World Suicide Prevention Day

Posted this on Facebook but it bears repeating.

TW – Depression.

Once upon a time, many years ago there was a day when I just stopped functioning as a human being. It was a shock when it happened, but in hindsight the crash had been coming for a long time.

My body was healthy.

My mind was not.

It was the bleakest time of my life. On the outside, nothing had changed. On the inside, everything had. There was no colour, no joy, no taste. I couldn’t concentrate to watch television or read. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t dress and wash myself. Nothing seemed good any more.

Everywhere I looked there was chaos and terror and disaster. If it wasn’t happening already, it would soon, so what was the point? Everything would die, everything would break, nothing would last and why would I wait around for that to happen?

People talked to me, people supported me. I was loved and cared for. People were kind, but it didn’t really matter, because they were a thousand miles away from me and what I knew.What I knew was that I was existing inside a black hole, and nobody ever escapes a black hole. It sucks everything into its path. Forever.

I didn’t want to kill myself and I was afraid to die, but I didn’t want to exist any more because everything hurt and there was no rest to be had. I existed on the very edges of my frayed nerves and it was exhausting.

The difference between living and existing is vast and terrible.

People tell you to create routine, do normal things, take care of yourself. They toss these sentences around like silk scarves and you pick them up like huge, granite blocks. It takes every ounce of your resolution to brush your teeth. The thought of getting some exercise makes you weep. Everything you eat tastes like ashes. Sleep is the only thing you really want, but sleeping is terrifying, so you grind through the moments praying for release.

I don’t know what changed things, but I do know that things changed. Maybe it was time. Maybe it was the love of the people who cared for me. Maybe it was a bit out of column A and a bit out of column B.

It was not kale. I know that much.

But one day, colour started coming back into my world. Tiny, tiny things made me smile for a fleeting moment, but it was enough, and eventually the lights came back on and things got better.They do get better. I promise.

That year haunts me. It snaps at my heels every time I feel myself slipping backwards into bad mental health. I have never been back there. Near enough, but never there. Thank God.

What I felt then was that it was hard to talk to people about my thoughts and feelings because I was ashamed. I was ashamed that I was ‘broken’. I was ashamed that I wasn’t ‘normal’. I was also afraid that when people found out who I really was, they wouldn’t love me any more and I was already the loneliest I had ever felt. I didn’t want to be any lonelier.

Now I know that if one thing really did help, it was talking to people and them not turning away from me. I didn’t need them to understand. I didn’t need them to fix me (because I was not broken and neither are you). I just needed them to listen to me and to love me.It’s hard to do that, but talking really can help.

It’s World Suicide Prevention Day today.

If what I’m saying affects you and you need someone to listen, do reach out. There is always someone out there who knows what you’re going through. The voice that tells you it’s only you is a liar. Send a message, pick up the phone, call the Samaritans, reach out however you need to and know that you are loved, even if you don’t feel it.

I love you and I think you’re brave and I know you’re scared. And even though it feels like it could never be true for you, I am living proof that things do get better.

It will be ok.

12 responses to “World Suicide Prevention Day

  1. I don’t know what to say… except thank you.

  2. Thank you for this 💕

  3. Your opening paragraphs are the best description I have ever read of what depression is really like. I felt like that a long time ago and I was told my case was ‘mild’ I remember thinking, if this is mild i hope I never get it badly. Thank you for putting it into words so well. I wish someone like you could have been alongside me at the time …but like you, I am here to say it does get better. It goes away and suddenly you stop thinking you’re taking up space you’re not entitled to, and life is somehow worth living again.

  4. Elspeth L. Cunningham

    Thanks Katey. I was in Central Station yesterday and the Samaritans had a table with leaflets. Now I understand why they had chosen yesterday.And another thing – in the park I go to, there is a bench – a lovely coloured bench. I know it’s there for people who are thinking dark, dark thoughts. What I do each time is to touch the bench, just they way I would have touched the person’s shoulder if they had needed a touch but they no longer needed a touch, but others wwill. Thank you so mcuh for this blog. Elspeth

  5. Well done surviving. And talking about it.

    Been there, done that, several times. Used the t-shirts as dusters for so long that it might be time to actually invest in some dusters which are designed to be dusters.

    The final time was five years ago, but lasted for ten years. Still, by now I know how to manage my SAD, I hope, and won’t be getting any more Depression-Grey t-shirts.

    I do hate it when people talk about ‘Mental Health’ when what they really mean is ‘Mental Ill-Health’. I mean, everyone has mental health, just as they have physical health. Some of us are Olympic athletes, some of us get puffed walking to the starter blocks.

    But on the whole, we struggle on, talk with Professionals (some of whom actually Listen and help) and family and friends, and hope we don’t have the energy to do ‘something silly’, until the day when we have the energy to actually do ‘something sensible’.

    And then we’re better equipped to listen to those who are on the downward parts of the journey. Particularly for the first time..

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