How I Got Through Being Suicidal By Opening Up
About 4 years ago I went through a rough patch in my life. I’d been recently told that I was chronically ill, that I would never get better. It was something that I didn’t cope with well, but I don’t think anyone can. I had to face the fact that I had to throw away all my dreams and goals, because they were all suddenly unattainable. This combined with knowing that I had to live with my illness forever sent me down a spiral. For about a year I was just surviving, I wasn’t living anymore. My first reaction was to ignore that I was sick, and just pretend that I could still do everything I wanted. One trip to the E.R. later, I had to face that I was not okay. All of this made sure that I wasn’t in the best place mentally, I just didn’t know how to cope with it all.
I think the first time I started to have suicidal thoughts was even before my diagnosis. As I said in the article How I Deal with Pain, I also suffer from chronic pain, this was of course already present before I got the diagnoses. So the first time I thought about ending it all was during one of my first more severe pain attacks. I think anyone who has ever gone through it will know that they are unbearable. But the thoughts also ended when the pain subsided. I would, however, have more frequent and suicidal thoughts a few months later.
In the months after I learned that I was chronically ill, I didn’t do much. I barely even remember that period of time, except that I was angry and sad a lot, yet I often didn’t feel anything. That apathy was probably the first sign that I wasn’t okay. At the time, I was going to a psychiatrist, but I was never truly honest with her, I didn’t dare to admit that I had suicidal tendencies. Because I felt ashamed. I felt like it was not okay for me to feel like that, that I wasn’t allowed to. I kept it all bottled up inside for a long time. I even tried to ignore it, but that didn’t make the thoughts go away. What I actually needed to get through this difficult time was found because of a fluke.
I was at the hospital a few months later again for other tests, and my mom came along. she came along because at that time, I had given up. I didn’t seem to care anymore, I just wanted the hospital visits to be over with. So my mom decided to come along to make sure that I got the proper care. At one of these appointments a doctor asked me if I ever thought about suicide. I didn’t want to answer. My mom was sitting right next to me, was I supposed to tell my mother that her daughter didn’t want to live anymore? But I did. And it was the right decision to say it. I admitted that I had suicidal thoughts.
That was the turning point for me. I looked at my mom and said it. She cried, I didn’t. Why didn’t I cry? I think I’d stopped crying years ago, it was actually one of the things I had to learn how to do again. But once I did, I never stopped crying, and it helps, a lot. So my mom cried and I felt so bad for having those suicidal thoughts, I felt so guilty. Yet I was relieved that finally someone knew. I had admitted that I was not okay, that I was actually not coping at all. After that I never stopped talking to my mom about it. I remember during the car ride home, I cried for the first time. We talked about it, and cried about it. I remember that that was the moment that I promised myself to never hide again how I was doing. I had to tell my mom all the other things that she didn’t know. How I sometime barely ate, how I sometimes stayed in bed entire days, and how I hated the life I was living, and hated what my body had done to me.
A few days later I went home, and we talked again. This time she had had some time to let it sink in. And we promised each other that we would tell each other if we weren’t doing okay. But perhaps the most important thing she told me was that I was allowed to feel this way, that it was okay. When you hate your own life, and hate your own body, how can you not have those thoughts. I also appreciated how she was honest about her being afraid of me living on my own. Yet, she didn’t try to keep me at home either. She allowed me to do what I wanted, even when it scared the crap out of her.
I also decided to tell my psychiatrist. She barely reacted, I think she was mostly suprised that I hadn’t told her sooner. And I cried, again. Since then, I seemed to cry during each session. I could barely talk about my reality without bursting out in tears. It is till hard, even as I’m writing this, I’m crying. Because it is still such a hard thing to admit. It’s still so hard to say that I was suicidal. And I have to admit that I still have those thoughts when my pain attacks flare up again. But they do go away, which was something that didn’t happen all those years ago.
After I admitted to myself and to others that I wasn’t okay, I slowly started to feel better. And whenever I didn’t, I had somewhere to go, I had someone to talk to. It was so important that they didn’t judge, they were just there for me and listened. I realised that I wasn’t alone, that there was someone willing to share my burden. It was tough, I’m not gonna lie. I went through months of feelling angry and furious. So completely spiteful of the card that life had dealt me. The unfairness of it all. Not that I wished it on anyone else, or thought someone else deserved it. But I didn’t deserve it either, I still don’t. But we always talked. I always told my mom about whatever I was feeling. And sometimes I would get mad at her for her reaction. Although I understood, but I didn’t like it.
Finally, about six months after I admitted to being suicidal, I got better. I started to lose the simmering anger within, I still felt sadness and anger, but less intense. I started to make plans again to get my (new) life on the rails. I changed subject in school. I broke up with my boyfirend, who wasn’t particularly supportive, and I began acting like myself again. My sense of humour came back, something that I had lost somewhere along the way. I was able to laugh about things again and be happy for someone else, without feeling envy. And in that time I had one particular conversation with my mom that I will never forget. In that conversation she told me that if I had committed suicide, that she would have understood. And I cried, again.
Now, almost 3 years later, I still talk, a lot. I still need to. My mom is still my biggest support when I’m going through another rough patch. And I look back at that period of sadness and desperation in my life and I’m not ashamed of it, but I do regret that I didn’t talk to someone sooner. I don’t know whether I would still be here today, if I hadn’t opened up about it.
I think my message is to open up about depression and thoughts of suicide, because there is always someone out there who will listen to you, who is there for you. You might feel hopelessly alone, but you’re not. And I know how difficult it is to talk about it, because it always feels like you’re not supposed to. But you should, we should, because what if our stories can help someone else out there who is going through the same thing. And I know that my experiences are perhaps relatively light compared to others, but that doesn’t make them any less valid.
If you want to comment or share you story you can do so below. Or you can contact me through the Contact Us page if you don’t want it to be so out in the open. But talk about it, even if it is just here on a blog, at least that’s a start.
If you have thoughts about suicide and don’t know who to contact, call the emergency services, they are also trained to help you.
Do you have a story you want to share? Let me know!