*Warning – Contains potential triggers relating to suicidal ideation and self harm*
A review meeting at work today led to further encounters with work colleagues. In particular, I met up with some of my team. After the usual ‘you’re looking well’ type comments, I thought I’d see how the truth of mental ill-health would be received within a relatively safe environment. I’d just seen the psych and been signed off for another four weeks while we do some more med tweaking so I knew questions would be asked.
So I outlined what had happened.
I explained that a number of factors, both work and personal, had come together which meant that I felt that my life was out of control. Although, for most people, the issues might seem trivial, for me they meant abject failure and an unmanageable situation. I had lain in bed for some time until I had to wake my husband up to let him know that I didn’t feel that I could keep myself safe and wanted to take my own life. I explained that, at the time the thought of having so little control over my life was so frightening that death seemed the only option.
I described the trip to A&E, the negotiation over admission with the duty psych, the input from services (daily for three weeks), the second potential crisis (Stanley Knives and scalpels were Plan B with drugs Plan A) and appropriate preventative measures and the lack of ability to ‘do’ people, cope with any sort of noise, read, go out without support ….. all those ‘normal’ things.
They were all terribly supportive, although I wish I knew what they were thinking and said after I’d gone. One senior colleague, a peer was blinking back tears at one stage. I hope I find a way of gaining an understanding of how they felt and what they thought.
Suicide is a difficult subject to talk about. Most can never understand why it is ever considered, why death is ever a better option. As always, I’ll cop out and leave the articulate stuff to others as they do it so much better than I do:
“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise.
“Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really.
“You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
― David Foster Wallace