**Before reading please be aware this blog post contains my experience with suicidal feelings and may be a trigger for some**
Since I was 15 I have had a fear about death. I’d never personally known anyone close to me to pass away until I was 15, when my aunt passed away, after an extremely short battle with cancer. Since then I had been afraid of dying or someone close to me dying. It was extremely confusing to feel intense anxiety and Maternal OCD about the health & safety of myself and child, while at the same time having suicidal feelings. I was scared of dying but didn’t want to live.
It’s hard to understand the frame of mind someone is in to be contemplating taking their own life, and unless you have been in that position you will never totally get it. Suicide started for me as an intrusive thought, one which grew over time to become what I believed to be my only option out of the dark hole I felt I was living in.
Before I had postnatal depression I had very little knowledge on mental illness and suicide. Someone I knew had a daughter who had committed suicide and left behind a toddler. I felt a great deal of sympathy for her, but couldn’t help thinking to myself, why would you commit suicide if you had young children? Shame on me for my ignorance, and lack of understanding of mental health.
I can remember when I first began having suicidal thoughts, and during a family meal the subject came up (yes strange subject to be discussing this at a family dinner?!) someone commented ‘I just think it’s really selfish to commit suicide’ I was mortified. Everyone at the table seem to be nodding in agreement, and I felt a massive sense of shame that I must be an awful, selfish person for having these feelings.
I came so close to going through with my ‘plan’ I made sure my husband and I had sorted our wills. I dropped into conversations with my husband what I wanted for my funeral, who I wanted my precious belongings to go to. Just so he would know.
I started to cut my fingers with a crafting blade I had, small scratches to begin with, I was trying to see how much it would hurt…in my mind I was building up to using it to end my life. Finally one day I was sitting at our desk in our bedroom, things had escalated and I didn’t feel I could go on anymore. I held the crafting blade to my wrist, my daughter was asleep on our bed, and at that moment she woke. She looked at me, smiled and said “Mummy” – it was like a slap in the face, a wake up call. I couldn’t do this now, she would be alone and what if something happened to her? Also, at the time I was 6 months pregnant, I can’t take away this child’s chance at life before he has even begun it. I put the blade away grabbed her and went downstairs. That night I poured my heart out & explained what had happened to my husband. He was shocked and deeply worried. He began checking on me constantly, I wouldn’t even lock the door when I showered so he could pop his head round to make sure I was ok.
I held on to the image of that day and kept going for the sake of my daughter and unborn son. Soon I had began thinking I would wait and do it after he was born. I eventually confessed this thought to my husband. He was really supportive but one thing we didn’t do was seek professional help. I held on throughout my pregnancy and said I would seek help after my son was born. This was all because I feared if I admitted my dark thoughts the hospital would class my pregnancy as high risk and not allow me the water birth I had my hopes set on. Looking back, it wasn’t the right thing to do. I should have reached out and sought help sooner. When my son was born, my husband came with me to my six week check to ensure I was honest with the doctors and nurses. They were brilliant and I began to receive treatment.
That afternoon when I nearly took my own life was my darkest, lowest moment. I wasn’t thinking of anything other than ending this unbearable pain I was going through. I couldn’t see any way out of how I was feeling, other than ending my life. I truly believed my family and friends would be better off if I wasn’t around. I thought I was doing them a favour, releasing them from the miserable life I had created. When I admitted this to my two closest friends, they cried with me. I was genuinely surprised that they cared that much. I felt completely worthless and their reaction made me realise, I am important to those in my life.
So please don’t think when someone thinks about or commits suicide that they are being selfish. If you know someone who is depressed, who is vulnerable and suffering a mental illness, please, please check in on them, let them know they are important and loved. That small act of kindness and taking time to talk to them makes a huge impact, just a text, a visit can make a massive difference.
If you think you are suffering or know someone who is PLEASE seek help. Here are some useful contacts, but please speak to your GP too.
I look back at how far I’ve come and want you to know you CAN get better, please seek help, I never imagined I would be well again, but if I can come back from this experience you can too – Don’t give up.