Trigger warning: Contains discussion about advantages and disadvantages of suicide
Mum “So, what was your homework from DBT this week?”
Me (cheerfully) “To write a list of pros and cons of killing myself.”
So, I guess that probably isn’t a common mother/daughter Wednesday night phone call. But seriously, what does she think we do in therapy? Stroke puppies and try and visualise our pain as a balloon floating away? Oh God…..that’s probably what we’ll have to do next week (the visualisation I mean, I haven’t seen any puppies around the place). Incidentally, for the uninitiated, DBT is Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (see #83 on the bucket list) which I started 3 weeks ago and will write about some other time.
Anyway, being lazy, I thought I would recycle my DBT homework as part of my blog post this week and share with you my list of pros and cons of suicide:
Pros of committing suicide:
1. Permanent end to intolerable feelings
2. Won’t have to continue to try
3. I will cease to be a burden on others
4. It will serve as ultimate proof of my suffering
5. Suicide attempt may improve access to psychological services
Cons of committing suicide:
1. People will be hurt and upset; may experience feelings of guilt (them, not me – I’ll not be experiencing anything much)
2. There is a risk of failure, leading to permanent physical and / or mental disablement, and embarrassment
3. I will miss out on potential future happiness/positive experiences. The one certainty in life is change, and I will not be around to experience this
4. There is a great deal of effort required to properly organise a suicide and it is emotionally exhausting
5. Repeated threats/planning/attempts will lead to compassion fatigue
Today, I do not want to die. That makes it easy to explain why I stay alive. So, here is an open letter to my future self (and maybe other people who have similar feelings) explaining why you should stay alive –
You should stay alive because change is inevitable. One day it will hurt less. One day, unlikely though it seems, you will enjoy something. Not just for a few seconds, but for an hour or two. You will laugh and find things funny. Genuinely funny. You will even laugh at yourself. You will enjoy the taste of food, showering, driving, writing, watching a film, you will see beauty in nature. Unlikely though it seems, you will start to care about things that don’t seem important now. You will experience delight when you get annoyed by something trivial, because it means you are getting better. Most importantly, you will feel love towards and from your friends and family. They were there all along, even when you couldn’t feel them. You will look forward to things and want to make plans. Things that seem beyond repair or survival now will become manageable. One day, you will make the choice not to die. That will be a terrible day. But one day you will make the choice to live, and that day will be glorious. These are the reasons why you should not kill yourself.
On a more light-hearted note, I do want to update everyone on the my bucket-list adventures (and post some truly dreadful photos of myself). So, this week I have ticked off another 2 items (96 still to go, don’t worry….), plus a bonus item (is that allowed?).
So, a burst of energy a little over a week ago + wine + late night phone call with my wonderful friend MH- and off I went to London for the weekend. Here is a photograph of us having fulfilled one of my lifetime ambitions and been horse riding in Hyde Park
I want to thank MH- for coming and sharing that experience with me and point out that, unusually for us going riding together, I did not in any way endanger his life. There was only one slight problem with the event – I never actually put it on my bucket list! Hence, I am awarding myself a bonus point. In order to ensure I did actually tick something off the list while I was in London, the next day I headed down to Knightsbridge (not as posh as it sounds, as I only went into Decathlon) and purchased a very fetching wetsuit. Here is a photograph of me looking like a hypothermic PowerRanger, having swum in the ponds on Hampstead Heath (#12 Swim outdoors in London).
In case you were wondering, the water was 4oC, I was terrified, I couldn’t feel my hands at all (probably for the best) and it was absolutely, 100% fantastic. A big thank you to the lifeguards and the ladies of Hampstead Heath Swimming Club for making me so welcome.
Finally, and perhaps not quite so adventurous, here is a picture of me ticking off #101 – Drive a dodgem. Thank you to my book club friends for a truly fantastic day on Thursday, it was probably the happiest day I have had this year. I really appreciate you not being too grown up to go on fair-ground rides with me and thanks to M- for taking the photos!!