This is a personal piece that discusses suicide and self-harm. Please be trigger aware. If you are having issues related to these subject please check out the useful websites page for further advice.
Today I want to discuss something personal that I’ve very rarely discussed with anyone. It’s been seven years and it’s still a painful topic for me to discuss but I feel it’s a topic that is still very taboo and I believe that needs to change. I’m talking about suicide and most of all surviving an attempt at taking my own life.
A bit of background first of all. I was nineteen. I was studying at university as well as working part time. I had minimal support with my mental health in the form of seeing my GP once a month. None of my family knew I had any issues. I was also self-harming as a way of coping. I was sinking fast but at the time I couldn’t see where I was heading in any way, shape or form.
Then a couple of months before my twentieth birthday I decided I’d had enough and couldn’t cope anymore. I won’t go into details suffice to say I ended up in accident and emergency under police escort. I wasn’t sectioned though and was sent home with the words that I wasn’t serious about my attempt ringing in my ears. This was the start of my rocky relationship with mental health services which continues to this day.
The first few days after my attempt were a blur of my family finding out and doctor’s appointments to start getting the care I needed. I went back to work. I just had one overriding feeling at the time; failure. Failure at not taking my own life. Failure at not coping with normal situations. This led to an increase in my self-harming behaviours. I was a mess. I couldn’t see a way forward.
Months after my attempt I was finally seen by a psychiatrist and really started engaging with mental health teams. Although I was by now twenty I was still put under a specialist CAMHS team. I started having therapy. I hadn’t missed any of my university course so was luckily still on track for my degree, things looked good but I couldn’t see it still. Depression was clouding my vision still and I knew that the thoughts of wanting to die were still there. It wasn’t a magical solution. This wasn’t what I thought living after an attempt would be like. I’d spoken to others who had made attempts and not one of them had said that they still had these feelings. It had all been about how they had regretted making the attempt in the first place. Why was I so different? Truth is I wasn’t different to anyone. It was just people seem to hide that they still feel bad in order to make others feel better. I know I did this with my family. I said I was fine so that things would go back to normal although in truth they never would.
Now years on I look back and see that I’m glad survived. It did, however, take years to feel this way and I do still have days where I slip back into the thinking that followed me around after my attempt. Things have changed for me and I have my degree and I am writing which is something I never envisioned I do. I have friends who are amazing and who came into my life after the attempt but during the bad times. I have you guys reading this.
I don’t want you to think that suicide is the only option or to make an attempt. I want you to see from this that getting help can make things change. I had to go to an extreme to end up getting help but you don’t need to. Help is out there if you open up about your feelings and speak to someone about the thoughts you are having. You never know where you might be in seven years or more.