Finding the words is sometimes quite hard, and how deep you’re willing to go will really define the language you use. I have spoken about my mental health a lot, but often, I have skirted around certain issues, and not really talked about, just how bad it got for me a year ago.
A year ago, I took a month away from blogging. No matter how many times I opened up a new draft, finding words that weren’t directly about what I went through was hard. I just talked about my “darkest day”, and being at “rock bottom”, and never really explained or expressed why exactly I had been absent for a month. I just put it down to a break up and the raw emotions that followed.
And the emotions really were raw. I felt every tiny bit of pain I could have felt because things weren’t done properly. Is there really a way to break up properly? I think there is, and it doesn’t involve starting a new relationship whilst in the previous one, but you may sit there and think “but Ted, you’re admitted to cheating in the past” and that’s true, I have cheated but ultimate I have left the person and they’ve only ever been one night stands, not methodical, full of feeling relationships, but I digress.
The truth of the matter is this: a year ago my head became such a mess that I considered, very seriously, and nearly went through with it, suicide.
It is no secret that my battle with my mental health has been long, and hard, and largely undiagnosed, but as my mood fluctuated before this point last year, my own personal issues got worse. It all built up, and the cherry on top was really the break up. This was the catalyst that sent me off the edge, because I had given over so much to this one person, they were my one true support, and it all fell away. I remember feeling in those moments, my whole world just falling down around me, and I retreated into myself at a phenomenally fast pace.
I have a tendency to act out massively, I can’t really help it, and even if I am struggling with something, I show that smile and just roll with the punches. Online, you’d have seen me going out on bike rides, I dyed my hair, got a tattoo on my finger, and tried to make it seem like I wasn’t really hurting. But I really was.
In the week that followed the break up, I slept 8 hours in all those 7 days, I ate three meals, two of which I couldn’t keep down, and I just didn’t leave the house except maybe twice to go and sit with my sister just so I didn’t feel alone, but that is all I felt. As the world just crumbled around me, something emphasised by my anxiety, I just lost my way.
Two relationships in a row, a few failed dating endeavours before that, I was told repeatedly that I wasn’t good enough to be in a relationship with, and that’s all that echoed in my head. It soon turned into “you’re not good enough” and it was applied liberally to the whole of my life.
Everything came to a head when on the Friday night, a sleep deprived, emotional exhausted me, decided to put my last affairs in order. I tried to act as if nothing was wrong to those I was still in contact with, and my melancholic outlook on life just continued, because in that moment, I couldn’t see passed that Friday night. I had spent hours in bed, my pillow sodden with tears, and even though I had pleas from my mother to go around to her house and spend the night, I just wanted to be alone.
When all was said and done, I decided that it was time to call it a day. I sat up on the edge of my bed, wiped away my tears and left my phone on my pillow. I began to wander downstairs, ready to really end it all. As I reached the bottom of the stairs, the front door opened and my mother was there. All I remember really for the first few moments I saw her, was crying even more. Floods of tears as I just couldn’t hold it back anymore.
If she had been a minute or two later, she would have walked in on a very different scene as I was convinced that I would take my own life. A knife in the chest, that’s how I planned on doing it. May seem a bizarre choice, but I wasn’t particularly thinking straight anyway. The hours ticked by, my mother sat with me as I just cried, and screamed, and shouted, and let it all out. Her pleas continued for me to go to her house and spend the night so she could check I was alright, but I was adamant – I was going to make a mistake and that I didn’t want to do it anymore, I didn’t want to burden people with it, but I had to stay at my own home, I had to be independent and show the world that I wasn’t going to let the darkness consume me.
When it comes to thoughts of suicide, I often find that there is a sense that, if you didn’t do it, you didn’t really intend to do it, and people try to invalidate your own experience of it. Whilst in many ways, I came to the quick resolution in the moment that I wasn’t going to do it, you have to understand that this thought was persistent over the whole week. Being told time and time again that I wasn’t good enough for people, cut to my core, because at the end of the day, I am a people pleaser.
However, I chose not to be go through with it because I didn’t want to be one of those people who agreed that I wasn’t good enough. And so I launched into months of doing what I wanted, and validating myself, because to me, that was the only way I was going to distance myself from this experience. I haven’t forgotten it though. I haven’t forgotten how I could see how worried my mother was, and how she waited until I had fallen asleep before leaving to make sure I was alright. And the exhaustion, the sleep deprivation was what had driven me so quickly to that edge on the Friday.
To say I was going to make a “stupid choice” is wrong, because to me, in that moment, it was the only choice I had, and sometimes that’s the case with many who end up taking their own lives. I was lucky because the timing was just right. Just with my mother walking through the door in that instant as I reached the bottom of my stairs, it all ceased. It validated my existence because she had come to check on me, and that I mattered. I never used to talk about my mental health as much as I do these days, and I’m glad I do talk about it, because you’ll find as time goes on, you’ll encounter more people willing to talk, and it’s okay to talk.
I’m sorry for how long this post is, but I’m not sorry for it’s contents.