All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

Let’s talk about suicide…Part II: My suicide attempts (up to 2007)

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SUICIDE IS A TOPIC MOST PEOPLE WISH TO SHY AWAY FROM. HOWEVER, I BELIEVE THAT DISCUSSING IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE THINK ABOUT KILLING THEMSELVES AND THEREFORE PROVIDE US WITH AN UNDERSTANDING ABOUT WE CAN DO TO HELP.

IF YOU ARE FEELING SUICIDAL, OR ARE THINKING OF HURTING YOURSELF, GO TO YOUR NEAREST HOSPITAL OR CALL A SUICIDE HELPLINE – IMMEDIATELY. HOP TO IT!

SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE – THIS HELPS!

(Before I go on I wish to point out that this post may be a little stilted, and if it’s possible, written even worse than previous posts. The scars I bare from these events are still visible to me, and recalling them is quite an emotional thing for me to do. They are also things that very few people know, as sharing tales of suicidal behaviour is generally not something you do whilst gathered round the campfire toasting marshmallows.)

Part II – My Suicide Attempts

I have in an earlier post briefly touched on my very-real experiences with depression. If you would like to read it first hand you can do so here, but to recap for those of you too pressed for time:

I have nearly killed myself four time in my life, all because the pain of life became too great for my coping mechanisms to deal with. This is the simple factor behind most suicides: on one side of the scales there is PAIN, on the other, for want of a better word, PLEASURE. When the pain keeps stacking up to a point there is not enough pleasure to balance things out…there’s a chance you’ll never see that person again. Ever. Not being a religious man I do not believe in heaven or hell. Death is final. The End. Fin. No more hugs.

In each of the cases I was able to re-balance the scales enough to keep on going, be it by my own strength, or through the unknown intervention of a third party.

1. November 2000…
I had spent the last 14 months backpacking: Scotland and Canada (but my journals are pointing this out). Those 14 months were, I believe in retrospect the best years of my life. They could have been better, things can always be better in hindsight – but they taught me more about people, life and existence than ANY university, college or educational establishment ever could.

As with all travels though they had to come to an end, and in September 2000 I had returned to my home-from-home (Inverness) to begin a college course. The first couple of months of this were tricky; problems with funding, friend trouble, places to live and general daily life wore me out and I experienced my first major episode of depression since I had begun travelling. [1]

And in early November, I packed a few meagre possessions, boarded a bus bound for Fort William and the next day journeyed to Glenfinnan (on the shores of Loch Shiel) where there is a rather loftily high railway viaduct spanning the glen – with an absolute killer view over the loch.

My intention was to jump. The weather was, as is often the case on the West Coast of Scotland, drizzly. You can’t actually call it rain, as it’s more a mist of water that drenches you before you even realise it’s raining. They call it West Coast Rain, and there’s nothing on earth quite like it.

I got as far as the end of the viaduct – I never made it to middle. I just stood there for a while, looking down into the glen and into my soul. Could I really go through with this?

No.

And what changed my mind on this occasion? It was actually very simple, I was thinking about a woman I had met during the last 14 months and I was thinking about how much I wanted to…well…to put it bluntly, I didn’t kill myself because I didn’t want to die a virgin.

It’s really as simple as that, and is a perfect piece of advice for people who are considering this drastic act. Whatever you do just think of ONE thing that you haven’t yet done, which your heart is singing to experience, and I guarantee it will make going through with it so much harder.

2. March 2006…
This one is actually a little more difficult to talk about. Not because I don’t want to, but because in order for me to explain it fully, I need to talk about other people. Now, this is something that I didn’t want to do with this blog – this is my blog, and although these people are major influences in my life I do not want to bring them into this tale without their knowledge.

Therefore, all I shall say is that my life had been suddenly struck with a revelation which rocked me to my core. It altered everything that had happened in the previous five years, and the upshot was I couldn’t cope. I made a very stupid decision to leave my job, as my plan was simple…I wasn’t coping. I couldn’t cope.

I had the plan in mind for about two weeks. I was going to go to Port Fairy in Victoria, enjoy the glorious Folk Festival, and then kill myself on the beach. Of all the places in Australia, this is my favourite, and I could think of no better place to commit suicide.

I said my goodbyes in Melbourne to those folks I would miss, I kicked back with the music, said a couple more goodbyes and then in the evening headed to the beach. A knife in my hand, a plan in my heart. What stopped me this time was two things:

i. The memory of the person I had said my last goodbye to: a person more important to me than my own life.
ii. A text message. A text message of such complete randomness in both timing and content that the only thing I could do was laugh inanely.

What really saved my life on this day was a text message about a television nature documentary about ants.

If the person who sent that message ever reads this, all I can say is:

— THANK YOU —

You see there’s another piece of advice – if you are ever considering suicide, however hard it may be, however much you just don’t believe there is, someone will miss you. If you think about them, then I guarantee once more it will make going through with it so much harder.

3. May 2007…
If you have read everything on this blog [2] then you will be aware that in March of this year I suffered a nervous breakdown. My entire life collapsed around me with complete disregard to all of the work I was doing to keep everything stable. If you’d like, you can read this journal entry and this post for more information as I don’t want to rehash here.

This is what I did:

i. After a fracking messed up morning I got back to my flat, massively not coping!
ii. I took one look at a painting, burst into tears, and then threw it across the room (it was an emotionally charged painting, not any old one)
iii. I grabbed a bottle of whisky and drank…
iv. …whilst writing a suicide letter which began ‘To those I love…’
v. After finishing the letter I stripped naked, masturbated (one last moment of pleasure) whilst looking at a photo, and then threw myself onto my bed.
vi. I then, with two swigs of whisky, swallowed whatever anti-depressants I had left.
vii. [darkness]
viii. [absolutely nothingness]
vix. Then…ooo, groggy!
x. Very fracking groggy! I opened my eyes and saw three things: an empty bottle of whisky, a letter in my handwriting and a photo.

The only reason – and I mean the ONLY reason I am alive right now is down to one thing: the quantity of anti-depressants I had left. Nothing saved me this time bar pure dumb fracking luck. So can we get a lesson from this? Well, aside from DON”T OVERDOSE ON ANTI-DEPRESSANTS, I guess we could say that even if you may want to die doesn’t mean the world wants you to. Fate, I guarantee, will make it so much harder for you to go through with.

4. October 2007.
Still reeling from a nervous breakdown, still reeling from a years worth of torment, still reeling as I type this. However much I want to go into major depth of this attempt I have not yet resolved the conflict in my own heart to do so. Thus, all I will say is that I planned this for days – no, weeks – and on the day in question I hiked over 50kms to a forest, attached a scarf around a tree branch, the other end around my neck, and let myself fall.

I am alive because…I don’t know why. For some reason, I fought my way free and coughed the air back into my lungs.

I don’t believe it was fate that saved me this time. I believe it was some dormant survival instinct within my head, as pretty much every pore of my being was telling me to go through with it. So, don’t overestimate that survival instinct.

Aside from these four attempts I have thought about suicide a lot. I think that it does, unfortunately, come with the symptoms of depression. I have phoned the suicide hot-line many times, but on only two occasions have I ever phoned someone I knew when I was in a moment of despair.

As I sit here typing, with the funky vibes of Count Baise somewhat innocuously scoring this post I am thinking about only two people.

One I will call Rachel (not her real name).

The other, I’ve already said I wouldn’t name as she’s the one that mentioned the ants, but she is without question the smartest woman I have ever known. After I nearly killed myself in May she told me, upon inadvertently seeing the letter I had written, something I will never forget:

“People who kill themselves are just being selfish. They don’t think about the people they leave behind, and what will happen to them. If you did this I would never forgive you.”

That’s not a direct quote – aside from the last line, which she definitely said – just how I’ve summed it up in my head. It is however absolutely true.

In the first part of this suicide discussion, I talked about how you should never tell someone to kill themselves.

In this part, I have talked about those times when I saw death as the only option.

However, in the final part, I will deal with what happens to the people you leave behind after killing yourself? And this is where Rachel comes in…

…because she is the only person I have ever known personally to kill herself.

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One thought on “Let’s talk about suicide…Part II: My suicide attempts (up to 2007)

  1. I’m glad you’re still here!

    I remember when I attempted suicide just not caring about what was going to happen. I hope I never get like that again.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I’ve done interviews where I’ve talked about my suicide attempt and as much as I hate admitting it, it’s really hard to talk about it.

    Thank you for being strong!

    Like

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