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…


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World Suicide Prevention Day: Dearest Samantha…

“WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY is an opportunity for all sectors of the community – the public, charitable organizations, communities, researchers, clinicians, practitioners, politicians and policy makers, volunteers, those bereaved by suicide, other interested groups and individuals – to join with the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the WHO to focus public attention on the unacceptable burden and costs of suicidal behaviours with diverse activities to promote understanding about suicide and highlight effective prevention activities.
~ International Association for Suicide Prevention ~

Not long before Christmas, 2008, I lost a much-loved and close friend to suicide. Her name was Samantha, and she was one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. Never judging, never cajoling, never belittling, she sought to find the best in everyone she came across and help them shine their light on the world. Talking of her – especially of her death – is something the brings me great pain, so much so, that I will frequently and often shy away from doing so.

She would have hated that.

Today, I’ve decided to share with you an unsent letter I’ve written to Samantha; the first step I’ve taken in the long and winding healing process before me. It was written as a stream of consciousness between 8:30am and 8:59am on the 10 September 2013; World Suicide Prevention Day.

decorativeline

10 September 2013

Dearest Samantha,

It’s been nearly five years since I last wrote those words. Back then, in those days of hope and courage, writing them filled me with such girlish excitement, for I knew that within hours I’d be reading the words ‘Dearest Addy’ followed by your (usually) bizarrely convoluted yet courageously honest, rambling retort.

But now?

Writing those two words fills me with sadness, for not only do I know there will be no reply, I know you won’t even be reading the words I’m struggling to find. How exactly do you say miss you thank you fuck you in the same letter without sounding like an uncompassionate, unstable jerk? How exactly do I release half a decade of pent-up, unspoken emotion without triggering me into doing the unthinkable? How exactly do I say what needs to be said without alienating my meager readership?

Let me guess, if you were going to reply to that string of questions you’d write some pithy, intellectual quote from some random bugger I’ve never heard of. You know, like the night you told me “If you worry about what other people think, you’ll always be their prisoner.” I guess that quote is as apt for this letter as it was for that random, heart-warming conversation. Like with everything, I overthink it to the point of exhaustion instead of going with my gut and doing or saying what I know in my soul I want to.

Bugger it.

You fucking broke my heart, Samantha, you know that, right? And I’m not just talking a slight crack or a minor fracture. I’m talking exploding it into a million gazillion tiny pieces that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men wouldn’t be able to put back together again without the help of the king’s woman.

What the fuck were you thinking? Fucking seriously? You didn’t even talk to me about it and you damn well know that you could’ve done, especially after all the emotional bullshit you dragged out of me. Were you embarrassed? Upset? Pissed off? Angry? Confused? Scared? All those things, probably, considering I’ve been in the position you were many times. And yeah, I know, I never asked for help either. But I never had someone the way that you had me. I would have understood, Samantha, you know that. So why the fuck didn’t you talk to me?

And don’t try to tell me it was accidental. You and I and your sister know that it wasn’t. Sure, I’ve tried to convince myself time and again over the last five years that it was all a big mistake. That you didn’t mean it. That it was just one of those things no-one could have predicted. But that entry, in your journal, the one for your sister…that was a goodbye, Samantha, and there’s only one bloody reason for writing a goodbye under the circumstances you wrote it. And that’s to say goodbye!

You knew you were leaving because you’d planned it. It was suicide, wasn’t it? However much I don’t want to, I already know the answer to that question. Why else have I chosen today of all days to write to you?

With all these fucking f-bombs you probably think I’m angry with you. Well I fucking am. Seriously. I am. You’ve never seen me this angry! Every fucking day for the last four and a half years I’ve been trying to make sense of why you did what you did, why you couldn’t talk to me, or Jess or anyone. Why you felt you had to go through everything all on your own – especially after all that time you spent bitching to me about never seeking help or opening up to anyone. Pot calling the kettle black, maybe? Or just a good ole fashioned dose of do as I say, not as I do.

So yeah, I’m effing fucking angry with you.

But I’m also missing you. Deeply. Absolutely. Unequivocally. Missing you.

I miss the endless conversations and email exchanges. I miss the completely random challenges we set ourselves. I miss the laughter and the tears, the smiles and sore cheeks. I miss you, Samantha, just you.

From the moment we first met in that ramshackle bar in Adelaide. From the moment my hand connected with your posterior. From the moment we lay beneath that tree sheltering each other from the cold. From the moment you messaged me and asked if I was the guy who’d streaked for you. I knew, deep down, that I had someone in my life who understood me completely.

I think – nay, I know – that this was the reason I loved you as completely as I did. Not once, ever, did you judge me. All the mental health shit that was consuming me back then, all the non-existent self-confidence and wishing I would just toddle off and die. You never once criticized me for being weak or wrong or lazy, you just got it. And I’d never really felt that before. I’d never felt anything like it. You weren’t someone who was trying to fix me or control me. You weren’t someone who was trying to mold me into someone you wanted or change me into someone I was never going to be. You listened to me; to my wants, desires, needs and feelings and you just let me be me.

But you did more than that, didn’t you. You knew there were parts of me that I couldn’t understand, which had confused and befuddled me for most of my life, so you chose to help me. You didn’t force it or demand any recompense, you just took time out of your life to help a scared little boy realize that he wasn’t someone to be afraid of, that all the confusion was just another part of me, a part that should be loved and cradled rather than punished or neglected.

And I’m pretty sure I never thanked you for that, until now.

Dammit Samantha, where have you been the last four and a half years? Although, if I were being honest, I’m kinda glad you haven’t been around the last four and a half years because you would hate the ‘man’ I’ve become. So consumed with trauma and pain, heartbreak and isolation, you wouldn’t recognize me anymore. The me that tore your ladybug underwear in a frenzy of excitement? The me that karaoked the hell out of Common People? The me that streaked down that bloody cold shopping mall? I can’t find him anymore. And you’d hate that, wouldn’t you?

That’s what you didn’t have to deal with Samantha; all the pain you left behind. You didn’t see Jess cry her heart out for three straight hours. You didn’t see me tear a room apart in a frenzy of grief and loss. You haven’t had to deal with the emptiness and sorrow that you left behind in the souls of the people who loved you – which were far-flung and many, dearest Samantha.

In spite of the anger I still feel (anger that would probably make you giggle, as it always did) I don’t hate you for what you did. I can’t, no matter how much I want to. I know what it feels like to want to die. I know that the only reason you did it was because of the pain you were feeling. Because of the pain that had consumed you past the point of whatever coping mechanisms you had.

For that’s all suicide is, isn’t it Samantha; suicide is what happens when someone’s pain outweighs their coping mechanisms of dealing with that pain. We’ve both been there, but only I crawled out the other side.

I can’t hate you because I miss you so much and one of the main reasons I miss you, is because I never had the opportunity to thank you for all you did for me.

Until now, in my own version of your bizarrely convoluted yet courageously honest, rambling retort! :p

A few months ago, one of my voices wrote a letter to you. You never got the chance to know her because she was something I was always too scared to talk to you about. I know it wouldn’t have made a difference to you if I heard voices, but I was too scared to talk about them to anyone back then. If you get the chance, you should read it, for she misses you too.

In her letter she talks about some of the things she misses about you; your random way of eating MacMuffins, your gorgeous way of pronouncing Tangerine, your ladybug underwear (oh, your ladybug underwear!)…and you know what, however much she lingered on the pain of your death and the senseless loss of your beautiful life, she’s right. I should be focusing more on all the wonderful things about you rather than getting lost in the pain of your death.

I should spend more time remembering what it was like to be curled up beside you as we watched My Neighbour Totoro or spending hours rambling away over a pint or two in some backstreet dive in Glasgow.

Or thinking of the way you leapt up in fright after sitting on that plastic chair in MacDonalds or how you helped me deal with the pain of abuse more succinctly than anyone else I’ve ever met.

Or perhaps I should be thinking of how you always weaved red into your outfits, of your ongoing love/hate relationship with your curls or the way you tried to lick your nose whenever you were excited.

Perhaps I should be thinking of all that could have been had I had the courage to tell you how I really felt about you, instead of beating myself up for remaining stoically silent throughout our time together.

But you knew that already, didn’t you?

I’m not going to say goodbye, because I know I’m going to write to you again. I don’t care that you may never read these words or that people will think I’m weird for wanting to write to someone who has passed on. Like you made me realize all those years ago; I don’t want to be a prisoner anymore, not to them, not to you and certainly not to myself.

I really did love you Samantha. And I think a part of me always will.

Wherever you are, wherever you may be, I hope you’re causing havoc and being as naughty as ever.

With all my heart,
Addy xoxox

world-suicide-prevention-day-banner

Further reading:


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Sane – Research Bulletin & Questionnaire on Suicide, Self Harm and Mental Illness

“We’re now collecting views and responses for SANE’s next Research Bulletin on suicide, self-harm and mental illness. The research will improve understanding of what helps people when they have suicidal feelings or when they deliberately harm themselves, and results will be used to pass on practical tips through SANE’s education resources and to inform and sustain campaigning for improved services and care.

If you’ve ever had suicidal thoughts or have self-harmed – and are confident that you will not be upset by answering questions about the these times – then please participate in the research survey to provide your views on what support helped, or would have helped, at this time and what ensured you stayed safe.

The survey is open for another three weeks, closing 16 November 2009. To view the survey click here.”



In the interest of sharing openly, here were my responses:

1. Have you ever seriously thought about ending your life?
YES
2. In the past year have your ever made a plan to end your life?
5 or MORE
3. Have you ever made a serious suicide attempt?
YES
4. In the past year have you made a serious suicide attempt?
YES
5. Before you made the attempt did you tell anyone you were feeling suicidal?
YES
6. Who did you tell?
FRIEND
7. Was it hard to talk about feeling suicidal?
YES
8. Did you feel understood and taken seriously?
NO
9. Did you, or the person you spoke with, try to get help for how you were feeling before your attempt?
NO
10. Were you diagnosed with a mental illness before your attempt?
YES
11. As a result of your suicide attempt did you have any medical attention?
NO (go to question 15)
15. Have you ever engaged in a self-harming behaviour such as cutting or burning?
YES
16. If Yes, were you feeling at the time, that you wanted to end your life?
NO
17. Were you diagnosed with a mental illness before the self-harm?
YES
18. After the self-harm, did you tell anyone?
NO (go to question 20)
20. As result of your self-harm did you have any medical attention?
YES
21. If Yes, were you provided with a crisis plan?
NO
22. Were you connected up with services and supports such as psychiatrist or psychologist, mental health services or GP?
NO
23. Were you provided with any problem solving therapy?
NO
24. Do you still receive mental health care from a psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health services or GP?
NO
25. Have you ever sought information from a Helpline or website on things to do so you stay alive and don’t hurt yourself?
YES
26. If Yes, have you found this helpful?
NO
27. What things help most when you are feeling overwhelmed and suicidal or about to self-harm?
TALKING TO FAMILY/FRIENDS
28. Have you had help to understand situations where you may be more at risk of suicidal thinking or self-harm? (Eg changing medication, moving house, relationship ending).
YES
29. Have you had help to understand the warning signs that you may be feeling more suicidal or likely to self-harm? (Eg spending less time than usual with friends, drinking too much, talking about death)
YES
30. Do you do any of the following to help you feel better able to cope and less likely to have suicidal or self-harming thoughts? (choose all appropriate)
SPENDING TIME WITH FRIENDS
SPENDING TIME WITH FAMILY
INVOLVEMENT WITH ARTS/DRAMA/MUSIC PROGRAMS
WORKING – PAID/VOLUNTARY


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Let’s Talk About Suicide – Part IV: Stephanie. Her grace, my guilt.

For Stephanie,
…Would you mind if I pretended we were somewhere else…


…doing something we wanted to…

Suicide is one of the great ugly words which few like to say and even fewer hear. It’s one of the touchiest subjects out there, even more so than paedophilia or child abuse. We’re not allowed to talk about it in public, nor in private. Not to our family, friends or lovers for fear of upsetting them or causing worry. So who do we talk about it to? We’re encouraged to phone Lifeline, the Samaritans or – preferably – seek professional help. Have you ever seen the prices of psychologists or counsellors? Checked the prices lately for a visit to the GP? Ever had the courage to admit yourself at ER when suicidal? Wanna take that chance? Unless you have extreme confidence, or can access a free service or have a shitload of money you’ve no chance. Even those helplines are hard to talk to without courage unless you’re seriously desperate. We live in a society where one of the most important topics is one of the last great taboos. So who does one talk to when you don’t know where else to turn? What if you don’t have many friends? Like me…or Stephanie?

…cause all this living makes me wanna do is die cause I can’t live with you…

Stephanie was 23 years old. A gifted photographer with a knack for seeking out the beautiful in the forgotten, bizarre and sad. Physically, in an ironic twist of fate, very much a cross between Kathy and (later) Sa5m, only with red hair. She made me laugh, she was whip-smart and if we’d ever actually met I’m sure a friendship would have blossomed. We never did meet though because she took her life before we had the chance. A bright life lost and it was my fault. I was responsible.

…and you don’t even care…

Steph first contacted me because she didn’t know where else to turn. Her email just said Hey and found your blog and a few other niceties which I hear from time to time. They’re, well, nice to hear, they bolster me up a bit. Then it said I think about death too, that must make me as looney as you, hey? and then signed off with a single thanks only with an x in place of the k and s.

I didn’t write back after reading it. I didn’t spend much time online back then other than when job hunting – and I had enough enough problems of my own after the events of Alice a couple of months before, moving back home and trying to rebuild my life. I just left the Internet cafe after signing off and headed into town.

I spent the night walking through the islands, my favourite spot in Inverness, thinking a whole pantheon of thoughts. Of my stupidity with Grace, my guilt, of that line, of wombats and shinglebacks and CVs and vegemite and feather dusters and pizza and Jack Bauer and Kathy and Mae and Diane and pyjamas and promises both kept and broken and jam, who doesn’t think about jam? But always my mind kept coming back to Grace, my guilt and that line. When I eventually returned home in the early hours I curled into bed and when I woke up in a sweat after a particularly disturbing dream knew what I had to do.

…Would you mind if I pretended I was someone else…

There was only reason for putting that word there. The amount of things she could have written are endless: cheese jam, butts, the Doctor, pancakes, whipped cream, wombats, Battlestar Galactica, voles, badgers and the whole army of small mammals which invaded all those blog posts, sex, undies and a whole plethora of other random things which I love which popped up on the blog. Why death? Why empathise that word?

I’d known from the fist time I’d read it, I just hadn’t wanted to admit it. I’d wanted to forget about it. I didn’t need more proof that Kathy was right all along. I should move on and forget about it. But shouldn’t I be proving her wrong? That flashing two word sign and arrow had been blinking away for a day – nope, not “LIVE NUDES” but “CLASSIC INDICATOR”

So after cleaning off from the dream I headed back into town to use the Internet for the second day straight. I had enough guilt coursing through me, I had to write back. It was a response that I kept controlled; thanking her for the kind words and then, without being confrontational, asked if she was okay and that if she wanted, she could talk to me. She didn’t have to be alone.

…with courage in love and war…

When her response came a couple of days later it was – and excuse the crude metaphor – as if she had vomited her life onto the screen. Far longer than the first, far more emotional, and from the first read through I could sense two things:
1) that she had obviously kept so much bottled in from everyone she knew for a long time.
2) How similar she and I, and our experiences, were.

She told me of abuse both emotional and sexual, of being dumped by text message with no explanation, of self harm and depression and no official diagnosis. She told me she had no friends as most had sided with her ex and the rest had fled from her “down” mood. Her family didn’t understand why she couldn’t just “cheer up”. She’d lost her college course because of her illness. She was lost, alone and scared. She told me she’d been researching ways to kill herself when shed come across my blog. She’d read it all (one of the few, and thus gets a medal) and wishes she’d had the courage and strength I had. She’d written to me out of desperation, fear and that she felt she knew me somehow.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it wasn’t me any more. That events had changed me. I wasn’t strong or courageous. I was weak, selfish and guilt ridden. I was then, as I am now, as far from “Addy” as I’ll ever be. He’s gone.

…I used to think that’s what I was…

Instead I told her how she was brave for admitting her feelings, for seeking help. She was courageous for surviving the abuse she suffered. I asked her to seek help, go see a Doctor, a professional, talk to her family and make them understand things were not all okay. I also asked her questions; who she was, what she loved, where she was, talk to me. Not just about how she felt but anything. In other words I was trying to distract her, get her to focus on her passions instead of the darkness whilst also encouraging her to seek professional help.

This is how I found out that she resembled a red haired Kathy/Sa5m with a naughty grin.
This is how I found out about her love of photography and art, and her obvious skill.
This is how I got to know who she was and what made her tick and smile and laugh and cry and feel all gooey.

…but now this lying hurts too much…

All this from just a half dozen or so emails, a few MSNs and the need of two lonely people to feel as if someone cared. Two people who seemed so alike, whose experiences had been so similar, who had known agony and loss and the exquisite incomprehensible link between pleasure/pain of life/death, had found each other when she needed help.

…And I don’t know what for…

So why, I’m sure you’re asking, if you got on so well did you not meet? Well, there’s the rub, the further irony, for she lived in Australia, Sydney to be exact. Whereas I was 15000 miles away in the Highlands of Scotland. If I hadn’t gone home would she still be here?

So why, I’m sure you’re asking, if you got on so well, and were so concerned, did you not get help for her? Well, how could I? I had only an email address – she wouldn’t give me her phone or snail mail. Plus, I’m not Willow; blogs, HTML, websites and porn – sure, we can all do that – but hacking, nope, not a chance.

I did what little I could. All I could think to do. I talked, communicated, offered support, all those things which had eaten away like maggots of the Guilt of grace and Rachel. I’d let her down, should have saved them. Here, now, with Stephanie, I had a chance. I was getting through to her.

And then…nothing.
And then…still nothing.
And then…even more nothing.

I checked emails less, threw myself deeper into job hunting and self harm and Wire in the Blood and had to stop watching during the last scene of “Hole in the Heart” because the silence from Steph was deafening my mind.

I’d hoped she was on holiday.
I’d hoped she was in hospital.
I’d hoped she was happy.
Getting laid.
Getting hugs.
Getting kisses.
Getting bum squeezes and tickles.

She wasn’t.

I found out after nearly two weeks of silence that I had failed (yet) again. That the second email I read that day was right. In yet another ironic twist Stephanie had hung herself.

…How could I be such a fool to think that there was anything that your love could bring to my life to my eyes what I wanna see that I wanted your love to belong to me…

It was my fault. I was responsible. I should have saved her. Through writing a blog she had chanced upon me, me, who she had asked for help, had failed to save her like she had reached out to me for.

Maybe if I had never written this blog she would still be alive; snapping photos, cracking smiles and relishing her love in the lost, forgotten and sad.

It was like Kathy had said to me once…

…but I’ll stand if you want me to…

In June, I returned to Australia. The UK wasn’t my home, I knew that, and I wanted to be back there. I flew into Sydney. I wondered what it would have been like had she still been alive, whether we would have met. I took time to visit her favourite piece in the gallery, seeing her reflection everywhere. I took time to sit on a bench she’d loved and anecdoted about. I took time to walk over the bridge at night, stare into the icy depths. When I visited her grave I sat for a while, thinking of her, of Rachel and so many souls lost.

I hate neither Rachel nor Steph. I hate myself for not helping them.
I do not blame them for being selfish. I blame myself for not being there for them.
They were in pain and I had let them down.

The world had let them down.

A world where helplines must be paid for, where GPs charge over $60 and medicine and psychologists enter into the realm of extortion.

A world where there’s a blanket ban on ever talking about the dreaded S, D, A and MH words. Where empathy is now a swear word, it’s meaning forgotten.

A world where work, status, money, expensive jeans, over priced restaurants, fat cat politicians, alcohol and self – the increasingly onmi-present “me” – take precedence over the raw emotion of human kind.

Heaven forbid we talk about how we feel in fear of upsetting someone. In fear of not making them eternally happy. In fear of so many things. Too many things. I’m as guilty as anyone.

…my legs are strong and I’ll move on but honey I’m weak in the knees for you…

Coda
The night I had found out about Steph I listened to so many songs that they became less individual compositions and more a comforting doona of sound. Something to wrap my emotions into and hide away from the world as I skipped, repeated and drowned my thoughts into oblivion.

As the music surged my mind became a hurricane of confused thoughts, pain, grief, memory and guilt. Imagine the opening of The Gift – only lasting a few hours.

Through it all I just kept coming back to that email. Not the one from Steph, but the one I had read moments later, the second one.

The one from {screwyou@}.

I have unfortunately lost the actual text. But it told me I was a mentally ill useless retard who never helped anyone and that I should just fuck off and die (amongst other things…of which this is the polite version).

The most perfectly timed email since Kathy’s of July 2007 – which will always be second only to the timed perfection of that text message in terms of destruction caused.

And it was right. My efforts had failed. I had failed all of them. Another friend lost and more guilt to consume me.

It was like Kathy had said to me once…you’re like a cancer, sucking away our happiness, destroying our lives.

The grace and ecstasy of the guilt and grief made me realise that night I wasn’t who I believed I was. It had been clear for years, so many people telling me, trying to let me know. Kathy, Mae, Grace, Diane, Addy…Rachel…

…now Stephanie…

…someone else to miss, to cry tears for, to wish for peace and happiness as I enveloped myself into that doona of sound, noise, images, memories, ghosts, guilt and grief.


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What happened in October, the day I tried to kill myself.

SUICIDE IS A TOPIC MOST PEOPLE WISH TO SHY AWAY FROM.
DISCUSSING IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE KILL THEMSELVES
AND WHAT WE CAN ALL DO TO HELP PEOPLE WHO ARE FEELING THIS WAY.

IF YOU ARE FEELING SUICIDAL OR ARE THINKING OF HURTING YOURSELF GO TO OUR NEAREST HOSPITAL or CALL A SUICIDE HELPLINE IMMEDIATELY.

So yeah.
October.
Cool.
May as well go for it…
…why not?

The Earthquake

Decision was made and the obligitory suicide letter was written on the 1st; that was the deadline.

Left the letter somewhere where it would be found on the Wednesday night.

Then left the CBD on the Thursday morning at 8:30am headed for the Dandenongs.
I love the Dandenongs.
One of the best places in Melbourne.
Kinda wanted to die there.
So I wandered, moseyed and hiked my way through such delightful suburbs as: Richmond, Malvern, Toorak, Camberwell, Caulfield, Glen Waverly…god knows, god knows, umm, all over the fucking place really.

[Look, I’ll try find a map okay just to quell all your morbid fascinations!]

Anyhow, at about 5pm I got to this park which once again I forget the name of ‘cause I’m just in a really bad mood right now and have fucked so many goddamn fucking braincells this year I can’t even remember my own name half the time – medication – poking – prodding – CLL – goddamn all that crap’s really messed me up.

So I’m sitting in this park listening to the birds and I’m still a ways from Belgrave so I sod the birds and keep on trucking it along the freeway until I climb through Ferntree Gully and onwards to Belgrave.

I’m a singing and a humming and a crying and a cursing ‘cause by fuck I’ve had enough of this world by now and all I wanna do is die, and I mean who the hell wouldn’t after walking 50 odd kms in one day to get to a forest to hang myself – when I could have just stayed in melbourne and done it at 8:30 in the morning and saved me all the blisters!!!

What the hell am I a masochist? ?

Anyhows, I FINALLY make it to Belgrave and up the hill and into the forest and go pretty damn deep in there and find me a tree, and pull out me scarf and tie it pretty tight round the branch. The other end I tie firmly round my neck, goddamn tight just to be sure, and then I stand on the tree off the ground; cause there really is no point just standing on the ground – that way you’re just a man attached to a tree by a scarf, which is just silly!

So I’m standing on the tree and all I gotta do is fall, and I’m thinking about this person and I’m thinking about that person and I’m crying and a sobbing and basically being a weak little twat so I just let myself fall.

The scarf tightens.
I gag and gasp.
Gasp.
Gasp. Gasp.
Finally I get some goddamn fucking peace.
Finally I get to save the world.

WRONG!

Next thing I know I’m tearing at the scarf trying to get it free…next thing you know I’m crashing onto the ground sucking in air. See, second time this year I couldn’t even kill myself properly. I mean, FUCK! What further proof does one need that I’m a worthless failure???? Meadbh loved that.

Stumble back to Ferntree Gully then; call the folks, find out I’ve been registered a missing person, call the police, call the folks, have a bawl, call the folks, then illegally ride a train back to the CBD without a ticket (why give a fuck?), end up at the police station (there’s that cute butt for the first time), get taken to the hospital for a psych review…then…

…I AM GIVEN THREE (THREE!!) ANTI-DEPRESSENT TABLETS TO LAST ME THE WEEKEND AND SENT HOME – ALONE – SENT HOME WHERE I WILL BE ALONE; A MERE FEW HOURS AFTER NEARLY KILLING MYSELF!!!!!!!! I MEAN WHAT THE FFFRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCKKKKKKKKKK!!!!

My memories of the following three days are of pretty much cowering on the couch in fear, never moving, because if I did then chaos may ensue.

Which leads me to a question: WHY would you send someone who is suicidal away from the hospital to where they will be alone? Is it just me or is this just bordering on complete and utter apathetic madness?

The Afterschocks

I saw my psychologist a few days later who reiterated that she believed me to be severely depressed, and I think the only thing I can say about that is…!
I also went to a local GP who gave me a slightly bigger prescription of anti-depressents.
My family were as supportive as they could be from the other side of the world, conversations with Meadbh increased, and I sent gifts to the police and people whom had been in contact with the letter.

I thought that was all, but a month and a half later I received an email saying the police had gone to an old place of work of mine, who had got in contact with this person to find out if they knew where I was. Just wish to God I had known about this earlier, a month and a half! Feel so bad about that as never expected them to find out.

Yet further proof that suicide can impact on people you never expect it to.

The Retrospect

I was going to kill myself because I was sick of being alive.
I was going to kill myself because in the months leading up to October I had been convinced I was an evil grostesque little twat who did not deserve to live.
I was going to kill myself because I want to help the world, and my death was the only way (in the long term) that I could foresee this happening.

Those reasons sound fracked up to the point of being bullshit OF COURSE THEY ARE! When you are depressed and suicidal you are not really thinking, simple as that, what you believe is not necessarily the truth.

You have become so desperate that all you want to do is die, so whatever reason you give for choosing this option will sound crap and annoying to those that know you.

I still believe all of those three things, plus half of what I wrote in the letter. I have been fighting and battling and skirmishing these problems since March, and the energy and drive has been slowly beaten from me (both physically and mentally).

Some days – like last weekend – I really do want to die because I just can’t take it anymore. Not the isolation, the loneliness, the pain, the memories, the regrets, the loss of everything I ever had (something which you can’t even imagine, trust me, you can’t until it’s happened to you), not the monotony or the “whats the point in fighting any more, nothings ever gonna change,”

The hardest thing has been that I have in no way come to terms with the fact I had beaten depression, only to have it collapse around me in a matter of days. Overcoming something you’ve faught for ten years, and then suddenly bam bam bam a series of exterior (and some interior) forces kicking your ass back down; it really does make you think, well why bother??

Some days, I do wanna live. They’re just not all that frequent. It’s actually a testiment to how strong I am that I am still here.

Can I promise I will never kill myself or attempt suicide again?

No.

Sorry.
I can’t.


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My somewhat erratic, somewhat messed up weekend

So yeeaahhhh…

…on Saturday night to celebrate the triumphant kicking out of old Johnny boy, whilst the rest of Australia was partying with alcohol, scantily clad women and generally having a right old knees up. I was partying with my old stable mate the belt and generally having a right old welts up.

Then on Sunday morning – whilst most Australians were vomiting and grrrrling through their hangovers – I was slicing and grrrrling through my knife slices.

(It had been quite a while since I pulled out that old trick, and even though it annoys me to describe it as such, the pain I was left with on my arm was rather orgasmic.)

Then I burst into tears.
Then I got scared cause I was still holding the knife.
Then I scurried around and cleaned up the bleeding.
Then I moseyed around for my list of “emergency contacts”.
Then I phoned the ’24hr Nurse on Call’ number and had a conversation.
Then I tried to get in contact with the CAT team.
Then I got frustrated and threw the knife across the room
(what? you would have preferred it if I’d thrown it at myself…nearly did!)
Then I was in a fit of panic and fear and knew I had to do something.

So I went to the hospital – which for someone hovering over suicide is a pretty darn tough thing to do; so much easier to let everything just fade to black.

I talked to myself the whole time there, which was about 20mins, just this random insane guy wandering the streets of Melbourne one Sunday arvo having a right old bitch session with himself. Had to. Only way to stop myself doing ‘something’.

Got into A&E and told them what was happening, they took my details, had a wee look at my arm. Which if I had a camera I would post a photo of but I don’t, as like everything they’ve all gone, so will describe it as if my left arm was attacked by a trio of angry cacti from wrist to shoulder. Nothing serious, but cacti are pretty vicious when they get going.

Talked to someone, don’t remember his name…ahhhhhh, benzos.

Addy likes benzos!

Then on Monday I was supposed to be seen by the CAT team, in fact it had indeed been promised to me on Sunday, but was informed that they were not able to – so was sent home.

NOTE: I HAVE THE UTMOST RESPECT FOR ANYONE WHO WORKS IN THE MENTAL HEALTH FIELD, ESPECIALLY IN AUSTRALIA. HOWEVER, THIS IS THE SECOND TIME I HAVE BEEN SUICIDAL AND SENT HOME ALONE. IT REALLY SHITS ME! IT TAKE A FUCKING HUGE EFFORT FOR ME TO ASK FOR HELP WHEN LIKE THAT AND YOU SHOULD NEVER EVER NEVER FRACKING EVER LEAVE A POTENTIALLY SUICIDAL PERSON ALONE!

Anyway, Monday was a bitch!
I spent most of the afternoon sitting under a tree shaking and rocking slowly in some insane episode of insanity which would be enough to make most people piss themselves laughing. But if you’ve ever been in that position, trust me, it ain’t funny! Early in the evening I had a massive fit and went a bit crazy, had to phone home, had to have a cigarette, as I was shit scared that if I didn’t my arm would look like it had been attacked by an angry Venus fly trap! (i.e – completely bitten off) Managed somehow to get through Monday night, it’s all still a bit of a blur, mostly it involved me yelping “this is my tree – getaway!!!” like some possessed miniscule yapper type dog being played by James Mason in a film…unless that was just a dream, not sure :)

Today, Tuesday, finally got to see the CAT team! YAY! After eleven long months, finally, a wee bit of actual help! So we talked, and I yammered like some possessed squirrel frantically clutching his glass of water as if it contained the holiest nuts in the world. Explaining my potted history of freakish insanity (including some gems I haven’t even mentioned on this blog yet – but we will get there when I can squeeze them in)
Eventually they thrusted some new exotic type of medication on me and I buggered off back into the wild Melbournian afternoon to find another tree to protect and proclaim my own.

So that’s been my wonderful awe-inspiring utterly pathetic weekend. Belts, knives, medication, suicidal inclinations, trees, parks, CATs and dopey medication enduced hallucinations as I battled to control a mixed episode triggered by one diagnosis last week: “You’re bipolar,”

Aren’t you all glad you ain’t around me! :)

PS…a big thank you to the nurse for looking after me on Sunday, you’re a gem :)
PS…Oh joy! It’s midnight…oohhh, the next 24hrs are gonna be fun! Not! I think if I can make it through them, I may be able to claw myself out of this episode…tick, tock…should be a riot!


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My Suicide Letters (from May and October)

This is the suicide letter I wrote for my October (and also May) suicide attempts, complete and unedited, and as with all my shitty outpourings of writing it’s a bloody epic!

Frack, if I’m gonna die, may as well go out with a War and Peace rather than a Mr Man.

If you choose to read it; I recommend a few drams of Glenfiddich single malt.To those I love,

When the following letter was first written I couldn’t go through with it – so I set a new deadline. One last effort to make things work and rebuild my life – within a week someone told me the four words that have been echoing in my head ever since. Hindering every effort I was making! Believe me, if you can think of it, I’ve tried it: reconnect with old friends, job hunting on a daily scale, citizenship applications, volunteering, yes days, friend maker websites, agencies, chat rooms, social groups, support groups, fan forums, pubs, clubs, writing, spontaneous acts of kindness and support, purveyors of sexual favours, dating agencies, spontaneous conversation, chasing my dreams, chasing…well…anything.

It feels like the world has been rejecting me left right and centre – every day a new rejection, every day some new pain to deal with. Those same four words ringing in my head you should kill yourself, you should kill yourself…and it all started because of glandular fever. That’s what I think anyway. It’s just…now? Now just can’t feel anything, can’t even smile.Just wanted to be one of the good guys, someone who cared, helped, inspired. But am convinced after this year I’m the most grotesque person on the face of the planet. That ultimate evil, bringer of pain and torment. In the words of my hero “Elton, fetch me a spade!” (just kidding)… ”I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,”

But now the deadline is here my energy has gone and I realise the only way to be my hero and care about the world is to destroy the biggest threat to it, namely me. Kindof ironic really, to become the person I wanted to be, I have to kill myself.

To save the world, I have to leave the world.

To those I love, [from attempt in May 2007]

So how do these letters generally start? Hmmm? I guess with the only way: that I have decided to kill myself. And before the ink even dries on that sentence move swiftly onto the ‘why’ which is something that has always bothered me. Isn’t it fracking obvious!?! I’M KILLING MYSELF BECAUSE I AM SO VERY TIRED OF BEING ALIVE THAT I JUST CANNOT DO IT ANY MORE.

Over the last twelve months everything that I cared about, everything that I love, everything I exhausted myself fighting to hold onto has been lost. So basically, I have finally relented and decided to take the easy option – the most selfish and hurtful way out…because even though I never considered myself either of these things it has been so resolutely hammered home to me over the last few months that this is actually what I am I have been so resolutely and completely destroyed that I cannot see any reason why anyone would want me to exist.

I mean, c’mon, ask yourself, why would anyone want to know someone who was (amongst other things) LAZY. UNPASSIONATE, TRAGIC, NEGATIVE, UNSPONTANIOUS, BORING, UNEMOTIONAL, DECEITFUL, SELFISH, UNHELPFUL, UNCARING, NOT TRUSTWORTHY, A BAD FRIEND, TOO EMOTIONAL (!)

Why would any of you want to have someone like that in your live?

Why would any of you want any one like to exist?

I think the honest answer for all of you would be that you wouldn’t. So hey, here’s one worthless soul vacating the planet. It’s a good thing really: there’ll be more space for the rest of you, more water, more fun, more laughter, more of everything really.

It’s actually a good thing, it means you can all stop worrying about me, you can all stop thinking about me. It means that this emotionally dangerous man can stop putting the lives of the people he cares about at risk. It means you can live the happy lives you all deserve without me dragging you all down into my insidious tragedies.

I never wanted to be responsible for the pain of the people that I love, and as I cause this almost subconsciously over and over, the only way I can stop it is to die.

I always tried to live my life. I tried to be honest and open. I tried to be decent and nice. I tried to treat people with respect, dignity, care, compassion. I guess I failed. I always tried to focus on the good within a person’s soul rather than allow their flaws to overwhelm my opinion of them. To me, this is the only way to love someone, because everyone has flaws and if you can’t compromise and deal with them then you will never love anyone and no-one will love you because no-one who walks this Earth will ever be perfect. You must find a way to deal with these flaws otherwise they will consume you.

Life is about accepting people for who they are, be they good or bad. If you can’t accept that, then the resulting anger will destroy friendships and destroy lives. Just as mine has been destroyed.

I realise now that it is worthless having a good heart. To achieve anything in this world, be it work, friendship or relationship you must treat everyone and thing like shit. The world is a cold, callous place and to get anywhere you must be deeply arrogant, deeply selfish, hypocritical, lie through your teeth and above all else an evil and manipulative bastard.

The feelings of others are irrelevant, as long as you get what you want.

Unfortunately my heart prevents me from being this. I just can’t do it (and yes, I’m aware of the contradiction here, contrary to popular belief I’m not stupid!!)

After months, years, a lifetimes of trying my hardest I no longer have any strength left. I am physically, emotionally and mentally drained. All I desired was to love the world and the beautiful wonderful people who populate it. I know now that I have failed, that I will never be the person I dreamed of being. I did come close – but as I say, I’m not arrogant enough for this world. I no longer wish to remain hare. Don’t have the strength any more.

PLEASE FORGET ME!

I did no good in my life. Despite trying to help people, despite trying to love them, despite everything I tried to do for people, I failed. I just spread misery.

My last wish is to be forgotten by everyone, I’m not worth any more time. Do this one last thing for me. I’m not worth it. I’m not worth anything. I don’t deserve anything.

With love and hugs always,
Addy xxx

To my family you have my undying love. I miss you all. Don’t know what else to say. I hope you can understand someday.

In time, everyone will realise that this is for the best. I helped no-one, was a burden to all, and understand why I never achieved my dreams – I never deserved to. But hey, I get to save the world from it’s most reviled creature.
Yay !

…and just when you thought it was over, all epic’s need an epilogue…

NO ONE should blame themselves for this. It is not your fault. It is my fault. Despise ME. Hate ME. Never forgive ME. I’m the one who fucked up. I’M THE ONE WHO MADE ALL THE MISTAKES (and believe me I am aware of every single mistake I’ve ever made in my life!) I’m the one who never cared about anyone. I’m selfish, pathetic, indecent, uncaring, unpassionate.
DESPISE ME
HATE ME
BLAME ME
I’m a worthless waste of space. So don’t forgive me. Don’t even think about me. And don’t go blaming yourselves or other people and hating them or being angry at them…else I’ll come back and haunt you by making scary/cute “oooooooooooo” noises, hiding cheese under your socks, stashing wombats in your underwear drawers and well, a myriad of other bizarre and kinky haunting techniques to make you squeal and shudder.
This is my fault.
So just HATE ME. BLAME ME. NEVER FORGIVE ME and despise me for the rest of eternity. Everyone does as it is!

…and I’ll leave off the pseudo schizophrenic bullshit which I scrawled all over the paperwork, because the psychologists are having a goddamn field day with that lot!!!!!


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Let’s talk about Suicide…(Epilogue)

Whilst re-reading my posts regarding suicide I realised there was something I forgot to discuss.

Did you know that approximately 70% of people who commit suicide actually tell someone about their plans beforehand?

The problem is they do so in such a way that you may not realise what they are planning to do.

So how do they do it? Do they invite you out for tea and lamingtons and casually drop a “oh, by the way, I’m going to be jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge on Sunday. Just wanted to let you know you’ve been awesome, but, yeah. See ya,”

Nope, they do it in far more devious ways than that.

What I missed out of the posts I wrote earlier this week were the signals – some subconscious, some conscious – that people who are planning to kill themselves use to tell people they are going to commit suicide. Now, this list isn’t hardened proof, because sometimes people just suddenly do it. However, for those with a plan I would pretty much say that they would give off at least one of them.

Signs and signals someone may be about to commit suicide.

1. Talking about dying.
This one’s a pretty big one. Now we’ve all probably talked about wanting to die at some point, often out of exasperation, but if someone is suffering from depression and they start talking about dying – death, disappearing, wanting to die, not wanting to go on any longer – those alarm bells should start tingling a little. On every single occasion I attempted suicide I did this.
2. Recent Loss
Another biggie which can push someone to suicide, especially if they are depressed. A sudden loss of something important – death of family member/friend, relationship breakup, loss of job, money, divorce etc. If someone has just suffered a loss, and is talking about wanting to die, those alarm bells should go up a notch. Even the loss of something along the lines of confidence, self-esteem or a loss of religious faith can be indicative of what may happen.
3. Extravagant spending/Giving away important personal possessions
So you’re friend is depressed, they’ve just suffered a loss of some kind and they’ve talked about death…now they’ve started spending it up and giving things away. WHOAH! This is a huge signal! They are giving things away which are of important sentimental value because they will not have any further use for them! They’re spending because they will not have any further use for their money! This person is REALLY trying to tell you something.
4. No Hope for the Future
Do I need to explain this one? If someone has just suffered a loss, is depressed, talking about dying, giving away all their lovely hard earned things and in addition express without question that there is no hope for a future – or that they cannot see anything good happening in their future – this is them pretty much taking you out for tea and lamingtons and telling you they’re about to jump off the Golden Gate bridge. Alarm bells should now have become a plank of wood giving you are short sharp WHACK on the arse to wake you up!

In my opinion, if someone is doing the above 4 they are asking you to help them in the ONLY way they know how to ask. If they’re also doing some of the following, they definitely are!

5. Previous suicide attempts
6. Making Wills
7. Loss of interest in life: activities, events, things they previously enjoyed.
8. Excessive abuse of alcohol, drugs, cigarettes.
9. Visiting/Contacting old friends or family member. Also, resolving of any unfinished business which they want to resolve.
and
10. They – after being depressed – suddenly, without warning, become “happy”
This is because they are at peace with their decision. They know what they’re going to do, and finally, after however long suffering, they are going to get the peace they deserve. This one is dangerous because it may make you think they are “better” and no longer at risk. Whereas the truth is, it’s probably the biggest signal of them all – especially for someone who has been going through a lengthy period of depression.

[NOTE on the above list: this is NOT conclusive! Please do not read as gospel, someone planning suicide may do all of them, or none of them. If they have a history of previous suicide attempts, any appearance of these signals should arose deeper concern.]

Now the thing is what do you do?

Some suggestions…from my own experiences, the only thing I can suggest is this: ask them!

“Do you sometimes feel so bad you think about suicide?”
or
“Have you ever thought about taking your own life?”

Don’t be afraid to use the word suicide. And most importantly LISTEN to them. The simple fact that you are asking them, means you are concerned about them, which indicates to them you care about them. You are taking them seriously, and that’s important because if anyone ever mentions suicide you have to TAKE IT SERIOUSLY! Always, without fail, take it seriously.

Speak to them about how they’re feeling, try not to judge or mock them. I think also, which would be hard, but try not to show disapproval of what they are planning.

Once the conversation is under way it is important to ascertain how urgent the situation is.
Ask them questions along the lines of:
“Do you have a plan?”
“Have you thought about how you’d do it?”
“Have you attempted suicide before?”
This way you will have some idea of how dangerous the situation is, so don’t underestimate the problem. And please, ask HOW and WHEN long before you ask WHY. It is vital to determine how close they are to committing suicide before you help deal with the reasons for it. These can be dealt with after the situation has passed it’s ‘critical’ point.

What you could do depending on the urgency of the situation, is to form a verbal contract with them. If you think they are going to be committing suicide in the near-future, ask them to call you before they go through with their suicidal feelings.

Finally, really the only thing to do once you have talked about it, is to seek help.

Contact a suicide crisis helpline.

Suicide is one of the touchiest subjects there is. No-one is comfortable talking about it, it’s a highly charged emotional minefield. It is however important to talk about it, because it’s only by talking that understanding, help and support can be offered.

If you are worried that someone you know may be planning on committing suicide.
Don’t be afraid to talk about it.
Don’t be afraid of seeking help.
It is better to act on your suspicions, because by not trying to help, frankly, you may lose them forever.