Surviving suicidal thoughts: five key words to hold on to in the darkest of times
I normally prepare something for the blog beforehand, (or at least make notes) but today I’m just going for it freehand because I spent hours writing a book proposal yesterday and my brain was well and truly zonked.
I’ve been thinking about my friend Tom as I do every day, but especially so this morning – I don’t really know why so much today, but I want to write something for him – what I wanted to write for him anyway – God I wish so much he was still here.
I’m so torn when I think of Tom because I still feel that my illness was so brutal that I really shouldn’t still be here either.
I only survived by sacrificing everything and continually resisting my own thoughts, but I did this for long enough (years of indescribable hell admittedly) that eventually I found a way of coping, combined with a successful treatment – now I’m back – this is so important please hurry publisher, NHS, psychiatrists, medical professionals, this could save the Tom out there who is going to take his own life today - the agony I feel here is excruciating.
I know that what I’m about to write will mean very little to someone who is suffering to the extremes that I was. The truth is that nothing really makes a difference when you feel suicidal, it’s just a case of continuing to breathe until the moment passes (it never did for me in years), or that you can escape the barrage of torment and agony in sleep again (the only coping method that truly blotted out the pain).
Anyway, maybe this will help someone so here goes…
In the chaos of the 21st century patience seems to have been almost completely forgotten but patience is EVERYTHING when it comes to defeating a bout of depression or indeed any mental illness because it doesn’t just go away.
I’m sorry to have to say this and I wish it wasn’t the case but these episodes of illness can last for years at a time and patience is key when it comes to survival.
For months at a time I told myself;
“Let’s see what tomorrow brings”
Who knows, tomorrow could be the day that something changes… it definitely doesn’t feel like it but it could be…. Patience, patience, patience.
There are numerous times throughout my life when I’ve had to relearn patience. When I was trapped in the Warneford psychiatric hospital for three months I had to be the patient patient.
I literally taught myself patience in there because otherwise I’d have been continually climbing the walls (as the other patients were doing on a daily basis). My God it was hell in there.
Anyway, patient patient, breathe, one day this will pass – I’ll get out of here or I’ll get better – or both as I finally did in the end! There is hope!
Patience, patience, patience.
Persistence was also in part responsible for my survival and recovery from severe mental illness because I refused to stop in my quest to find a treatment that helped me.
To do this I had to go through a myriad of nightmare side effects and failures (and even be hospitalised, and incarcerated because of a treatment) GOOD GOD!
Anyway, the point is that I was the ‘expert of myself’ and I kept PERSISTING in my quest to find a way out of the nightmare.
Admittedly, this meant that I was going against the advice of the professionals with treatments that made me worse, but in the end my persistence was rewarded when I finally found a thaumaturge of a psychiatrist who took me seriously and did get me better.
Persistence, persistence, persistence.
The above quote says it all really. We are all far more resilient than we know. Just keep breathing, one day, somehow this nightmare will end, and in the meantime, I’m going to draw on my reserves of resilience and get through another day.
I’ve done days like this before, and I can do it again. Fuck anyone who doesn’t get how brutal this is quite frankly (everyone except another sufferer in hell).
Resilience, resilience, resilience.
Whatever you do in life, if you are going to succeed at it, you need to commit to it as well.
I made the decision to commit to getting better and finding a way out of this infernal nightmare and in the end (with a tonne of patience, persistence, resilience, and determination) I did finally get there!
Commit to getting better – it’s the hardest thing you will ever have to do and not many people will give you credit for it either, but I WILL!
You are a warrior for continuing to fight this bastard thing. Commit to getting better and if you get committed along the way – who cares! Keep going and keep persisting!
Commit, commit, commit.
Acceptance is a difficult one because there’s no way I was going to accept that I was going to feel like I wanted to kill myself for the rest of my life, and in a way, the fact that I didn’t accept that is part of the reason that I’m still here!
BUT, there is something in accepting that helps to calm the mind and allow you to recover and take your time.
Accept that this isn’t easy, accept help if it’s offered, accept that you may lose your career (I bloody hope you don’t, but I did), accept that you are ill for now, accept that others may be on a different path, accept that I cannot function to my true ability or potential (for now).
Acceptance, acceptance, acceptance.
I really wish I’d been able to explain all of that to Tom and to give him some hope of recovery. We could both have made it Tom, and I’m so sad that you’re not here to talk to anymore, but I will continue to write this stuff in the hope that it helps another Tom out there now….please God let it.
Patience, persistence, resilience, determination, commitment, acceptance ...
Please, please, please hold on if you can.
Thanks for reading,
Speak to you soon,