This is a very difficult subject to talk about, but when you find yourself in the deep world of mental health, unfortunately it is something you cant avoid. It is also something people on the outside should understand and I could not truthfully write this blog without exploring this sensitive subject.
I had a friend. From the outside it looked like she had everything. She was caring, beautiful, kind, married and just moved to London and had landed her dream job – all seemed just fine. On the inside she was totally cut up – it was not all as it seemed. I was in hospital with her and you could feel and hear the tremendous pain she was going through. I was in the room next door to her and could hear her cries all night. She was discharged from hospital and 3 weeks later she was found dead. She had committed suicide. Having got to know her so well in the 8 weeks in hospital together I could 100% understand why – so it didn’t come as a total shock. But from an outsiders point of view I can just imagine them saying “Why?” What a waste” “How selfish”.
To the left is a drawing I did of her shortly after her death to remember her by. I think of her most days, what she could have been doing and achieving, where she could have been, but truthfully I do know she is happier now she is relieved of the inner pain and suffering she was going through.
From the outside people do think it is selfish. Leaving loved ones behind and having them pick up the pieces and be left wondering why and what else they could have done. They feel responsible. But what they don’t know is there is nothing they could have said or done to make the feelings the person is having that makes them feel taking their life is the only option. They feel trapped and cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel.
From the inside you think you are helping people, you feel selfless, as you feel such a burden on everyone around. Things are totally spiral out of control. You just want to end the horrific suffering you feel and get rid of the voices in your head for good telling you that you are not worth being here. You just want that pain to end.
In my case when I took my overdose, it was not I wanted to go. I just wanted to switch off from the feelings and pain I was going through – they were unbearable and all I wanted was them to end just for a bit, to feel numb. Seeing the pain I put my family through is just too much to think about and when I do I feel sick and it makes me see how people can see it as a selfish act, but at the time when you are feeling those deep emotions you do not think of that at all.
Below is a picture I did in art therapy the month before my overdoes. The image is a spiral, made up of all the thoughts I was having – thoughts that were spiraling out of control. The splattering of paint represents the anger I was feeling, and the tears the sadness i was feeling at going through this. I actually cannot believe I am showing this as it is so personal. My usual pictures were light and simple, but the next in the series became darker.
The next image shows how I was really feeling before and after. Before I felt like there was a huge weight on me. Squashing me, like the balloon being squashed until it popped. This was the relief. The relief of having let go just for a bit. Hit total rock bottom and starting to pick up the pieces, be inflated again with hope that things can and will eventually get better. The devil represents the evil thoughts that I was having, that haunted me and pushed me over that edge. There is 1 element of what I used to be and that is the 16 tonnes written on the weight – this refers to a song I loved when I was swing dancing, so it is like I could still see forward and wanted some of my past back.
Luckily for me this scarey experience scared me to make me see what was happening and propmt the slow start to recovery.
As I am still part of the hospital we all have that constant worry and panic if we do not hear or see someone for a while. You cannot help it, and it is an awful and scary place to be in, yet totally understandable given the situation we are in.
If we stop shying away from speaking about suicide maybe people will start to feel it is ok for them to speak about it too so they can reach out and open up to someone.