I’m in that head space again. The one where I’m contemplating suicide.
This is a hard one to own up to. It seems so crazy, just writing it there for you to read. It’s like owning it to the maximum degree, which is pretty huge considering I’ve kept it a secret all my life.
I was preteen the first time I thought about killing myself. I stood at Echo Point in Katoomba, NSW, and looked out over that huge gorgeous valley, the long drop to the bottom, and wondered what it would feel like to hop over the wire fence and jump. I remember having very matter-of-fact thoughts at the time: Would my family even notice I was gone? Which of my five brothers would get my bedroom? Would it be much easier for Mum and Dad to pay the bills and feed everyone?
Over the years, I’ve created a few categories in my mind for suicidal thoughts;
- Feeling like I’d be better off dead
- Feeling like the world would be a better place if I was dead
- Fantasizing about how to kill myself
- Deciding which of my suicidal fantasies are actually viable
- Choosing a suicide method and wondering when the best time would be to execute it
- Setting a time/place to kill myself
- Starting to put my affairs in order
- Writing a new suicide note and letters to family
These are pretty much all the categories. I have never actually, physically tried to take my own life. I’ve come close a fair few times, though, like sitting in a bathroom with a knife, and standing outside the guard rail at a few lookouts.
I have kept a journal for many years, and as you’d expect, my Bipolar Disorder up up ups and down down downs have featured regularly. Journaling is incredibly therapeutic for me, and every time I buy a new journal I write the same thing on the first page: This journal is a place for me to write my truth, in the moment, and that’s the only thing that matters.
Writing down suicidal feelings and thoughts, seeing them on the page staring back at me, has kept me sane in many a dark hour. When I read back over my words, I’m often reminded of the classic quote “and this too shall pass”. The lowest lows come and go, if you hang in there and remember that tomorrow is another day. Easy to say now. My dark hour has passed and I’m buzzy and wondering if I’ll sleep tonight.
Sharing this with you is surprisingly easy. Keeping my MI a secret for so many years seemed like such a right choice. Maybe it was the right choice, for those times, and now it’s time to share and see what comes of it. I’ve been amazed already, at the response I’ve had from fellow sufferers and people who know someone who lives with BD. The only sense I can make of it is that the older I get, the more I realise I have lots left to learn. A great reason to hang in there for another few decades.
be you xx Rachel