It’s World Suicide Prevention Day and I’ve been wanting to talk about something for a while. I think now the time is right.
I’m scared to do this but, here we go. Ok, so…
We moved house earlier this year. Whilst I was unpacking and repacking our belongings into boxes, going through stuff trying to decide what we didn’t need anymore I came across an old diary. This diary came from my teenage years, back to when I used to do art journaling.
In this journal, A4 sized huge thing with pages full of collage, letters, paintings, writings, poems, stories, crayon, pen, ink, even blood; were memories I hoped no one would ever see.
Holding that journal in my hands at the age of 26 was surreal. I was almost worried if I read it, everyone would see it. I knew what was inside and I was upset to see it. Opening up the pages and seeing my anger, suicidal angry messages to friends and family, letters from psychologists, psychiatrists, my raw emotions, it was really difficult to be reminded of those times.
Although that was over 12 years ago it still came down on me like a sack of bricks and I suddenly felt so heavy.
I hid the journal and swore to myself that no one would ever know about that, about me, my struggles, that horrible ugly past. I told myself we all have skeletons in our closets… and no one wants to know mine.
And so I carried on as usual, thinking about it but not telling anyone. Struggling with my mental health but not admitting it. And this is how it has always been. And especially since I started my blog.
Never did I think I would be writing this, oh no. My blog was something I could write about that had nothing to do with that ugly life. I decided, it was not going to be related to any of my feelings, emotions, in fact I could actually sort-of create a new me, actually. I thought I could easily sweep everything else under the carpet, say goodbye to that, and my mental illness would just… go away. No one would ever know, I could just forget about it.
I’m scared to tell the truth. I really am. Honestly I am afraid what people will think of me.
If you have struggled with mental health you will know that ignoring it is certainly not how it works. You can try and tell yourself that you are over it; that the secret is yours and no one else needs to know, but eventually it will get too much. Keeping all that inside and being very careful over the way you present yourself, the things you say, the way you come across. Doing all of this because otherwise you might come across as crazy is really hard work. For me, it was building up and up and I kept thinking… damn, I’m going to need to talk about it sooner rather than later.
It wasn’t until earlier this year, when I was struggling a lot, that it all got too much… and I knew I would have to write about it. I couldn’t keep secret anymore; it was becoming obvious. It slipped a little… I published a few posts on my Facebook page about some bad days I was having and, shock horror, a few comments suggested I may need to seek help or suggested it sounded like depression.
Well, I felt horrified! I was so angry that people were suggesting this because I had been hiding my problems all this time, it felt like I had been caught out and now I would either have to A) struggling it off and say, no it was just a bad day and hope I never, ever post anything ike that again or next time I really will get caught out. or B) come clean and tell everyone.
(Note, if you were some of the people who did suggest I get help, please don’t worry; I wasn’t really angry at you and I do appreciate your comments).
It started slipping out to friends, too. I was struggling with “normal life” but for some reason I was finding it 50x harder than everyone else. The stuff I was saying to my friends didn’t seem quite right. It was obvious something was wrong… this wasn’t just a bad day. In the end, I told one of my friends the truth. It was really difficult to do that.
Soooo… here goes. Here’s a story about why I’m crazy.
My “problems” date back a long way. When I was 13 I wasn’t normal. I started self-harming at 13 (and that didn’t stop until I was 17). During that time amongst peers self harm went through a phase of being popular for the alternate crowd, sadly enough, so I didn’t actually think anything was wrong with me.
I got obsessed with my weight, too. I starved myself, weighed myself, punished myself for eating, made myself sick and was obsessed with reading anorexia books, articles and joining forums on the internet where girls would compete to lose the most weight. I remember I used to have competitions on this forum to see who could not eat for the longest time.
I was in a bad relationship at the same time and was going through a lot of issues at home. I was out of school, trying hard to stay focused on home education but truly I was not interested, all I wanted to do was art journal. I felt really horrible just about all of the time and this was when I started drinking alcohol a lot. Drinking the alcohol, and self harming, felt like the same sort of risk; it was abusing myself and at the time I enjoyed doing both as I had no respect for myself at all.
It was only when I was only 15 that II overdosed with alcohol and pain killers for the first time, passed out at the top of the stairs outside the bathroom, sick everywhere and an ambulance crew. I went to hospital but I was soon out again… I told them I had just drank too much alcohol. A silly teenager, not knowing any better. It wasn’t going to the first time, though.
I was in and out of outpatient therapy with psychologists. I did CBT and was transferred to a psychologist. Self harming was still happening and I still didn’t like to eat, but as well as that, I felt strange all of time. Depressed, anxious, weird. All my thoughts were very strange.
Looking back, this whole part of my life is very hazy and I’m sure I don’t remember it all clearly because I’ve mentally blocked it out. It was a horrible time abusing myself, my mind and my body all the time and I was in a bad shape.
Although I was in such a bad way, sometimes, I actually thrived on it. I liked the attention from the psychologists, I thought they thought I was interesting (I was attention seeking) and in the appointments I pretended and lied a lot. I liked to try and deceive them, so they got confused about how I felt, so things didn’t match up. I liked to waste their time. It was funny to me. I played around with them and tried to avoid the therapy so that it didn’t work. They really didn’t know what to do with me. It took a while but eventually,I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.
As a teenager who had known nothing but “madness” for the last 4 years, it felt good to get a diagnosis, but not for the right reasons. I actually assumed, at the time, that the would give me an excuse to “act even worse”. It gave me relief and I was excited that if I was going to try and kill myself again at some time at least I had an excuse for it to be that way. I was completely and utterly absorbed with my own issues and it went around in circles.
It’s important to know that, my BPD has always been up and down – never “level” or the same. I’m either ridiculous with it, have it under control, or on the edge of a relapse. So during the ages of 15-16 after the diagnosis, it actually did help control it because I was in therapy all the time… I was under close scrutiny and I really didn’t want to be admitted to the hospital.
During this time I was able to apply for college to do my GCSE’s and before I knew it, I had stopped self-harming and hadn’t for a few months. I felt better and the next few years were great. I loved college, I met so many friends and really enjoyed studying. I flew through my GCSE’s easily doing 9 and getting A-C’s in all of them. I went onwards to do A-Levels and truly loved it. I’ve always enjoyed studying so I was in my element. College life was so fun, I was always at parties, smoking, drinking, hanging out with friends. I was happy because I had friends around me, I could party lots, be reckless and drink a lot of alcohol. So it suited me really. BPD love to drink and be reckless.
Everything wasn’t always fantastic, though. I used to have moments where the BPD would get a hold of me and I would cry for hours in my room, self-harm again, cry my eyes out, think everyone hated me and vowed never to go to college again, I went around and around in circles. At college, though, no one would ever had bat an eyelid. I’ve always “been good” at hiding my mental health.
And thennn… again, it was “under control” when I was 18. I was totally distracted with the promise of going to university, I was really enjoying my A-levels and had applied through U-CAS for a London University; I was SOOOO excited and really happy about it. I was sad to be leaving my friends but I couldn’t wait to go. It was definitely, at this point, I thought I could leave all my past and my problems at home.
Going away to university was a lot of fun, I moved into halls and settled in quickly. I did get really homesick and a few times thought I was going to pack up and leave, but for the most part I really loved it and everything about it. Lectures, studying, London, freshers life, living in student halls, the responsibility of it all. It felt really cool, I felt really cool and I was happy.
I was drinking a lot and the problem with drinking a lot is that it brings out BPD tendencies, so I started with the abuse. I was already damaging myself from drinking so much alcohol and so I started not eating properly again. Once, I didn’t eat for a week and all I drank was cider. I used to tell my uni friends “it’s great, I save so much money as I don’t need to buy food”. I started passing out, though, and then that went around in circles, eventually I moved on to something else. I went in phases doing something or another that was not quite right.
Then one day, not long after I had been at university I was sat in my room studying. I got a call and ignored it, I hate calls. I was online doing some research and I got an email through to my university inbox from student services saying they need to ring me asap it was urgent.
Now this part, that is coming up to write about it is very hard… I don’t know if I’m going to be able to explain much but I will try. Ok so long story short, throughout the last 5 years of my teenage life, my dad had been in and out of my life. He has always been a drug addict and suffered with substance abuse. I hadn’t grown up with him, but when I was 14 I started seeing him and it was amazing. I loved my dad and he was a very nice man.
This phone call was about my dad. He had died. They found him with heroin and he was dead.
When I found this out I sat in my room and I didn’t move for about 15 minutes. The next thing I did was book trains to Sheffield. Then, I went into the lounge area of my student halls, stood in the door way and looked at my friends who were studying on their laptops. They looked up, “are you ok” I said, “no. my dad has died, and I’m going to kill myself”. I don’t think my uni friends had a clue what was going on because it was such a shock they just hugged me and asked if I needed any help going to the train station. A few hours later I got back to Sheffield. It was the usual… funeral… and a few weeks later I went back to university.
It was all over so quick that there was no real time to justify what was going on. I was absolutely devastated, I felt like my whole life was over, I didn’t want to go back to university, I used to cry and cry for hours in my room at home back in Sheffield with my boyfriend (Ollie), screaming, I felt black inside, it was horrible, my skin was crawling, I was sinking, it was bad. I knew I was going to end up in a very bad situation and I could see a tunnel. I could imagine myself going down into this tunnel and losing everything I had. Losing my job, my university, possibly my life, too. I was so angry at everything. I also was very angry at myself for feeling this way I felt selfish that my dad had died but MY feelings were doing this.
The next few years were the worst. Although I managed to work full time and go to university full time, I was a wrecking ball. I stayed out late, went to parties all the time, went to strangers houses and did drugs, clubbing all night with people I hardly knew drinking all sorts of everything and having no care in the world for my safety.
I’m surprised I managed to keep a job. But I loved working and it brought in money; money I could spend on shopping, alcohol and partying. I distanced myself from my university peers, I stopped going to classes. I didn’t want anything to do with them, I didn’t want them to see this part of me and I was embarrassed because they were doing so well. I was jealous. They were all so normal, and I was all wrong.
I was self harming a lot at this time. I drank until I couldn’t wake up. Many times I was suicidal, and many times I woke up in hospital in London after taking too many pills and drinking too much.
I’ll never forget having to ring into work sick pretending I was “just ill” but really, I was laid in A&E in Paddington with drips attached to me and doctors saying I was very lucky because I could have had liver failure. It was an absolute mess. I hated myself. I hated myself every single time a doctor came over to talk to me, I hated my life, I didn’t want any of it to be real, but I didn’t want to go back to Sheffield either. I was just completely and utterly lost.
My life had turned into drinking, partying, suicidal attempts and the odd essay for university. Emails upon emails were coming into my inbox from lectures asking where I was. My uni friends I lived with stopped inviting me out and they thought I didn’t care. But I wanted nothing more but to be invited. I hated them and their happy lives. It killed me I was not like them. I spent hours in my room crying whilst listening to them all laughing and joking in the kitchen. I would just sit in my room, cutting myself and crying, so jealous and I hated them all. This was such a dark time and now, looking back, I’m so sad I felt this way about everything. 🙁
I didn’t end up going to my university graduation ball. I had tickets, but I didn’t go. I think a few days before was actually one of the suicide attempts so I wasn’t in the best mood for it. I was SO ANGRY that my friends even invited me – like I wanted to scream at them DON’T YOU ALL REALISE WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?! I wanted help, but I so didn’t. I pushed everyone away from me on person but then blamed everyone for not being around. There was no way for anyone to win, either way I didn’t like anyone.
I remember hours and hours of crying and screaming feeling as though my body was going to turn inside out. The worst times were the mental torture and sometimes I would self harm just to make those thoughts stop.
I managed to graduate, I don’t really know how. I still am angry at myself to this day that I spent half of my time at university trying to kill myself rather than enjoying my degree because I honestly did like it. The times I actually go out of bed and went to a lecture was the only time I had fun and truly was happy. University was the only thing that kept me going and I so, so wish I had gone to more lectures. During the time of writing my dissertation was probably the only time I was relatively stable.
The job I had at the time was going very well, I was working in events in London and had been promoted very quickly; it was an honour and I absolutely loved the job I had. I couldn’t imagine anything better. After graduation, me and Ollie got our first ever place in London, it was a shared house but it was our own space. Things were ok during this time for about 6 months and I think it’s because I had the support and company of Ollie. He’s always been my favourite person and someone who truly understands me and my problems.
It didn’t take long to relapse again though and this time, enough was enough. At the same time so much was happening at home I needed to be with my family and so, we came back to Sheffield. It was a very quick decision, we still had time on our lease for our studio flat, I left my job overnight with no warning and packed up. We moved back. I was so sad to have left my life but it was like how originally I was happy to leave Sheffield and go to London in the hopes of creating a new life and leaving all the issues behind me, well now it was the same with London; so much had happened there I had to go back and start again.
Living back at home really was the saving grace. As much as I loved London, that place was far too chaotic and the life too dangerous for me. I needed my home to try and get better, go back to square one and stop with everything else.
I tried to live basic in Sheffield. I got a job, just a waitressing job in a Hotel. I tried not to put too much pressure on myself. It was a little tricky during this time because the people I worked with at that hotel partied a lot and sometimes there were drugs around… so for a few months I went down the slippery slope and it was like London again.
Partying, drinking, not really knowing what was going on, not enjoying my life, not eating, just working and partying… but thankfully, I came out of that, after nearly knocking myself unconscious getting out of a taxi having been gone for about 2 days partying around Sheffield taking drugs. I’m not proud at all of this but there we go.
I left that hotel and so I’m glad otherwise I would have kept going down that slippery slope. The next job, another waitressing job at a restaurant in Meadowhall, was much more “normal”. My coworkers weren’t hardcore party people and no one did drugs, lots of people had families, were older than me, and this really helped me settle. This was the only time I focused on doing better for myself and honestly, I really enjoyed that job. I stayed in it for 2 years and probably would have longer if I hadn’t had got pregnant.
Sadly that pregnancy was not successful. I was scared this was going to send me off again to that dark place but, luckily it didn’t. I went back to work after but things were never the same. I really struggled. I was depressed and had terrible anxiety. I wasn’t interested in anything I used to be, I didn’t even enjoy my job anymore which wasn’t like me at all. My coworkers and managers started to pick it up and thought it was strange because I had always been a hard worker. I ended up leaving… I told them I just wasn’t in the mood anymore.
During this time I was so sad about the miscarriage. It really did absorb everything and my whole life became around getting pregnant again. We got pregnant about 7 months after the D&C, and through pregnancy I had never felt so happy in my entire life. It’s as if the pregnancy had “fixed” me. I felt normal! I didn’t have mood swings, bad thoughts, anxiety, none of it. I loved being pregnant.
Pregnancy and labour is a whole other story so we will end there.
I’m now 27, I have a little boy he’s 3, and I’m still with my partner Ollie who I’ve been with since I was 18. He has seen everything, he knows it all, and he loves me. That’s the main thing. I think, if it wasn’t for him, I definitely wouldn’t be here.
I’ve had moments in the last 3 years I am not proud of but the main thing is that I am here and I am feeling good. I’ve considered going to get help but never had the courage. I’m not going to sit here and say my life is completely fantastic, I feel amazing and recovered because that’s not true. I’m no where near where I was though, and I really hope that part is gone forever. I honestly think one of the steps for recovery is admitting it. So here it is. I’ve told the story now, everyone knows, and that’s that.
I’m not crazy anymore (maybe just a tiny bit…) and even though I still live with terrible anxiety, a glass half full, mood swings, weird thoughts sometimes… I am here, I’m living successfully, healthily, and I have a wonderful family. I have a lot to be proud about, the sun is shining, I’m alive. I have a beautiful little boy. I don’t feel suicidal anymore.
Just think, that if one of those attempts had been successful, I would not be here.
I take full responsibility for my actions and no one made me do those things, I know. I’ve heard everything regarding mental health. I know it’s a stigma, people are embarrassed, ashamed and can’t talk about it: hello, I’m an example of that. In the past I’ve also been blamed, called a liar, had friends disown me when they found out, name calling, teasing. I’ve been told that suicide is nothing but attention seeking and maybe it should have been successful because I don’t value my own life.
Saying things like that to someone who has been or is suicidal really can tip them over the edge. With me, suicidal attempts and self harm was ALWAYS for self harm. I wanted nothing more than to get better, do you really think I wanted to live like that when everyone else around me at my age was so normal? But I didn’t accept help. My mental health made me push everyone away even when I most needed it. It told me that I was worthless and I didn’t deserve any help and people didn’t really care about me. Sometimes, people are not wanting to die when they are suicidal; they just want their world to stop.
It honestly makes me go cold, makes me shudder and brings tears to my eyes when I think back to those moments and how it felt. It is the worst feeling in the world, it crushes you, it takes everything away from you and you are nothing. Your personality is stolen, your mind is nothing but dark and nasty. I can relate back to those feelings and those feelings scare me. I never want to feel like that again, and I am so sad for the people that are experiencing it.
No one should ever be made to feel ridiculed for feeling that way. Suicide really is not a joke. For someone to feel like they want to take their own life… just know that they are struggling with feelings too big to ever be able to cope with.
It is embarrassing to feel suicidal and the psychosis is so overwhelming. The person who is struggling, in that moment, thinking about it, they can’t see any way out. The world looks different, everything is impossible and nothing is the same. It is an awful time.
Please reach out to people you know who are struggling. It’s very easy for someone who is not in that moment of desperation for death, to simply think, “oh but you can call a crisis number” or “you can reach out to a friend”, or ask them “why don’t you see a doctor? I really think you should get some help” but please don’t. Someone who is suicidal simply can’t function to do these things and they don’t know the answers. You could be the person to help so please don’t tell them that they should help themselves. Asking someone who is suicidal to see someone or get help is not enough, and for some, it could be too late.
I’m thankful that for me it was never too late and I am still alive. So many others won’t make it.
If you know anyone who needs you please go to them and help them. For people with BPD, it can feel impossible taking help even though you really want it, (“I hate you, but please don’t leave me”) and I know for friends and family that can feel impossible but please don’t give up.
Suicide is scary but the more we are afraid of it the less help other people get access to. Less people will talk about it and feel better and find it harder to recover from their issues whilst they’re holding such a huge thing on their shoulders, afraid to tell anyone about it. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
If you are reading this and feeling sad, angry, suicidal. Just know that I am alive and I have been there. it as not the only way out, I am here to tell the tale and it could be you. At the time I did not believe that at all, but you don’t have to die. People love you so much even if you don’t believe me. You can keep pushing people away but they will always come back because they love you.
I am here and I will listen and I care about you.
Whether you want somewhere to send an email to, a friend or some help, I am here.
You can either comment on here anonymously, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org (if you don’t want me to reply, just put no reply in the subject) or you can send me a DM on twitter: @tripswithatot.
I won’t expect anything of you and I am there to listen. I can help you.
Please, if you are feeling suicidal, reach out to me.
Thank you for reading this everyone, and keep smiling!