Friday, March 25, 2022

The Suicidal Cycle

 Trigger Warning: Suicide

"There's a war inside my head
Sometimes I wish that I was dead, I'm broken"
I think about how many pills it would take for it all to be over. I know I have access to a lot of medications (albeit to try and treat this very illness). I think about how much better off my family and friends would be in my death. How they'll no longer need to be on edge and burdened by my existence. I'm comforted in knowing that my pain will be over. All of this will stop.
And yet, I hesitate.
I think about just this once not being honest with the doctor about how I'm feeling. I contemplate whether there's a better, more successful way, to end it all. My mind rushes 1,000 miles per hour. The thoughts are loud and over and over my mind convinces me that death is the only solution.
And yet, I pause.
Repeated in my mind, I imagine my family free from my illness. I imagine them living their lives without worrying about me. I think of the pain. I feel it deep within me. This depression has taken more from me than I have available to give. It's exhausted my family, but it's exhausted me too. Suicide seems like the only way to escape from it's claws.
And still, I wait.
The concept of death scares me. I don't know what happens after you die. I imagine that there's nothing and everything stops, but what if I'm wrong? I don't want my family and friends to find me, and for that to be etched into their memories. I love my nieces and nephews so much, and I want to see them grow up. I'll miss my family, they are everything to me. Even when depression eats at me, they still make me smile, and make me feel capable of being loved.
So, once again, I hesitate.
An extremely anxious and afraid part of me is honest with the doctor about my plans. I tell him that I can't do it anymore and that death is the only solution to my problems. I tell him that the drugs and other treatments don't work and that I have no hope for the future, because right now, I can't see a future for me. He suggests hospital. I decline. After 514 days admitted in a three year period, I can't stand the thought of another admission. We talk. Hospital still the obvious option. An admission follows. My thoughts still circle around death, but being restricted in a hospital setting prevents me from doing anything.
And so, I live.
I spend anywhere from a week to 12 weeks in hospital. I see the doctor most days. He tries ECT, he tries new medications. Nothing works long term, but it gives me little bursts of hope, and slowly the suicidal thoughts stop taking up the forefront of my mind. I'm discharged home.
And then after a short time, the cycle starts again. Stop the ride. I want to get off.
***Please note - I am not at risk of suicide at the present time. This post is more to share what happens with those I know, in the hopes that I can create understanding and compassion, and support for those who may be feeling similar.***

Monday, March 7, 2022

Stop Bullying - It's All About Education

 Earlier this week I came across an article in The Courier Mail where a couple spoke of their child's suicide after experiencing bullying. Understandably, they were upset, and campaigning for change to laws to make bullies accountable for their actions (in this case catfishing was used). I'm definitely on their side, as I think bullies need to realise that their actions have consequences, and one way to do this is to stand up and say "we will not tolerate this". It may not be a physical assault, but bullying can lead to outcomes that are just as damaging, whether that be mental anguish or like in this particular case, suicide.

I wish I could say that I was never bullied.  The truth is I don't think my bullies even consider what they did as bullying me.  Grade 8 and 9 was filled with times where my so called friends would go through stages where they'd all talk to me, then they'd tell me that I was too annoying and I couldn't sit with them.  They continued to make me feel "less than" and it led to a time where I lost myself, drifting from friend group to friend group trying desperately to find that place where I'd fit in.  For a young teenager losing all your friends at once is very overwhelming (I often question if this is where all of my mental health struggles first started).  It's hard not to lose yourself when you're constantly reminded that your "friends" find who you are, annoying.  It's hard to remember to love yourself and express yourself.  It's hard to stay existing, and you end up fighting against your own mind, with their words echoing, battling to stay alive.

My "friends" threw me a going away party when they found out I was leaving in term 4, grade 9.  For me, at the time, I viewed this as a considerate thing, and was just glad to have my friends back.  Little did I realise that their earlier actions would cause me to further question all friendships in the future, and to consistently hold back certain aspects of my personality that I perceived may be annoying to others.  I grew up with a great fear of rejection and abandonment and I attribute much of this to this experience.

As I have grown and become an adult, I have forgiven those who hurt me and even have several of them as friends on Facebook.  I know that in my case they were probably uneducated about bullying and didn't realise what they did was wrong.  I truly believe if they knew the pain it would cause me, they wouldn't have acted the way they did.

This brings me to my next point.  Whilst I believe there should be consequences for bullies to hold them accountable for their actions, we need to provide an education to our younger generations about what bullying is and the damage that it can cause.  We can't punish people for bullying if they don't realise what they're doing is bullying.  Our schools need more comprehensive education sessions about bullying and the damage it can do.  They need to talk about what bullying looks like.  They need to educate our kids that "jokes" aren't always funny for everyone.  They need to talk about the teenagers and young adults that have committed suicide because they were bullied.  They need to make it a real issue and talk about the consequences so that future bullies are deterred from hurting others.

Once we've educated our kids on what bullying looks like, I definitely believe there should be strict laws in place for dealing with bullying (including catfishing).  Whilst the school should, no doubt, be involved with stopping bullying, there should be police involvement and persecution for those who've made another suffer unnecessarily.  Bullying has been made easier with advancements like Facebook and other social media apps.  It's 2022, it's a time for change, time to start looking after the next generation and put a stop to the pain caused to so many undeserving young people.