Suicide and Hope

So basically, when I pulled the covers off the sofa bed last night to put them in the wash because part of them was touching the floor, there was a little insect on the bed crawling around, happy as Larry. It was almost gliding on the bottom sheet and appeared to be some form of earwig crossed with a wood louse and something else and I freaked out and killed it with my fingers (which grossed me out to no end as you can probably imagine) and I just freaked.
The rational part of my brain switched off and I just shut down and allowed my OCD to take over and ‘protect me’ from what I wrongly perceived to be a threat. All logical reason evaded me and I very quickly spiralled and unraveled, physically and mentally and all at once. My Dad was watching this happen and I could tell how much it hurts and upsets him when he sees me in this state.
I immediately declared I could never sleep on the sofa bed ever again because in my mind, this demonic insect must have crawled and touched every single inch of the sofa bed and I couldn’t see a universe in which I could’ve cleaned it sufficiently enough. My Dad replied, “You might as well go home then.” and I snapped back, “I might as well kill myself if you’re going to have an attitude like that!”. I was so angry and hurt by what he had said but upon reflection I know he was just as frustrated and worried as me and didn’t know what to say or do so I harbour no bad feelings about how he reacted.
However, I couldn’t get this idea of killing myself out of my head. It seemed like such a viable option. Suicide became the glowing lightbulb above my head that illuminated my world for a short, cold, lonely and hopeless time. It sparked a furore of energy into focusing on this new pathway that had presented itself so elegantly to me. I wanted it again, I craved feeling nothing and saw the route I had to take. It wasn’t just an idea anymore, for the hours that preceded I couldn’t stop envisioning it. It was almost tangible.
My OCD reared it’s ever present head and, doing what it does best, helped me get on with decontaminating my phone, my phone’s charger, the Amazon Firestick remote, my headphones (which I threw away after attempting to wipe them down for all of 2 seconds), the tv remote and my Amazon Kindle. I then put everything I was wearing in the wash, asked my Dad to wash down the taps in the kitchen I had used and went upstairs and got myself showered.
When I came back downstairs, my Dad stayed up with me a while, bearing in mind that this all happened in the early hours of the morning and as much as it scares me to admit, he isn’t getting any younger so I didn’t want it to negatively affect him by him getting hardly any sleep. He asked if I wanted food and drink to which I replied yes so I tipped a sandwich out of the packet onto a plate, dumped a few crisps on the side and topped it all of with some garlic mayo and some burger sauce (from M&S of course, because it wasn’t just any sauce) and sat back down. I ate and drank (orange barley cordial if you must know) in silence, me in one armchair, my Dad in the other. A gap between us that felt like the Grand Canyon even though it was only a couple of feet and all I wanted to do was reach out and be held by him. The sofa bed sat before us, spread across the middle of the lounge, symbolic of my weakness and defeat.
We stayed up watching the Olympics for some time before my Dad had to go up to bed, he’d stayed up with me as long as he physically could, just to make sure I wasn’t alone.
{ Dad, if you read this, please know that I am so lucky to have you in my life and I will never fully understand the sacrifices you have made just to put a smile on my face but I will always appreciate them and all that you do for me. I love you so much }
When I was alone, the niggling thoughts about ending it all stirred again and whipped themselves into a frenzy that I couldn’t ignore. I took to Twitter which lately acts like my very own pensieve for all the thoughts I have, negative or otherwise. What followed was a steady flow of sad, depressive, horrible and hurtful tweets that oozed from my very core. Pure emotion, raw and true. I needed to get it out of my head otherwise I think I would’ve done something about it or I would’ve done something to make things worse.
It was a thread of suicide and all the pros, because at the time I couldn’t see any cons. All of my problems would go away and I wouldn’t have to worry about how hurt people might be because I WOULD BE DEAD. It has only been in the hours that have passed that I realise now how wrong I was and how spiteful my brain was being. When you feel like there isn’t anywhere left to run and your mind is telling you that you can stop the voices and the heartache and the pain, you’re gonna listen. Even more so when you’ve been running from yourself for so long that you can’t remember when you started.
I called the Samaritans.
It took some convincing from a friend who spoke to me throughout the night/morning (you know who you are) and people on Twitter but I picked up the phone. The woman on the other end of the line was so calm, kind and understanding. Talking with her helped me come to the conclusion that I had been holding back my thoughts and feelings from my Dad and my friends because I didn’t want to hurt them or worry them anymore.
When you’re in the grips of an anxiety attack or your mental health is taking over from all that is sane and logical and rational in your head, it becomes very hard to detach yourself. The origins of our mental illness began as a symbiotic relationship of safeguarding, keeping us from harm. But as we grow and evolve and adapt and learn to cope, they stick with us when they’re not necessarily needed anymore. We can breathe without the mental illness that disguises itself as an oxygen mask. We don’t have to define ourselves by a name other than our own. Our strengths come from somewhere far greater than our minds, they come from our hearts. They come in all shapes and sizes. The love of a family member, the warmth of friendship, the wagging tail of a four-legged friend. They come from within us all, some place far deeper, where our minds can’t reach or taint with overthinking and deceit.
When I woke up the next day after finally relenting and going to bed (I actually slept in a bed without showering immediately beforehand for the first time in years!), the world didn’t seem such a terrible place. Not a lot had changed, I was still me, but the anxiety spike had subsided and I was able to think clearly again. A clean palette, a liquid white canvas, just like Bob Ross would say :’)
So I guess what I’m trying to tell you, the message I want you to hold on to, is that you are enough. Every part of you is worthy of love, compassion, empathy, patience and kindness. You deserve to live and breathe and smile and be happy. Don’t ever let your mental illness, your own mind or anyone else tell you any different. All of you out there reading this who battle with your own mind every day, you’re the heroes. You’re the fighters. I love each and every one of you, because I know how hard it is. And every day that you wake up and choose to fight again, that’s another step towards recovery.
Fear might always be the fire that burns brightest, but hope is the fire that will always burn longest.

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