Suicide – a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
But it’s not always as simple like that. And it is definitely too hard to think about so logically when you are caught up in the moment. In the moment it seems like the most productive way to stop your pain and torment.
I did not have the easiest childhood. My mother had a nervous breakdown after my sister was born, she had nobody else to support her, and so I looked after her from the age of two. She told me all of her problems, which then became my problems. She did not see me as a separate person, and consequently I did not know who I was.
I started to recover slightly when I made a strong friendship with someone called Emma that meant I was not alone. She was so supportive and looked after me, almost as a replacement mother. I had eventually found a love of some sorts, but when Emma was seventeen, she suddenly died of unknown causes, and I think this was the beginning of my downfall.
The following year I went to study English at University. I knew I was unhappy, but I did not know why. I sat down for endless hours wishing so much that I could be dead to escape this unbearable pain that I did not understand. I busied myself with going out, taking minor drugs and doing anything possible to escape. It did not work and eventually I did take try to take my own life.
Quite often after I had attempted to take my own life and the adrenaline had kicked in, I was filled with fear. There was one question that kept playing around my mind; what is going to happen to me now? Five minutes ago, I was desperate to die, but now do I still want to? I would become petrified that it would be a long and painful death when I wanted it quick. I often felt confused and did not know whether I really wanted to die that badly or not.
There were also times I was so angry with someone or something, my only reaction was to take out all this hurt and anger on myself. I hated myself and my feelings so much, that I just had to escape. But after going through years of trying to take my own life and going in and out of psychiatric wards, something happened. I was in a tearoom one morning after trying to take my own life, wondering if I had damaged myself or not. I convinced myself that I did not care, but then I saw a child. I cannot remember specifically what the child was doing, but I remember thinking that if I wanted to have children one day, I could not die. Nonetheless, at the time I was in a very volatile relationship with a man and it felt that a life involving children was never a possibility.
At one point, nobody was willing to give me any therapy. I was referred a few times, but I kept getting told I was “too severe.” But just as I was about to reach true desperation, Andrew Nicholls from HPFT NHS stepped in to do CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). He did explain to me that it was only going to touch the surface and that I really needed DBT (Dialectic Behavioural Therapy), but as DBT services had not yet started he was going to do CBT to try and levitate some of the symptoms. I cannot remember if the CBT itself helped, but what it did give me was hope knowing someone cared enough to try. He was patient and calm and made me feel safer in a world that to me was full of danger.
When I was on psychiatric wards, it was often the HCAs who had more time. It made such a difference just to be given some cereal that I particularly liked, or to find me a bath plug. I also joined Mind in Mid Herts and I was lucky enough to meet Catherine, who was so generous it gave me hope in human nature when times were low. I have made some good friends and it is these people who make a difference and give me that courage to fight my suicidal urges.
I do not know if professionals know as to what extent they can have an impact on service users. Unfortunately, I have come across many people who worsen the situation. After speaking to lots of people, I now realise I am not the only one to experience these cruel reactions. Every time someone who is suffering to such extremes is told that they are being “manipulative,” or “throwing their toys out the pram,” then an invisible bruise grows inside. I can fully appreciate that people with my diagnosis are exceptionally challenging to work with, but we don’t mean to be. When you get so desperate you feel like there is no choice, so often what appears to be manipulative is really disguising utter hopelessness.
There was one major turning point for me. My liver was failing and I was constantly trialling new medication to improve my mood with the doctor. I began to feel very unwell. I was nauseous all the time, but my doctor kept telling me it was a result of the new medication and suicide attempts. I grew tired, and despite not eating much due to the nausea I was still putting on weight. But each time I spoke to the doctor I was told it was just side effects, until I asked her if I was pregnant. My doctor said I definitely was not pregnant, but she would do a test to put my mind at ease. Well, it turned out that the contraception this doctor had put me on clashed with my anti-depressants, and I was in fact nearly three months pregnant.
I found that out in June 2010, and since then I have had many ups and downs but I have not tried to take my own life since learning that there was a baby inside me. I broke up with my volatile boyfriend and started a new life. I also met someone in 2012 had my son. But from that first moment I found out I was expecting a baby, it gave me a whole new meaning and purpose and she saved me. I gave her life, and she saved my life. I would not be here now if I had not been pregnant at that time. I gave birth to my daughter, who is now nine years old, and she is too young to understand any of this but one day I will tell her that it was her who saved me.