When I was eight I wanted to be a vet.
I also wanted to die.
When I was twelve I wanted to be a nurse.
I still wanted to die.
When I was sixteen I wanted to be a youth worker.
You guessed it, I still wanted to die.
so, what if today is also a celebration?
A celebration that I can now work full time.
A celebration that I am alive.
A celebration that the stigma of mental illness is slowly improving.
I have always been quite honest about my mental health. Ask me anything I’ll answer it.
A common question I get, (and to be honest I’m unsure why) is how long since you last attempted suicide? The answer to that is around eighteen months.
However, if the question was when did you last seriously consider suicide? The answer would be around a week ago.
I have come to know that part of my illness is that I will always have points when I think about suicide. I would say I’m the past few years there have only been around five days I haven’t. It doesn’t mean I act on it, it doesn’t mean I will ever act on it again. It is a symptom of an illness like a sneeze is a symptom of a cold.
It’s tiring to fight it everyday.
It’s confusing to know that not a lot of people understand what I battle.
I wish it would go away.
So, why am I not dead? Let me give you 5 ideas/things that kept me alive.
1 – Anger.
I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. I spent a lot of time feeling helpless. It wasn’t until that turned to anger that I saw any progress.
My thought pattern changed from “no one can help me” and “I want to die so all this will stop” to “why the fuck should I die because I’ve got this illness, how is that fair?” That’s what worked for me, I’m not going to die just because it’s a statistic that people with my diagnosis attempt suicide a lot. I’m not going to be a statistic, I’m going to be a living, breathing person whatever diagnostic criteria I meet. If I ever put a stop to that, that will be my decision, but for now, fuck you, I’m alive.
I would not be alive if a friend hadn’t picked up the phone and sent for an ambulance.
I would not be alive if a policeman hadn’t found me and taken me to safety.
I would not be alive if 111 advisors hadn’t connected me with emergency mental health support.
Emergency services respond to mental health crisis and I have never had a bad experience with first responders. They have been kind and helpful and angry with failings in the system just as much as me.
Remember if someone is at high risk of hurting themselves or someone else YOU CAN CALL 999 or call 111 for advice.
3 – Mental health professionals.
Love them or hate them (and most of the time it’s the latter). Mental health professionals have been a constant in my life and I’ve needed them. They’ve taught me and listened to me and given me the advice I didn’t want to take. They can’t have been that bad, I’m still here right?
When you battle with mental health, the right support is so important, psychiatrists, inpatient stays, outpatient wards, therapists, nurses, health care assistants. There something there for everyone, but it takes so much time to find the right thing sometimes. Stick with it, find what you need and try to live to tell the story.
4 – Shit mental health professionals.
I can 100% say if I hadn’t had shit professionals try and work with me, I would not be alive. Looking someone in the eye and realising they know nothing about me or what I’m going through made me trust myself with my own recovery. So I let them go and made my own plans, it’s hard but eventually I got somewhere.
One day at a time (cliches anyone)?
5 – MEDS MEDS MEDS
Don’t agree with taking meds for mental health? That’s your own choice but don’t put other people off!
If I hadn’t had meds to stabilise my mood I’d still be cycling between suicidal and manic 58819362910 times a day.
If I hadn’t had antipsychotics, I’d still think ISIS was my fault and there’s a man with an axe waiting by my door.
If I hadn’t had sleeping pills I’d have been awake for days.
If I hadn’t had NAC the overdoses I took would have ended me.
There is no shame in pills, sometimes I need them, most of the time I don’t. That’s progress, but without them, I wouldn’t be here at all.
Please, take this day to remember that suicide isn’t a joke. It’s not attention seeking.
But more importantly PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE remember, you can get through this eventually, it might take months, it might take years. But your going to do it and I promise you, life in recovery will be worth it, more than you can imagine right now.
You can talk to the samaritans on 116 123
Or you can chat online about what Evers going on with imalive.org