Why did you try to kill yourself? It’s a question I dread and struggle to answer. Suicide is an issue which is ignored too much, it’s easier for some people to ignore it and hope it goes away and the stigma that is attached to Suicide makes it a taboo subject.
I was first asked this question after my first overdose, I was in A&E and a Doctor came and asked me. I remember feeling so ashamed and this defensive urge rose up in me, my reply was “I want to die, that’s usually why people commit suicide isn’t it?” and the Doctor went on to ask me “Why do you want to die?” and I couldn’t answer. At the time I felt so annoyed, wasn’t it obvious why I wanted to kill myself? Two more attempts after that and I still couldn’t answer the question.
It has been two years since my last attempt and I think finally I understand a bit more about the reasons behind my actions. Suicide is an extremely hard thing to attempt, I’ve heard people call it the cowards way out but I think it’s extremely hard to come to terms with the fact that you don’t want to live anymore, that you don’t want to be in the world any longer. I remember feeling like I was better off dead, that my family would be better off without me, I was a burden and wasn’t worth the time. I hated myself so much, I hated who I’d become, I hated the way I looked, I hated that voice in my head that kept telling me there was no hope and I’d be alone for the rest of my life. For me Suicide all came down to my self esteem, I had none, I thought I was worthless and had no future, I thought no one would ever love me and I couldn’t deal with a life like that. I wanted the pain to stop, I wanted the voice in my head to shut up so I did it. I regret each attempt I made and I am very lucky that none of them worked because I now see what those attempts did to the people around me, the people that supported me. Suicide is a selfish act, when you’re that depressed and at rock bottom it’s hard to think of anyone else, and if you do you think they wouldn’t care anyway. The truth is, suicide is always going to affect more than the person carrying out the act. My Mum rings me everyday, if I don’t text her back she worries. She still comes to Doctors appointments and asks me everyday to stay strong. She worries constantly and it’s my fault because I made her watch her own daughter try to end her life. I can’t imagine as a Mother what it would feel like to know that the person you brought into this world wanted to leave it.
For people who are feeling like I did, Suicide is not the answer. Think of everyone you love, think of all the people who are supporting you, all the people that have every helped you. You are letting them down if you choose this option, you have to fight and you have to stay strong. It’s hard and tiring and there are times when you will contemplate ending it all but it’s about getting passed those times and taking joy from anything around you, enjoy the little things in life. A life is an enormous gift and so much can be done with it, you weren’t put onto this planet just to waste that chance. Live and find happiness because it is there, don’t let that dark voice in your head win, be stronger than Suicide.
Having an invisible illness brings a lot of judgement and opinions from others and a lot of time it’s negative and hurtful. Living with Depression and Chronic Fatigue is hard enough as it is without other people making me feel worse about something I cannot change.
Before my Fiancé met me, he had never met someone affected by depression and anxiety and I think it shocked him to see how much it affected me. He didn’t understand Depression and it took a while for him to get used to the condition but he made the effort to learn about it and support me as much as possible. The anxiety was hard for him to deal with because he is such an outgoing person who loves to socialise and it caused a lot of stress in the relationship but we both eventually learned how to compromise and he learned my boundaries and respected them. The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome took a long time to diagnose and frustrated him to no end because he could see how my life was so negatively being impacted and it seemed like doctors just fobbed me off, but he supported me through all of it, and he’s still supporting me even though he doesn’t understand how something you cant see can be so life changing.
Some people though aren’t as supportive and understanding, they have the impression that Depression is something I choose to live with and the Chronic Fatigue is just tiredness which I should get over. I don’t currently work, I have done in the past and I would love to again, there is nothing more fulfilling than earning money for your future. To others though, I choose not to work and am lazy, they see me sitting at home all day earning no money for my household and putting all the pressure on my Fiancé. It makes me feel ashamed and I start to doubt even myself, am I weak? am I lazy? Could I do more?
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is hard to explain and when people just accuse me of being tired and lazy it hurts me so much because I’m 23 and if I could I would be out there in the world preparing for my future and socialising, doing all the things a young person would do. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome isn’t just feeling tired, its feeling mentally and physically exhausted. People take for granted waking up in the morning and feeling refreshed and ready for the day. When I wake up in the morning, I feel nothing but exhaustion, I’ve slept all night but it’s not helped me, it’s not refreshed me, I feel just as tired as I did when I went to bed. Then there is the constant aches in my muscles, it feels like I’ve run a marathon when all I’ve done is had a shower. My joints are stiff and my temperature all over the place, I’m sweating one minute and the next I’m freezing cold. I can’t concentrate for long, my mind feels foggy and I forget things so easily. When I sleep I have such vivid disturbing dreams that it’s surprising I sleep so much. I get up at 11am and by 3pm I need to sleep again, but I fight it because I feel so ashamed, I shouldn’t be tired because I haven’t done anything productive.
So it hurts when people think I am exaggerating or making my condition up, it hurts when people say I should be out working like everybody else because its just laziness. It hurts when I have to fight for my benefits because Chronic Fatigue and Depression are not classed as long term illnesses. I shouldn’t have to prove myself. I have two illnesses that can’t be spotted physically but it doesn’t mean I’m not really ill, it just means I have to try harder to fight.
My story begins at 18 when I was diagnosed with Depression. I had a decent life and good prospects for the future but my whole life I’d felt different, like I didn’t fit in anywhere. I was picked on at school and my self esteem was almost non existent. As a teenager I was shy and withdrawn, a big change from the happy, confident child I once was, but I always put it down to hormones. I didn’t know that as time would go on, my mental state would decline and eventually it would become so bad that I would turn to self harm to make myself feel better. I hated the way I looked and the person that I had become, I became sneaky and good at portraying a happy, excited young person when inside I was falling further and further down. Eventually my Mum caught on to what I was doing to myself and my GP became involved, I was put on antidepressants and I began to feel better….for a few months and then it would be like the medication had just stopped working, my medication would get changed or increased and again for a short while things would improve and then suddenly stop, I’d begin to sink again. This led to my first suicide attempt, a memory that still brings back extremely dark feelings. I promised myself after that I would never do that to myself again but I broke that promise a year later when I overdosed once again, the only decent thing is that I can’t remember that attempt, it’s a blur because of the tablets I took. Two years passed after that, I became stronger, went to therapy which I hated, it would give me hope for a few months and then I’d smarten up and tell the psychologist what they wanted to hear, I’d be discharged and on my own again. I started to work for the first time and I was proud of myself but once again my depression followed me and brought me down, the pressure of work and stress made me attempt to take my own life again at 21.
At 22 I met the man that is know my Fiancé and he supported me and pushed me to be better. His patience and understanding helped me cope. I caught Glandular Fever shortly after and some Doctors have suggested that Depression made me weaker and because my body was so run down I couldn’t fight the virus properly which is why I’ve now been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Post Viral Syndrome. My body is in a constant state of fatigue, I can sleep for 10 hours at night and wake up feel just as exhausted as when I went to bed. My muscles and joints ache after a short amount of activity. I feel like a ninety year old woman has taken over my body and my depression still hovers over me, making me doubt my strength and hoping that I will give up again. My blog is my way of letting out my frustration, coping with the constant struggle and hopefully finding inspiration and support from people suffering in a similar way because of so tired of Fighting against my own body and mind alone.