Me, suicidal, 7th May 2017. Suicidal people still smile, do things, pretend they're ok.
Warning: You (especially if you know me well) may find my blog harrowing. It is meant to be honest and to help, but in that honesty, there is real pain. Nick x
I’m still here.
I’m more than still here, I’m content, often happy, often sad, but fine.
I’m fine. Fine is great. I love fine.
Four years ago I wasn’t fine. I was in pain. Terrible pain. And I thought a lot about killing myself.
I hated who I was. I thought I had no value. Nothing to offer. That all I did was hurt others and humiliate myself. I had failed, hurt my family, pulled them into debt, destroyed their futures, hurt others, lost my employees their jobs.
I seemed to think everything was my fault. That I was scum. That I was worthless and better off dead. Better for me, better for my loved ones. Better for everyone. Erased.
“Loved ones”. I said that. Through all the fog of pain and self-loathing, I think I knew I was loved. That was my meagre foothold.
I clung to the images that stopped me. Of my kids finding me. Of my kids growing up angry, having to be told what happened. Then. I thought of my wife, having it described to her. Her thoughts…. I cycled back and forth through suicidal ideation back to my kids. I played out the aftermath and that horrified me enough to stop. I was still just lucid and practical enough to decide - but what if I became so ill, I couldn’t stop myself and that logic got lost? I was terrified. More scared than at any moment in my life, before or since.
It helped that I was with my kids almost all the time. I was now unemployed and a househusband. My daughter was 1, my son 4. I used to push Lyra’s pushchair along, tears streaming down my face, deliberately looking down at her, saying to myself - I need to stay here for them. Stay. Stay.
I found a foothold and clung on. But, you can’t hang on forever. You get tired, your foot slips. Then…
I had to find an answer. Depression gives you brain fog. You make poor decisions. You’re illogical. I was going round in circles. I needed telling.
A friend, Andrew, came to see me. He could see what was going on. He told me to stop trying to not be depressed. To admit to myself that I was ill, and open myself up to help.
It was that intervention, along with the terror of literally no longer sleeping, which made me genuinely worried I might takes things further, that I was losing my crumbling foothold. That gave me enough impetus to seek help.
I found a counsellor (any counsellor) online and saw him. Cried the kind of cry where you shake and wail like an injured dog. I was glad of that. I needed it. I said out loud that I thought about dying.
Then I saw the doctor, head buried in a sweaty hoody, trying to hide, shaking so hard that I couldn’t walk straight.
The doctor was good. I got drugs. Took them, even though they scared me. Felt totally different. Not suicidal. Just sad. Very very sad. Right then, at that moment, I could take my black sadness, rather than the sharp flinty horror of wanting to die.
Then, I began my recovery. I am now recovered. I think my recovery ended when I started FRAHM and I decided to help others with a brand. It took about a year - everyone is different. But I was thinking about suicide for the weeks it took for me to get help and medication. Those weeks felt longer than my year of recovery.
Suicidal people don’t think straight. It is bad chemistry. Not selfishness. Not cowardice. But horror. I hated, no, LOATHED myself. I felt utterly, literally, worthless.
Even I, an emotionally extremely open person, didn’t tell a soul. Least of all my wife. She didn’t find out about my terrible thoughts of suicide until over a year later. Even I couldn’t share that. That was very very dangerous.
But I clung on and someone connected with me.
Thus, my message today is twofold:
- To you, the fellow human in distress: I never thought I’d get better. I thought that was it. But now? My life is better. I did recover, and more. Give in to help.
- To the friend, family member or colleague: An intervention can save someone. A genuine “are you ok, like really ok?” A hand on the shoulder. The eagle eye on a friend. We can’t save everyone - suicidal folk often wear a smile. They hide the perceived shame of their thoughts. But Andrew tried, and he succeeded. Ask.
If you don’t feel you have anyone to talk to, contact one of these. Lovely, kind strangers care about you and want to help you. They wouldn’t be there otherwise:
If you feel like you might attempt suicide, call 999. Get an ambulance. This is an emergency.
Live chat CALM or call CALM on 0800 58 58 58
or call Samaritans on 116 123
or go see your doctor - I did. They were great.
Now I’m going to have a cry (crying is GOOD), because the pain never completely goes away, but it is pushed aside by lots of normal - normal is nice. Normal is lovely. I love normal.
I’m so glad I’m here. Thank fuck I am still here. Thank god I’m still here. I’m still here….
- a normal bloke who got very ill, and got better again, because he said "help”.