The 10th of September is world suicide prevention day. Triggered? I suspect I am not the only person who has been, so I will do what I do and speak to this demon publicly, because if I stare it in the eye it can’t devour me. I am confronted by the entrance of another dark tunnel, but today, I know to pass through it because it’s safe, warm and bright just beyond this darkness.
Today the urge to give up has returned. It’s not unfamiliar, but incredibly unwelcome. I’ve been triggered by small setbacks this week, and have retired to the safety of my bedroom. A simple and insignificant event has cracked the foundation of the dam and now I just need to cry it out I guess.
Today, like many days for many people like me, the only thing that matters is staying safe and strong as the unreasonable and unwelcome desire to end the suffering gives way to a kinder, more rational internal dialogue.
I’d planned to run a few errands, and be home in time to grab the kids. My car needed a charge so I could manage the round trip, so I plugged in at one of the stations and walked over to have a coffee. Someone unplugged me, which is fine. They said: Sorry, I needed to unplug you, and I said: That’s fine, today I just need to fight the urge to kill myself. A weird and massive truth bomb probably far too out of context for most people to process, so I’ll add that run-in to the barrage of shame and self-loathing that I clearly need to honour and work through today.
I can’t help anyone or do anything when I am hurting this bad and truly terrified of most people. I am consumed with fear and shame and uncertainty. Feeling like I fought hard for people and a planet that don’t need or want my help, and won’t hear or respect my pleas for change and collaboration. Today, my mind is stuck, like a skipping record, repeating: “You’re a failure. Who do you think you are? Everyone would be better off if you took that hurricane offline. You can’t do anything right. Those mean, cruel, opportunists who tell you you’re a train wreck and only tolerate you when you’re giving them something they need are right about you. You’re worthless. You’re wrong. You don’t deserve all the wonderful things that you have. You haven’t earned anything. You make such a mess and so much chaos and confusion wherever you go and everyone would be better off if you were gone”
Today I just need to survive, quietly, until these feelings pass. And that’s actually all that matters when the sadness gets this bad.
I won’t be able to run those errands now, and that’s okay. I can pick up the plates for the treehouse another day. I can look for the fiddly little lightbulbs that need replacing in the china cabinet another day. I can record the interview for my son’s media studies project another day.
Keeping going when it gets like this was a rather unsuccessful strategy for a long time in the past, and the more there is pulling you in different directions the higher the chances you will be torn apart.
It has been a very tedious and painful journey stitching myself together since my incredibly public nervous breakdown. I get to deal with the stigma and fear every day. And my heart aches just thinking about the cruelty and ignorance some people choose when they’re confronted with their own or other people’s mental health issues. We all fall down and we all get sick sometimes. Recovering takes time, patience and effort.
We all need a strategy. Lately, mine is as simple as seeking safety and silence to compensate for years of being a screaming spectacle asking people to be kind and collaborative as we face an uncertain and difficult reality. Trees and bees and food and lovely cups of hot tea have replaced an insatiable need to be seen and heard, and told I worked hard enough and made a difference. Chasing external validation is a treacherous path, and opens you up to so many snakes in the grass, false friends, sycophants and all sorts of false starts and dead ends.
A heathy mind, soul and body are aligned and able to create and sustain magic when we feel safe, secure, supported, and have some certainty. Something to do, something to Love, and something to hope for carry us through and can be incredibly contagious. It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that sadness and instability can and will affect others as well.
There is a very high chance that tomorrow whatever chemicals and subconscious demons I am battling will have had their say and I can again keep them at bay and carry on with my journey. Maybe even be helpful. Kind. Rational. Encouraging. Available to someone at the very moment it will be infinitely useful to them.
Not today though.
Today, I need to just finish these sentences. Decide if I am brave enough to share them. Wonder if it will help someone. Or hurt someone to open up this wound and show it to anyone who happens to come across these words today.
We are going to be okay. I am not ready to reemerge and need to be protected in the safety of my small and trusted tribe for a bit longer.
I feel a bit better.
Time to put the kettle on.