This blog post comes with a trigger warning as it’s about a suicide attempt. If you’re not in a good place right now, please don’t read this but if you do please be mindful of your own wellbeing and stop if necessary. I have not discussed the method as I have a responsibility to my readers and the community. Stay safe, my huns 🖤
Today is World Mental Health Day. It also marks 8 weeks since I attempted suicide. I’m crying as I try to find the words to write, and honestly this is the first time I’ve felt any real emotion for myself over what happened that day. There’s really no way to know how you’ll feel when you survive a suicide attempt. It’s like when you’re grieving, people expect you to behave in a certain way because that’s what TV and movies have told us to do; and people are likely to judge if you don’t present yourself in the way that’s expected. For me, I’ve felt numb about the whole thing, and after a period of dissociation I went back to normal life. To look at me from the outside, to see my Instagram or to have a conversation with me, I don’t think you’d ever know what happened. And if those who do know have ever mentioned it I just make jokes. It’s not funny, not in the least, but I don’t know what else to say.
Suicidal ideation has been a big part of my day to day life for such a long time. Intrusive thoughts come and go. On my good days I can usually usher them away and laugh at the creative ways my brain thinks up to kill me off. On my bad days I might make a plan, google how best to commit suicide in a way that would be successful and cause little inconvenience to the public. But I have always been able to keep myself safe because of one thing – my relationships with my favourite people.
On Saturday 15th August, the suicidal thoughts overpowered me, and there was nothing to keep me safe. I lost someone and I feared that I would lose everyone else who mattered to me. Here’s why: at one point during my darkest days in depression, I had resented the fact that I had lost friends and felt pushed out and unsupported by people I thought loved me. I took that resentment out on the wrong person and I said things about her that I wouldn’t say now, things I don’t even believe, things I really didn’t mean. I wouldn’t ever excuse that, but I had done so in what I thought was a safe place when I was in a very dark place. But I was wrong. I paid the ultimate price for what I said. I hurt someone I loved and she left me; and rightly so. I don’t blame her and I let her go. I didn’t fight, I knew I deserved it. But then I became terrified that my family and friends would also realise that I’m not a very nice person, I was afraid my words would also hurt them, and I truly believed that they would all leave me too. I felt I deserved it.
The thought of hurting more of my loved ones, of being left, being abandoned and having to live my life without my favourite people around me was too much to bare. Selfish, maybe, but fear of abandonment is so deeply engrained in me that it can take hold of me in a way I can’t explain. Having just lost one special person and feeling the pain from that, I knew I couldn’t cope with losing everyone else. I felt physical pain, my hands shook, I trembled in fear. My belly was full of sorrow and guilt. I hated myself, how could I hurt her? My tears fell effortlessly as if my head was full of them. My chest, my heart, it ached, it broke. My brain was full of overwhelmingly loud thoughts of self loathing and scenarios of everyone leaving. I got deeper and deeper inside a black hole. I saw no way to fix what I’d done, no way to make things better, and no way out. The feeling of that panic is so difficult to describe; it was so intense, so painful, so dark. I was blind sided by losing my friend that day, I wouldn’t allow that to happen again. The loss of everyone else felt inevitable and I needed to take control back.
The persistent and overwhelmingly loud thought was my brain telling me over and over again that there was only one way out, only one way to be in control. Eventually, the racing thoughts, the crying, the panic, it all stopped. My brain fell silent, the tears stopped and I felt calm. It’s as if someone flipped a switch. It was as if someone else took control. I had made my decision. I knew what I had to do. I wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone else and so nobody else could leave me. I can see myself in my living room, on the sofa, hoping I could do enough so that I would just go to sleep and not wake up.
Part way through my actions, I started to feel really unwell. My head was spinning, I felt sick and the reality of my situation became clear. I had meant to kill my self but now it seemed that self doubt had finally entered the chat. I looked at the croissant crumbs on my carpet that my nieces had left there that morning and I thought about how it would ever be possible for my brother to tell them that after dropping them off that day, I had taken my own life. The tears started again. The panic built up. How could I do that to them? How could I put that on them? They don’t deserve that. The switched flipped again and I took back control. I decided that even if I lost everyone, even if every single one of my old friends hated me, there was no way I could die like this. I called the mental health team for help, I didn’t want anyone to come, I pleaded for them not to, I just wanted to know what to do. But they sent an ambulance, and I was taken to the hospital.
Eventually, when my family couldn’t contact me, they tracked me down. They came to my house, they spoke to my neighbours and then they called all the local hospitals. My big brother turned up right before my psych evaluation and he gave me a cuddle. I felt as if that cuddle was enough to eradicate every single doubt about my place in the world. I didn’t want my family or friends to know what happened because I was embarrassed, but here he was asking me why I tried to take my own life. My reasoning sounded so pathetic when I said it out loud and that’s why I didn’t want anyone to know. I didn’t want to be treated as a fragile human being. I didn’t want people to think I was weak. I didn’t want people to think I’d done ‘something silly’ for attention or made ‘a cry for help’. Fuck I hate that saying. I didn’t want attention. I wanted to die. But I am grateful that I didn’t.
If we want people to reach out, we must first change the narrative that people who are feeling suicidal with no intent or those who attempt suicide are attention seeking. You don’t want to see the confusion in your loved ones eyes when they find out what you did and wonder why. You don’t want to hear the pain in your best friends voice because you didn’t call her and she couldn’t help. You don’t want to hear your mum crying because she’s been terrified because she couldn’t get hold of you. That’s not the sort of attention anyone wants. I have been blessed with love and understanding but I’m aware that not everyone gets the same compassion.
Suicides are preventable. Lives are worth living, worth saving. Friends and family are worth fighting for. Mental health can kill, but it doesn’t have to get that far. Suicide will always grab someone’s attention, but so often the behaviour and signs leading up to that point go unnoticed. If you don’t understand that’s ok, but educate yourself. Reach out if you’re able to (please be aware of your own wellbeing too). Listen. Ask what they need. Learn how to support someone and don’t say stupid shit, please I beg you. And finally, above all else…. BE FUCKING KIND. To yourself, and to others. I have learnt the power of my words. We all make mistakes. That doesn’t mean we deserve to die, it just means there’s a lesson to be learnt and opportunities to grow. So try not to listen to your brain when it starts spouting absolute bollocks.
To those who spoke against me, you too should learn the same lesson as I did.
To the person I hurt with my words, I’m so very sorry. You didn’t deserve that. I wish you a world of happiness. Goodbye x
To my family and friends who have been impacted by my actions from that day, I’m sorry beyond words but I am truly grateful for the love and support. I’m here, and I’ll stay.
To those who are fighting, for every day you want to die, there will be many many more where you’ll be grateful to be alive. So stay here with me, and we’ll get through this together. One day at a time!
Look after your brain and be kind to yourself and others. Bella xx
Samaritans: 116 123 (24/7)
Shout: Text SHOUT 85258 (24/7)
999 if you’re in crisis and cannot keep yourself safe