Trigger warning: The opinions expressed in this post are from the point of view of someone who is suicidal and therefore may not be rational. If you think you may be triggered by this, please don’t read on. It’s mostly inane drivel anyway. Go and do something else instead. Seriously. Anything. Cut your toenails or something. Vacuum the stairs. Whatever. You’re really not missing out, I promise.
Okay, if you’re still reading, I’m going to assume you are fairly stable at the moment. That’s good. I’ve heard that people who make wildlife documentaries are supposed to observe, but not interfere, no matter what happens. I’m not sure if this is true, but that is kind of the position that you, my dear readers, are being put in by reading my blog. It’s a dilemma I have wrestled with the last few days. I want my blog to be an honest and open account of how I feel, but I don’t wish to worry people. My solution was this – I wrote the following post on Thursday, but decided not to publish it until I was in a better place (I mean psychologically, not like I had accidentally strayed into a bad postcode). So, what follows is absolutely how I felt at the time, but I do not feel like that anymore. No intervention is required. One of the aims of DBT is to allow me to manage these feelings without (too much) help, and I feel that I have done that. Although, as ever, my friends and colleagues have been on hand with offers of company, tissues, tea, beds for the night and hugs. You know who you are and I hope you know how much you are appreciated. *Deep breath* This was Thursday:
I have been awake for 14.5 hours so far today. I have wanted to die for 13 of those hours. It is my over-riding or undercurrent of thought for every single minute of those 13 hours. That’s 780 minutes of wanting to die. And it’s not even bedtime. There is no reason why today should be better or worse than any other. It just happens to be a lot worse. This is going to be a pretty depressing post, but I recall that I said I wanted to write as someone who is unwell, rather than as a survivor, so here goes….
Firstly, I know that I am going to sound petulant and ungrateful. It is, in the words of Pink Floyd ‘Just a passing phase, one of my bad days’, so I hope you will forgive me. I have spoken to many people today and listened to their thoughts and feelings, and I simply can’t cope. I don’t care about any of the things they are telling me. I know I should. I know that on another day I would. But today I don’t. It’s just so much noise. Static. Getting in the way of the important question of whether or not to live. I nod and smile and make appropriate responses, but inside I am screaming. I feel bemused that they would behave like this. To me it’s like standing around someone who has just broken their leg and expecting them to engage in a conversation about the sandwich selection in the canteen. How can they expect me to take part? I know why, of course. Because there is nothing else to do. They can’t pop me in an ambulance, give me some morphine and put a cast on my leg. I simply must continue to function. Or, of course, maybe how I feel is not evident to them……
I phoned my Mum and told her how depressed I was feeling (okay, without the suicide bit, it’s too upsetting for her). She said, “Well, you just have to get out of bed and think – Up and ‘at ‘em, Chatham. Cannons to the left of you, cannons to the right etc.” Quite frankly, I have no fucking idea what she is talking about, and I don’t care (actually, it’s a misquotation of part of the Charge of Light Brigade, but whatever). I try again……….. I tell her that my concentration is impaired, that my mind keeps wandering. She asks where it wanders to. I tell her I keep wondering what I did wrong. She says I didn’t do anything wrong, life is just like this. I ask her how, then, if it’s not something I did, or can change, am I supposed to tolerate it? She says “Well, you just put up with it because you have to.” Ah, Mum, but I don’t, do I? There’s always a way out. Then she says, “Of course, the thing that works for me won’t work for you.” I am intrigued. I’m guessing she is going to say prayer, but I ask anyway. She says “drinking”………………
I try to tell my therapist. I do tell my therapist. The thing with DBT though, it they’re not interested in your story. That’s not how it works. They don’t even really want to hear how you are feeling – preferring a numeric grading of between 1 and 5 for emotional pain and suicidality on a day-by-day basis. It seems counter-intuitive to me for a therapist to say “I don’t want to ask you about that, because you’ll find it distressing.” The distressing things are meant to be dealt with on your own. The point of the 1:1 session in DBT is to monitor your progress in skills practise and utilisation. In that sense, I am doing really well and my therapist is pleased. It doesn’t matter that pain is like acid burning a hole through my chest, I’m doing really well. On your way. See you in a week.
I was talking to my friend A~ about the idea that misery loves company. And yes, in some ways it is true. If I talked to someone who felt like I feel right now, at least I would be understood. But mostly, as I watch the red sky from my window, as night begins to fall, I feel comforted by the fact that no-one I have spoken to today feels the way I do. I want my friends, family, colleagues, students, acquaintances to be happy, or at least okay. Okay enough to worry about canteen sandwiches. Because if they are, then they don’t need me any more. I am free to go. My work here is done and I can move on. As they say, “A lady always knows when to leave”. Maybe I have finally found my moment.
I feel that, now I am in a more rational frame of mind, I must just add one thing to this. To everyone who reads this who actually knows me. Please, please, please, keep talking to me about normal stuff (even canteen sandwiches). Even on the days I hate it. Even when I look like I can’t hear a word you are saying. Because even on the days when I literally can’t stand it, it is good for me. And I do want to know, and I do care. Promise.