I have a wonderful friend who almost died on this day last year. I am so happy to be able to say “almost”. I can’t imagine life without her.
This blog is for her but also for everyone else who feels like they are alone and no one else really “gets it”.
There are quite a few “almosts” that I know about and when I look at these people, I can not help but think what a horrible shame that would have been. How important they are to this world and those who love them. Myself included.
I have also lost so many people in my life to suicide and I’ve had to live my life without them. The pain that death by suicide leaves is a unique pain. It has a unique edge to it. Not only do I grieve their loss but I also grieve for how horrible they must have felt at that time. To take your own life goes completely opposite to all of our ingrained biology. Our body does everything that it can, day in and day out, to keep us alive. To feel so horrible that you can override that is beyond imagination… unless you’ve been there.
Quite often, the people left behind are overwhelmed by several conflicting emotions. Extreme sadness, unbearable grief, anger, confusion, guilt, and sadly shame as well. Society as a whole is not very understanding when it comes to suicide so most families try to hide this fact. This only isolates those left behind even more. 😦
The last 2 suicides that I heard about both brought public reaction to the centre of my life. Comments such as how “selfish” these people were or confusion as to how they could leave a young child behind (also viewed as selfish) only compounded the grief felt by the families. My very quiet husband actually got angry with a group of co-workers as they discussed the “weak” nature of the last person whom we had lost. He told them how his wife (sweet little ol’ me) had been suicidal for years and to stay for even one extra hour in a day made me the strongest and least selfish person he ever met. At least there is one group of men a little more educated now.
I’ve seen suicide from almost every angle. I’ve been extremely suicidal for years of my life. I’ve witnessed suicides and bore witness to the disfigurement of a suicide gone very wrong. I’ve lost loved ones, friends and community members to suicide. I’ve had suicidal children 😦 and I have tried to complete suicide myself many times. (And no… not for attention just in case there are any doctors reading this. They ask that every time.)
Discussing this topic can freak a lot of people out so I am sorry if that is you but NOT discussing it leaves people feeling alone in their pain. I can’t sit by and just pretend it doesn’t exist.
So why discuss it now? Well… I have been going through a really hard time lately with many physical issues but also many emotional ones.
Christmas was just horrible. I stand there and look at families… my heart is so broken not to have my own. I watch mothers with their young children… the hugs, the kisses, the toys, a visit from Santa… and the loss I feel is almost unbearable. I try to look at what I actually have in my life and I do so successfully but the losses somehow always win out.
I’ve had illness after illness since just before Christmas culmination in how I am now with being on a strong antibiotic for one infection, penicillin for 2 others, horrible dizziness caused by pressure in my inner ear and now a reaction to one of the medications. One illness is not nice at all. 5? (I’ve lost count) in a row is so wearing. Add in regular daily pain? Seriously yuck.
Then my birthday last week… well… I miss my “friend till the end” Julie on that day terribly. Worse than any other day.
And then to top it all off? An unexpected HUGE blow yesterday. Mountain sized blows.
I just fell over the edge.
I became seriously suicidal again for the first time in over 2 years.
All of those skills that I had collected, practiced, and integrated in to my life just seemed senseless again.
My accomplishments paled.
The people who I am able to help and are always such a huge boost for me but in this state? Even that was not enough.
I felt alone. I felt like nothing would ever be right again. I felt that I just could not go on even one more day. Why even bother?
I don’t say this to scare anyone, get you worried, or garner sympathy.
I tell you because if/when you feel this way yourself? You need to know that others feel it too. That horrible, lonely, nothing matters anyway place is not nearly as empty as you may think. Strong people with great skills can be there too. Weakness is never to blame. You just don’t hear about it. No one wants to admit it.
I will be honest here. Last night I was lower than I have been in years. If not for my husband and a few friends who were able to read my near silence? I do not know what would have happened. I still feel that way today but I am refusing to allow myself to sink in to total silence and hide away like I always did pre-hospitalization. I will use this moment in time to let others know that even I, the one with all the ideas and advice, can fall back there too. Plus, if I tell you that you are not alone then that means neither am I.
I have much better skills now and finding my way out of this will not be easy but as a very wise nurse once repeated to me consistently, “I know this feels horrible right now but eventually it will pass. I promise”. I now know that she is right. It did back then. It has since then and it will again now. It just takes time (way too much f**cking time if I am to be honest) and it takes a few other things too…
- You need to take really good care of yourself and keep a decent schedule.
- Eat well.
- Drink water. Not alcohol.
- Sleep at night, not during the day.
- Make plans for the future. Today I decided that on July 10th 2020, I am going to have a 50th birthday party (well 50 and a half – I refuse to bring friends here in January). I need something to look forward to for the future. Perhaps next week would be good to plan too? 😉
- If you have medications that you are supposed to take? TAKE THEM. As directed. Self medication of any form is of no help at all.
- Speak up. It is REALLY hard to admit you feel this way but if I can tell thousands of people? You can tell one or two. Fair?
- Last but not least? Be gentle with yourself. You already feel totally crappy. Do not add beating yourself up to the schedule.
I do not promise to be all happy today, tomorrow or next week. I need to feel how I need to feel and right now that is really sad. I feel lonely because I miss all the people who I have lost in my life. I am back to wondering why my mother and father could not love me. There is no answer other than it was a fault inside of them… but that feels empty to me right now. I want to know why a lot of things had to happen. Once again, there are no answers really. Just acceptance to be found. Again.
I will find it. I will ask for and get help finding it.
I just want you to know that if you feel this way today, or yesterday or it hits you one day next year, you are never, ever alone and you need to stay here. One minute at a time if that is all you can manage.
And to my beautiful friend who celebrates another year of being alive on this day? You are strong. Oh so strong. You are brave. You’ve faced demons that no one should ever have to face. You’ve been kicked down (figuratively) many times over this past year yet you get back up every time. Then you have those days that are filled with tears and feeling like life just isn’t fair at all… and you live through them with coffee, books, emailing a friend and knowing that you are never alone. Thank you for staying. ❤