Saturday, 24 September 2011

The scales have shifted

It has felt quite strange not to write my little witterings every day. But it’s been good to sit back from it for a while and take a tiny bit more time for reflection.

Whenever I paint a picture, I always make sure I take a break from looking at it. My view can get so distorted that I need to return with a fresh energy and perspective.

Which is why, this couple of weeks away for me has come at exactly the right time.

I haven’t got internet access so I’ve sneaked into a pub to steal their WiFi...hehe.

Something happened to me a couple of weeks ago. A day that changed everything. A day that I would preferably not talk about. A day that I knew, in my own time, I would need to write about. And it just hasn’t felt quite right before. But somehow, for whatever reason, I think I can open up that door now. In the hope that others will be able to relate, to understand, and not feel scared to talk about anymore.

So……..deep breath Sooz…here we go……..

Two weeks ago I took an overdose of tablets. In short, a suicide attempt. A desperate cry for help.

Ooo those are scary words aren’t they. Don’t worry though; this story has a happy(ish) ending.

I had hit rock bottom. I thought I had hit rock bottom quite a few times before. But because of a multitude and random combination of situations, the shit really hit the fan this time.

If you asked me to pinpoint one thing, one situation or emotion that provoked me to take matters into my own hands, I honestly couldn’t do it.

When the depression has taken over, you are completely and utterly taken control of. It makes me sound crazy but it’s like having 2 bits to my personality, the normal(ish) and well Susie, and the depressed poorly Susie. When trying to explain a suicide attempt to others, it’s so important that people understand that the depressed and poorly side of my mind had taken over. You are in a place where all logic and love have been thrown out of the window. You can’t even recognise that you do have another side to your mind; the depression simply won’t allow it. It has banned reason, hope, faith, beauty, love and colour. You are swamped in a never ending darkness.

People often talk about tiredness. And I recognise that we all live hectic lives, when sleep deprivation is normal and sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day. Physical tiredness is draining, but can be rectified through a few early nights, and trying not to overstretch our bodies. Mental tiredness is really not so simple. In fact exhaustion is a better word. When you have spent days, weeks, months, years, battling suicidal thoughts, and a self loathing that you can never shake off, you are utterly shattered. There is nothing left within you, and no matter how many hours of sleep you get, you ultimately wake up again the next morning, and begin the fight once again.

I just wanted to sleep forever. And suicide was the only option. Taking tablets and falling asleep was all I wanted to do. That’s what depression does to you, it takes choice out of the equation. Instead of being able to see different options and answers, you are left with a black answer, rather than seeing the world in grey tones.

It is perhaps only with time and healing that I will begin to understand the worry and distress I caused people on that day. I still struggle with getting my head around it. Why would people worry about me? I ask myself, I don’t think I’m worth worrying about.

I felt replaceable and unmissable, an empty void that would be quickly and easily substituted. Again, this is something that family and friends remind me is not true. I hope with time and my medication working, one day, I will be able to believe them. And perhaps the fact that I’m sat here typing this today is a little bit of proof that some of those words are beginning to slowly seep into my brain.

One of the important things about my attempted suicide is that I did cry out for help. I didn’t stay sitting in the field taking more and more tablets. I freaked out, rang a friend, told my Dad, and got myself to a hospital pretty quickly.

What followed was probably a couple of the most uncomfortable and confusing days of my life. My Mum looked like she had been punched in the face, and I desperately wanted to make it better.

Weirdly though, I don’t regret what happened on that day. I have seen it as a turning point in my journey, the scales have shifted, and there is no going back. As my amazing and wise friend Laura said to me a few days later, “The only way is up now Susie.” Those words have stuck with me, and I strongly believe that this suicidal experience will actually give me the strength I’ve been searching for.

It sounds super strange but I now feel like I have got all my suicidal plans and urges out now. It is a chapter I can close on my life. I was so often pulled towards the door marked death, whereas now, that door doesn’t even exist for me. Yes, I still have utterly awful days when the depression takes over me, and I feel numb to the core, but I have realised that suicide is no longer the answer.

In the past, when I had heard about people who had taken their own lives, the first word that would pop into my head would be ‘selfish’. I couldn’t contemplate how the person could cause such pain to their loved ones, instead putting their own need of escape first. I now realise just how wrong I was. When I now hear of others who have taken their own lives I am overwhelmed with grief and sadness that they were unable to reach out and get the help they deserved. Whether that is talking to a doctor, a counsellor, a friend, a family member, being able to reach out can be so scary but can be the lifeline you need.

I have tried so hard to explain this very odd and surreal experience, and I don’t think I’m doing a very good job! But, as I have said so many times before, it is perhaps acceptance that is the most important thing, understanding can be so tricky.

Three days after my overdose, I got my tattoo done. I now have the word ‘hope’ written on my right hand wrist.

 A reminder that I have been at the bottom of the darkest pit, and yet somehow, I managed to cling on to the light.

 A reminder that hope can often hide but always be found.

 A reminder that I never want to be in that place again.

 A reminder that people do love me.

A reminder that I’m stronger than I realise.

A reminder that without hope, all would be lost.



  1. Things will get easier for everyone because brave souls like you are speaking out. So glad your feeling more positive and i know you'll work things out, bit by bit and piece by piece. x

    (I keep a picture of him by my bed...under my copy of Mens Health!! lol)

  2. Well done for writing this. And so glad we didn't lose you.