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.
If we were sat down, drinking a cup of tea and eating biscuits and you asked me how life was at the moment I would say.....
Chronic pain is kicking my butt, metaphorically and quite possibly literally. I had a couple of really difficult weeks a few weeks ago, and things have subsided slightly but I'm constantly aware of a flare potentially being around the corner. I have been having LOTS of hospital appointments, doctors appointments and tests the last couple months, it's been draining physically and mentally. It's frustrating, although some things are being figured out (after many years!!), I feel as though some things have gone backwards about 50 steps. Living in pain is becoming harder to hide, even though I still feel like I can act well most days. I’ve always been good at hiding my battles but when they become noticeable to the outside world you realise you aren’t as good at living the lie as you thought you were. I think my body is just exhausted from the last flare up which lasted for over a month. I always appreciate the moments where the pain is manageable and not in a flare, where everything hurts ALL the time.
My depression has popped back up again in the last couple weeks, out of nowhere but I'm taking it as it comes. It emerges one day, engulfing me whole and then the next day I feel slightly less in the dark. There's been a lot of random uncontrollable crying, long naps and shutting myself in my room listening to the same song over and over again. It's been fairly draining and as always with depression, it takes you by surprise and appears when you least expect it. It's up and down right now but that's okay, that's better than it being just down. There is still a fight whether you’re in the midst of it or in recovery, but it’s a fight worth fighting.
Certain aspects of life that are uncontrollable are causing me quite a bit of stress which could be why my depression has made an appearance. My anxiety has always been there but at the moment it's louder than it usually is. There will always be factors and events that happen in life which you can't control but when you have anxiety and depression, they feel 10 times worse. Uncertainty and stress are two things that make my anxiety a lot worse. I'm cautious of the fact that I'm no longer on medication so a normal (for me) level of anxiety could be amplified at the moment.
Starting an online uni degree was the best choice I could have made for myself. I so desperately hung onto the hope that my body would magically rid itself of this illness and I’d be able to go away to university like everyone else. The reality is I can’t do what everyone else can because my body is not able to. I kept putting my life on hold in the hopes things would get better instead of doing the best I could with what I had. So that’s what I finally did- I may not get the real life experience of it but I’m getting the education and for now, that is enough for me. I’m doing something for my future regardless of how may health may be. It feels good. I'm nearly done with my first year and I feel like I'm going in the right direction.
My 21st birthday is tomorrow (!!) but due to the whole up and down of my depression, I'm not as excited as I thought I would be which is okay but disappointing. I'm hoping the whole "it's your birthday" thing will make me excited tomorrow and give me a reason to enjoy the day. I so desperately want to be happy but it's not something you can force when you're feeling depressed. I've had a great day today going to lunch with my best friend and got a ton of school work done (being productive and accomplishing things really helps my depression) so I'm hoping I'll wake up feeling great. I've just read the post I wrote last year after my birthday and reading that has reminded me how far I've actually come, even if I'm having a rough couple of days.
I hope you all have a great rest of the week, whether you're taking part in this weeks festivities (pancake day and Valentines day) or not. I'm going to use this half term week to rest, catch up on school work and do lots of self care!!
Every year I spend New Years day making resolutions, that I know without a doubt, I won't stick to. And every year the same feeling of guilt washes over me come February when I realise I haven't done any of the things I had set out to do. Did you know 80% of New Year's resolutions fail by February? I mean what a negative way to start the year. I'm ditching resolutions all together this year in the hopes it creates less stressful emotions. I didn't even think about resolutions as I was lying around in bed all day binge-watching friends this New Year's day and that is a first for me.
This year I’m not going to do the usual self-loathing that inevitably comes when you realise you yet again didn’t accomplish what you sought out to resolve in the last year (hello weight gain instead of weight lose). Every year for the last few years, I have embraced New Year resolutions with open arms knowing full well, I’d be ditching them all come February/March time then suddenly remembering them come December trying to fight 12 months of “resolving” in a month. I’m not the only one who does that right?
But no more, this year is going to be different. I’m not going to set any resolutions, not even my usual ‘lose weight’ one because I am sick of feeling like a failure each year. Of course, I’d like to lose weight and get healthy- I mean as healthy as a girl with chronic illness can get. But it’s not going to be my sole focus for the next 12 months. I’m not going to start a Pinterest board full of inspiring weight loss pictures, healthy dinners and heart pumping circuit workouts. Because what does it do? What in reality does feeding myself with the notion that who I am right now is not good enough do? It not only damages my self-esteem but makes any progress that I have made in the last 12 months seem unworthy. Progress which can't been seen in numbers on a scale but can be felt mentally. Whilst I believe there are plenty of people that can set resolutions and stick to them, I think for the majority of those in the mental health community it can be self-destructive. Even an attainable resolution like exercising 3 times a week can quickly become damaging when you realise life, anxiety, depression or chronic illness gets in the way of achieving that goal.
There’s this pressure that comes from society that every year there is always some resolutions that we can do to better ourselves. What if our only resolution was to be who we were and grow as a person as we experience the next year? Life is happening every minute of every day and we sure as hell can’t always be working on ourselves when we’re trying to live our life. It feeds into this idea that we need to be focusing on bettering ourselves or changing our lives to have a successful year. I didn’t achieve any of my new year resolutions but I did achieve many things (all of which I mentioned last week). None of that was in any goal I had set but my goodness they’re all accomplishments I can be proud of.
This year, I'm going to focus on simply living and enjoying myself. I've spent so many years forcing myself to become something I'm not or do things I don't enjoy, that I'm finally realising just making it through the year is one hell of an accomplishment in itself. 2 weeks in and I feel better for the fact that I haven't yet stepped on a scale this year, I haven't exercised for any goal other than when I want to and I haven't denied every piece of chocolate for the fear I won't be losing weight.
My usual goals of losing weight, becoming tidier, learning a new skill or changing something about myself have gone out the window. My only goals for the next year is to help more than I've helped in the year just gone, make a difference, live each day in kindness and love myself (by far harder than any other goal but one I'm determined to work on). I want to reach the end of 2018 feeling like I've done everything I could to help those around me. If you can have any goal this year let it be kindness. Kindness to yourself and your pain, kindness to those struggling around you and kindness to a world often in despair. Imagine if everyone ditched the usual resolutions that we're made to believe will make us better people in society's eyes and just tried doing better instead? Be a better friend, be a kinder person (including to yourself!!), be more confident, be gentler, be proud. Be anything you want but don't be that person that feeds into the guilt society makes us feel for being a part of that 80%.
Happy New Year everyone!! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and a great time ringing in the new year. I had every intention of posting Monday night but as usual life got in the way so here I am a day late- I will eventually stick to posting on a particular day (goal for 2018 maybe?;).
Whenever we tend to reflect on the year just gone it's easy for our minds to jump straight to the moments that weren't so great, completely skipping over the moments that were bloody brilliant. Our minds are so used to beating ourselves up that we think of the failures before we think of the achievements. 365 days is, in reality not as long as we think and in the midst of living life we tend forget about the goals we made all those months ago on January 1st. Then comes December and we feel like we've failed for not seeing those resolutions through. For me this year certainly went by in a flash and sat here today, I can't remember a single goal I made this time last year but that doesn't mean I didn't achieve big things!
I started this blog and although it's been rough to keep at it at times, I'm so glad I did. I turned 20, a birthday may not seem like an achievement but when depression and suicidal thoughts had convinced you, you wouldn't make it another year, it's a huge one. I walked a 25km charity walk, which tested every physical and mental strength I had but was easily my proudest moment of 2017. I started an online degree in something I love. I came off all my anti-depressants mid-year and have stayed off them. I got another part-time job. Those are just the big moments, there were many little things a long the way. If you're struggling to see how amazing you were this year, write down a list of everything you did and you'll see just how much you achieved in a short amount of time. It's important to take the time and celebrate your achievements, no matter how big or small they may be.
Within the good, there is also the exceptionally hard. The moments that really make you wonder how you're going to survive the rest of the year. The moments that will feel like the world is crumbling around you. They happen every year no matter how strong you are or how much you try to control the things around you, painful things happen in the middle of ordinary life and it hurts. This past year I was hopeful for health to finally come my way but I started the year in hospital and have ended it with countless specialist appointments, trips to A&E, tests after tests and a pretty awful health scare. Even though there have easily been over 50 blood tests, numerous medication trial and errors, hundreds of doctors appointments (I wish that was an exaggeration) and thousands of tears, but there has been laughs that outweigh the sobs, hope given, strength gained, and support received in many ways. Despite all the pain, I count myself lucky in so many ways and although I don't feel this way everyday, for the most part I'm thankful for the struggle. It has only made me fight harder than I knew possible, endure excruciating pain day after day and ready to tackle 2018 the only way I know how- fighting.
As important as it is to acknowledge all the goodness the year had to offer, it is comforting in an odd sense to look back at the hurt, too. Comforting because you see just how much crap you fought through and realise you're 10 times stronger than you imagined. Give yourself some credit for getting through the year in one piece, it's not always an easy journey.
I'm feeling optimistic about the year to come, a feeling that is quite new to me to have at the start of a new year. I have so many incredible things to look forward to the first half of the year- my 21st birthday, my best friend having her baby(can't wait!!), a trip to Amsterdam with my friends, my mum's 50th and going to my dad's in April with my cousin. So much stuff to look forward to and to focus on.
2017 was a big year of growth for me and I'm excited to see what the next year has in store. I hope however you may be feeling about the New Year, that you've it in a great way.
What were some of your achievements this year?
What are some things you're looking forward to this year?
Hey there, I'm Jasmine, your average 21 year old working as a nanny and play assistant. Maybe Tomorrow follows my journey living with mental health issues and chronic pain, all whilst trying to have some fun along the way.
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