TRIGGER WARNING: Strong suicide, self harm, bipolar, depression focus.
Sometimes I wonder if I’ll make it. My dad didn’t. He took his own life at 57, plummeting from a cliff’s edge, alone. I guess he had a nice view in the end. Will I last that long? I have up to now. When the thoughts come in that I can’t do this anymore and that the world and my loved ones would be better off without me I shove them deep down and put music on to distract myself. Today I’ve decided to write about how I truly feel, to acknowledge the feelings, be open and honest and hopefully dissolve the urge to follow in my father’s footsteps. Yes, today I am struggling.
People say try and think of the good things in life. It doesn’t work. Instead it fills me with guilt that I don’t appreciate how lucky I am to be where I am, with who I am with, living the life I’m living. I don’t deserve it.
Self destruction comes next. Drinking, smoking, urges toward drug taking, reckless behaviour and self harm all present themselves as great ways to escape the crushing reality of my thoughts and feelings. Why do I feel like this? What is it about this world that I can’t cope with? I must be weak. The sun is shining and the excruciating beauty of the people in my life, the love I feel coming at me from every corner actually suffocates me.
I know I have a condition. I know it’s not the ‘real’ me. I know I won’t always feel like this. That took years to learn. I had to train myself when the depression sets in to rationalise the way I’m feeling and the suicidal thoughts and separate them from the ‘real’ me. But in those moments, although I can tell myself they are caused by a dis-ease, and not actually me, this is my reality. And it can go on for weeks, even months.
Luckily the black dog doesn’t visit for as long as months anymore but the days it does feel like years and I come to wonder if one day it’ll be too much, my coping techniques that I’ve trained myself to use might not work, I might take my own life, as my father and many other in my life have done. Do I envy them?
It’s been creeping in the last few days. I have covid right now and the correlation between getting ill and the black dog rearing its ugly head is not to be ignored. I think we all get low when we are physically ill, and for someone with bipolar, perhaps depression can set in. Noticing this correlation is keeping me safe. I won’t have covid forever so maybe the black dog will disappear when covid does? How connected are physical and mental health? Something to look into – good distraction technique
Will I survive myself? I did survive childhood depression, teen bipolar and schizophrenia and psychosis in my 20s. I suppose that’s something. But now I’m now in my 30s, overweight and disgusted by myself. I don’t want to be in photographs right now, I’m embarrassed to see my friends, I don’t like the amount of person I am presenting to the world. I was once a martial arts champion, a dancer, a fit person. Following a serious injury I have tripled lin size and I’m sickened by the sight of myself. I think food has become a problem for me psychologically. I binge, I get sugar cravings and although I feel I care enough to do something about it now the injury is almost healed, it’s become another form of self destruction. I don’t deserve the body I want. So yes, stay huge, you don’t deserve to be beautiful or healthy. You lost. You did this to yourself. Suffer the consequences. Just keep eating.
I don’t know why I insist on self inflicted suffering. It’s the same thing as self destruction I suppose. Which is common enough. Does that make it ‘normal’. Is it normal to fantasise about jumping off bridges too? Visualising blood seeping out of cut wrists until I fall into a peaceful sleep, never to wake up? I used to think everyone thought like this sometimes. Since being diagnosed with a number of conditions I now know that it is perhaps not as common as I thought. It is certainly not a healthy occupation of thoughts. But the end has a poetic energy about it, a beautiful end to a terrifying existence. If it could just all stop…
My actual life is a happy one. I work hard, I have a beautiful, loving partner, the most exquisite friends, support from a close family network and a fulfilling working life. What would they say if they knew I was writing this? If they knew that smile was hiding a thirst to leap, a thirst to cut, a thirst to throw it all away and say goodbye. To join the friends and family that have gone that way before me. Too many to list.
I know this will pass. I know I will be alright again. In the end it is down to me, it is my choice whether I stay or my own volition or not and it always will be. Only I can make the choice to take my own life. I choose not to. I will always choose not to. I refuse to be a statistic. I know first hand the pain suicide causes the living; the guilt, the confusion, the utter devastation to the lives of those left behind is something I bear in mind and it does keep me safe from myself.
I know this is temporary.
Nothing is permanent; except death.
I will survive myself.