*WARNING this is a topic people get passionate about but before you fly off the handle and respond to this post read it all the way to the end and then go away and really THINK about what I have said not just emotionally react*
Just writing the title of this blog makes me go “Oh goddess this is going to create arguments and indignation” and it shouldn’t. So why write this post at all if it’s going to upset people, which is something I dislike doing.
There are several reasons:
- There have been 2 attempts in my circle of extended friends/family of suicide this year (1 survived her cry for help and the other did as he intended and ended his life)
- I routinely get asked if I have thoughts of suicide
- I just finished reading “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes
- I worked in an industry with the highest suicide rate in the world (Construction FIFO) and despite the fact everyone know the stats of one attempted per day per shift it somehow never really got or gets talked about.
- It’s Mental Health month and this is a topic that needs to out loud and proud not hushed up
Adding these events together and listening to the views of others on suicide got me thinking about how suicide is viewed by Able Bodies Mentally Stable (ABMS) people and to be honest their view point is not the same as someone who suffers either a debilitating disability or mental illness.
You talk to ABMS and hear things like
- “how can they be so selfish”
- “It’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem”
- “They’re only doing it for attention”
- “why would they do that they have so much to live for”
- “how can they even think of that after everything they’ve been through”
- “why didn’t they call me”
For anyone who doesn’t know I’m mental ill and I am in no way shape or form mentally stable I am 100% crazy. I was until I got a server reaction to it taking sodium valproate a mood stabiliser at breakfast, lunch and in the afternoon to attempted to function throughout the day. I take Seroquel at night so my brain will slow down enough to allow me to attempted to sleep. If something happens I can’t handle and I have what I’ll politely call a melt down I’m given valium to calm me down enough to stop shaking & crying. While attempting to find medication that works I have the possibility of dropping into a catatonic depressive state or having a total psychotic brake and ending up in hospital. Some medication makes me so sleepy I can’t even put a coherent sentence together. Other medication reacts badly to water so you have to be very careful about how and when you take it. While diagnosis and medication is being worked out I have to live with my support network and be monitored 24/7 or I have to be hospitalised, either way my privacy is limited.
Then there is the ever constant noise inside my head and the occasional hallucinations. To give you some idea of the noise imaging you’re in a pub full of football fans on grand final night and there is that constant level of chattering voices but you can’t quite hear anything properly so it sounds a lot like the hiss of static electricity. That’s what my brain is like 24/7 and I can’t turn it off even my dreams are noisy. The hallucinations are possibly just as disturbing and no I don’t see pink elephants. What happens is I might be looking at say a beautiful painting of a beach in simmering moonlight and suddenly I see the waves actually moving or the trees look like they a gently moving in a breeze. I know perfectly well the painting is not moving but my brain doesn’t so I have this disconnect between what I know is real and what my brain is seeing and it is to be honest creepy.
As per normal when I was at the doctors on recently I was asked “have you had thoughts of suicide or self harm lately” and as per normal I flippantly replied with “well I’m not planning to off myself this week I have other plans”. However instead of just getting the normal “hmm” this doctor was a little more clued up and pointed out that I hadn’t actually answered the question.
Little back ground for those that don’t know me well. In 2007 I had an accident that resulted in blood lose bad enough that my heart stopped and I died. The ER staff zapped me back started the process to give me lots of blood and just to be the patient from hell I had an anaphylactic reaction the minute the blood it my veins, so I suddenly blow up like a balloon, came out in hives and stopped breathing which caused you guessed it heart failure number 2 in the space of 45 minutes. Trust me when I tell you being brought back to life via the zap hurst like fucking hell. Once they got me stable and went into patch me up they discovered I had cancer of the womb and I had to have an emergency hysterectomy.
Having been dead twice and survived cancer the world is under the impression that I would and could never contemplate suicide. After all I stayed alive long enough to be in the ER when my heart stopped and I’m one of the 3% of women who survive endometrial caner so why would I want to end my life.
“Have I had suicidal thoughts recently” – YES
Not the answer you where expecting is it and before my friends/family freak out just keep reading…
Thoughts of suicide like any of my other moods is not something I can control. To put it in prospective for the ABMS people reading this it’s a bit like someone who’s been a smoker or heavy drinker. You have a bad day and you have this fleeting thought of lighting up a cigaret or pouring yourself a double vodka just to take the edge off and help you relax but the thought vanishes just as quickly because you don’t actually want to do it so you go eat some chocolate or go for a run or whatever.
Many people are going to say – “it’s not the same you’re thinking about ending your life over a bad day.” My point is that no it’s exactly the same your brain sends out a signal telling you the noise and pain can end just swallow the pills and you go not today and go eat chocolate or go for a run or whatever. You have no control over when your brain is going to pop that thought into your head and if you have a long term mental illness there is a good chance you’ve had that popup message appearing since you were a teenager so routinely you don’t even register it’s an odd thought to have.
As for the other arguments about suicide like
- it’s selfish,
- you’re transferring your pain to others,
- it’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem,
- you’ll get better it’s just a bad day
PLEASE STOP SAYING THINGS LIKE THIS YOU MAKE IT WORSE BECAUSE YOU ADD GUILT TO AN ALREADY FRAGILE MIND.
Yes all you well meaning, do gooders who desperately want us to find the happy in life and be like you an Able Bodied Mentally Stable person. We the mentally ill and/or disabled are not like you and we never will be and you are never going to understand what it is like to live day in day out with our mental illness.
My mental illness is not a “temperer problem” it is for life I am NEVER going to feel normal (god I don’t even know what normal is). It’s not a “Bad Day” it’s probably a depressive state that make it hard to even breath let alone get out of bed and function. I’m already “transferring my pain to others” my friends and family get to see the bad days, the melt downs, the catatonic depression and spend a lot of time and energy looking after me and making sure I’m doing ok.
As for “it’s selfish” I’m going to be blunt and tell you that actually you’re the one being selfish. What right do you have to tell me my pain and suffering and the wish to end it is selfish it’s my frigging life not yours.
Before you now type out you’re emotionally charged angry response stop and really think about what I have said.
The conversation about suicide needs to change and it does not need to be lead by the PollyAnna’s of the world who want everyone to see the joy in life and in the process make the Eeyore’s feel guilty and that their view point is invalid.
Discussions about suicide need to be started by those of us who have suicidal thoughts and it needs to be viewed from our point of view and we don’t need to be made to feel worse than we do by statements like “permanent solution to a temporary problem”. If you don’t have suicidal thoughts then don’t try to pretend you know what we feel, don’t make us feel bad for saying “I really could have offed myself last week it was a crap week” instead ask us what happened to make use feel that bad. If you’re worried about us tell us you’re scared we’ll harm ourselves but don’t push the “tomorrow will be a better day” retoric down our throats. Don’t assume because we want to talk about the fact that last week we considered offing ourselves that we still feel like that now and you have to lock the knives away.
My point is that Suicide needs to come out of the shadows but it needs to be done by those of us who suffer often in silence because we feel GUILTY that we’re hurting those that love us. Don’t make us feel guilty for having thoughts we often can’t control, don’t make us feel our view point is any less valid because it’s not “happy happy joy joy”, don’t not talk to us about it just because the subject you feel uncomfortable and please don’t treat us like we are bad/selfish and just doing this to hurt you. Believe it or not often those who do successfully end their lives do it thinking that it will free “you” from their pain.
“Have I had suicidal thoughts recently” – Yes
“Am I planning to kill myself” – not this week I have other plans.