Suicide is not a dirty word. It is not a word filled with shame. It is not a word filled with disgust. It's a word filled with pain and desperation. Desperate for the thoughts to vanish in the blink of an eye. Gut-wrenching pain tearing through your body clinging onto every damaged part. Feeling suicidal is earth-shattering, every single part of your life is torn apart to shreds right in front of your eyes. Your mind is torturing you, pounding down on you until there's nothing left. No hope, no foreseeable future, no dreams or wishes. Everything seems hopeless, that is not shameful nor disgusting, it is pain beyond comprehension.
I have been sat on my bedroom floor, sobbing my eyes out with suicidal thoughts racing through my mind more times than I could possibly count. Gripping my head, rocking back and forth, begging the voices in my head to stop. To just stop for one second so I can gather my thoughts. There is no way out, there is no light to be seen and there is no hope to be felt. Does that make me a bad person? Does it make me weak because I wanted the pain to stop? Does it make me destined for hell because I have wanted my life to end on countless occasions? No. No. No. Contemplating suicide doesn't for one second make me weak and my goodness I wish I had known that in the moment.
The depression overpowers every other organ in your body and no part of my mind could sift through the thoughts and rationalise any of them. Every suicidal person is not destined to commit suicide and to think that we are all helpless is backwards thinking. The time to do something is before. It can always seem okay until it's too late. Never think you're asking too many times if your friend is okay, if your gut is telling you something is wrong, I bet you're 99% right. Sometimes suicide comes out of the blue, no warning, no drastic changes beforehand, nothing that could have prepared you or prevented it and that is the worst of the worst, but I am still a firm believer that there is always something that could be done. Always, whether it's big or small. I remember one day I was feeling extremely suicidal, pills in my hand and out of the blue a friend I hadn't had heard from in a while text me "hey, haven't heard from you in forever, you doing okay? I love you, remember that" and that was enough to stop those thoughts from turning into actions. Don't get me wrong, sometimes small things won't make it stop but it will make you think for 2 seconds and occasionally those 2 seconds is all you need to keep fighting.
I've been to the place of 'almost very nearly too late'. Several times and I've always been saved. There are different types of being suicidal, I think you can be passively suicidal and actively suicidal. I can be suicidal but go about my normal life, push the thoughts to the back of my head and still realise I am loved. I can be suicidal, lie in my room all day and really struggle to see how anyone could love me. Then there's the kind of suicidal where it's gone too far, I'm already thinking of what to do and no rational thoughts are being processed. I have sat in the doctor's office countless times because there was no one at home and I knew for a fact I was not going to keep myself safe. That was a huge step, when I realised I could get help when I was in the moments of "it's gone too far". I didn't have to pace up and down the house, frantically trying to think of anything but downing a whole bottle of pills. Suicidal thoughts can make it feel like it's already too late and that you shouldn't help yourself, but listen to the teeny tiny voice that is ever so slightly whispering to get help. That's the one that will save you.
The conversation about suicide needs to be had, not just when it's happened to a celebrity or someone we love, but all the time. Even at the times we think it's not going to matter because that is when it's sure to matter most. It is simply another word that we need to start detaching from the stigma and say it as openly as we say other things. It's uncomfortable to hear, it's uncomfortable to try to understand, I get that but it sure beats the alternative. Suicide is not a dirty word. It is not a word that should be filled with shame. Being suicidal doesn't make you weak or selfish, it simply means you're hurting and there is never anything wrong with pain. There was a time when I would never have admitted that I felt this way but I'm now open and honest about my struggle with being suicidal, talking about it takes away the shame of it.
I know how it feels, I've been there and it is so impossibly hard to climb out of but sitting here today, I'm so thankful I listened to that little voice every time. You may never feel like there's enough to hang on to, or people that want you around but I promise you there are. I had been suicidal a couple times a week, or more for the best part of 5 years, constantly feeling like I wanted to end my life because my depression convinced me that was the best option. I never expected that I would go months without feeling that feeling, but here I am and it's been a long time since I felt any kind of suicidal and it feels like it was a lifetime ago. It's made the hellish fight worth it. I can still close my eyes and remember those moments and taste the anguish I was in but I use it to carry on recovery, to never stop fighting for myself. Please don't stop fighting for yourself.
I'm sat on the tube going to meet my mum and some family friends for lunch and I'm waiting for that tiny little voice in my head to start pounding my brain with fear. On days when I really put all my energy into helping myself I can use some of my CBT techniques to calm myself down but some situations always bring out an intense anxiety that no amount of coping strategies will help, for me travelling is one of those things.
"There's a suitcase over there, no one is touching it and loads of people have gotten on and off"
I'm starting to scan all the people sat by it, willing my brain to try and figure out who's it is as my anxiety starts feeding itself off my fear. I start tapping my leg and picking at my lips. I'm looking for anything, a quick touch of the suitcase, a glance in its direction. Anything to acknowledge whose it might be.
"There's definitely a bomb in it. You should get off the train, Jasmine. You know I'm right, just get off at the next stop."
My leg tapping gets quicker and my eyes are darting from one side of the train to the other. I'm now worrying that people are looking at me weirdly. I desperately try to focus on the music playing in my headphones but it isn't loud enough to drown the voice in my head. I start debating whether I should get off at the next stop.
"No wait, don't get off because then the whole plan of the journey is derailed. We spent time this morning worrying about being on time and everything going to plan."
My mind is racing, do I feed into my anxiety and get off the train or do I push through it so I don't screw up my journey? Suddenly I notice the next stop is mine. Ok, one more stop and all this is sorted. What are the chances of anything going wrong within one stop, I mean really? I stand up and move my way through the crowds of people to get by the door. I can feel my breathing changing and I'm willing myself to calm down before a panic attack starts. Finally I'm off and for just a second all my fears have vanished, I can breath.
"You're such an idiot, why on earth did you think there was a bomb on that suitcase? You know you shouldn't listen to me, I'm always wrong but you're stupid enough to fall for it every time."
And so starts the next phase, the beating myself up over what just happened. This one lasts the longest and is often the most painful. You see, I know all my anxieties are irrational and I know the likelihood of them actually happening is pretty slim but it's that tiny chance they could that gets me every damn time. There's a voice inside my brain that overtakes my whole body and makes me believe every whisper it utters. I try my very best but anxiety's voice is a powerful one.
Next time you see a nervous mess of a person, don't stare because you don't know the demons they are battling. Offer a reassuring smile and continue doing whatever it was that you were doing before their fierce leg tapping caught your attention.
When I think of how my life should be right now, I’m hit with the reality of what it actually looks like. Now don't get me wrong, I've come a long way from the person I was even just several months ago and if I was looking at my life with a practical perspective, it is good. It is simple. I get through my days and work hard but I yearn for so much more than just 'good'. A year or two ago, finishing school, the image I had for what my life would look like is far different than what is sat in front of me today. I still feel stuck in some senses. Stuck in my security blanket that is home and a familiar job (which I love!). I've always been the 'safe one', never venturing too far out of my comfort zone but I knew finishing mainstream school and starting uni was finally my chance. Except it wasn't. I became unable to do so many things and the effects of depression crippled over me. Uni and even going back to any type of school filled me with dread and sickening anxiety. Why? Because depression convinced me for SO long that I will fail. Not that I might but I most certainly will. I suppose part of me, two years on, still believes this to be true.
When I look back to 2 years ago, although I had mild anxiety and low moods, for the most part I was the bubbly, always laughing and blabbermouth who was friends with everyone. I had high hopes for my life. Since the age of 13 I wanted to become a social worker and I had never steered away from that path. I geared all my subjects towards it, read mountains of books on social care and scoured the internet for every documentary on the subject there was. I wanted to live away from home in a big city, find love and have the perfect little family. Then depression and severe anxiety knocked me down without any warning. The bubbly person I used to be disappeared. I became quieter, I questioned everything and everyone around me, I would spend hours upon hours locked in my room in pitch black. Nothing made sense anymore. I felt as if everyone else was making leaps and bounds in their life and I was still stuck at the bottom of that hole, with no light up above. I questioned all of my worth, doubted my abilities to succeed at anything, let alone make it through University. Social work seemed like a mistake and that I wouldn't cope with the pressure. I no longer thought I was worthy enough of love and couldn’t imagine being a mother when I couldn't take care of myself. The dreams I had dreamt of since I was little seemed near impossible, like my depression was playing some cruel joke on me for believing I could be something.
I fought hard to ignore those thoughts but there was always that nagging voice in the back of my head that persuaded me I would never amount to be anything more than a continuous nervous mess. It's been 2 months. 2 months since I started thinking that uni was in fact going to be an option in my life again. That because I have defeated the darkness, I will somehow be strong enough to handle school. I want so much more for myself and never wanted to become a settler but I have, although not purposefully. I had succumbed to the conclusion that my depression and anxiety are right. Whilst writing this I've continuously put present tense, then read back through correcting it to past tense but maybe I do feel all these things, still, in some way.
In some ways I think anxiety was a huge part of my life before I ever realised it. I constantly needed a plan in place, even if it changed with my varying moods, it brought me comfort to have an idea of what I wanted in life. Now, I'm kicking myself for not even thinking that my life dreams would possibly change through time and heartache. I'm constantly wavering between different things that I want to do, even though right now I feel pretty settled in my choices. Yet, the anxiety and grief for the things I haven't yet done, at times make me want to dive head first into everything to make up for lost time.
It's hard watching life go by and feeling like you can't take part. Some days it still gets me down that I can't do everything that all my friends do or that I haven't achieved as much as some of them. But I've learnt to let life live itself, I can't control everything, as hard as I may try. I may not have gone to university last year, gone on a "girl's holiday", or to festivals etc but there's time. I have time to do all those things, they don't have to be done at certain points in life despite my anxiety convincing me otherwise. Grief comes in many forms and I believe all those that suffer with mental health, have in some ways, got to grieve. Whether it's for opportunities missed, things you can no longer do or people you have lost along the way. And just like with other grief, it comes and goes, it's a constant process of learning to live in the moment. Learning to be okay with where your life is at any given moment despite the uncertainty that comes with mental illnesses.
I am the only one who sees myself as a failure and reminding myself of this, often times makes me feel better. No one else sees what I haven't accomplished because their goals are not the same as mine. We are often times our own worst enemy but just remember you are not your shortcomings, you are everything that you do despite them.
As we grow up we have many best friends, it's something that's forever changing. We get to 15-16 and things start to settle, you begin to see people for who they really are and the friendships you have become stronger. Yet, there is never a guarantee that these people, who you love with every part of you, will stay in your life forever. And it hurts, it's heartbreakingly painful. Sometimes it's over silly things that you will come to realise over time, never really mattered. But sometimes you lose people through the big, heavy deep things and when you come out the other end, you'll wish that your friendship had weathered the storm.
I lost one of my very best friends, in the midst of my fight with depression. Now, I'm not going to sit here and spill out all the details of what happened because I would never do that to them, even though I'm 99% sure they've never seen the blog. It wasn't simply all down to the fact that I was in a deep darkness that the people who loved me most couldn't pull me out of. Many things happened that are personal but depression was the catalyst.
Depression steals so many things away from you. Your happiness, confidence, energy, laughter and much more. But I never thought it would take away someone who meant the world to me. It's not their fault, but it also isn't mine. Even though I am still ridden with guilt to this day about how things came to an abrupt end with us. I am learning that I can't forever blame myself for a chemical imbalance, that I tried my damn best to overcome. The depression wasn't the finale straw that resulted in me losing this person, but it was the beginning. And oftentimes, what starts the hurt and distancing, is the very thing that ends it.
Part of me will never get over the loss of this person. I don't think you can ever grieve the loss of a person who is still out there living their life, without you in it. They were without a doubt like my right hand and lifted me up through everything. However, with hindsight and perspective (two fabulous things that never occur in the moment), I can see how my anxiety was the flame that never stopped burning. I was in need of constant reassurance, anxiety consumed many of my relationships. I was constantly paranoid and as much as I tried my very best to control it, I rarely could.
At the time, I blamed myself for everything that went wrong, I was convinced that I should have been able to stop the anxiety and depression from seeping into friendships and causing problems. After all, it was in MY head not anyone else's and I fully believed I had control over it, but that's not how mental illness works. It works the way it wants to, not the way we want it to. I still struggle to not blame myself, in moments where I relive things, I see everything I did wrong but nothing they did.
My mental illnesses were to blame- not me. Although my suffering was/is painful for everyone, it's tenfold for me. I have been on both sides, the one living in it and the one watching it from the sidelines. As much as it is painful to watch someone you love hurting, being the one to suffer is excruciatingly painful, it's feeling nothing and then all of a sudden feeling everything at once. I exhausted myself day in and day out trying to be the person that was there for everyone and even though I succeeded in that, it ran me into the ground. I thrived off people needing me. I still do. But now, I don't compromise my mental health for it.
When it happened, I was in an extremely bad place and depression made me believe that losing this person was the end of the world. It convinced me that losing this person meant everyone else would walk away too. It certainly felt like it and I didn't see myself ever making my way back after that. Nearly a year later, those few weeks feel like a lifetime ago. I feel like a different person, with a whole new mentality about the suffering I experienced and equally, the suffering I caused. Thinking of them still makes my heart ache slightly but it doesn't make me cry anymore and occasionally seeing this person doesn't send me into a despair like it used to.
I will never be able to show this person how far I've come or thank them for all they did for me. But mostly I'll never get to say how I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not believing you when you said it would get better, because it has. I'm sorry that I couldn't believe you when you said you weren't angry with me, because I now realise how my anxiety made me perceive things differently. I'm sorry that you had to see me at my worst, I can only imagine the pain it caused you. I'm sorry for many things but mostly I'm sorry that depression took me away from being the person you had grown to love. Although those two words don't always mean much, I say them with the utmost power that they can possibly contain.
Life gets messy and things happen that hurt like hell, but we move on. Despite all the heartache and pain we feel in the moment, we forge ahead. I never thought I would make it out of my depression, just like I thought I could never live without this person, but I've done both. They've both made me stronger and although I wish neither of those things had ever happened, they've made me a better person. We can only take what life throws at us and make the most of it. Things happen even when we try our absolute hardest because I think life always seems to know what's best. In a few years, I think I'll be able to see why life took that person out of my life and whilst I can't quite understand it yet, I have peace knowing that they're happy.
The most valuable lesson that I learnt from losing this person is that I can't love people beyond their capacity to love me back. I love fiercely and I need to feel that intensity back, I can't pour out all of my love into people and hurt myself in the process. It takes time for this to sink in, (it took me months) but once it does, your outlook on many things will change. I see my worth a whole lot more than I ever did before. And I am worthy of many things, even when I am in the deepest, darkest depths of depression.
P.S- Annoyingly cliche quotes used to break up the never ending babbling that seemed to happen in this post, sorry not sorry :)
Hey there, I'm Jasmine, your average 23 year old working in childcare and living in England. Maybe Tomorrow follows my journey living with mental health issues and multiple chronic health conditions, all whilst trying to have some fun along the way.
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