⚠️ TRIGGER WARNING ⚠️
I actually wrote this about a month ago but haven’t had the courage to share it. I still feel very vulnerable sharing this part of my story.
This is my story with suicidal ideation….. please do not read it if it’s something that will be painful for you or cause you any distress. Please remember this is my story – my feelings and it’s to raise awareness that it can happen to anyone.
Ask me a few years back and I could tell you that I could empathise with people impacted by suicide or with someone who has committed suicide about the pain they were in but I didn’t understand it. Part of me questioned how, why, surely not.
A few years ago I did a mental health first aid course – it was so insightful and so inspiring. It was an eye opener into the world of mental health prior to fully understanding or fully experiencing severe mental illness. I learnt that the physical equivalent to severe depression is paraplegia. When you look at it like that you would never ever just ask a paraplegic to get on with it and get up. So why should we ask someone with severe depression to do so – that’s not going to work or actually help.
The other thing I learnt is that your brain cannot actually move from being mildly depressed to suicidal in the same moment. Liken it to a sliding scale – it can only jump so much at any one time so if you are a happy person and never experienced mental health challenges you will in no way be able to appropriately relate to or understand suicide. Your brain will struggle to comprehend it. Just as it’s unlikely that despite concerns that someone who is mildly depressed can go straight from there to suicide as they have not slipped far enough down the scale to properly consider suicide as a full option out.
So after being embroiled in horrendous legal battles, I would draft and review enough legal material each week to probably top my job up to full time hours in hectic weeks, I was representing myself at certain moments as I couldn’t afford legal representation and trying to raise my sons in financial hardship. I had my home threatened to be taken from me and had to spend approx $15K to fight to keep it. I was absolutely sinking under the pressure I was living in and still trying to hold down a job.
I was getting out of bed each day and just gradually it started. ‘God I don’t want to live like this anymore’ ‘My stomach hurts so much from worry and stress that I don’t know what to do’ ‘I am a sh*t mum’ ‘I want to cry – oh wait I actually am crying’ and these thoughts then start to progress ‘what if I wasn’t here anymore’ ‘what would happen to the boys’ ‘how can I disappear’ ‘could I just cut my arms so my head has something else to think about instead of the emotional pain’. For me, I can handle physical pain fairly well but that emotional despair is just heartbreaking though.
I realised I had gone from just thinking about “oh this is bullsh*t” to actually thinking about the what, where, when, how. Now here’s a pivotal moment – I knew enough about mental health particularly with my exposure to mental health hospitals to know that this was quickly progressing down a very horrendous path. If I didn’t tell someone quickly then it could get worse. I also needed people to step in and take some of the burden off my shoulders.
So I sat at work one morning and wrote to my legal team – I told them – I wrote it down. I am having suicidal thoughts. I need your help.
And just like that – they did. They stepped in – they carried every part of the load they could from me. The assured me they were fighting for me and the boys.
Then the flood gate opened – I grabbed a colleague and burst into tears. I felt so ashamed, so stupid for feeling this way – I was stronger than this. I was scared about how I was feeling, unsure if I should tell my family. Terrified they wouldn’t understand.
This all came crumbling down a week after my drink spiking that I shared in a recent blog – I rang my mum – she started crying and told me she already knew. She could hear and feel I was sinking and when my drink was spiked I started saying I didn’t want to be around anymore. I still couldn’t tell Wayne – how could I? When I told him I let him read something I had written – I couldn’t face him and tell him how I felt. He didn’t know how to take it – it hurt him that I didn’t want to face anything anymore and the idea that he could lose me was very heartbreaking for him. After he had gathered himself he just started to support me, look after me and let me know he was there and wasn’t going anywhere.
The people I did tell were so kind and supportive – they would send me motivating texts, remind me of what was important, I reached out to my doctor and by telling people I could start to pull myself out of the dark hole and surprisingly I actually became less ashamed as I was so supported.
By having my legal team step in and take more on I found I withdrew from that space as much as possible and started self care to pull me back out of the black hole. It was so bloody hard – I couldn’t be bothered to self care, I just wanted it to go away but I knew it wouldn’t.
I started journaling again, pulled back from social media, set up a bedtime routine of reading and lavender, did breathing exercises and did a whole lot of inner self talk. Every single time a negative thought came up – I would force myself to counteract it with a good one.
Nothing about it was easy – in fact it was exhausting,’I felt so tired all the time throughout this period but I did come out of that really dark place. I kept putting one foot in front of the other and reminding myself everyday why my existence was important.
Mental illness is tough – it’s hard to pick up, hard to manage, hard for support people. It’s terrifying for families to face the reality of what mental illness is capable of doing. I believe I ended up here because I had stopped my self care, proper self care – engaged too heavily in my fears and letting that drive me each day instead of withdrawing from that where I could. That’s the thing about legal proceedings – they are soooo unpredictable, it’s you versus someone else, it’s inherently very personal, you feel constantly exposed and attacked, you worry about the unknown – CONSTANTLY!!
I have dealt with some pretty significant stress in my time but I can say with certainty the legal battles are the worst things I have been through. It’s draining on your soul and drags you into a cycle of helplessness.
If you are feeling this way – please reach out for help – contact Lifeline, Beyond Blue, a counselor or a friend, a Neighbour, a colleague – anyone. Just tell someone how you feel. Don’t allow your thoughts to scare you out of confiding in someone. People do understand. People do care.
If you want to know anything more personal about my situation as always I am more than happy to open up in more detail privately so please reach out.