, and also the next day Matt had seemingly ‘ignored’ a text from me, saying I wanted to leave the group and why. I was angry about all these things… and hurt. I brought it up at the next session, but it felt unresolved, and I self-harmed in the break again. They didn’t know this time. Vicky came in to check on me, but I managed to bluff my way through it, talking to her through the door whilst bandaging my arm, so that she never knew. I told her I was just upset and needed a minute. When we came out of the toilets Matt was at the end of the corridor waiting to speak to me, to say he was sorry he didn’t get my text. We realised because his work phone is an old phone, and my text went over a certain length it came through as a multimedia message, and he thought it was spam. So he didn’t open it. He said he would never have knowingly ignored me in distress, he just didn’t get the message. So that felt a bit better, but it felt like a rejection, and that doesn’t heal immediately. This is what my text had said:

 

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And these are to illustrate the struggles I continued to have throughout the course…

 

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Another week I asked to speak to Matt before the session. I wanted to know how to detach from someone, and if I would get any help with transference issues after the course. This time I asked if I could just say my bit before he answered or asked anything. So he just made notes. I didn’t get wonderful answers. The bits I remember were to remember my values … that from reading literature on it, transference tends to sort itself out, and if it doesn’t you’d normally just not work with the therapist anymore… and that I had the option of quitting the group and having some alternative help. I don’t know what that would have been. He talked about people wanting therapy to ‘fix’ them. And about transference being about wanting solace from our struggles. I felt a lack of validation and understanding. And I also heard ‘If you yourself can’t get over your fear of losing me, you’ll have to lose me’. I felt zoned out by that point. I felt despondent. He asked if I could do the session today. I said I didn’t feel safe. He asked if I had the means on me to harm myself. I said no. I was telling the truth. He asked if I could keep safe that night. I said it would be difficult. I knew in that moment I would be going home and harming myself. I wished I had something on me. I had decided to avoid that option that week though. I went into the session, didn’t join in at all. Didn’t say a word. Nobody even looked at me through that whole session – particularly Matt. I felt invisible and rejected. They did a role-play about how to say no to things, a made up excuse they joked about was that ‘my granddad died… no the other granddad’ – and given my granddad had died six months earlier it kicked me to the core. It felt like a personal attack. Insensitive. I wrote these notes during the session, desperate to get out of there…

 

 

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Dashed out of there at the end, ran down the stairs, got in the car and said ‘don’t ask’. I went home, harmed myself and had to go for treatment again. My family were desperate for me to stop going to therapy at that point. They didn’t know what my problem there was. I couldn’t tell anyone. They just saw me getting worse. It was only once the therapy finished I finally admitted it to them. But even I was questioning why I was continuing to go to the group when I was always left in this state…

 

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By the halfway point of the course I was painfully attached to Matt. I couldn’t understand it. It was overwhelming and distressing, and nobody else knew how much I was suffering or why. I saw the end in sight and I was so desperately upset about the impending loss. I couldn’t admit to the group the reality of it, so made it sound like I’d miss the group. Consequently I felt misunderstood. It was a heartbreaking experience.

 

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I wrote a note to Matt about that chat I’d had with him, the one that led me to go home and self-harm…  and how misunderstood I felt. I also spoke to Vicky a couple of times, breaking down in tears at the loss I faced. They were both really good about it. After giving Matt the note he seemed more understanding and caring, saying he knew it’s not easy, and he understood. He said he’d have a word with my therapist so that I could get more urgent support. I had my appointment two days after the course ended. I thought this was because she was aware of everything that happened. She wasn’t. She made me tell her everything and then trivialised my feelings for Matt. It was all handled wrong. I was then told that was my last session with her, and effectively abandoned, two days after that loss of Matt and the group.

 

But I’ll come to that…. going back to before the final session… Throughout the course I found that I would spend Thursdays crying because of my feelings for Matt, and the loss I was going to face. The thought of never seeing him again was unbearable. It’s a thought I still haven’t come to terms with a year later. To have to spend ‘forever’ without him. Forever is a long time. I don’t cope well with ‘forever’ or ‘never’. It tends to make me suicidal from the pain.

 

The days leading up to the session were tough. I had support from group members who added me on Facebook, but I still couldn’t tell them what I was going through.

 

 

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That night of the last session was hard. I was very emotional. It was made harder because Vicky wasn’t there – she had supported me through the course and my feelings, and wasn’t there at the end. At that point the only people who knew how I felt were me and Matt. I had told another member of the group a couple of days before, who wasn’t there for the last session either… I only told her because I knew I wouldn’t have to sit in that session with her knowing. So the only people in the room who knew the pain I was in were me and Matt. The burden was too much. I got upset in the break and admitted it to one of the others. The very last mindfulness session we did I still remember. I remember thinking ‘this is the last time I’m going to hear his voice’. It was to be my last memory of him. And I started crying during it for the first time on that course. I’d often hear others during mindfulness exercises, but it was never me. I couldn’t hold it back at that point. And then it was time for goodbye. It felt empty. Unsafe. People gave me hugs at the end… still not aware of why I was upset. While I was hugging one of them I saw Matt notice and look away… to this day I wonder how he felt – was he relieved I’d be gone? Did he feel bad for me? Was he even worried how I’d cope? I doubt it. He probably didn’t think a thing about it. I was so upset at the end that I never really said goodbye or thank you to him. I regretted that for a long time. Anyway a few of us went next door to the pub, and I told them about it and broke down in tears. They were wonderful… they validated me, they understood, they picked me up and made me smile again.

 

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And then I went home, and watched The Apprentice… hiding my face the whole time, as I kept crying. As soon as it was over I went to bed. Only I sat up for hours crying, and self-harming instead of sleeping. The emotional pain was so vivid and loud.

 

Sometimes when in distress I take photos. It may seem odd to some, but sometimes it feels like it captures the emotion and feeling. Just like a self-harm scar says ‘Look, I was upset and this happened’, the photo proves there was real emotion and pain. Often though I’m not even that aware of what I’m doing. I have taken photos of my self-harm before too. I know it seems an odd behaviour – it’s one I might dedicate a post to soon, to explain. This photo captures the raw, ugly despair I felt that night…

 

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I got to the point I didn’t feel I could live in that amount of pain. No amount of self-harm could stop the emotional pain. Nothing would stop reality – that I’d lost him forever. And I thought if self-harm can’t fix this, then the only thing that might is suicide. It took me a very long time but eventually I phoned the Samaritans. I had sat with the number in my phone for ages, and hovered over the call button…. I couldn’t bring myself to do it…. I’d never called them before. I didn’t know what to expect or what to say. There was a lovely lady on the other end who got me through that night.  And somehow I got through a lot more after that. I got through Christmas, the New Year and many reminders. I even saw Matt in a shop during this Summer. We looked at each other, but he appeared to not see me or recognise me, so I didn’t say hello. It upset me and dredged everything up, but I’m still alive at least.

 

These were some of my thoughts from that night of the last session:

 

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The whole experience was very traumatic. From start to finish it wasn’t handled right. From not being given the space to say what I needed to, and breaking a vicious circle, to having to deal with it on my own throughout the whole course… to being led to believe I’d have more support at the end…. to being told that was it, they were done with me. I know they feel bad about it, but this is one time that therapy did me more harm than good. And I think there were lessons they could do with learning from it. Talk to each other – my therapist didn’t seem to know anything about my experience on the course! Listen to what your ‘clients’ say and what they need. Don’t run a course right up to the time you have to vacate the building, because then you’ll have time to help people who need it at the end, so they won’t go away and self-harm! Don’t abandon someone just after an ‘abandonment’ or loss – my therapist went to do that two days after I was suicidal from a loss. After I broke down in floods of tears in that appointment, could hardly breathe, and almost had to beg to not be abandoned she offered me one more appointment… four days later.… as if that was any better!! Ridiculous. All so they could tick boxes and ship me out of the factory. Yes I’m still angry about it. I saw another therapist for four sessions to work through issues from the course. But the damage was already done.

 

I had had such hope that I would get help in that appointment after the course. It was disappointing how it went… it left me suicidal – I decided it best to catch a bus the short way home, as it didn’t feel safe walking over a motorway bridge to get home. I finally admitted everything to my family that day, as I was not okay, and didn’t feel at all safe…

 

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I’m not okay. I’m not recovered. I’m not over Matt. But I survived. Surviving it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt… it doesn’t mean I’m okay now… it doesn’t mean it wasn’t the hardest thing I’ve been through. I’m still vividly haunted by it. And in all honesty I need someone I can talk to about it, frankly and without judgement or being told to just move on. The whole experience was traumatic – I can’t forget my incident at therapy. I can’t forget everything I went through, that nobody would know about unless they read this blog. It’s scarred me so much in many ways. My self-harm is out of control as a result of doing that therapy and being abandoned. I’m in immense pain emotionally even to this day, because of the way it was handled, because I was denied the opportunity to heal and because I miss Matt so much. That wound has never healed. It’s still gaping wide open, and the infection of this horrible life has seeped in and destroyed who I once was.

 

I guess in some ways the pain has faded a little bit…. like the scar…. I have an arm full of scars now since doing that course, but I still know exactly which one happened that night. I know which one happened the night I dashed out of there, went home and hurt myself… the first time I had to have one glued. As a self-harmer I don’t remember every single one and what caused it. I’ve done it much too often to remember every one. But something as traumatic as that I would remember.

 

The pain may not be as extreme and impossible to survive as it felt at the time, but it is very deep pain, that nobody gets. They all think I’m over this now, or at least should be. How do they expect me to be over it if I never talk about it? Even writing about this experience here, which I needed to do, I’ve felt like I’m back in those times. I’ve felt the emotions… even felt pain in my arm. I’ve felt urges to say and do things like I did back then. I’ve felt under threat. I’ve felt suicidal again. I had to stop several times writing this post, to remind myself that it’s not happening now. That although it hurts and I’m not over it… it is over. It’s in the past. This self-reassurance isn’t actually of any comfort to me. I have no professional support now. I’m not over my feelings for Matt, and cannot talk to anyone about it. Nothing can help the pain I feel. And it’s not like my life is in a good enough place to say ‘I’m not in that time now’. Because I don’t like the time I AM in. So it’s no comfort to say it’s not happening now, when I’m still wounded from its happening in the first place.

 

I know it took a lot of strength and determination to get through the course to the end. I had times I wanted to quit. I had times people were wishing I would quit. But it couldn’t be for nothing. I had to keep going. I had to find every ounce of strength I had left in me to push me through that course. And I did it. I don’t know if it was the right decision or not. A part of me wishes I never mentioned the transference and just carried on with the course, sitting there thinking ‘Matt is so lovely’, and avoided all the embarrassment, and didn’t start self-harming like I did. Because it’s only spiralled down since then. Part of me wishes that instead of going off and self-harming, I’d gone in, grabbed my stuff, left and never looked back. It would have avoided the attachment growing. It would have avoided the loss. It would have saved gaining a new physical scar for every week of the course, and so many emotional ones too.

 

I have to try and find and hold onto the positives. The strength and determination it took to go there every week. How hard I worked, doing my homework, creating my folder and creating my own homework. Meeting new people who feel the same ways as me, maybe not in exactly the same way, but to know I’m not alone in the things I think and ways I behave. There are many lessons I could take from it. I haven’t given them much thought lately though, as it’s been a mixture of flashbacks, grief, love-sickness and also trying to put it all out of my mind. But it’s something I should consider…

 

 

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This was me six days after my incident at therapy… putting on a brave face, through the pain and the flashbacks. Oddly it’s one of my favourite photos of me that someone else has taken. If nothing else it shows me that I can come through anything, still be strong and smile. I carried on living. I continue now to carry on living. Whilst everything inside me screeches at me to end it. I’m in a worse place now than I was back then, and I don’t really have the strength to smile anymore. Nobody would want to feel how I do at the moment. I wish they could so they’d understand the mess I’m in. It’s not just about this situation – that only plays a part in my current struggles. But it was the start of the accelerated decline in my mental health. Somehow I now just have to hold on long enough, to get to a place where I can start to believe in recovery again. It’s a long way off, and there’s no support in sight for me. But now it’s come to the point of just hanging on, it literally is ‘do or die’.

 

 

 

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Can’t Do This.

2 months since asking the doctor to refer me to CMHT. Heard nothing.

Nearly 1 year since self-harming at therapy. Still traumatised. Still not over Matt.

Difficult date coming up regarding my granddad. People tend not to support me through those.

Starting to slip back to thinking nobody cares again. Silence = indifference.

Hard to fight paranoia. New to me.

Haunted by past. Life was ruined six years ago.

People alien to me. World unreal. Detached. Disconnected. Hermit.

Friendship in tatters. Don’t know how to mend it. Can’t face it at the moment.

Deliberately triggered, knowing my insecurities. Low.

Abandoned at the worst time.

So much physical pain.

Isolation. Isolation. Isolation.

Brother going to leave me alone in life one day, or make me speak French & rejoin the EU!

Family is small and getting smaller. Life is brother, nan, parents. All will leave me one day.

No relationship. No children. No house. No job. No car. Nothing.

Mental illness worst it’s ever been. Nobody understands. Nobody helps.

So much emotional pain. So much loss. So many memories. Want it all to stop. Want it to go away.

Life is all wrong.

Want to scream.

Want to harm.

Want to die.

Haunted Dreams.

I had an upsetting dream about my granddad before I woke up this morning. I was in a haunted house – taps running, TV turning on my itself. I walked from room to room, scared. I walked in one room and he was lying on a couch/bed. He was dead. He looked how I remember seeing him the night or so before he passed away, the last time I saw him. There was a cold mist around him. I called his name, and touched his hand – it was ice cold. And then his body started jerking awake. Apart from being scary it was upsetting. I don’t know what happened after that, apart from me running out of that room, but think I woke up after that. Been playing on my mind today. Often it can be comforting to see a loved one in a dream – I had a nice one before where I got to walk and sit with my granddad, in the sun, and talk for a while, before saying goodbye. He looked well and was happy. This one was different though. He was dead. He was haunting this place. It was a feeling of unrest. It was disturbing.

 

Going to be blogging about grieving with a mental illness at some point. I don’t know much about grief. I know a fair bit about mental illness. It’ll just be my observations of grief, and how it’s impacted on my mental health.

 

Just needed to talk about the dream, to share it with someone.

Better Without Me.

One of the most distressing feelings I have with BPD is a feeling of paranoia and ‘possessiveness’ when it comes to friendships. I haven’t always had it. It seems to be when I’m under more stress, or my mental health is worse like it is now. If I hardly hear from a friend anymore, and I see evidence of them having fun with someone else, seemingly happier without me, I feel a pang of something… it’s not jealousy… it’s not even possessiveness as such. It’s more a kick to my self-esteem. It just starts me attacking myself.

I have no issue with friends of mine having other friends. Yes, perhaps I’m a little envious of them having other friends, when I don’t. I only had the one in the end. And of course it kicks in the loss of all the friends I did have before 2012 happened. But it’s not a problem.

The problem is I automatically go to ‘I’ve been replaced’. ‘That person is their new best friend’. ‘They’re happier without me’. They look it. They sound it. They have more in common now with the new person – I’m single, childless, depressed and suicidal. Why would anyone choose me as a friend? I feel I’m being ditched. This could be because of my mental illness, telling me this is the case. It could be because life has changed, and I used to see my friend once or twice a week, when our lives had more in common, and this year I’ve seen her seven times in nine months… twice in January, twice in February, once in March, twice in June…. with two lots of three months in between where I don’t even hear from her… maybe that paired with my mental illness makes me arrive at this point, of feeling it’s over. I’ve been replaced by someone better.

I know it might not be that I’m being replaced… she might just have several friends. But the reason it feels that way is because she sees other people, seems happier and more like her old self, she doesn’t see me, give me the care and understanding I need… and all of that mixed in with the paranoia and depression, and the state of my mental health right now, it tells me … that she’s better off without me. That if she’s friends with me anymore it’s purely out of pity or just because we’ve been friends a long time.

I feel us drifting apart, and nobody can understand what that does to someone with BPD and a fear of abandonment… to lose your rock. To see it happening gradually over time. It’s mental torture. In some ways it’s worse than a sudden abandonment. Believe me, I wish I could be one of those laid-back friends, who you don’t see for ages, but you don’t stress about it, you never doubt the friendship and you pick up where you left off. Perhaps in the past I could have done that. In fact I think I have. But so much has changed in a year or so. There’s so much I had to go through alone. So much that happened that I wanted to share with someone, and I have nobody to share it with. To ask what I’ve been up to since the last time we spoke or met… that’s three months… you’d need three days to hear the answer. I feel so disconnected… detached… and it’s nothing personal. I feel that way to everyone and everything. I feel like I’m a non-existence just floating around a world where everyone else lives. It’s not just about her. But it feels worse towards her, because I felt so close to her. It’s like it would feel if I felt disconnected from my family…. thankfully I’m not. They’re the only stable thing I have left, and they’re always there. But to have someone who felt like family drift away over time – yes, maybe because of circumstances beyond their control – but to have so much distance during a mental health crisis… for so long… that they feel like a stranger to you… it is hard to get your head around that. It’s not just your common ‘friends become strangers’ thing either. I’ve had that happen many times in my life, usually brutally. This is something else. This is ‘It FEELS like we’ve become strangers’ but I don’t just feel disconnected from her… but also from existence. Therefore it is hard to challenge my thoughts, because I’m disconnected from life. It’s like the thought is floating around in my head, and normally that would be fine, because I am grounded. But I feel like the thought is floating around in my head… and I’m floating around in existence. So nothing feels safe. Nothing can ground me and reassure me.

But more than this, if I expressed my feelings about this, I don’t believe I would be reassured. I believe having these sorts of paranoid thoughts about friendships will actually push people away. Like if I’m ‘possessive’ over my friend – or seem that way based on my mental illness and paranoia – it will make me a less desirable friend. It will make her more likely to replace me with the other one. I also wouldn’t believe it if I was told I’m also her friend. I’d feel it was pity. When I expressed pain at the distance between us before, I heard things that made me feel I’m ‘too much’. That she needed a break from me… time to focus on herself and other things. I respect this. Six months of this year I’ve respected this and kept to myself. Respecting it doesn’t mean I’m not hurt and won’t sometimes express that hurt. What am I supposed to do? Suffer in silence? I have nobody to talk to about anything.

I know I’m too much. I know people need time away from me. I know my mental illness is draining, and I have nothing good to offer anyone at the moment. I know that all I am is a burden. I know I bring the mood down – why do you think I keep to myself nowadays?? I know my inner turmoil when expressed, makes others feel like shit. I know people would be happier with me dead. Okay. I know that. I know I’m just one more problem that people don’t want to have to deal with. I don’t need reminding of it by people I care about. I’m too much. And I don’t matter to people.

All I’m saying is that I saw this coming. I always knew life would change and I’d lose relevance. But while my friend’s life has moved on, and she has other priorities now, I’m still traumatised and stuck in a time she’s left behind. It’s not her fault. But I wish people could understand this. While their lives have moved on, my life was destroyed in the process and I’m still living in that time. Losing a social life doesn’t exactly help me to move on and find my own happiness, and to evolve with them. So when I say I need my friends, it’s because I have nothing else. And when I feel like I don’t have friends it hurts … because I’m still stuck in 2012, and it’s like losing all my friends all over again. It’s magnifying the fact that I STILL have no friends… I’m STILL stuck here.. and everyone else is merrily moving along with their lives, forgetting me, and expecting me to save myself…. alone. 

I would have loved to share in everything with my friend. To have found someone for myself, and to have children at the same time as her, so our children could be friends, and I’d be part of the ‘club’, and everything would be happy and jolly and great… it KILLS me that that’s never going to happen. It KILLS me that I’m watching her go through all this, and I’m just a nobody… I have no children. I have no relationship. I know nothing of the world she lives in, and we both know it. I remember with another friend who used to rub it in my face, that I don’t know what it’s like to have XYZ like she had (like a house, partner, pets, job etc) – because of course I have and always have had NOTHING. So I don’t know the stresses of life for people who have it all do I….? So if I get upset about not seeing my friend, or not feeling like she cares, I know that the inner response at least, will be ‘You have no idea what it’s like trying to juggle all the things of an adult life – you live at home, don’t have a partner / children, a job etc.’… exactly. I don’t have any of that. And if you knew what it was like to not have any of that, and to lose all your friends as they move on with all of that, you’d never think something like that again. I actually feel like crying now, I’m that upset by it.

I don’t have the life I wish I did. It hasn’t turned out how I thought it might. It’s paralysing. It’s frustrating. It’s deeply upsetting. I know that people are busy. I know my friend is busy. I know she has a lot to think about.  But this year I feel like a burden. I feel she’s reached the point where something had to go… and it was me. Her boring old, whiny, depressed drag of a friend. And if she hadn’t already concluded that herself, then me expressing my feelings about it will have done it for her. That’s what I mean – it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, but one I couldn’t avoid. My BPD and fear of abandonment saw to that. 

I honestly believe she should dump me as a friend, and find her happiness again without me. I’ve been such a drag the last few years. She won’t know who I am now. I’m different. All the years she’s known me she’s never seen me as bad as I am now. I’ve had low points, and she’s stuck by me through all of them. But this is something else. This is the lowest point ever… mixed with grief, trauma, isolation, and all the worst parts of BPD coming out in me. That’s something I’ve not had before. The symptoms ripping through my life like they have been and still are. I have had the symptoms before, but never to this extreme. It’s not in my control. And I hate who I am. I would be hurt, but I wouldn’t blame her if she gave up on me. She should. I’m not a good friend to her anymore. In fact right now I’m doubting if I ever was a good friend to her.

I’ve become selfish. I’ve closed down from everyone – I find it hard to talk one-on-one with people anymore… I wouldn’t know how to talk with her. I’m struggling so much with not wanting to live, that it’s hard to think of the feelings of others. People might think me pulling away from them is because I don’t care about them. This isn’t true. I just don’t think they care about me, and it’s protecting me from that. But when they don’t try to pull me back, that tells me I was right, and I never mattered to them. Self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s one of the hardest aspects of this mental illness. The fear of abandonment makes you pull away, and you end up abandoned anyway. And logic would say just to not pull away, but that’s rational logic, in a sound mind. And that’s where we end up feeling so misunderstood. Because people think of us in terms of ordinary thinking / behaving people. So they don’t understand why we say and do the things we do. 

It’s exhausting having this illness, trying to stay alive and trying to battle crippling paranoid thoughts… this is the first time in my life I’ve experienced paranoia to this degree, and it’s hard to challenge anything as I feel so detached from reality. And the trouble is that people’s responses matter. If they’re upset by my paranoid thoughts, and respond to me in a short, sharp, defensive way, it won’t help ease the paranoia… it feeds it. That’s been my experience this year. It makes me detach from reality even more. It makes me think they’re mad with me… they’re getting fed up with me… I’m ‘too much’ again… they’ll leave me for sure now… So it’s become this thing lately that it’s better to keep to myself, because anything anyone says is highly likely to make it worse. Even if they’re trying to be helpful I’m hyper-sensitive at the moment, and see everything as a threat… an attack… a veiled abandonment.

It’s like in my mind at the moment, people can’t do anything right. My friend will have a very hard time reaching me now. I will analyse every word said, and every word NOT said. I will say I want to know she cares, and then not believe her when she says she does. I will hear reasons as excuses, because of past experiences with people she knows about. I will not trust in the long-term, as things have improved at times and then reverted back to this, and I’m sick of that rollercoaster. But mainly I just don’t know what to say to her anymore. And it’s not fair on her. It’s not fair that she would have to walk on eggshells. That I don’t trust her or believe in our friendship anymore. It’s not right for her to feel neglected by me. Or criticised by me because of my paranoia. It’s not fair on her to make bits of effort, like I’ve wished for, for so long, and to have those bits of effort rejected, because I can’t communicate anymore… because too much is going on inside me to be able to form words and converse with her. I know how unfair it all is on her. That’s why I know she’ll be better off without me. I don’t want to be the cause of unhappiness for her. I’d rather she was happy with her new friends, and her family and didn’t have to worry about me anymore. Yes it would break my heart, but I live with a permanent broken heart anyway, because I feel like a burden and I feel neglected. No point someone else being dragged down with me. 

Inside I feel flooded with devastating emotions and so much pain and distress… but outwardly it’s like I’ve turned to stone, and silence is my preferred response.  It’s not about ignoring people. It’s just not having the words. I’ve written blogs, I’ve made videos… I’ve said all the words I possibly could. All were ignored. I’ve lived my life quietly this year, without anyone to confide in. It’s hard to open up again. I don’t feel I want to. I don’t feel I can. I’ve accepted my fate, and that I’m alone and have to do things alone. I don’t know how you can ever let people back in once you’ve reached that point.

I have just reached the point where I have to live each day suffering. I have to take it a minute at a time, and those minutes are filled with paranoia, self-hatred, screaming emotions and suicidal thoughts. But I have to just tolerate every minute, and not beat myself up for feeling how I do. I have to accept that my thoughts may just be paranoia… that in this moment I cannot safely challenge those thoughts… I just have to hold on to the belief that one day my mental health might improve, and I’ll see the truth more clearly, but that right now this is me, and what I think and feel is my reality, even if others think it’s distorted. I have to just bear the pain and the sick feeling I get when thinking about everything, and just breathe. For so long now I’ve been screaming inside to ‘fix things’… to get rid of the horrible feelings, as I feel they’re going to lead to my suicide. But now I have to stop looking at the bigger picture of life, of friendships, of my mental illness, and take it a moment at a time and just survive the little moments. Hopefully recovery will happen in its own time. Hopefully resolution of friendships will occur on their own, either by people going above and beyond, or by walking away. I have to ignore the cries inside about losing people, and focus on not losing myself to this world. I really want to at the moment. Nobody in this world knows how much I want to not exist right now. Everything is too much. And paranoia is scary when you’ve never really experienced it before. I have to wait a month to see my doctor. It’s going to be a long month. I wonder if I’ll hear from CMHT by then or whether they’ve rejected me already. Life is so difficult right now. I’m trapped within myself, and that inner experience is hell. 

Understanding Suicide.

Suicide Understanding

 

 

I had wanted to get this post finished and published on Monday, as it was World Suicide Prevention Day… but in a way I’m glad I failed to meet that deadline, as why should there be just one day to ‘prevent suicide’ or to talk about suicide? Awareness days are all well and good, but I’d prefer it if we were more open all the time, about our struggles. We can help each other feel less alone, and perhaps give each other hope. We don’t need one day to do that. People weren’t just considering suicide or acting on those thoughts on Monday… every day people are contemplating ending it all. Right now people are paying serious thought to their place in existence… they need us to keep the conversation going today, tomorrow and every tomorrow after it. If people only care for one day, and can’t keep going day after day, how can we expect people to keep living day after day, when they’re in such turmoil and distress? We cannot expect people to keep going if the support and understanding doesn’t also keep going. So here’s what I wanted to say about suicide…. it’s rather long, as I don’t speak about it often… goes without saying, be careful reading it, due to the subject matter……

 

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I don’t have all the facts and figures on suicide, like many others put out there on World Suicide Prevention Day. All I have is an insight into the thoughts and feelings that would lead someone to feel that desperate as to choose to end their life. Until now I have never attempted to take my own life. I have considered it – sometimes just in passing as I walk past something that could be ‘a means’… sometimes more thought out… actually putting myself in the situation where I could make that decision. 6th December last year was the first time I really couldn’t see me being able to carry on, and it was the first time I phoned the Samaritans. I didn’t know what to expect but there was a gentle, caring sounding woman on the other end of the phone, who helped me through that desperate night. And the next day I shared with my family how bad things were. That was a low point in my life and I really couldn’t bear living anymore. There have been these moments I’ve seriously considered suicide. But until now at least, I have chosen the endless painful torment that is life.

 

But in more recent times my mind has become so much darker and more desperate, that it has sought comfort in the notion of death. Suicide plagues my thoughts. Every day lately I consider the way I could do it. I think what would be the quickest way… the most certain way… the least distressing or inconvenient for other people. You see, I’m still at that point where I can think of the people who would find me. When you reach that point where you choose death, there really is no room left for anything else. The mind and soul have been swamped by darkness and decayed hope. I’ve never been there, but I have heard from people who have, and I know enough to know that if I don’t get help soon, I will be faced with that reality myself. I’m close enough to it, to know that it takes over the mind to the point that not much else can fit in.

 

I know, because although I am thinking about the people who would have to witness it or find me, and I wouldn’t want to traumatise them, I also know that the pain I’m enduring is too strong and too much to bear, and in the end that will trump everything else. There will come a time when I put myself first and everything else will go out the window.

 

People think of suicide as a selfish act. I want to say a couple of things on this – yes…. I can understand the argument that it is selfish, and if that is the case then I can also understand why people still make that choice. I myself have been staying alive for my family now for the last few years. They are the only thing keeping me going right now. I am putting their feelings ahead of my own need to be free of this pain. I have had selfish people destroy my life and then claim I was selfish for being upset about it. All my life my needs and my wishes have come second (not to family though). So much so that I think of myself as ‘selfish’ whenever I take some time for myself and focus on self-care, or when I’m not there for my friends or family. When your self-worth is that low because you’ve had to stuff your needs down all your life, and then when it all becomes too much to bear inside, and you choose to put your needs first and end your suffering, people call you ‘selfish’… that is wrong. You have no idea what that person has gone through, and how very much the opposite to selfish they have been, to  have held on so long, for you. I understand that people will always view suicide as ‘selfish’. In some ways I could even agree that it is. That is not to say people are bad for opting for it. It is not to say they shouldn’t be allowed to make that choice for themselves. And it’s not to say it is EVER done with a selfish intent. Which brings me to my second point…

 

Suicide, whilst perceived by others as ‘selfish’ is often viewed by the person themselves as a selfless act. Many people who reach such a crisis point as to want to end their own lives, very often feel like a burden to those around them. They feel like a terrible person… a nuisance. Some feel invisible and don’t think anyone would notice or care if they died. But some actively think that others will be better off without them. It might not make sense to a calm, positive and rational mind – you might say ‘there is ALWAYS someone who cares about you’… but you don’t know other people’s circumstances. You may think that someone has a loving family, a network of friends, a happy relationship… and those people themselves may think that they communicate their love, care, appreciation and support – but it doesn’t mean it is being received by the person in crisis.

 

For instance, in the last few months I’ve had to cope basically on my own. None of my friends would know that the other friends weren’t there for me either, and that I’ve had to cope alone. I sometimes get messages saying ‘You know I’m here for you’… as if it’s a given. But sometimes when in crisis, everything goes out the window. If people think ‘Well they know how I feel about them… they know I care… it goes without saying’ and therefore don’t communicate it to us, we feel as though we’re totally alone and uncared for. Just telling each other what we mean to one another may be the thing that saves someone from suicide. You can’t expect people to just know how you feel about them.

 

Even if people DO feel loved and appreciated, sometimes it’s still not enough to save someone from the demons in their mind. Sometimes love isn’t enough. To live with a constant enemy inside you, ripping your soul apart from the inside, every single day, it’s exhausting, and eventually everyone reaches their limit. If they don’t have the right support, which is quite common nowadays in this country, and there’s nowhere to turn, some will choose to take matters into their own hands. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you. I think that’s what many people feel when a loved one ‘chooses death over’ them. Unless you know the endless torment of mental illness, you’ll never know how someone could choose to end it. It is not personal. It’s not about you. It’s something deeper and more complex than you could imagine…. an inner demon that’s taken control of the wheel. Someone could have every good reason to live and still want to die, because they are haunted by this sickness of the mind that robs them of all light and hope.

 

And one last point on the idea of ‘selfishness’ and suicide. I cannot count how many times I have seen comments on local news stories, where roads have been closed due to ‘an incident’, as in someone contemplating suicide… and these comments are always the same…. of ‘inconvenience’  … it’s the same with trains, when someone has ended their life on the tracks, and people are blurting it straight out about how selfish it was, and how they’re going to be late for XYZ, or they’ll miss the football, or whatever… my message to those sorts of people is this… I understand your frustration. Perhaps XYZ was important to you. Perhaps you frequently encounter this problem and you’ve had enough of it. But no matter what your annoyance is, be thankful that you get to go home to your loved ones. Be thankful that you have just had enough of being held up by people on the tracks. Those people on the tracks had enough of life, and ended it. They won’t be returning home to their loved ones… those loved ones will be grieving tonight, and for the rest of their lives. Be grateful that you don’t understand the desperation and torment that leads someone to end their life.

 

It shocks me when I see those sorts of comments or hear them from people. You always hear the ‘Why don’t they just go off somewhere private and do it quietly?’ thing, which shows the utter heartlessness of people, and makes me question the goodness of humanity. But I understand these are people never touched by suicide or mental illness. They would be horrified to learn it was a friend or family member who ‘inconvenienced’ them by ending their life. But because it’s a stranger they think it’s okay to be callous about their life. Some people will go off and die quietly, as you wish them to, others will see an opportunity and take any means possible to be gone. I know you won’t like this, but some people actually want to be saved. They want to be stopped. They feel suicidal but they really don’t want to die, and they’re scared that it will happen.

 

I have had times when I’d fantasise about a particular way of doing it, and a great part of that fantasy was people trying to stop me and help me. I wanted to know my life was worth saving. I wanted to get the help I need. It’s not about getting attention. It’s reaching a crisis point and not knowing where to turn or what to do. It’s needing more help than is available to you. It’s needing to feel you’re worth saving. Being protected and rescued. To have someone hear and see your pain, and take it seriously and save you from yourself.

 

Suicide is a tragedy. And people sit at home on their computer, or on their phone, writing about the inconvenience of ‘jumpers’. How it disrupts their lives. No humanity. No compassion. Just pure selfishness. That is the true face of ‘selfish’. Not the person in such distress they cannot live anymore, but the people who do not know that pain and suffering and whinge about being late. Selfishness is people making someone feel so bad about themselves or so alone, that they no longer want to live in this world and see suicide as their only option. And people calling it the ‘easy way out’ … ‘the coward’s way out’… when they don’t know what they’re talking about. There is nothing ‘easy’ about choosing to take your own life. It takes a lot of ‘resilience’ and being worn down by life to reach that point. It takes a heck of a lot of inner conflict, backwards and forwards between just wanting peace, but not wanting to hurt anyone else. Nobody makes that choice easily. And even people who don’t want to live life anymore will feel scared of dying.

 

I don’t promote suicide. I simply say that I understand it and I am against people attacking this highly taboo subject, forcing more people into silent suffering. I want people to know that I understand the agony that leads to those thoughts and those places, because I’ve been at least three quarters of the way there, and that’s enough to know the hell you’d be in, to make that final decision. It’s a decision I wish people didn’t make. I wish they didn’t have to make it. I wish that life could be kinder to those people and they could defeat their demons, in life. I want people to hold on and fight against this illness that’s telling them to leave this life. Too many good souls are lost because of suicide… because of the conditions that lead to suicide…

 

Suicide is very often the final symptom of a mental illness. Just as death is the final symptom of a terminal cancer. I know you might argue that point, saying that cancer robs a person of their life, whereas suicide is a person throwing their life away. But the reality is that those who reach that point of suicide most likely feel their illness has robbed them of their life. Suicidal thoughts and self-harm can be symptoms of many mental illnesses. I know matters of the mind are harder to understand than physical illnesses, but they’re no different. Mental illnesses have symptoms, which are not the fault of the one suffering them. We would trade lives with someone in a heartbeat, if it meant having hope and a life worth living. I would give anything to not be experiencing sickening paranoia, isolation, abandonment, self-destructive urges, self-harm, splitting on people and the world, daily suicidal thoughts, hopelessness and flashbacks to every painful thing that’s ever happened. I would love to trust people. I would love my mind to be quiet for once. It is so jam-packed with the noises of memories, worries, made-up scenarios, paranoid thoughts, negative self-narrative, and the silent scream for me to just end it all. I have no room in my head for anything else. It’s already overcrowded. I want a bit of peace and quiet. Nobody chooses their symptoms, or their illness.

 

I take medication. I am still waiting to hear from the mental health services, just for the initial assessment! My world has shut down around me. I am isolated. Nobody knows the depth of my suffering. Suicidal feelings are hard for me to share with others – it’s pretty much the only symptom I don’t talk about in real life with people, for fear of their reactions. I don’t want to upset anyone, or alarm them. But I know I’m going to have to find the courage to discuss it at some point soon, and I just hope I have a calm, validating reaction when I do finally speak up. Silence around suicide is a big risk factor. A lot of the time people have no idea someone feels like ending their life, until they’re gone. They don’t see the warning signs. The signs are there. The world is just too busy and people are caught up in their own lives to notice them…

 

Signs of suicidality include:

 

  • Talking about / being preoccupied with death and suicide.
  • Increased self-harming behaviour.
  • Withdrawing / isolating.
  • Feeling trapped or hopeless.
  • Giving away possessions.
  • Being unable to concentrate / feeling restless.
  • Agitation / irritation.
  • Changes in personality / mood.
  • A calm / positive burst after continuous deep depression – this is often as the person is resolved to ending things… it brings them peace to know an end is near.
  • Engaging more in risky behaviours.
  • Changes in sleeping / eating habits.
  • Talk of feeling like a burden.
  • Negative view of self / life / the world.
  • Saying goodbye to people / making confessions.

 

I think the biggest signs for people ought to be that the person talks and writes about death and suicide more. I think there’s this myth that if it’s being talked about it’s not going to happen. This is wrong. I have talked about ending it for the last eight months or so. Admittedly I haven’t done anything yet. But what concerns me is the silence on the other end. People could see me talking about wanting to die, and had nothing to say to me. My take on that is that they don’t honestly believe I will do something. But me talking about it  was me reaching out for help, so that I wouldn’t do it. The trouble is eventually you stop talking about it. You go silent. And then if you were to follow it through, those same people who heard you talk about it for months would bleat out the same line – ‘Why didn’t she say anything?’ … ‘I had no idea she felt that bad’. The warning signs are there. And talking about suicidal feelings has to be one of the most blindingly obvious signs that someone is considering ending their life. Yet it’s often ignored as a ‘threat’ or ‘attention-seeking’. People talking about suicide is your chance to save them from it. So please don’t ignore someone as ‘crying wolf’ if they say they don’t want to live anymore. One day you’ll regret ignoring this sign.

 

Personally, my self-harm has got worse. I have withdrawn from everyone and I’m isolating myself. I feel trapped and worthless… completely hopeless. I don’t see a future for me. My concentration isn’t that great right now. It’s taken me a long time to write this post. I wanted it posted yesterday as well, but I had awful anxiety yesterday which only felt worse when writing this. I always feel like a burden. There’s not much good left that I see in me, life or the world and the people in it. And I am in the process of writing / saying things for people to know when I’m not here anymore. I’ve set it as my goal to stay alive long enough to document certain things, and to tell people the truth about my feelings and events. In the last few months I actually wrote ‘a note’. It didn’t become anything. I don’t know where it’s gone or what I said in it. But I’ve definitely gone to some extremely dark places this year. Right now I’m advised to take it minute by minute, so that’s what I intend to do. Everything feels broken and ruined beyond repair. But I have to just limp on and not worry about the big picture at the moment. I have to focus on me and getting through each minute. But I do so, with very heavy and intrusive thoughts of suicide.

 

But you wouldn’t think it to look at me. If you saw me I would be trying my hardest to wear a smile, even if that smile doesn’t touch my eyes I’ll be trying my hardest to force it to.

 

The whole thing with mental illness and suicide, is you never know when you’re standing next to someone or talking to someone, who wishes they were dead, or who has plans this evening to end their life. Suicide is a silent killer, often known about too late. We need to be able to speak out about how we’re feeling, and we need to have it taken seriously. If we’re speaking out about wanting to end our own lives, we’re scared, and we want to feel safe, loved and supported. It’s not easy to talk about suicide, so if we do it, please listen.

 

 

Whenever I used to be asked about suicidal thoughts by mental health professionals, I would say that I thought about it, but would never do anything about it. This was because I was afraid of their reaction. I was afraid of the doors it might open (or close). I was worried it would result in lectures, or even abandonment. The truth is I never felt completely safe from the possibility of actually doing something. And as time has gone on I have become less certain of what I’m capable of. After self-harming at therapy last year, which is something I never thought would’ve happened – I never thought I’d have been caught self-harming – I now don’t know what the limits are for me. I can’t honestly say that I wouldn’t do something. Would I admit this to a mental health professional? I don’t really know. Because I have a fear of the unknown. And I don’t know what lies beyond honesty about suicidal intent.

 

I feel certain at this point that it’s the direction my life is heading in. I see no future. I see no light or hope.

 

But let me clear something else up. I don’t want to die. I want to not want to die. I want a reason to live. I want a life. I want that life to bring me happiness, make me feel loved and important. I want people to treat me well. I want to matter. I want life to give me a break. I want to be able to cope with the world. I want more joy and love. I want to forget my past and dream of a future, that isn’t suicide. I don’t want to end my life. I want to end my pain.

 

This is the thing about suicide. Most people just want the pain to stop. They want the inner turmoil to mute. They want to heal. They want to kill the demon they carry with them everywhere they go. They want to be free of what weighs them down. This is how I feel. If life was different… better… I’d want to be a part of it. But at this point in time, the pull of ‘peace’ is greater than the pull of ‘life’. I don’t want to die. I want life to be better. I want to erase my memories. I want to not live in emotional pain every day. But when you are at this point, you feel there is nothing you can do to change the way your life is. You can’t make people treat you the way you wish they did. You can’t turn back time. You can’t forget everything you’ve been through. You can’t create your own breaks in life. You can’t create joy and love by yourself. You can’t make yourself matter to other people. You feel powerless. You can’t change your circumstances. But you can make a choice as to whether to live with those circumstances. And unfortunately that is why many people choose suicide. They see no other option.

 

People speak of the fear of being sectioned, for admitting suicidal ideation.  I would fear this too, having never been sectioned. In some ways a part of me would welcome it. A great part of me right now wants to be kept safe from myself. But the fear of the unknown doesn’t give me that choice. So I have to keep pushing on, in the hope that my regard for my family’s feelings will overpower the overpowering wish to make everything stop. But nothing feels certain anymore. It’s no longer a given that I won’t do anything. And that scares me. This year has seen the worst decline in my mental health I’ve ever known. I’m no longer who I once was. The self-destructive part of me is running the show now, and I’m afraid of my own mind.

 

People don’t just wake up one morning and think ‘Hey, I’ll kill myself’ for no reason. It happens slowly… days, weeks, months, years of endless sadness, pain and depression… until one day it feels like the only option left.

 

Please don’t be so quick to judge suffering you couldn’t understand. There’s so much more going on underneath a person than you will ever know. Try to understand what someone has been through, before thinking of them as selfish or weak. Be there for them. Help them want to live again. Push for support for them. Don’t give up on them, as they’ve given up on themselves. And listen to them – allow them to talk to you about their suicidal feelings. Remain calm and caring. Validate how they feel and why they feel that way, but show your commitment to helping them continue with life. One suicide is one too many. It’s important we talk about our feelings. It’s more important that others listen.

 

If you’re feeling suicidal or struggling with your mental health then please try and seek help – I know it’s hard to come by now, but don’t suffer in silence. And give the Samaritans a call (or your national suicide helpline)… it might not fix everything, as the pain you feel cannot be cured overnight. But I hope they can give you the encouragement to see another day.

 

We’re in this together. You’re not alone in feeling the way you do. I understand how you feel. I’m going to keep trying, one minute at a time, and I hope that if I can do it, you can find the will to do it too. I know it’s hell and pure darkness, but all we can do is survive and pray the light will return in time. And I believe it will. I have to.

 

Take care of yourselves.

xxxx

Just Not Working Anymore…

Working is so difficult at the moment. Doesn’t matter how little it is I do, it’s too much. It’s all too much. Life is too much. I’m only doing two afternoons a week, but hadn’t been in for two weeks because of the bank holiday, and the fact I was ill for a week.

 

Within minutes of going back in I regretted it. It was a little build-up of things. First was nobody listening to me, and talking over me with drivel… it was drivel. It was larking around, whereas what I had to say was relevant and important – I tried at least three times to repeat it… and they acted as if I didn’t say a word – this made me feel INVISIBLE… which is how I feel in my life with friends right now. Then I was constantly in the way. That’s because there’s too many bloody people working there now!! I’ve become irrelevant. I no longer feel appreciated or useful. It’s so hectic having so many of us in such a small space. And relationships aren’t as close as before. I feel I’m losing my place there. It was ever since I had to take a few weeks off for my mental health. When I came back we had the two extra people. I feel I was effectively replaced. I feel like a spare part now. Anyway, then someone came in and wanted help carrying stuff – I looked over to everyone else, thinking they’d be in a better position to do it than me, as I was busy. But no…. I had to do it. I have a bloody bad back, and I’m still not 100% over being poorly… which they don’t know about, as they never ask anything anymore. Knackered me, and my back, and got no thanks for it.

 

It just felt like I’m invisible, irrelevant, unappreciated and then used. I wouldn’t normally feel that way. Normally I’d feel more helpful and hardworking. But I feel like shit, physically and mentally at the moment, and nobody really cared about that.

 

I can’t cope with people right now. Every little thing is like a punch in the gut. With being so close to the edge already and wanting to give up on life, I can’t be dealing with feeling like this at work. Two days ago I was considering ways to end my life. Yesterday I considered quitting work – luckily it’s only voluntary so no problems there. I won’t quit yet. But my days there are numbered. And I’ll probably take a few weeks off now, because I just can’t cope with it.

 

I try so hard to pretend to be okay, and to function like the rest of them and fit in, but I cannot do it at the moment. I feel like I’m screaming for help inside. I’m broken down like a child, but I can’t show it. I have to just keep going, and pushing myself forward. Everyone wants me to make progress… in terms of work, health, self-care etc… I can’t make that progress. I don’t want to live. The things they want me to care about, to tick their boxes and make them happy, I honestly can’t care about right now. Nobody gets that. Because to anyone looking I probably look like a functional adult. They can’t see the hell I’m in. They likely don’t believe it’s as bad as I claim it is. Truth is it’s much worse than I could ever explain to anyone. I’m sick of it.

 

Many people would say you just have to keep going, and pushing yourself through the tough times…. keep going into work….. but I’ve tried that for months. All it does is push me closer to the edge. If I keep going, against what my heart is telling me I need to do, I will snap and do something I can’t recover from.

 

I desperately need help now. It’s been two months since I asked to be referred to mental health services, and I’ve not heard a thing. I’m not sure if they can help me, or if they’re willing to. But at the moment they’re my only hope. And until then I have to keep myself safe and protected from the world. I’m sorry, but if that means shutting myself away, staying offline, keeping to myself and focusing on self-care then so be it. Nobody understands how dangerous life feels for me right now. They don’t know the extent of my self-harm problems, my suicidal thoughts, my disturbing thoughts and paranoia, and how unreal life feels most of the time now.

 

I have people say things to me that they obviously think are helpful, and whilst I’m grateful to them for trying, they’re not reaching me. They’re giving me advice based on a milder version of what’s wrong with me. They think about what helped them, as if they felt exactly the same as me. But they misunderstand. Because I appear ‘normal’ and can communicate to some degree, they think I’m better than I am. When people are advising me, they think they’re talking to someone  who’s having a bit of a down day. They’re not. They are talking to someone standing on the edge of a cliff, staring over the edge, picturing the fall… deciding when to jump… convinced that it’s the only way things are going to end. Their comments just don’t reach me anymore. They’re things I could’ve tried long ago, but I’m beyond that now. Nobody seems to comprehend how bleak things are, and how close to done I am. Nobody.

 

I had a meltdown last night, seemingly over something stupid. But nobody really knew about that, as I hid away and when asked what I was upset about, I just said I’m finding things hard at the moment. I’m really just fed up with everything hurting so much. I feel I’m always doing the wrong thing. Even when I reach out for support now, I’m hurt by the words people say, and the words they don’t say. I’m hurt by who doesn’t respond. I’m hurt by the lines and everything I read in between them. I’m hurt by tone of voice. I’m hurt by looks. I’m hurt by silence. I’m hurt by everything, and I’m tired of not being able to cope with life like a normal person. I’m sick of being me, and I’m sick of being mentally ill.

 

I really feel that life is a rollercoaster ride that I never agreed to go on. I don’t like rides. But I feel I’m being forced to continue with it. I don’t want to. I want to get off. I want to stop. I want life to stop for a bit, let me recover and when I’m good and ready I’ll join in. Sadly this isn’t an option. But I can have time off work for my mental health. I don’t care if anyone disagrees with this method. I don’t care if people who want me to make progress with work stuff have a problem with it. If they really want me to keep going until I kill myself then screw them… that’s what will happen if I don’t stop. So I’m going to give myself the gift of a break… for as long as I need, to be able to face the world again. Right now life is a risk I can’t afford to face.