TW: suicidal ideation
I think that I have done incredibly well just by surviving these past seven months and never harming myself or attempting to take my own life.
These past seven months I have had to deal with two different internal hells; post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. It has been extremely hard both whilst manic and whilst depressed and many times I have casually looked at my pills and thought about taking an overdose. I have also made plans to take an overdose on certain days but when the days came I didn’t do it.
At one point as a result of my post traumatic stress disorder I was being triggered and startled by noises all the time. You can imagine how distressing and horrible this was; I was experiencing the feelings of hopelessness, fear and distress EVERY TIME that I was triggered. I actually broke down in tears once because all of that was just too awful to bear.
Depression was a living hell for me because it sucked out all of the life out of me, the world and everything. Everything was bleak- why would anyone want to live if this is what life is like? I spent weeks where I would look forward to going to bed as soon as I got up and I just wanted to sleep forever. I constantly thought to myself that I was a failure and saw no future for myself. I couldn’t watch films, television or even find a book I wanted to read. I was not myself at all; it was like there was a black cloud hovering above my head wherever I went. Going through days like this is not living, it’s surviving.
Possibly the worst thing that I experienced was constant suicidal urges throughout my mania and my depression which were caused by my antidepressants. I would think about killing myself perhaps every other day in various ways such as cutting my wrists with my razors, strangling myself with earphones, jumping off bridges, running in front of cars and even falling down escalators. These urges and my suicidal thoughts really disturbed me because there was no reason behind them, they just happened.
My mania was also a hell mainly because it was far too much and after even a month I had had enough of it. I felt like I had a very strong dosage of a combination of cocaine and magic mushrooms at the same time but I didn’t and it never went away; the high just would not go even after months of medication. It was euphoric at the very beginning but soon after it became very unpleasant; I was anxious, very irritable, impatient, restless and at times suicidal. The constant hallucinations were one of the main reasons that my mania was so unbearable. They were almost daily and their presence really perturbed me.
I believe that the suffering caused by mental health problems is one of the worst types of suffering and therefore I completely understand why 90% of people who choose to end their lives have mental health problems. It seems completely natural to me that people in situations of mental ill health would feel this way; mental health problems are extremely difficult to live with and make life astronomically hard. It also takes a long time to recover and can be hard to keep having hope and continue on surviving. I think people who battle mental health problems are very strong people as it requires so much courage to get through the pain and suffering.
However, it is not just the illness it self that can make things a living hell for the sufferer. Stigma or a lack of support can also make things incredibly difficult. For a while my mother was very unsupportive and did not believe I was mentally ill. This made things very difficult and I seriously planned to take an overdose of pills to make her see that I was ill. If she had not eventually supported me who knows if I would have gone through with that.
With great difficulty and a lot of hope I have survived the worst parts of my illness; my episodes of mania and depression. I am a lot better now and feel I am getting my life back again.
If you are in the UK call Samaritans at 08457 90 90 90
Or if you are in the US call 1-800-273