TRIGGER WARNING: Strong suicide, psychosis and self-harm focus.
Saviour is a chapter from psychologically themed autobiographical work, The Bench. The second story to be published from this work on Minds Anonymous, this piece details the reality of psychosis in a devastating episode involving the attempted suicide of the writer.
In blue the psychotic reality is explained in the first person, in black, the true events surrounding this episode are depicted.
Please read on with caution. This story may affect some readers.
“Your mum is on her way,” says a distant voice, barely audible through the tirade of electromagnetic currents trafficking through my mind. I’m not sure, but I think I might be in a hospital. I’m not dead. At least, I don’t think I am. But something isn’t right. I don’t know what I’m doing here, how I got here, who these people that keep changing colour are or what they think they’re doing trying to stick needles in my arm. It could hurt. I try to think about what game this is. Which one we’re all playing right now and from the yellow person dressed in scrubs over there I conclude that we are indeed in a hospital, or at least playing hospitals. But why? And when did I join in?
I remember the phone. Will’s iPhone 3. I remember taking it when I took his car, trying to smash it on the dashboard so there could be no turning back. Only cowards turn back and I was tired of being a coward. Tired of being confused and frightened and excruciatingly enlightened all at the same time. I wasn’t right. The only thing that was right would be if I exited this world and left my loved ones to live in peace. Without me. They had to be without me. I was a demon, a ball and chain that they desperately needed cutting off in order to be happy.
I knew it would be better, that they could all heave a sigh of relief knowing that I was no longer around to cause such pain. They would be sad at first. Suicide makes most people sad, even those that never knew the person.
Just how uncomfortable suicide made people feel was actually to strike me hard in the weeks to come, changing my outlook forever. But at the time I knew that although tears would be shed, eventually friends and therapists would tell them that it’s time to move on.
And free from the weight of my existence could only mean a better life for all.
I constricted breathing, engulfed others in darkness and was living in the eye of the devil, sure at every moment that I was both entirely evil and an all knowing force of good. It’s like I’m both god and the devil at all times and the confusion within me is causing my head to split apart in agony each moment I survive this. I’m trying to unscramble the details of reality. But it’s too much. This has to end.
I remember a car journey. I can hear people talking but their voices are muffled, as if coming out of a badly tuned radio where the static is just on the edge of being too much to bear. I can make out snippets of the conversation, and as I hear about the women who went out for milk and got mowed down by a drunk driver that morning my heart fills with dread. Was that me? Was that what happened this morning? Did I stop it too late? Beginning to sob uncontrollably I try asking if it was me. I didn’t know if I was asking myself, the radio, the vehicle itself, some higher power or one of the many voices plaguing my mind at that moment. A voice answered:
That one two letter word seemed to break through a universe of muddled thoughts, feelings and visions as I realised I was in the back of a police car. I was sat on the back left seat, a woman with blonde hair was sat next to me and another next to her. The blonde woman had her arm encircled around my shoulders in a protective and almost comforting grasp. As quickly as the scene had revealed itself, it was gone again, along with the people, the police car, the static radio and the flicker of comfort the word no had brought me.
I flashed across a television screen before being teleported in, me as a character suddenly appearing in a Mario Kart style car. Whoever is playing my car is trying to avoid pot holes, explosives and other players as we race around the track. My heart pounds, faster and faster as the other players and I bounce off each other. This is the opposite to how I had felt moments ago when I thought I had run over that women. The soul sickening dread, guilt and horror of moments before had now become the biggest rush of my life. Better than ecstasy. Better than any drug or rave or roller coaster. This was pure adrenaline. And it was magnificent.
I looked up and bounding towards me is the slender, 5″9 figure of my maternal aunt. Dressed in heeled boots, jeans, a pretty floaty top and her thick mustard beige woollen coat. Except for the deep look of concern and fear on her face, the 5am version of my aunt was exactly the same as the person I had always known, and I could feel the unconditional love radiating from her as I sat up, a lump forming in my throat. I managed to sit on the hospital bed and look at the woman who had been my second mother for just a moment before reaching out and weeping like a child, completely flopped over, like a rag doll in her arms.
The reality had hit. I had been in a police car but I hadn’t killed the lady out buying milk. I had tried to kill myself. I had got lost but I probably hadn’t telepathically called mum, it was more likely that the phone ripped off the wall with hundreds of wires all tangled and broken was actually in working order, but I had hallucinated it off the wall. I remember calling ‘mum, mum, mum’ to no response. I had, at the time, realised that day break was coming and that if I crashed my car someone else might get hurt. So I called for help. I wasn’t a Mario Kart character. I had been taken to hospital to have my arm stitched up from slashing it with scissors before leaving Will’s, hopefully I’d bleed out and it would be over. But I wasn’t dead. I was a mess.
The author of this piece, who uses the pseudonym Kathryn, has experienced many mental health issues throughout her life but now describes herself as happy, well and loving life.
She wants us to let you know that, although experiences like this can be horrific to endure, recovery is possible. Having now processed the many episodes the book The Bench describes (you’ll see more appear here in time), Kathryn feels a strong sense of self and a huge gratitude for life itself.
She wants to tell you this:
“You can recover, you can get through it and life will become ever more beautiful as you journey through the recovery process. Take care all.“