I thought maybe I wouldn’t be here by this time today.
Because today was the day.
I had a hotel room booked.
I was to leave early and be out all day under the cover of an (actual) psychology appointment and a (actual) work meeting.
I had heels and makeup in my bag because I didn’t want to stand out as scruffy in a business hotel, but didn’t want to look to smart when I left the house.
I chose a hotel in the borough of my psych hospital, just in case I didn’t succeed.
I wrote a Do Not Resuscitate advance directive, although I’m sure they don’t apply in suicide cases. But hey.
I had drafted a list of who to contact, and how, and why.
I had drafted my wishes for my funeral and burial.
I had listed all my passwords to access contacts, email, banking.
I had ranked the meds I was going to OD on by usefulness and toxicity, so I knew which order to take them in.
I was going to take them with alcohol and with other drinks I knew would increase the effect of the prescribed drugs. I would have been quite the mixicologist.
I was going to take them with ice cream, good quality ice cream, rich chocolate ice cream, something to mask the bitterness. And with Coca-cola.
I had packed my daughter’s inheritance jewellery (some items from my great grandmothers and a ring I bought when she was two for her to have when she was 18). I wanted to make sure she got them, that it was clear they were hers.
I didn’t have much to offers my son in material terms. I was going to say that my dad should give him the beautifully preserved stone hand axe that my builder great uncle found when digging foundations.
I was going to take off my wedding ring, leave it to be taken back to Tom; I am not a good wife. He made a bad investment.
I was good to go.
But I told.
I told because I have never gone so far, never made such meticulous plans. I didn’t know in the end if they were what I wanted, or a dream, or a fantasy, but it was all so detailed. I was lonely again. I couldn’t open my mouth to tell Tom. I couldn’t tell friends; they would feel obliged to take action. I have deactivated my Twitter.
Three days ago I sat on the step of a lovely hotel in a lovely part of Germany on a lovely spring day and I thought: I’m done. I’m out. I prayed, again, to a God I don’t believe in to just… take me. Take me while I could feel the sun on my face and hear the birds singing. How much better for me and for my friends and relatives if I did not have to poison or injure myself into oblivion.
I have tried and tried and tried – I was going to write this on good quality paper with my purple fountain pen – but life and I are not cut our for each other. A while back I thought that things were not really worse than in the past, just different. But over recent years it has got worse, needed more input from services. I’m back under Home Treatment and potentially facing hospital again.
I do the same things again and again not because I expect a different result but because I don’t, apparently, know how to do anything different. This is my life now.
I can’t live. But apparently I am too cowardly to die. What does that leave, I wonder?
This life is intermittent hell to the point that I spend a huge amount of time wanting to die. I was shot down on Twitter that saying that saying I would happily swap for the lives of people with ordinary lives. And yes, of course I agree – people with “ordinary lives” have their own demons to battle. But apparently saying that I think the lives of people who don’t constantly despair to the point that they actively plan or try to destroy themselves just might be preferable might be preferable to the lives of us that do was “invalidating” and “minimising” the pain of the people who aren’t… taking active steps to kill themselves.
Still trying to figure out the logic of that one.
Like I said. Go ahead. Trade. See how you like them demons.
(BTW I’m so not prepared to debate the issue on here. Comments about how awful I am in my awful minimisation and awful invalidation will be deleted. It’s my blog. Bite me.)
Sending loving hugs your way. Been there, done that, survived it. For me, the struggle to cope with everyday life doesn’t stop, but I guess over the years I’ve somehow just learned to live with it. Hope you can too… x
Sending so much love as ever. I am so sorry that you are feeling like this but I want you to know that I am here for you if I can do anything. Love Kat xxx
Holding you in the light. Don’t know what else to say. I wouldn’t trade.
This struck a chord. And it was painful to read, I had to scan it more or less.
As I lie here in a mental health ward my home for past 5 days ever since I expressed a detailed wish to die. I can’t recommend such a place but like so much of the NHS it’s not as bad as I feared. It’s my first time and hence a shock, everyone else seems to be in such a bad way and so institutionalised and habitually reside in such places.
Unlike everyone else I have a job and all the material bits and bobs. Suicide is a common thought, in fact I need it as a crutch sometimes. Like you I want to be in control and sew up all the loose ends, but I haven’t got that far. It must have taken a great deal of energy to do that.
John, you were able to express thoughts and feelings I often have, that it’s a “crutch” sometimes….Best wishes to you.
Brilliantly written and very moving; I’ve been there but, thankfully, not in many years. My strategy – and it may not work for another person, who knows – was to treat my depressions and my highs as addictions; I started to think about the times I gave up cigarettes (though I’m smoking again), and the times I’ve been frustrated by financial problems and how all time is lived second by second. I thought I’d try and ween myself away from bi-polar episodes by kidding myself that all bad things must pass. Kidding myself in the sense that I never believed it for a minute but I could believe it for a second, and then another…and another… and another until a minute had indeed passed.
Of course, this process took years and there were many relapses – but, for me, it worked. And now, when I feel things slipping, I embrace those feelings and set myself to being patient, or not getting too excited as the case may be. I take time off work (I’m self employed) and stay home, quietly, domestically and do distracting and inconsequential things; I’ll reorganise my books or clean a kitchen cupboard – and revel in the fact that my life will never be that important in the scheme of things; I can spend hours watching the light change in the room as the sun progresses across the sky and notice how a beautiful reflection or pattern of light fades towards dusk – these things don’t help particularly, sometimes they simply convince me how worthless I am – yet they pass the seconds, the minutes, the hours and days. And, when I’m feeling better, that little gem of time between the lows and highs, I remember those moments as joyful – even if they weren’t at the time.
And now, I can condense that process into a few days rather than years – my brain, my body chemistry and my expectations have modeled it, learnt it, become adept – just as practicing a piece on a piano changes from frustration to an automatic and almost magical process.
That’s all for now – keep writing – keep watching the passing of the day.
Charlotte – I’m just happy to see that you are alive. I only know you through Twitter and only recently at that but I like your views and responses. I worried the worst had happened. I hope something can change for you. Take care.
I think of you often, Charlotte, and am so sorry that things are still so very difficult for you. I can, sadly, relate. Sending love and hugs from “Bonnie Scotland” 💝 xXBrendzXx
I am grateful you told, it is not cowardly to carry on living, I have carried through my plans several times and admitting you are at that point is far harder than following through with it. Please keep talking and fighting, there are people out here who genuinely understand.
Charlotte, I don’t know what to say, except thinking of you and sending hugs to you. x
I feel a lot of animosity. And feelings are everything. And pure
I am glad that you are still here, even if you, at the moment, are not. Did notice you had disappeared from twitter, and wondered if the reason was because of all the balderdash you received following your tweets. Thinking of you.
TY. I was feeling pretty gaslighted by the some of responses, it’s reassuring to know that my logic was… kinda logical. To other people x
I’m bipolar and I’ve been there with you more than once, I’m sure you have, too, and that’s the key – you survived those times, you’ll survive this one. I wish there was more that I could say, because I totally understand how you feel and where you’re at and I know it SUCKS.
Much love and light. I can’t help, but will hold you in my hopes xxx (Ellen, aka @pesserine)
TYSM Darling. I won’t make if to my Meeting tomorrow due to HTT, maybe if you make it to yours we can somehow connect anyway xxxx
Your post moved me, been feeling pretty down lately. Very glad you told..I totally get that feeling of doing the same things over and over, and the hell of that. Hope that things will get a bit easier, sending love x
We’re holding you in our love and in the Light.
Sending love and hugs.
Good idea to deactivate Twitter, it will still be there when you decide to reactiviate it.
Like so many others who have got to know you through Twitter and your blog, I am thinking of you during this *^%# time. No pressure, take care, J
Sending hugs, they say sometimes a good long hug is just enough to make things more bearable, and then hopefully tomorrow is a better day. I hope that all the love, hugs and positive messages that have been coming your way are helpful for you today. xx Keep fighting xx
Thinking of you & sending love & hugs. Xxx
Sending you hugs, just been discharged from hospital myself for exactly the same thing.
I noticed you had gone off Twitter and just googled you to make sure you were ok and came across your blog again. Don’t let anyone put you down I find you inspiring xxx
Ah thanks, Alice… Been an awful 48 hours, still a bit too fragile to get back into Twitter right now but it’s lovely that you found me to check on me xx
Just make sure you come back when you’re ready 😊 positivity should outweigh negativity but we know that’s not true in the brain because negative comments stick, we unfortunately remember them more xx
Virtual love and hugs. If you want a virtual chat – I’m here firstname.lastname@example.org
An actual chat, I’m here – 07535035909
You are lovely 🙂
I’m a big fan xx
Hey lovely. Only just seen this. I’m so so sorry everything is so fucking horrific. Sending such enormous hugs and love from the other side of the world. You’re in my thoughts. If there’s ever anything I can do please just let me know. Love, Z xxxx
I am just very happy to “see” you. I’ll be in Twitter contact very soon, I miss you! Xx
Good on you for sharing your pain. This is how you get through the darkness. We’re all here with you not knowing specifically your own darkness but remembering our own and knowing you will feel light again. Do whatever you need to keep breathing. Little things. Small kindnesses to yourself. You are worth it Charlotte. Feel the misery and stay here, choose life with all it’s imperfections. Life is really hard sometimes but you know NOT ALWAYS. Take care
Charlotte, I missed you on Twitter. It is selfish but I have so often found comfort in your existence, in your deep insight and passionate advocacy for patient agency. I do not doubt it is excruciatingly painful for you, much of the time, I have felt the same myself, if only fleetingly. I felt compelled to write and send my most fervent wishes for something different, something better for you, because you have added value to my life, though I do not know you. It may not help, but I wanted to send them anyway.
It is such a shame that you are feeling like this again. My wife contemplated suicide in the past because of her mental health problems and I know it wasn’t the easy option. I hope you can defeat these deamons.
Thank you for letting yourself still be here. Whatever it does for you, it gives me hope that I might be able to face my demons and still be here afterwards.
I am glad you are alive, you being alive helps people. Take care x
You are so much more than the people who feel the need to give you grief online. All my love to you, I’m always here if you do want to talk but I know that when you’re in the very bottom of the pit, the last thing you want is company. Xx
Good to see you’ve had so many positive responses. It’s not as if you chose to be like this. No one chooses to suffer mental torture, just as no one would chose to have cancer. Hope the responses help you to stay strong in this dark time. Lots of love and hugs.
Love, love and more. From all those who read your words and see something they recognise and feel a connection over the distance and the closeness that is the world wide web. May you feel those connections, respectfully, gently, hopefully and may the web we are all connected by hold you safe if nothing else can. We’re here, breathing one breath at a time and taking it heartbeat by heartbeat. For ourselves and with each other. Namaste Charlotte.
The line “I’m done. I’m out. I prayed, again, to a God I don’t believe in to just… take me” hit me so much. To repeatedly find yourself so actively suicidal is so bloody awful, the plotting and the lies take their toll as much as the dark thoughts. We do all have our demons, not many demons destroy the possibility of hope and tomorrow in the same way that mental health does. Thank you for sharing, I feel less alone in this mixed up world for reading.
This is what I was trying to explain on Twitter… That there are demons and demons and I just can’t cope with mine a lot of the time. Hopelessness sums it up really. So sorry to hear that you relate, but at the same time happy that I give you something to relate to, which is a bit of a paradox…!
I only know you from Twitter, but your Twitter feed has meant a lot to me the past few years, for commiseration as well as for laughs. Things you’ve said, or retweeted, have helped me figure out things about myself and given me important new perspectives. I’m (quite selfishly) glad that you’re still here. ❤
Hey! Nice to see you here. I like to think my feed is a mix of angry complaining, suicidal thoughts and snarky humour 😛 I’m glad I’m here too… I *think* x
I’m really sorry. Really really sorry. That medication change has not been successful at all, to state it mildly, I guess. and I’m sorry if that is an annoying comment. Holding you in my thoughts.
I haven’t ever had the change yet, just the initial reaction of drug one… Actually just waiting to see consultant about starting drug two, so keep your fingers crossed for me!
I can relate to what you have written and have made similar plans including the most minute details as it felt like one of the few things I actually had control over. For what it’s worth I think you are absolutely amazing and inspirational (though I appreciate you may not see yourself that way). Big Tigger hugs Sam
Oh Sam, that’s a lovely thing to say and nope, I don’t feel super inspirational now (or indeed ever!)
Sending love and prayers to you. So sorry that you are going through such suffering!
Hello, I have only just found your blog after searching for MH blogs to follow as I struggle to find anyone with a similar niche.
I am so sorry to hear how you’re feeling but so glad you spoke out. It doesn’t make you any less of a person by wanting to die. People that haven’t experienced it, simply don’t know.
I am shocked to see people in this day and age to still be so ignorant towards mental health. You wasn’t dismissing an ordinary persons life. You were simply saying you’d rather want to enjoy life than want to die.
Let me know when you’re back on social media and let me know your details to connect with you.
Take care & all the best.
Jenna Von, a fellow MH sufferer xox
That’s it, exactly. Simply saying if I had a choice of being suicidal or not, I’d choose not! I am back. You can find me at @BipolarBlogger 🙂
Hi Jenna, thanks for your comment, thanks for understanding. I should say the person who said it has MH issues themselves however and it probably came from a place of her own deep struggle, but I still found it weird to say that a non-suicidal life wasn’t preferable to a suicidal one. And oh believe me I’m back, haha! Best place to catch me is Twitter, @BipolarBlogger
While not having had the pleasure of meeting you in real life, you do feel you get to know someone a bit through their writings. I wish you, all of us really, the strength to forge ahead. I hope easier times are ahead. Sending you love and prayers.
So nice of you, Ann. I’m trying 🙂
Still thinking of you. Hoping you’re not alone. Wishing some happiness for you.
I have been worrying about you as you had not blogged for a while so it makes me sad to read what has been happening.
Your words help so many people Charlotte, not only those who suffer with mental illness but their families and loved ones too. Your contribution is immense. Please know how much you are valued.
I want to hold you in the palm of my hand and place you on the bright shore.
With love, keep safe.
Hi Helen, TYSM. I have lost a lot of confidence in myself and my life and work. Hopefully starting a new med tomorrow, trying to be optimistic but also anxious. I would like to be in the palm of your hand… xx
So sorry to read that things have been so tough for you. Thoughts and prayers Charlotte.
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I was there too. I hit rock bottom and life was fading away when my parents seen what I had done to my arm and wrist. Blood everywhere and my mom just lost it. The ambulance arrived and whisks me away to the Emergency Room. My blood pressure was so low that I went black. My next thing I see is that I failed to take my life. I felt so bad because of the pain I put my parents and sister through. I stayed in the hospital for 72 hours and went home. I was given all the support I could have. I was given a medication regime and therapy. Since I was a minor my mental health records were sealed. When I was 18 I joined the US Navy. I managed to hide my mental illness from the Navy for my entire enlistment. I’m doing much better now because of my wife. She’s everything to me and I am everything to her. I went through several meds before finding the right mix. I have been able to keep things under control and now I don’t have self harm actions but the thought is still there. I have rapid cycling mood swings. I have a service dog that helps me keep things together.
Steven that all sounds so, so hard, thank goodness for your wife and here’s to a good med cocktail! I started my new med on Friday, so we’ll see. Would be so interested to hear more about your service dog as we don’t have these for MH issues in the UK.
My wife adopted a chihuahua dachshund mix that was given up for adoption when his elderly owner past away. From the start we noticed he was very much in tuned to my mood swings. I brought Scooby to a service dog training school and began working with the trainer teaching Scooby to refine his skills and obedience. It took six months of training to get Scooby ready for the certification process. Scooby passed with flying colors. Scooby has been at my side every hour of the day or night 24/7. When I am about to have an panic attack Scooby will cuddle up to me and kiss me making the panic attacks more tolerable. Scooby also will alert me when he detects a depression phase coming on and comforts me. He does the same for maniac episodes too. Look at your local animal shelter for a dog or cat that is especially in tune with you. You will know when it happens because you and the dog or cat will just feel like an old friend. I also have five cats that just use their feline instincts when ever I’m having a crisis. Cats are just magically in tune with their human keepers. I hope you are able to get a companion animal to help the struggle with Bipolar Disorder. 👍😸