Before I start this post, I want to first say a massive thank you to everyone who shared my last post and who messaged me with such kindness. My letter may not have reached Nicola Sturgeon but it did reach Maureen Watt- the Minister for Mental Health- who kindly replied and wished me well in my recovery. More importantly however, is the sheer volume of people you all helped me reach by reading and sharing my message. I truly cannot express my gratitude for that gift to me…if it helps one person in any way then I’m beyond happy with that!
Now for this post. I’ve been avoiding it for a while. It won’t be my best written piece because it’s so very hard to write. I wondered whether I could possibly share so much of myself online, whether being so brutally honest was crossing some line into the unacceptable. That fear is exactly why I should do this though, we need to talk about the realities of these illnesses. About the impact they have on our lives. I swore when I started my blog I would be nothing but honest- whether it makes me uncomfortable or not- because the truths I utter here are too often hidden from the world.
11 days ago I was discharged from hospital. 11 days ago, I attempted to kill myself. 9 days ago I tried again. 8 days ago I was discharged from the medical ward at the hospital to back home. And 6 days ago I was readmitted to the psychiatric ward.
3, maybe 4 days, ago I smiled and laughed genuinely again for the first time in those 11 days. Not a random giggling fit for no reason that sort of morphed into desperate sadness but a laugh that brought me some happiness and light back inside.
Last night, I went to watch part of the annual dance show for the school I’ve been part of for years. It was both amazing and heartbreaking and I cried for hours after I left. After everything that’s happened, losing hope and giving up, to see people excited to see me was so so hard. To witness something I have been a part of for such a long time and thought I’d never have back hit me as another patient described ‘right in the feels’. To be surrounded by happiness, love, excitement for just that small time was overwhelming. That’s what’s I could have lost if I hadn’t been saved. Thrown away in a moment of desperation and impulsiveness.
When you try take your life you hear the mutterings (not from those you love or really matter at all but that’s not the point). Attention seeking? No. Playing a game? Definitely not. A cry for help? Perhaps. In my case, an unbearable sadness at what I saw as fact: that I could not continue living the way I have for the past 21 years but a sinking realisation that nothing would change for me because no matter how much I wanted it, I was not capable of being ‘fixed’.
There’s no point arguing the merit of that statement now, it was true at the time and I can’t change what I’ve done or how I reacted because of it. Right now, I’ve convinced myself that’s not true. My inner voice is so critical though that I am terrified that grabbing onto hope and moving forward with life is the worst possible move I can make. Rationally, I know that is not true. Will the next few weeks, months, years be difficult? Horrendously so. Will I have to work harder and face realities so painful I’ll want to give up again? Sadly, yes. But that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong choice to face it all. It’s the only choice. As much as I want to hide from the world, refuse to leave me bed, refuse to eat or sleep, I cannot do that. The fact that at this moment I can even think in terms of years is a massive leap forward after this week.
There is no support or love in this world- and I am completely surrounded by it- that can take this away, or make it better for me. Make it easier to cope with, for sure. Ultimately though, I am the only one who can change my life. It has to come from in me, I have to let my desire to live a good life consume me and I have to let the people that want to help in to make this job slightly easier.
One of my best and worst traits is my stubbornness and determination. For years I’ve tried to squash it down, refusal to try means less pain if there’s no success but on my journey, becoming stronger as I have done, it has become increasingly difficult to repress it. The problem at the moment is that my refusal to reconsider my stance on certain issues is not necessarily a positive thing. I think I’ve found a solution and make a decision and that’s it made, no changing it. It’s lead to some extremely poor choices on my part. On the other hand, there’s something inside me that just knows that if I commit to my recovery 100%..I will get better. I might not be ‘fixed’ or ‘cured’ or ‘normal’ but that doesn’t mean I can’t still be great, that I can’t meet my potential and push myself to achieve anything. In fact, I know deep down that if I conquer this battle there will be nothing in this world that can stop me.
I have faced hurdles and roadblocks along the way and I’m sure I have many more unexpected ones I’ll have to manoeuvre in the future but I’d like to hope that my two biggest ones for a while are dealt with. Of all the changes I’ve made in myself the past year, after all the personal growth these past 11 days have taught me more about myself than any of it. There are some things in life that evoke an immediate change in self and this has been one of those times.
My way wasn’t working, it’s time I took a step back and let the people that love me in to help. It’s time I truly accepted the help I’m being offered instead of trying to convince everyone why they shouldn’t be helping. I survived something lots of people don’t, I’m immensely fortunate. I believe everything happens for a reason so there must be a reason my time isn’t over.
I didn’t expect last night to affect me the way it did but I’m extremely thankful that it has. A more precious gift than many will comprehend but no less valuable to me because of it. So here’s to my journey from today on. It’s time to let go of the past and move on from what’s happened. It’s time to push myself on my journey of self discovery. It’s time to learn to live