*Strong suicide theme*
My head is packed full of noise at the moment and I can’t tell what’s what. I don’t know how I feel, what I think or what to do. I don’t even know how to begin unravelling the chaos inside. I feel like I need to write it out but I don’t know where to start. How on earth do I explain everything I’m experiencing? It’s not possible.
It’s been a tough week and nobody even knows about it. With World Suicide Prevention Week, it’s triggered a lot of memories and emotions surrounding the loss of my friend to suicide four months ago. Seeing all the posts / tweets about suicide has been upsetting. Oddly enough the thing that upset me the most was people saying ‘suicide isn’t selfish…. those who think it is are the selfish ones’. I thought, how lovely it must be to see things so simplistically. I have news for people – we’re ALL selfish. Every single one of us. If we’re not then we’re not living life correctly. We all think about things from our perspective. Have these people ever really considered what they’d be like if they lost someone to suicide? They have this view that you shouldn’t make someone’s suicide all about you. I’m sorry but it is about me. It’s about everyone her life touched. Yes she was in pain and couldn’t go on. It’s about her pain and her tragic end to her life. But the moment someone completes suicide it ceases to be about that person anymore and their pain….. it becomes a new wave of pain for everyone else. To say otherwise is to say we shouldn’t grieve the loss of them…. and to not grieve is to deny ever loving them.
Some people have the view that the grief and sadness someone feels at losing someone to suicide, cannot compare to the pain someone feels to want to end their life. I disagree. I don’t think those people can legitimately say that unless they have experienced both. I have experienced both. I am experiencing both right now. Very often those preaching about ‘not judging’ suicidal people and calling those bereaved by suicide ‘selfish’, are people who only have one side of the story… quite often their own experiences of suicidal feelings / attempts on their own lives. They tell others not to judge unless they have been there, whilst judging those who are grieving the loss of someone to suicide. They haven’t been there, they cannot understand how it feels.
I do not think my friend was genuinely and deliberately selfish. I know suicidal feelings like the back of my hand. I understand it. I know it’s part of a mental illness. A symptom that claims lives. It’s something that robs you of your ability to think and see clearly. It distorts reality and makes you feel and believe you are a burden, nobody cares and the world would be better without you. It is an illness. But it can still be seen as selfish. It doesn’t mean the person was selfish. They likely weren’t in their right mind. But it is perfectly normal and natural for loved ones to see it as selfish. I’ll tell you why, from my own feelings in regards to my friend:
- She didn’t give me the opportunity to help her. If I had known how she really felt, I would’ve done anything for her. But she denied me the chance to save her life. And I have to live with that forever.
- She didn’t give me a goodbye. She just went. I had no closure. I had to make that closure by going to her funeral to say my goodbye. But she didn’t respect me enough to say goodbye or that she was sorry for leaving me. She abandoned me.
- She knew how alone I was and what I’d been through. She left me with nobody and nothing, and I’ve now completely shut down and closed off from everyone.
- I was due to see her five weeks later – we were looking forward to a concert together and finally seeing each other again. She left me with nobody to go with initially… I had to go round begging people to go with me. I also had to attend the event whilst grieving… having gone to her funeral the week before. I never got to see her again. It felt like I was worthless…. she couldn’t hold on long enough to see me. It felt like a ‘rejection’ of me. It felt like she didn’t want to see me. Like she didn’t care about me.
These points would make some on Twitter bark at me that I’m being selfish, making it about me and not caring about her suffering. I would totally lose it at those people were they to do that. My point is that I am grieving. It’s perfectly acceptable for me to have these thoughts and feelings. They’re not often talked about as we have to appear a certain way, to avoid ‘stigma’. But those who have lost someone to suicide are faced with stigma too. They’re made to feel guilty for having the sorts of views I have just listed. They’re made to feel bad about their anger and for blaming the person. Ultimately I know her suicide was not about me in the slightest – it was about the torment in her own mind. I know that. But I haven’t reached that point in my grief yet – it’s only been four damn months! It’s a process. It takes time. Right now it feels like something done to me. I shouldn’t be shamed for feeling this way, especially by people who have no clue what it’s like to lose someone to suicide.
This last week has taught me I’m fighting the wrong battle. I no longer associate myself with the ‘mental health community’ and fighting stigma against mental illness no matter what. I will fight against it, but when it crosses over into stigma against others who are suffering (e.g. those grieving due to suicide), I will side with the bereaved. I know how suicidal thoughts feel. At this moment I want to end my life. I don’t want to exist anymore. I do not see me being here in a year. That’s why I’m reluctant to buy a ticket for myself to see my favourite band on my birthday next year… what’s the point? I won’t be here then. I know suicidal feelings too well. I know what hell I exist in right now. But what gives me the right to say that what I feel now is worse than what my family would feel if I took my own life? You cannot compare pain like that. That in itself is selfish… thinking your suffering is worse than someone else’s would be.
Suicide spreads. Those who lose someone to suicide are at risk of trying to take their own lives too. They can be left traumatised. They can develop a mental illness as a result, and end up down the same path. And having people say not to make someone’s suicide about you, is the worst thing you can do. It tells those people to shove it down, not talk about it and this will only compound their own struggles with mental illness. Suicide is a silent killer and many die as a result of not talking about how they truly feel…. so for mental health advocates to invalidate people’s feelings and grief and telling them to say nothing, and not be open about how they really feel, it’s damaging and they’re perpetuating the silence of suicide.
Those who talk about such things probably don’t know what grief feels like. How it tears your world apart and leaves a hole in your heart. That is just ‘normal’ grief. Grief from suicide is more complex and traumatic than any other loss. It’s a known fact. That’s not to diminish grief from other causes. All loss is traumatic and the worst pain you can imagine. But unless you’ve been affected by someone’s suicide, you have no idea how that feels.
Personally as well, if you haven’t lost someone to suicide then you don’t know what that’s like… to have to cope with that whilst having BPD, where your emotions are more intense. And throw into the mix already feeling suicidal yourself…. and having no friends left, so having to deal with it all on your own. Or rather not deal with it on your own.
How can I then be expected to not make her death about ME…? The point is whilst suicide is not intentionally selfish it does have consequences for other people. I remember someone even saying online before the funeral, if you’re coming then don’t make it all about you, and act like the ‘best friend’. I let that go, on accounts of them grieving. But I took that to heart. That really pierced down to the bone. That was another instance of ‘don’t make it about you’ – i.e. don’t be ‘selfish’. I had no intention of it. And it hurt that it could even be suggested that I would. It may not have been aimed at me, but as I was ‘uninvited’ it felt like it was a pointed comment. I felt they were trying to put me off going. Like I wasn’t welcome. I wasn’t ever going to act like the ‘best friend’ – I never was her best friend. She was the BEST friend I’ve ever had, in the sense that nobody could be better than she was. And I did know her since she was seventeen at least…. she was a huge part of my life, even if we only met up in person once. There’s a gaping hole in my life without her. Nobody has a right to deny that for me. It just felt as though I was being told I didn’t matter to her, so don’t pretend that I did. And when my whole issue in the past year had been that I felt I didn’t matter to anyone, and she was the only one who ever cared about me, that damn hurt. It was torture. I let it go, as I said, but months later it still stabs me in the heart when I think of it. I went to that funeral to show her family she was loved. To show support for them as I felt it’s what my friend would’ve wanted. She may never have expected for me to go to her funeral, but that’s what friends do. That’s how much she mattered to me. I wouldn’t have done that for just anyone. Our friendship mattered…. she wouldn’t want people to make me feel I was nothing to her. I know that. I went to a new place completely alone, for a couple of hours to say goodbye. I had to see her one more time. I never got to see her a month later as planned. She denied me the chance to see her and say goodbye. So I had to go. It was horrible to have to do. It still vividly haunts me today. But it was necessary. I didn’t make it about me. I popped in and ducked out just as swiftly. Yet I beat myself up for weeks afterwards, feeling guilty for intruding. She would hate that I felt that way. I’m not who people may have thought I was. I didn’t make it about me.
But now I’m left entirely alone to survive, I think I’m allowed to make this loss about me. It’s not just about me. But it has impacted on my life, and I shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for admitting that. I have nobody to talk to now. I’m invisible. She always made me feel visible. She’d always remind me what a good person I was. Now I can’t believe I am as I have nobody to help me believe that. There’s no permanence with what’s wrong with me. Sentiments only exist as long as they are said. She’ll never say those words again, and there’s nobody else to say them. So to me it doesn’t exist. I’m not a good person. I don’t know what I’m doing half the time. And I don’t matter to anyone now. And she’s not here to reassure me otherwise.
Her taking her own life has left me wanting to take my own. Feeling it is a certainty now. I see no way of recovering anymore. I’ve lost the two oldest friendships I’ve ever had, both of them early this year. There’s nothing left for me now. To start with I had people telling me what she would want for me… and that she wouldn’t want me to do that… but if she did it, then there’s no reason I shouldn’t. The only thing that stops me from doing it, is thinking how it would affect my family….. the belief that it IS selfish is the one thing that stops me from taking my own life. So I think it’s actually DANGEROUS for mental health advocates to send out a message that it’s somehow courageous and selfless to take your own life…. because you think you’re doing everyone a favour, not being a burden to them…. this is dangerous information to put out there. There needs to be balance.
I think people who are suicidal need to be told they’re not bad people for feeling that way or for attempting to end their lives…. BUT they need to hear the reality. I understand it, I really do…. I feel like the biggest burden to everyone right now. It’s why I isolated myself last year and this year. So often I think about ending my life to unburden other people – but this is based on distorted thinking….
No matter how much of a burden you think you are with your illness, you are NOT a burden to your loved ones. They would rather you were here, asking for help, and being in their lives, than to never be able to see or talk to you again. The thing that burdens people the most is ending your life. That is the heaviest burden known to man. I have to carry that burden with me for the rest of my days, however many that may be. Her family have to carry that burden forever.
I am mentally ill. I feel suicidal. And I am carrying the weight of suicide by my one remaining friend. I don’t feel it can get worse than that. I have to live with that loss forever. This doesn’t encourage me to get better. It makes me want to die because the burden is too much to carry on my own, but that’s where I am in my life now because of her, and because of my best friend who turned her back on me a couple of months prior to my other friend dying. I have no reason to recover.
So suicide does impact on other people. And in that way it can be viewed as ‘selfish’. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling that, if you are bereaved by suicide. I think people who have no clue of suicidal feelings, OR losing someone to suicide, and just sit on a train complaining about being late because of a ‘jumper’ – that’s wrong. Those people should be challenged. But when people are fighting stigma against the suicidal among us, they ought to remember that some of us are grieving and grief brings out all sorts of emotions, and beliefs. There may come a day when I defend my friend and say suicide is NOT selfish at all. I am not there yet, because it’s only been four months.
But right now it is unintentionally selfish. Some people take their own lives to unburden others. They think they’re helping other people by doing it. But a lot of the time people want to end their lives just to end their pain. Everything else goes out the window. That’s why people believe it is selfish, because they think we’re only thinking of ourselves and our pain, and not considering those we’d leave behind – and sometimes that’s probably true – we probably do forget about them and their potential pain. Or we think they’ll get over it. Or that they don’t care enough to grieve. And sometimes we do think of those we’d leave behind, but that thought isn’t enough to survive what we’re experiencing inside. So ultimately the thoughts of ‘self’ win.
It’s okay to be selfish. It’s okay to feel that suicide is selfish, but not think badly of the person themselves. I know that’s hard to comprehend. But you can think something is selfish yet is not a bad thing. Look, people think I’m selfish for my grieving process and for ‘making it about me’….. and I think those people who judge me for things like I’m writing here, they too are selfish. Because they’re thinking about themselves – their own opinions…. and they’re intolerant of a different view. They don’t stop to question the reason I might have this view… why I might be upset by people saying ‘suicide isn’t selfish’. It’s not a black and white case of me thinking that therefore I’m an ignorant, judgemental prick. But there are genuinely people who would read this post and think that about me. But the REASON I’m upset by that statement is because I have personally lost someone to suicide, therefore I know how it feels. I have conflicting views about suicide. It’s very confusing for me, and it’s a part of grief. So having people tell me it’s wrong to feel a certain way, is damaging in my journey to healing from loss. I’m not one of those ignorant people who don’t know what it feels like. I know perfectly well how it feels. Exactly four years to the day before my friend took her own life, I considered jumping off a bridge. It was the closest I had come to doing something like that.
So I know all about it. I’m also feeling the most hopeless and helpless I ever have. I’m strongly considering suicide myself. I haven’t quite reached that point where anyone needs to immediately worry. But I have an unhealthy obsession with not existing anymore. That’s why reading endless tweets about suicide was very triggering for me.
All these stories about ‘It really DOES get better… look at me now’…. they all felt empty. It may well get better for a lot of people, who have lives to return to…. but I feel like the exception. That’s what I felt when watching a programme about how to help people who are suicidal. I felt all those suggestions would work for someone else but not me. I felt people would care and be there to save other people, but not me. I felt like others can be saved, but I am the exception. I felt dead inside watching that programme. I feel it’s too late for me to be helped. No help can bring back what I’ve lost. I have no support around me anymore. The safety net I once had has morphed into the noose around my neck. The two friends I had left, who could have saved me from this pain and this certain fate, they abandoned me in one way or another. They are the reason I don’t want to exist anymore. I have nobody else to catch me. Everyone else willingly watched me drown or just didn’t even notice I was drowning. I didn’t exist to any of them. So I’ve cut everyone out now. I’m on my own.
I used to see my Godchildren as a part of my future…. it was the one thing I was certain of – that I’d always be in their lives and watch them grow. But when my best friend turned her back on me at my lowest point, she took them with her. So any hope for a future I had, it’s gone now. I’ve not seen them for over a year and half. The bond I had with my God-daughter is broken, along with my heart. I don’t think I’ll ever recover from the pain of that lost bond. My Godson has started school now apparently. My friend moved house apparently…. all of this happened without her telling me anything about it. She cut me out of her life well over a year ago. It was a long drawn-out abandonment and it destroyed me. I have no reason for living anymore. I have too many traumatic experiences from the last couple of years. I have nothing to aim for. And even if I could conjure up some new friends – it takes a long time to cultivate the sorts of friendships I’ve lost this year. And I never will be able to, because I will not trust anyone again, thanks to my former best friend. I will be expecting abandonment and rejection from everyone I meet now. If my best friend of over thirteen years can give up on me because of my mental illness, then nobody else will stick around. They’ll only tolerate me if I pretend to be okay. As long as I never show my reality people will humour me, at best. I used to hide my mental illness from everyone. After my breakdown at therapy two years ago, it let a lot out, and I could no longer hide how I felt. The more ill I got publicly, the less people wanted to do with me, including her. Once the mask of wellness slipped and she saw the true face of depression and BPD, she didn’t want to know me anymore. That’s how it feels. So my self-worth is non-existent now. I don’t believe anyone will ever truly like me. I know for a fact that no man will ever see me as attractive ever again. So I’ve accepted I’m going to die an old spinster…. assuming I survive that long, which I highly doubt right now.
I just feel too broken. Too traumatised. Too alone. I’m a lost cause. I’m feeling too hopeless, that I’m not even doing things I’m meant to be doing. I’ve not approached anyone for help yet… because I don’t believe I can be helped. This feels too big an obstacle for anyone to help me. I need grief counselling… but the problem is not just grief, it’s the mess that’s left behind – my mental illness, my grief, it’s all wrapped up together. Being abandoned by everyone… that affects my mental health and my grief…. my grief affects my mental health and vice versa, and then people abandon me because of it…..which makes me paranoid, which pushes people away…. makes me feel unsupported in my grief…. more mentally ill……. want to die….. see no future – seriously when I picture it, it’s black. There’s literally NOTHING in my future now. Because of abandonment. Because of grief and loss. Trauma and broken trust. Being made to feel worthless and not deserving of a goodbye or a conversation from my best friend. If she didn’t value me who the fuck is going to in this life? And if nobody values me and I’ll be made to feel this shit forever, then I don’t want to live a minute more. What have I done to deserve this?? I feel enraged about it. And then I beat myself up for it, thinking of course I deserved everything that’s happened. I’m an awful person. Another reason to die. But I can’t die, because it’s selfish and would hurt my family. My family are all I have to keep me alive. And even they don’t know how I feel at the moment. I can’t talk to them about any of it. This is how alone I am. This is the most I’ve talked about my feelings in a long time. And my mind’s telling me I shouldn’t have done it. I should keep it all in and let it build until I end my life.
Mental health services have changed so much in the last ten years, since I did DBT. They won’t help me until I’ve been through ‘lesser services’. But they all are about ‘recovery’ – you have to want to get better and put the work in. The trouble is I’m beyond that now. They left me too long and too much has happened since. I don’t ‘want’ to get better….. because I cannot see that possibility anymore. It’s impossible to focus on ‘recovery’ when you cannot see the point in it. When you just can’t exist in this life anymore. When no matter what work you do on yourself, your circumstances will still be the same… you’ll still be utterly alone at the end of any work you do. You’ll still be grieving and have lost everything. You’ll still have wasted years of your life and be a failure. What is the point? And people won’t suddenly treat you better than they have. I’ve been trodden on too many times now, I feel it’s my lot in life. And I don’t want to participate in that anymore. I want it over with. I honestly feel even DBT won’t help me at this point. I have no clue what would – because my problem is not just my mental health or that I’m grieving… it’s the people I had around me…. you can’t force people to care about you. I have nobody to care about me anymore. You can’t replace that. And without that, I can’t recover. This world is what is killing me. It’s the reason I can’t live in it. The people. My irrelevance. And everything people have put me through in the last few years. You can’t erase that amount of emotional trauma. And I can’t live in this world with all of that inside me. So tell me…… who do I turn to, to help me with that?
Bereavement counselling won’t touch it. Mental health services will see my mental health as complicated by grief, therefore signpost me to bereavement counselling. There is nobody in this world who can help with the scale of this problem. And even if there was… I wouldn’t believe they can help me. I won’t believe that I can be saved. How do you help someone like that? How?? I’ll always believe people will give up on me, if I don’t seem to be ‘engaging’ with their attempts to get me to help myself. That’s what it’s all about – I have to help myself. That’s what services are like now…. they don’t help you. They help you to help yourself. So what would they do with me? Write me off as the lost cause I feel I am? Or would they overcompensate with nauseating positivity…. ? I’ve had that before. You just feel misunderstood and invalidated. Either way I end up feeling a failure and a burden… like I’m wasting their time. I’m not even in hell anymore. I’m below that. I can fully understand why my friend made the choice she did four months ago, if this is the sort of thing she felt.
I have nothing and nobody to lift me out of this. There is no joy in life. No hope. Nothing. I really want to fall asleep and not wake up. I can’t exist in my head anymore. I’ve had enough.
And that’s without the political situation unfolding in this country now too. I don’t exist to anyone in my life… I’m invisible…. and now Parliament want to treat me as though I’m invisible too…. just overturn my vote, deny me an election and rob me of the one achievement in recent times – winning that referendum. I won’t say much on politics now, but it just destroys me that MPs are treating me just the same as everyone else. Like I don’t matter. I actually tweeted to the Prime Minister the other day, admitting that Remainer MPs are making me even more suicidal than usual. I’m usually quite restrained on Twitter, but that’s going now. I’m beyond the end of my tether. And the political situation is worsening my mental health at a dangerous time…. they’ve created an environment too toxic for people like me to live in… another reason to opt out of life. I just feel the odds are stacked against me, to survive. And I’ve lost the will to care.