What have I done?


Yesterday I forced myself to be more honest than I have ever been about my suicidality. I told the Home Treatment Team Consultant, the team Registrar and my partner Tom everything I had been thinking about and doing to try and arrange my own death. I disclosed that I had made an email address under and assumed identity for making enquiries related to the project. I told them that I had started taking out sums of cash to visit numerous pharmacies to buy over the counter drugs to assist in an overdose, and that over the next few days I planned to take out more, up to my daily maximum, in order to make further useful purchases (I won’t go into the details as it’s unfair on others to have to read about the horrible minutiae of death), including renting a hotel room somewhere in central London. I was honest about having read enough on pro-suicide websites to know what those minutiae should be. I was also honest about having more than one plan, and that among other things I had been looking into buying nembutal online and researching train timetables.

I tried to explain that I felt that my brain was at war with itself. I was no longer having some many intrusive, shocking thoughts that caused me distress. On the contrary, the part of my mind which was working in opposition to my rational self was calm, almost relaxed, and very sneaky. As I waited at a tube station my rational mind thought nothing more than, “We should be on time for my appointment, that’s good” but sneaky brain was thinking, “Oh, look, there’s the barrier passengers should not cross. How easy it would be to do so, wouldn’t it?”

The thing about sneaky brain is it is running all the time in the background, like a piece of software that’s running while you’re doing other tasks. I am not really aware of sneaky brain until I get a pop-up message: “It looks like you’re taking out some cash! Wouldn’t you like to take out another £280 and hide it between the mattress and the bed slats?” “Tom’s letting you sort out your meds for the next few days, why don’t you see if you can slide that blister pack of 400mg quetipaine into  your pocket? He’ll never know.” It was sneaky brain that found me suddenly switching from browsing Facebook to funeral planning, reading emails to researching relative lethality of methods.

Yesterday’s disclosures were a result of the sheer exhaustion of the tussle between sneaky brain and rational brain. It was also the result of a fear that sneaky brain might entice me to do something that left me living, yet gravely harmed and thinking, “What have I done?” I didn’t think I could take the pushing and pulling any more and the only way I felt I could stop it was to “out” sneaky brain and its doings. As a result of this, I ended up handing over my debit and credit cards, so I now have access to no more money than the £3.50 in my purse. All my meds, whether from GP or HTT are hidden away by Tom, who is now watching me like a hawk around stations and driving me places so I don’t have to take trains.

Initially, I felt a huge sense of relief. I was able to enjoy a trip to a museum with Tom after the appointment (although I almost had a panic attack at one point, which I just about managed to breathe myself out of). I felt, and I am told seemed, in better spirits all day. But this morning I woke and and my very thought: what have I done? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, CHARLOTTE? You have given away your every means of escape and now you are trapped, and it’s all your own fault. You are down in this pit of darkness and you have given away your torch and encouraged others to roll up the rope ladder. Sensible brain has vanished with the ladder and it’s just you and sneaky brain down here, becoming increasingly desperate. What have you done?


About purplepersuasion

40 something service user, activist, writer and mother living with bipolar disorder. Proud winner of the Mark Hanson Prize for Digital Media at the Mind Media Awards #VMGMindAwards
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23 Responses to What have I done?

  1. neverbenormalagain says:

    I’m really sorry you’re going through this Charlotte, when you start actively planning your own end calmly it’s awful…just hang in there and I know it’s terrifying but you’ve done the right thing. You know where I am xxx

  2. Ruth says:

    I’ve ‘liked’ your post to show moral support, not because I like it that you feel so bad… hope it passes soon, and things start to feel more positive again xxx

  3. I’m in pretty much the same place right now, but I haven’t mentioned my specific plans. I see my therapist in four hours. Maybe I’ll tell her.

  4. My salvation regarding such urges is keeping reminders all around me of the people who would suffer if I give in. When I’ve been stable, I’ve gone so far as to ask for letters from those people describing the grief they’d feel if I succeeded.

  5. Anne Wade says:

    Thank God you’re both doing what is needed to give you full care. You will feel dreadful but it won’t last, promise. Stay with the writing and the honesty, and thank him when you can.
    What you are writing and videoing, such a clear description of what this disease can be at its worst, is priceless. We all love you and are upholding you.

  6. Hope you’re feeling better soon Charlotte. Brave post. Remember all the times you got through difficult periods in the past, and how they felt awful, and then felt better after a while – and know that you’ll get through this too. You’re a very valuable person. Imagine looking through your Tom’s eyes at yourself, or through your best friend’s eyes, or your readers eyes, and all the people you help. You will see how truly valuable and strong you are. Sending love and hugs. X

  7. Lount n says:

    Just a hug …. It’s the distress you want to end – not your life – for the moment let Tom take charge. Xx

  8. Big hugs to scared sneaky brain. Hope rational brain comes back super quick with the help of Tom/meds/GP/HIT/consultant/mysterious agency you were referred to.

  9. Want to add. What you’ve done is proof that you love yourself. You are bigger than your sneaky brain will ever be. Mad props, warrior!

  10. luvintheprof says:

    Seriously wish B-S-ARD sneaky brain would just do one, Charlotte. Such a courageous move on your part to “out” it. I really do hope that you turn a bit of a corner soon. I know things have been very difficult for quite a while now. I followed you on Twitter until you recently made your account private and I miss hearing how you’re getting on. I have a Twitter account, obviously, but because of my own MH probs (I have AvPD, otherwise known as Severe Social Phobia) I don’t feel able to use it to communicate with people. I might brave it and send you a request to allow me to follow you again but in the meantime, please try and take care of yourself. You’re such a special person to all your family and friends. Sending love and hugs from “Bonnie Scotland”. xXBrendaXx

    • Ah, Brenda, I’m so sorry, I had to lock down for a while as I was getting some nasty people in my feed when I was already in crisis – but I will look for you and try and sort this out xx

  11. Stay the course and I would suggest, if you truly feel like ending the journey, maybe hospitalization to have 24-hour access to a professional and someone to keep a close eye on you wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. I have been in that position myself and it is a horrible way to feel and so draining on so many levels. I truly hope you keep writing and stay the course with us.

  12. Fenella says:

    Lovely Charlotte what a frightening time. You have written an outstanding vivid account of the grip of suicidal thought. I hope the severe distress and despair eases soon. In mean time good you were so brave and got the help you need. Hugs.

  13. I am so sorry that you’re struggling so much at the moment, but it WILL get better and when that time comes you will be glad that you outed sneaky brain.
    I am sending love and strength your way to get you through this awful time *hugs*

  14. luvintheprof says:

    Thanks so much for responding to my comment, Charlotte. I’ve just sent a PM to your BB Facebook page letting you know what my Twitter name is. I’ll go request a follow on your Twitter just now. Much love. xXBrendaXx

  15. Phil. says:

    Know we’ve just spoken on twitter but just to say – I know where you’re coming from with sneaky brain. And my last crisis, when I told my flatmates and my means of escape were removed – the sense of frustration, of anger with myself at having been ‘sabotaged’.

    Very much thinking of you x

  16. blessed800 says:

    Hang in there Woman! We’re rooting for ya.

  17. Katherine says:

    Hi Charlotte
    I just wanted to say I’m so sorry you’re going through this, and I hope it passes soon. I’m lucky in that my suicidal thoughts have always been accompanied by a terrified rational voice which makes me seek help immediately (especially now that I have more experience at this whole bipolar thing). It sounds like that voice is still there for you, be it ever so soft. It is so hard to admit to being that out of control. I know you know you’re brave for doing so, but let me just tell you again that you really are.
    Wishing you good luck

  18. Pingback: Cracked | purplepersuasion

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