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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Update: Imploding

Yesterday, I had a long, lengthy and languid conversation with Meadhbh. She’s worried about me. She says I’ve lost my faerie sparkle. And she’s right. There is currently no happiness in my life. There is no joy, no contentment, no relaxation and no motivation. There is nothing but stress, depression and a morose malaise that I cannot seem to break. Throughout the conversation she tried to spark my interest; we talked about Samantha, whom I miss more than life itself, we talked about movies and television, we talked about old friends and acquaintances, we talked about Zelda, kink and the importance of believing in the strange, obscure and magical, but none of the conversations even sparked a smile, they just made me feel even more inadequate, even more useless and even more pointless. She was trying to help me, she was trying to break through the depression and remind me of all the things I love in life, all the things that usually make my heart sing, but all her words did was remind me of the mess that I have made of my life. Which hardly helped the vicious, all consuming depression I have found myself in over the last couple of months.

Meadhbh thinks I've lost my faerie sparkle...

Meadhbh thinks I’ve lost my faerie sparkle…

The simple fact of the matter is, I’m imploding. Even simple tasks like getting out of bed or having a shower are becoming impossible for me to achieve, let alone more complicated tasks like housework or grocery shopping. I know this is the depression. I know this is the mental health. But knowing doesn’t make it any easier. You can have all the knowledge in the world but it’s still not going to make life any easier. And I use that word loosely, for what I have at the moment isn’t a ‘life’. It’s an existence. I just go through the motions day after day, watching movies, watching DVDs, doing anything to pass the time until I can crawl into bed and stare at the ceiling for another eight hours. There is no excitement in my life, there is no happiness, there is nothing but pain, stress, misery and death fantasies.

And Vanessa is loving it. For the last two months Vanessa has been in her element because this is exactly the state she loves seeing me in. For years she has been adamant that I deserve nothing but pain in life, so now that my life is only about pain, she is salivating with excitement. Her words – as cruel and cutting as they always are – have complete control over me. Her abuse has been as constant as my unhappiness, gleefully pointing out how what is happening to me is my fault, that I have brought it on myself, that my pain is nothing but my own deserved creation. Meadhbh has taken issue with her, as she always does, and some of their fights over the last couple of months have been deafeningly epic. But I’ve been too tired, too devoid of energy, to do anything about it. So I just let them slug it out. Neither wins, of course, they never do, they just relish bickering with each other over their precious Addy. In the end, it’s just more noise for me to deal with. Between them and my neighbour (who gets noisier with each passing day) it’s a wonder I haven’t gone completely insane yet!

And as my depression deepens, so too does my social anxiety and PTSD. Things have gotten so bad on the social anxiety front that I haven’t been able to go to the supermarket for nearly a week. I’ve barely eaten anything over the last seven days as it’s easier for me to starve myself than deal with the stress and complications of being out in public. In fact, I’ve only been out the house three times in the last seven days; once to see my support worker, once to see my GP and once to return items to the library. The rest of the time I’ve been trapped in my house; being driven to rage by my incessantly noisy neighbour. As for my PTSD? Flashbacks, reliving and nightmares galore! Mostly it’s been about my abusive relationship (no change there) but my neighbour is also triggering my boarding house experiences, which is making me want to return to the safety and seclusion of life on the street.

And there is the crux of the issue. Things are so bad for me at the moment that I am actively considering ditching my apartment and returning to living on the streets. At least if I were to do that I could move back to Melbourne and be somewhere that I wanted to be; somewhere that my faerie sparkle would have a chance to shine, even if it were under a blanket in the middle of a desolate park. And that is something Vanessa would really love; as she has always believed I deserve nothing more than a life on the streets.

But until then I will continue to do the ‘right’ thing; seeking an appointment with a psychiatrist, seeing my support worker, attending my GP appointments, none of whom can do anything to alter my situation, none of whom can do anything to stop my mind from imploding. For, as I pointed out to Meadhbh yesterday, the only thing that can do that is for me to stop existing and start living; something that will never happen in my poverty-ravaged, stress-laden, Wodonga-trapped world.

 

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Update: So what am I doing about it?

Yesterday I outlined some of my current stressors; issues that are triggering my mental health into uncontrollable territory. It was a somewhat whiny, somewhat depressing post, but one that needed to be written. Life is hard for me at the moment, there is no joy, no happiness, no relaxation and no pleasure. I have virtually no energy and my loss of hope is making it difficult for me to keep fighting…but, as I have been for twenty-three years, I keep pushing myself.

First and foremost is my attempt to obtain psychiatric support, something I have been trying to obtain for the last six months. You would think this would be simple, that it would just be a case of contacting the local mental health service and – bam – I have a psychiatrist. But, as with everything in my life, nothing is ever that simple. The simple truth of the matter is Wodonga is a small town with only one public mental health service – and they dismissed me as not needing support in 2012, my first year in this town. The psychiatrist I saw back then treated me like crap, just as the psychiatrist I had seen prior to him treated me like crap. He believed (wrongly) that there was nothing wrong with me and that there was nothing the mental health service could do to assist me. He is the only psychiatrist available on the public health system in Wodonga. And I am not putting myself through another abusive psychiatrist appointment. Period. Thus, the only option I have when it comes to psychiatry, is the private sector.

For the last several months my support worker and I have been looking into this option. There are no psychiatrists in the Wodonga region that could help me, which means I have had to look further afield to Albury in order to obtain this support. And we have identified two potential candidates that may be able to help. Both are women (I am unable to see a male psychiatrist due to the misandry and distrust of men I have developed since my rape) and both have lengthy waiting lists. Also, because of the private nature of their service, I am going to have to pay to see them. But this is something I am willing to do (even if it means not eating for the week!)

Hopefully my six-months-and-counting effort in this aspect of my treatment will pay off soon. Whether I will be taken seriously is another matter. I don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to psychiatrists (because I am a high functioning bipolar sufferer they tend to believe I have too much insight into my illness and, therefore, am not suffering from anything) but I’m willing (and determined) to give it a go. Whatever the emotional and financial cost!

However, I am not naive enough to believe that a psychiatrist will solve all my problems. The simple fact of the matter is (as my post yesterday attested) I am currently navigating a minefield of triggers and stressors, all of which are negatively impacting on my mental health. And the simple fact of the matter is a whole army of psychiatrists and CPNs are not going to change the stressors I am dealing with.

And my neighbour is a major source of this stress.

The noise that my neighbour makes causes me stress twenty-four hours a day. It is incessant. It is continuous. It is mind-numbing. How am I supposed to fight mental illness when I cannot relax for even a millisecond in my own house? When you’re homeless you learn pretty quickly what a home really is. It is not just a roof over your head. It is a sanctuary; a place where you can feel secure, comfortable and safe. And the simple truth is that my neighbour, courtesy of his endless noise, has made my house an unsafe place to live. Two days ago, whilst my house was under attack from his wall shaking video games, I self harmed for the first time in nearly a year. A year of hard work and determination was undone in a matter of seconds because cutting myself was the only thing I could do to deal with the cacophony of noise that batters my conscience on a daily basis. And in the moment that the blade sliced through my flesh I realised once and for all I can no longer live under these conditions: I have to move; for my own sanity – for my own safety – I need to move.

I am not under the innocent belief that moving will solve all my problems (again, I am not that naive) but it will remove a dangerous trigger from my life that will make fighting my mental illness that much easier.

The same can be said for Wodonga as a whole.

My trip to Melbourne proved one thing: I hate Wodonga. It is a town that is bad for me. It is a town that is amplifying my mental illness and making it impossible to live the life that I want to live. There is nothing to do in this town. There are no distractions. No social options. No opportunities to live and breathe. The longer I live in this town, the worse my mental illness will become. Wodonga is a trigger. Pure and simple.

Now, some people may think I’m being over-the-top, that I’m allowing the relaxation of a holiday to control my feelings in this respect. Of course I was calm in Melbourne, I was on holiday, everyone is calm on holiday, yada yada yada. But consider this: my mental health in Wodonga is worse than when I was homeless in Melbourne. I was more stable living on the street than I have been over the last few years living in this town. Why? Because even though I was homeless, I was homeless somewhere I wanted to be.

And, as with my noisy neighbour, no amount of psychiatric support is going to change this. Even if I do manage to obtain a psychiatrist they will be facing a losing battle as their work will be quickly undone by the triggering nature of Wodonga.

They say you only live once, maybe they’re right, maybe they’re not, so why would you live your life in a town/city that amplifies your mental health and makes living a chore devoid of excitement, happiness and social interaction?

As I’ve said twice now, I’m not naive or innocent enough to believe that moving will fix all my problems, I’m not my sister, but it will help in my battle. So, over the last few weeks, I have been looking for new housing options both in Wodonga (to eradicate the problem of my noisy neighbour) and in Melbourne (to eradicate the problem of my pathological hatred of this town)

The simple fact is something must change in my living arrangements. And I am working hard to make that change a reality.

As for my other current triggers, to be honest, there is little I can do about them at this time. My physical health problems are being monitored by doctors so only time will tell how this aspect of my life will play out. The same can be said for my current anhedonia and death fantasies; neither are going away anytime soon and, as both are intrinsically linked to my mental health, I can only combat them as best I can. Perhaps a psychiatrist will assist in this respect. Perhaps not. But even though I’ve lost all hope for a better future, I have yet to stop fighting.

I am just trying to do the best I can with the little I’ve got.

What else can I reasonably expect to do?


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Update: A wound up ball of stress and negative energy

stress

Sorry I’ve been absent lately. Life has become something quite unbearable and has not, in any way, lent itself to heartwarming, inspirational blog posts. Ever since I returned from Melbourne back in August I’ve been a wound up ball of stress and negative energy, triggered by so many things that I have no idea how to calm myself down and relax again.

First, there’s my neighbour and his daily cacophony of sound. If it’s not metal music blasting the cobwebs from my walls it’s his incessant video game playing that makes it sound like my unit is under attack twenty-four hours a day. The only peace I receive from his wall of sound is the twenty minutes he’s out of the house each morning, the rest of the time, it’s just noise, noise, noise! I’ve tried talking to him, I’ve reported the problem to my landlord, but neither has brought any relief. He just seems to have no idea (or rather, doesn’t care) how noisy he is being. And it’s been driving me insane.

Secondly, is the ongoing frustration of living in abject poverty. I can’t afford to clothe myself properly. I can’t afford to feed myself properly. I am regularly having to choose between medication and food; so much so, that a few weeks ago I went eight days without any medication so I could have a proper meal or two. Whereas the following week, I re-stocked on medication, only to find myself unable to eat for five days. It’s difficult for people to understand just how stressful it is to live having to make such decisions. When your entire life revolves around the paucity of your bank balance. There is no money for fun, no money for entertainment, no money for anything other than the barest, most essential of items. Truth be told this has been getting to me for years, but as with all the other stressors in my life at the moment, there is little I can do about it. I am too mentally (and physically) unwell to work so I just have to make do. And I’m tired of just making do.

Thirdly, is my physical health. When I was in Melbourne I felt on top of the world. Full of energy. Full of vibrancy. But since returning, since the stress took complete control of my life, my physical health has dwindled. For the past two weeks I’ve been battling through a particularly uncomfortable period of constipation, which has now rotated into a particularly uncomfortable period of diarrhea (I know, TMI!) but that’s not the worst of it. Last week I experienced another bout of abdominal pain which has my GP worried that acute pancreatitis is making a comeback. Over the last week I’ve had blood tests, X-Rays and ultrasounds, all of which has revealed no problem, but my GP is so adamant in his diagnosis that I am paranoid he’s going to put me in hospital; and that’s something I can’t deal with at the moment. Although (aside from the diarrhea) I feel fine at the moment I am stressed to high heaven over the possibility of operations and another grueling hospital stay. Yet more to stress about.

Fourthly, is the nastiness that is anhedonia. Nothing – and I mean nothing – is bringing me pleasure at the moment. Not DVD marathons, not reading, not kinky fantasies, not sleeping, not blogging, not food, not even Doctor Who. Nothing that usually brings me pleasure is working. Nothing is making me laugh. Nothing is bringing a smile to my face. It is just a constant stream of unhappiness, boredom and displeasure. And it’s stressing me out. How can you exist in life when nothing brings you happiness? How can you exist in life when all your life is just an endless array of misery?

Finally, are the ongoing death fantasies that have been assaulting my mind. Ever since reaching my conclusion a few weeks ago I have been plagued with haunting vignettes of my death; hanging, overdoses, slashed wrists, drowning. You name it, I’ve fantasized about it. They are in equal parts frightening and calming; frightening because, deep down, I want to live; calming because, on the surface, death is the only release I can see from my current stress. I have no intention in the immediate future to end my life, but the longer this stress continues, the more suicidal I find myself becoming.

The simple fact of the matter is life has become meaningless. It has become an endless stream of stress, unhappiness and tension. I want to feel happy again. I want to smile and laugh and joke and play and feel like my old self again. But how can I do that when nothing counteracts the high stress I find myself in day after day? Sometimes I just want to sit in my house and enjoy the quiet; but I can’t, because of my neighbour. Sometimes I just want to be able to walk down the road without running to a public lavatory; but I can’t, because of the diarrhea. Sometimes I just want to treat myself to beautiful food; but I can’t, because of the abject poverty.

Everything in my life feels wrong at the moment. Where I live. What I do. How I survive. And I can’t see any end to it. That’s ultimately where the stress is coming from. Every day from today until the day I die is going to be the same; noise, stress and death fantasies. I can’t see an end to it. I can’t see a way out. In life, we need hope to survive. It’s what keeps us going. It’s what powers us to achieve our dreams day in, day out. And the simple fact of the matter is, I’ve lost mine. It’s gone. And I don’t know how to get it back.


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Death is the only answer

As I’ve been having trouble writing lately, mainly because my stress levels have been so high, I’m experimenting with stream of consciousness writing as a way to overcome my current malaise. As such, this post was written as a Stream of Consciousness on Tuesday 29 September 2015 between 10:09 – 10:33am. Apologies for any grammatical or spelling errors that occur throughout, they are part and parcel of stream of consciousness writing.

death

Last night I lay in bed unable to sleep. The demons of my past forcing me to relive the emotional abuse I received from my sociopathic narcissistic cunt of an ex-girlfriend. Words like useless, worthless, repugnant, repulsive, selfish, waste of space, evil, pointless, unlovable reverberated around my mind making sleep an impossible dream. They were all the words my abuser used to use; all the words my abuser specifically chose to control my life, minimize my emotions and render me a quivering, isolated, self-hating freak. That was her intention. That was her goal. To make me hate myself; to render my emotions invalid; to destroy the very essence of my soul. And she succeeded. Last night wasn’t a one-off. It wasn’t an isolated incident. Every night and day for the last eight years, no matter where I am, no matter what I’m doing, her voice echoes in my mind, continuing her vicious quest to assault my soul and control my life past, present and future.

For the last six days it has been the same. Night after sleepless night of reliving the abuse I was the recipient of. Night after night of hating myself on a level few could ever conceive of. Night after night of the ghost of my abuser pushing me ever closer toward the precipice of suicide. I’m exhausted. I’m tired. I’m overwhelmed. I’m clinging on to the last minuscule threads of sanity. Even when I wake up, even when I try to distract myself from her cruel, taunting voice, she is still there; still forcing her abuse upon me, still pushing me to rid the world of the repulsiveness that is me. That’s what she wants, you see, it’s what she’s always wanted; my suicide. An act that she believes would save the world from the most evil, selfish, repugnant human being that has ever lived.

And she’s convincing. Last night, as the minutes dragged into hours, I started trying to work out how many pills I would need to take to successfully end my life. I started to plan how best I could slash my wrists to rid the world of the scourge of humanity. I started to concoct elaborate, complicated plans involving a combination of pills, cutting and trains; the end result always being my death, to rid the world of a voice so boring and monotonous it inflicts pain on everyone it talks to. And as the plans formulated in my mind, I started to feel at peace, I started to feel content, for it dawned on me that this is what I want. This is really the only way for me to find happiness.

They say that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. And I have always hated that saying. My problems are not temporary.

There is no cure for bipolar affective disorder; it is an illness that I will suffer from until the day I die. It will assault me with its mood swings, with its madness, with its intricacies, and it will always, in the end, win.

There is no cure for post traumatic stress disorder; it is an illness that I will suffer from until the day I die. It will assault me with its flashbacks, with its reliving of past trauma, with its heinous nightmares, and it will always, in the end, win.

There is no cure for social anxiety disorder; it is an illness that I will suffer from until the day I die. It will assault me with its panic, with its control, with its neurosis, and it will always, in the end, win.

Sure, there is medication that can help control the symptoms, but there is no medication that will eradicate them completely, they will always control me, always take everything from my life, as they’ve been doing for the last eight years. Eight years. I used to have a life. I used to be happy. I used to have hopes and dreams, passions and friends. But now? There is nothing. There is just me. Continually hated by the world and every human being who populates it. I am nothing, a nobody, a repugnant isolated freak that, as my abuser so relished in informing me, no human being could ever love and/or care about.

It’s no surprise to me that I’ve lost hope for a better, brighter future. Over the last eight years, despite homelessness, despite rape, despite physical assault, isolation, mental illness, trauma and abuse – all of which I have fought on my own – I have worked my cute little arse off to become the person I want so desperately to be. Over the last eight years I’ve helped people whenever and however I can; I’ve replied to thousands of emails from lost souls searching for meaning, and done whatever I could to provide them with the hope they’re looking for; I’ve shared my journey on this blog in the hope it would help people feel less alone; I’ve even helped people actualize their lifelong dreams. Over the last eight years I’ve continued to write even when the world did everything it could to stop me; I’ve sent manuscripts to publishers for consideration; I’ve written for websites on all manner of topics; I’ve even self-published my work online because writing has, since I was a child, been one of my primary passions. Over the last eight years I’ve been there for people when they’ve needed me; I’ve offered support and kindness when they had done little to earn it and I have always put other people’s emotions ahead of my own. Over the last eight years I have clung onto the hope that my life wouldn’t always be so isolated, so painful, so irrelevant. But eight years of hard work, eight years of fighting mental illness, trauma and loneliness, all on my lonesome, has seen that hope evaporate. My abuser was right; there is no hope for me, I will never amount to anything, no-one will ever love me.

Last night I lay in bed unable to sleep. Memories of abuse and trauma assaulted my mind and I came to the inevitable conclusion: I am an inconsequential member of the human race. It doesn’t matter what I do, it doesn’t matter how hard I work, it doesn’t matter what I sacrifice or how many people I help. No-one will love me. No-one will care about me. Nothing will ever change. It will just be me, living in abject poverty, devoid of happiness, killing time until the inevitable happens.

Last night I lay in bed unable to sleep. And as the hours drifted by I came to the inevitable conclusion: death is the only answer.


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31 Days of Bipolar: Day 31. Every day I think why am I still here?

Day 31: Have you attempted suicide? What, when, why, how and what did you learn?

suicide

There are many people out there who say we shouldn’t talk about suicide. Most of these people work in the media. Fortunately I don’t work in the media because I firmly and wholeheartedly believe that we should talk about suicide; as loudly as possible. We should talk about when people attempt to take their own life. We should talk about why they attempt to take their own life. And we should talk about how people attempt to take their own life. Only by talking about suicide can we begin to understand what goes on in someone’s mind when the only option they feel is left is to end it all.

I’ve been one of those people. I’ve been to a place so dark, so abysmal, so rotten with chaos and trepidation, that I felt the only route I had available was to end my own life. I’ve stood on bridges and stared into the abyss. I’ve tied nooses round my neck. I’ve consumed vast quantities of medication. And I’ve slashed at my wrists with knife and blade. On nearly a dozen occasions I’ve visited that dark place; that place where death is the only solace.

  1. November 2000: I stood on a viaduct in Glenfinnan, Scotland, eager to throw myself off
  2. March 2006: I sat on a beach in Port Fairy, ready to slash my wrists with a knife
  3. May 2007: I took an overdose of medication whilst in the safety of my bedroom
  4. October 2007: I attempted to hang myself in the midst of a rainforest
  5. January 2008: I cut my wrists with a knife in the middle of a public park
  6. June 2008: I swallowed dozens of tablets in the non-safety of a hostel dorm room
  7. May 2009: saw me so close to death I don’t like talking about it
  8. November 2009: I fashioned a noose out of clothing to cease my homeless existence
  9. Mid 2010: lost to homelessness, I hacked at my wrists with blunt sticks whilst living in a park
  10. October 2011: I used my belt to hang myself from a tree, in the wilderness of the Australian bush
  11. December 2011: I attempted to decapitate and dismember myself on a railway track

 

And on each occasion I failed. In whatever attempt I was taking to end my pointless existence, I failed. And even though some people don’t like talking about suicide with those words – failed, succeeded – I do, because my desire to end my own life was so strong, so powerful, that I felt I had failed. All I wanted in each of those eleven moments was my death. I no longer wanted to live. I no longer wanted to breathe the air or feel the rain on my face. All I wanted was to die. To no longer exist. To end my worthless, useless, insignificant life. In fact, the desire for death was so strong, so powerful, that I am surprised I am still alive to type these words.

By all accounts, I should be dead. I often talk of 11 October 2007 as the day I should have died. The same could be said for May 2009 and October 2011. All three attempts were so solid, so thought out, that I am amazed I failed. I am well and truly stunned that I was able to keep breathing beyond those dates. In fact, the only reason I am still alive is because of the fundamental lesson I’ve learned over the years. It may sound simple to end your own life, but the reality is starkly different. In fact, ending your own life is the hardest, most complicated and difficult thing you could ever attempt. There is nothing simple about killing yourself; unless you’ve done your homework, unless you’ve thought of every angle, you will fail; and rightly so.

For that is the other lesson I have learnt from all my suicide attempts; there is always something worth living for. It may not be something you’ve considered. It may be something as simple as a scent, a taste or sight. But there is always something that should be powerful enough to keep you breathing. On one occasion, for me, it was the desire to not die a virgin. Whilst on another occasion, it was the desire to look upon another beautiful female posterior. Both desires prevented me from successfully ending my own life. Both desires were enough to convince me to keep living.

So if you do ever find yourself staring into that abyss, try to find that one thing powerful enough to keep you breathing. It may be so you can hug your kitten again. It may be the desire to taste Vegemite on toast once more. It may be as simple as not wanting to die in the dodgy underwear you’re wearing. There will always be something, buried deep down in the bottom of your mind, that will keep you wanting to breathe. That will make life feel lively again. So just find that something and hold onto it as tightly as you can, for you really don’t want to kill yourself; it’s harder than you think.

I have written extensively about all my suicide attempts in two previous posts, which you are more than welcome to read:


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My Suicide Attempts (2008-2014)

A long time ago I wrote a post called My Suicide Attempts (until 2007). You would be correct in assuming it did exactly what it says on the tin; through a thousand odd words it described the whys, whats and wherefores of my four suicide attempts up to (and including) the end of 2007.

I have long wanted to write a follow-up to this post. A post that covers the attempts I have made (and nearly made) from 2008 onwards, for only in analysing the events of the past can we hope to prevent a repeat of them in the future. As I find myself becoming ever more suicidal with each passing day, now is the time to write this post. 

trigger_warning

It should go without saying that this post contains triggering content so please exercise caution when reading. Should you be feeling suicidal, please contact your nearest mental health organisation or the emergency services.

My Suicide Attempts (2008 – 2014)

Introduction

According to the media, we are not supposed to talk about the actualities of a suicide attempt. This is because it is feared talking about suicide will encourage other emotionally vulnerable people to ‘copycat’ your attempt. Although there is some merit in this, I have never fully subscribed to the theory, and have actively talked about how and why I’ve attempted suicide over the years. I will used the words “hanging”, “cutting wrists” and “overdose”, I will talk about the pain and misery that accompanied each attempt, and I will do so with no apology. For only in talking about suicide in its entirity can we hope to shatter the taboo that still exists around this aspect of mental health.

With that in mind, I can now lead you through the seven attempts I made on my life between 2008 and 2011.

I: January 2008

Unlike October 2007, this was unplanned and spontaneous; after months of homelessness, isolation and the continuing trauma from the devastation of the year before I snapped and just tried to kill myself.

All I can remember from that day is watching Enchanted at the Greater Union cinema (my favourite inner-city cinema in Melbourne) before walking to my usual Internet café where I published a post to my blog entitled …all that I will ever be, which even the most naïve and ignorant would have identified as a suicide note.

I left the café in tears, roaming the nearby Flagstaff Gardens that had been my home for a time, before plonking myself onto the soft earth, taking out a knife and cutting my left wrist with incredible speed.

The moment the blood began pumping I panicked. The cut wasn’t deep but by god did it hurt! Using a T-Shirt I stemmed the flow of blood and sat in shocked silence, unsure of what to do or where to go.

Somehow – I can’t remember exactly how – I made it to the nearest hospital and not wanting to explain it was a suicide attempt, told them I had merely self-harmed. Looking back, this is probably a more accurate description of what I did that day. Although I can remember the desolation and desire for death overwhelming me as I wrote that post, I cannot account for the depth at which I cut other than it was mere a ‘cry for help’ (even though I despise that term) rather than a serious attempt, as I could easily have cut deeper than I did.

After the hospital patched me up and I’d spoken to one of their psychiatrists I discovered several messages on my phone from my deeply worried parents who had read my post and been unable to reach me. Upon finally getting hold of me and venting their relief they relayed several comments that had been left on my blog from anxious readers which made me realize that even though I was friendless in Melbourne, there were people out there that seemed to care whether I lived or died.

Postscript: this all occurred twenty-four hours after I had attended an appointment with a mental health team, during which I tearfully begged to be admitted to hospital as I was deeply worried I would soon attempt suicide. I was told, and this is an exact quote, that “You cannot be hospitalized as we don’t believe you’re a danger to other people.” When they were told I felt I was a danger to myself, I was told that “there are only a finite number of beds, so we need to ensure they’re available to the most in need.” I haven’t trusted a mental health service since.

II: June 2008

Although I suspect my previous attempt had been a ‘cry for help’ (I really hate that term) I know this attempt was a cry for help.

After several months in the UK, I had returned to Melbourne for an array of reasons, including:

(a) The medication I had begun to take had fooled me into believing I was completely ‘stable’.
(b) Although I had enjoyed some of my time in the UK, it had never felt like ‘home’.
(c) After what I’d lost as a result of my abuser, I didn’t want her to take Australia from me as well.
(d) I was rapid-cycling (and soon to become hypomanic)

At the time I was living in a dingy backpacker hostel in Melbourne. My days were spent looking for work, my evenings were spent roaming the darkened alleys of the CBD lost in a haze of loneliness and isolation.

After a stressful Friday (during which I’d travelled to job interviews, applied for several others, self-harmed in the shower to keep myself going and had a lengthy telephone job interview) I was tense, stressed and desperately in need of company. Having only one person I could have contacted, and not wishing to bother them with my internal pain, I sat on the bed and took an overdose of the medication I had (antidepressants and mood stabilizers along with some painkillers and aspirin.)

Within minutes I realized what I’d done and immediately regretted it. I thought of calling my friend but concluded this would annoy them more than if I’d called them prior to taking the overdose, so decided my best option was to go to the hospital.

All I remember from the walk there is feeling drowsy, woozy and nearly collapsing three times.

Eventually I got to the hospital and promptly collapsed on the floor of the waiting room where I was rushed into the ER to be checked out. I woke up lying on a hospital bed wearing a hospital gown and staring at the tiles of the ceiling. I remained there for the remainder of the night, listening to the drunk patients screaming through their alcohol fuelled injuries.

The following morning I was taken to a room where I had a lengthy conversation with a psychiatrist who was worried about the suddenness of my overdose but, in tried and true fashion, as I was due to start a new job on the Monday, I convinced him I was okay and it had just been an anomaly in my bipolar management.

Postscript: after leaving the hospital I walked to the same Internet café where I’d posted the suicide note post five months earlier and watched the Doctor Who episode “Midnight”. I then slept for the majority of the day before speaking to my mum that night. I told her nothing about what had happened as I knew she was dealing with a recent health problem with my father and didn’t need my ‘cry for help’ to deal with as well. A few days later I spoke to my friend and was immediately scolded for not calling them before the overdose.

III: May 2009

I have only four things to say about this attempt:

  1. This was the closest I came to succeeding in a suicide attempt.
  2. It finally garnered me the mental health support I’d been trying to get for months.
  3. I have never told anyone about this attempt and do not want to.
  4. Hence why I am not writing any more about it.

Postscript: The reasons behind this attempt are many, valid and varied: the disaster that was Alice Springs, the loss of everything in my life for a third time, the continual guilt over letting Grace down the year before, the recent suicide of Stephanie, the complete lack of happiness, the continual rejection of everything I had tried to do to rebuild my life and the continuous, pervading loneliness, all combined together to push me completely over the edge.

IV: November 2009

I wrote about this in my post Reflections on being homeless, part 2. Following months of homelessness, desperation and mental health crises I decided that the only option I had left was to (once again) end my life.

Early one morning, when there was no-one around, I fashioned a make-shift noose from some items of clothing and selected a tree in which to hang myself from (directly at the back of the Myer Music Bowl).

As I was about to attach the noose around my neck a homeless man who lived in the same park as I, someone whom I had spoken to on several occasions in the past, walked over to me and asked what I was doing. Trying to get him to leave me alone I gave him my stock response of ‘nothing much’ and hoped he wouldn’t notice my ‘noose’.

He did.

Taking it from me he hid it in his bag and sat down beside me. He didn’t make me feel guilty, he didn’t lecture me on the selfishness of suicide, he merely chatted to me about the weather, the night he’d had, his plans for the day and began asking questions about my life, loves and passions.

Shortly after he dived back into his bag and instead of pulling out the noose, pulled out a portable DVD player which he told me I could ‘borrow’ to help take my mind off of whatever was bothering it. Ensuring I was okay before leaving he told me he would swing by on his way back to his sleeping spot that night and hoped I would be okay.

After he left I sat on the steps in front of the tree and realized I didn’t have anything else I could use to hang myself, plus, I kinda wanted to watch The Dark Knight, plus, if I did kill myself I would never again be able to touch a pert backside of the like that was currently exercising a mere few meters from me (as the park I slept in at the time was a favourite spot for personal trainers and their clients!)

Postscript: I did indeed watch The Dark Knight that day, as well as discovering Season One of Chuck lingering at the back of the library’s DVD section. For the next several days I worked my way through the library’s collection (including The Three Doctors, Angel, Sabrina, 24 and Skins) whilst surreptitiously watching the various exercising women in the early hours of the morning. This latter admission may make me sound like a creepy, pervy bastard, but I cannot emphasize enough how those beautiful and determined women made me realize that (once again) I needed to find my own beauty and determination to keep going.

V: Mid 2010

I wrote about this in my post Reflections on being homeless, part 4. Following a rather nasty assault in a boarding house I ended up back on the streets in a complete state of psychosis and dissociation. My memories of the period are few and far between, with the majority being more emotional in basis than precise recollections of physical reality.

All I can remember is hacking away at my wrists with some sticks I found in my park in a desperate bid to end my miserable, pointless, existence.

Needless to say, the sticks didn’t do any serious damage.

Postscript: this is probably the most random and obscure suicide attempt of my life. Why my deluded mind believed that I could break the skin with some paltry sticks is beyond me. Although it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t have a knife at the time, otherwise things could have turned out very different!

VI: October 2011

This attempt was mentioned in my post Reflections on being homeless, part 7. It had been one of the roughest periods of my homelessness. Following a three-month blackout (during which I had dissociated and created a totally new personality) I found myself in a foreign park, unable to deal with being alive any longer. I couldn’t take the homelessness. I couldn’t take the isolation. I couldn’t take the abuse. I couldn’t take anything. So I did what we are supposed to do when life becomes too difficult to cope with; I phoned Lifeline.

But this just made everything worse, because whenever you speak to Lifeline about being suicidal, they will always begin their ‘counselling’ with the same suggestion: “why don’t you call a friend and get them to come and be with you, that usually helps”

“I don’t have any friends,” I responded.

“None? You must have some friends, everyone has friends. They won’t mind if you call them if that’s what you’re worried about,”

“I don’t have any friends,” I repeated. “No-one. I have no-one,”

This totally threw the counsellor into a tizzy as she had no idea what to say. Following several seconds of silence, followed by several more seconds of umming and ahhing, she referred me to the crisis mental health team and told me it could take up to 48 hours for them to contact me.

“Forty eight hours? For a crisis team,” I said. “Are you being serious?”

She was. I hung up the phone and within minutes was hiking into the Australian bush. I was inconsolable; tears flowed, limbs shook, vomit was ejaculated from my anxious, traumatized belly. With no options remaining, and with Lifeline reminding me of my isolation, I took off my belt, wound it around my neck and attempted to hang myself.

Unfortunately, my belt had become so threadbare during the years that I’d been homeless, the leather snapped within seconds and sent me coughing and spluttering to the hard earth.

Postscript: this was the last time I phoned Lifeline. Although several people (support workers, counsellors, GP) have suggested I contact them when feeling low, I flat out refuse to do so. Simply because I don’t need someone reminding me of my isolation, especially someone who refuses to believe that someone doesn’t have any friends.

VII: December 2011

The last time I went to kill myself was between Christmas and New Year 2011. It’s not an attempt I like talking about and generally try to forget that it ever happened – for it makes me look like a complete tool!

Following the loss of my medication after a psychiatrist’s appointment that destroyed my faith in the profession, I descended rapidly into a lengthy period of desperation and despair. I began drinking. I began gambling. I began sleeping at the back of a cemetery.

After consuming a rather large quantity of alcohol I decided the only option I had was to finally end my miserable, pathetic existence. I took a handful of painkillers and then staggered onto the railway line where I lay horizontally across the tracks. Staring up at the stars, I knew that sooner or later a freight train would tear over me. And, if I was lucky, decapitate me in the process.

The next thing I remember is waking up and gazing into a pristine blue sky. My head was pounding, at some point I had thrown up over my clothes and my head was still annoyingly attached to my body. Glancing to my left, and then to my right, it slowly dawned on me (over a period of about fifteen minutes) that I was lying on a disused railway track.

So I threw up again and then laughed manically for about half an hour over my utter ineptitude.

Postscript: I saw the same psychiatrist who had (ultimately) abused me into this attempt within a week of it. I didn’t tell him anything about it, because I knew he either (a) wouldn’t believe me, or (b) not show the slightest interest in my internal pain. He really was that much of a tosser.

Epilogue

It is with some happiness that I can say I have not attempted suicide since that (rather hilarious) attempt on the railway line, but that isn’t to say I haven’t been suicidal.

In October 2012, around the time of an anniversary of a previous attempt, I became so withdrawn, so adamant in the futility of my own life, my parents became worried and contacted my local mental health team as they feared I would do something about it. But, given my distrust of mental health services due to the incidents outlined above, I didn’t follow through with seeing them. I just dealt with my suicidal ideation as best I could.

In August 2014, during a dark period of depression, I began planning the best way I could end my life (it involved cutting my wrists) and even went to the extent of purchasing a new knife I could use to do it. Fortunately I was able to convince myself to keep the knife in the drawer and not use it.

In November 2014, around the time of my 36th birthday, I became convinced I could no longer continue with my meagre, pointless existence and contemplated hanging myself from a light fixture in my unit. Again, I was able to distract myself from my pain long enough for it to pass.

So even though it’s been over three years since my last proper attempt, I know that suicide will rear its ugly head in my life again. It’s part of who I am; part of my nature, and I don’t think there’s anything I can do to change that. But there are things to be learnt from the various attempts I’ve made in the past – and not just to use a brand spanking new belt to hang yourself with!

Things like: when you have friends in your life, friends that you trust, friends that you admire, friends that mean the world to you, do not be afraid to contact them when and if you are feeling suicidal. A true friend will be there for you. A true friend will help distract you and deal with your pain so you don’t do anything stupid with your wonderful life.

Things like: there are always reasons to keep on living, even when things appear so bleak you can’t see daylight. They may be simple things, like favourite movies or TV shows, they may be complicated things, like self-determination or stubbornness, or they may be beautiful things, like the female posterior. The trick is to not be ashamed of these things, no matter what they are.

Things like: even if they say the wrong thing, people will try their best to help you out of a situation, as long as you trust them enough to do so.

Things like: there is always something new in life to entertain, bring joy or make you laugh. Even if this is the realisation that you’re lying on a disused railway line.

Things like: even if you don’t believe it, there will always be someone who will miss you when you’re gone.

Things like: suicide is never the answer, no matter how fervently you believe it is at the time.

-ᴏ-

A selection of other posts I’ve written on the subject of suicide:


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Robin Williams gave us a lifelong masterclass in comedy

Today, the world lost one of its most outstanding human beings. A consummate professional, a brilliant actor and a comedian whose talent was unmatched by any other. Even sadder, it appears that the world lost him through suicide.

In celebration of his life I am republishing an article written by Stayci Taylor that first appeared on The Conversation.

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Robin Williams gave us a lifelong masterclass in comedy

By Stayci Taylor, RMIT University

American actor and stand-up comedian Robin Williams has died today, aged 63. Today, Barack Obama posted a statement about his death and noted, in a rather odd turn of phrase, that “he arrived in our lives as an alien”. Williams’ break-out role was as the alien Mork who arrived on earth to observe human behaviour.

Though his long and successful career comprised sold-out tours and feature film leads, including Oscar nominated and winning turns in dramatic roles, I am still not surprised that it is Mork-from-Ork related tributes crowding my Facebook and Twitter feeds today, posted by my shocked and saddened Gen-X peers. I have now lost count of those making some reverse variation on “Mork calling Orson”.

These could be misconstrued as flippant responses to the tragic and untimely end of a complex and creative life. But for many of us, Robin William’s performance in the spin-off Mork and Mindy (1978-82) was our first exposure to this free form style of improvised physical and verbal comedy.

Fonzie’s water ski jump in the fifth season of Happy Days (1974-84) was famously deemed so ludicrous that the term “jump the shark” became television parlance. Specifically, shorthand for those moments when TV shows pushed the content past what their once loyal viewers considered believable.

Undeterred, Happy Days ran for another seven years and, in episode 22 of that same apparently questionable season, introduced an extra-terrestrial craft piloted by a character named Mork. That legend has a shark, not an alien from Ork, derailing the credibility of this popular 70s sit-com is a testament to the performance of then relatively unknown stand-up comedian Robin Williams.

Mork’s attempt to free an egg in the pilot episode (above) might just have been the funniest thing this 9-year-old had ever watched on the small screen.

As with all good fish-out-of-water stories, through Mork’s eyes we were encouraged to develop our own curiosity around human behaviour; which recalls a much earlier carnivalesque tradition whereby, as comedy scholar Frank Krutnik has observed:

the comedian figure’s alienation from or resistance to everyday social codes […] also displays the comedian’s creative dexterity as a performer.

If one function of comedy is to question the status quo, then watching Mork drink through his finger or sit upside down on a chair was an early masterclass in what was possible.

Williams of course went on to carry comedy feature films, many of which we might call “comedian comedies” – what film academic Geoff King defines as those films where:

The name of the comic performer, and the promise of the routine, is usually the main box office draw.

In other words, as engaged as we might be by Adrian Cronauer (Good Morning Vietnam, 1987) or Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), we remain aware we are watching the comic skills and techniques of Williams whom, fittingly in the case of these two examples and others, is often playing a character who is required to “perform” himself.

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English comedian David Walliams notes in his 2012 memoir Camp David that:

no one wants to be laughed at, and certainly not the comedian. He or she creates comedy to control the laughter at them, and turns it into being laughed with.

As a Mork and Mindy-watching, laugh-seeking child, I recall the same discomfort with unsolicited laughter, and was not comforted by (probably insincere) assurances that adults were laughing with me, not at me. Thus John Keating’s quip (Dead Poets Society, 1989) “we’re not laughing at you, we’re laughing near you” some ten years later was both funny and validating.

Whether it came from the pen of screenwriter Tom Schulman or not, it felt to me like Robin Williams telling the truth.

I can only speculate as to what level of responsibility must be felt when the promise of one’s routine is, as aforementioned, “the main box office draw”. But though Mork’s “constant displays of humour [were] not welcome here on Ork” (according to Orson in the pilot episode), those of Williams were most welcome here on Earth.

And will be missed.

If you have depression or feel very low, please seek support immediately. For support in a crisis, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. For information about depression and suicide prevention, visit beyondblue, Sane or The Samaritans.

Stayci Taylor does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.