For all of you who think suicide is cowardly, be grateful you’ve never felt that it’s your only option for peace.
That’s what I tweeted a couple of hours ago and I mean it. Be grateful that you’ve never sat there and wondered which way would be the quickest or the most effective. Be grateful that even when there are some amazing things in your life, that you don’t have this pain inside you that you can’t explain. Be grateful that you want to live your life and grow old. Be grateful……
Yesterday the news broke that Chester Bennington, the vocalist from Linkin Park, had taken his own life. Now I’m not going to lie, I have never heard of him as that’s just not my genre of music, but regardless, there are now 6 children without a father. A 41 year old man with a successful career had so many demons that he couldn’t continue with life.
Social media is awash with grief, but inbetween these heartfelt tweets, I’ve also been seeing some disgusting comments. The general consensus from the trolls is that suicide is the coward’s way out. What a crock of shit! Have they any idea what it must have been like to be in his head and to feel that the only way he’d ever be at peace was to hang himself?
I come from a family with a history of depression. I watched my Mum have a nervous breakdown and fight a daily battle with dark feelings. I never really understood it until I was in my late teens. We’d just moved back up here, I had a boyfriend, a job and I was at college. Then Mum was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and inwardly I fell apart. I drank a lot and had this overwhelming feeling of pain that would not go away.
I don’t ever really talk about any of this – I was always made to feel slightly ashamed about it all, but fuck that. Why should any of us feel ashamed for struggling? Between the ages of 18 and 20 I attempted suicide twice. I took overdoses, although I can’t say if it was more a cry for help or a genuine wish to no longer be here. After I was raped, I tried again. This time I took more pills … luckily I wasn’t successful, but at the time I wanted nothing more than to take away the emotional pain I was in.
As many of you know, I have Endometriosis and a side effect of this is depression. I’m in constant pain and after 7 years of it, it gets really really draining and exhausting. There have been some pretty dark times where my mood has been low, but nothing like the last couple of months. Thoughts of suicide keep creeping back into my head. I can’t even say that my life is shit and that I’m miserable. I’m not. I am in a wonderful relationship with the most amazing man, I have a roof over my head, I have friends … I have a lot to be grateful for.
However, this does not stop the thoughts. Mick works nights so I have a lot of time on my own and I used to love my own company. I still do, but at the moment that means a lot of time inside my own head. You really wouldn’t want to be in my head at the moment. One minute I can be watching TV and the next I’m wondering which knife in the drawer would work best for slitting my wrists. Or I can be writing a blog post whilst wondering just how much Morphine and Tramadol I’d need to swallow to end it all.
Surprised? Yeah, just because a person can seem perfectly fine on the outside it doesn’t mean that inside they’re not tormented. I’m very very good at painting on the happy face – you’d never guess from spending time with me that for a good couple of months my thoughts keep repeatedly turning to dying. Today is a low day. In fact low isn’t even the word. I feel like I am at rock bottom and there’s no way back up. I can’t even pinpoint anything that has made me feel like this. Yes we all have money worries, or health issues, but I can’t even say it’s because of them. All I know is that I hurt.
It can get really confusing. I can still find joy in things, the animals still make me laugh, and I do have many moments of happiness. But still, there’s that feeling. I think about it when I wake up, during the day, before I go to bed. I’ve been put on antidepressants in the past and I hate them and really don’t want to go back down that road, but I know I need to do something.
This probably sounds really silly, but having a dog here with me all day has stopped me from actually getting that knife or taking those pills. Alfie doesn’t understand how I am feeling – he’s a dog, I can’t sit and tell him. He’d be the one left with my body and I can’t do that to him. Also, the thought of Mick having to find me and live with that for the rest of his life also stops me. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to do it though. For now, I am pretty sure I will never actually do it, but then thousands of people who commit suicide probably told themselves that too.
There’s a song called Suicide Is Painless and that title could not be more wrong. There’s the immense emotional or even physical pain that person feels before they do it. There’s the pain of the person who has to find them. There’s the pain for their loved ones. Suicide is far from painless but I really don’t think that it’s the coward’s way out at all.
Until you’ve walked a mile in someone’s shoes, you have no clue what they’re going through. The mind is such a complex thing, and for years there has been a huge stigma around mental health, so many suffer in silence. Thankfully the stigma seems to be evaporating, but it definitely still exists. For me, I find it very hard to tell people when I am suffering – I am in tears as I type this as I do find it so difficult to admit. I like people to think that I’m strong, and in many ways I probably am. For too long I thought that I was weak for having these feelings, but I don’t think I am weak.
I kept these thoughts to myself for a long time, but recently I have started to open up more. I recognised that the thoughts were getting stronger and more frequent and I was terrified. Luckily I can talk to people, but it isn’t making the thoughts go away. I see myself as a sort of functioning depressive – I can talk to you about a lipstick, or a perfume, I can laugh and joke with you on Twitter … I can function and live my life, but those thoughts are there.
If you’ve never had thoughts like these then I envy you. It is hell to live with, and I can see why that hell gets too much for people. Who the fuck are we to judge someone for wanting that to end? Do I think people who commit suicide are selfish? No I don’t. Do I think people who judge them are selfish? Damn right I do!
So if you take just one thought away from this little ramble, let it be this:
Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind.