Before I get into the meat of this blog I need to warn readers that this blog post contains details that may upset you. This post comes straight from my heart and soul and involves many tears and just a few nips of whisky. I was not going to write about this subject today but it has been on my mind all day.
If you are feeling down, anxious, sad or depressed you probably may not want to read past this paragraph. If you need or want to talk to someone I strongly encourage you to contact any of the following Australian organisations. This may be the hardest thing you have ever had to do, but please do it. You will talk to someone who understands and the conversation will be totally confidential.
There are many other great organisations that can help. The ones above are the ones I have had contact with.
So what is this blog post about? What you read here are things I have never talked about, let alone written about. Never. Not even to my psychologist, my wife or my parents. It is not till now, 9 years later, that I am able to write about this. I wasn’t going to write about this but it’s been on my mind all day so I thought I better write it down.
I am writing about me when I was at my lowest. I have tried to kill myself twice – August 2006 and August 2007. I will not write about how I tried to kill myself, just know that I am glad I failed. I sometimes still find August a hard month to get through. I think this year will be different. I am a different person this year.
What the hell was I thinking? Why would I consider that I would be better off dead? How could I even think of doing this? What about my family? What about my friends?
If you have been reading my blog you will know that I now believe I have been suffering from social phobia and anxiety since about 12 years of age. I was diagnosed with clinical depression after my second suicide attempt but was well and truly suffering for many years before that. I can’t pinpoint exactly when but since at least the year 2000 probably earlier.
As a Christian I believed that God would not put me in any situation that I couldn’t handle. Regardless of what you are told I believe that killing yourself is not an unforgivable sin. So I would still be going to heaven. What bullshit that was. If I was considering killing myself, isn’t that a situation I couldn’t handle?
I was at the lowest of lows. I was so lonely. I lived in a city, I was part of a loving family, I was in a church of “loving” people and could name at least 100 friends. And yet I was so alone. And no-one knew. Even my wife and children did not know what was going on with me. Even after the first attempt. I recovered physically and no-one was any wiser. I was always smiling, joking, being a nice guy. No-one knew. It is that difficult to tell if someone is suffering sometimes.
So how does a person get into this state? It is very different for each person. For me, I was unable to live up to the standards that I thought I had to live up to. At the time I was not strong enough to see that I didn’t need to live up to anyone’s standards.
I have talked quite a bit with one of my new twitter friends about the church I was in; thanks for listening to me. This was one of the places that really oppressed me. I believed there was so much I had to do to be good enough and it crushed me. That was the first attempt. I have left the church. IF I ever return to the Christian faith I now realise all I have to believe is that Jesus was the son of God and he died for my sins. That’s it, nothing else. I don’t have to do anything to be worthy. But as I said … IF, and it is a very big IF.
No-one has ever heard this from my mouth before and there are tears on my cheeks as I say this. The second place that oppressed me and made me feel unworthy was my family. I had so many feelings of failure. That was my second attempt. This one crippled me. I still remember the night I decided to kill myself. I still remember my actions and my thoughts. I felt calm and that I would soon be at ease and my family would be so much better off without me. I was hoping they wouldn’t even want to grieve for me, I really was not worth it.
I woke up being attended to by two ambulance officers. I have no recollection of the next 48 hours. Even then no-one knew I had tried to kill myself. But at the end of that 48 hours I broke down and that was it. Talk to the wife, talk to the doctor, talk to the minister, on to medication.
Recovery is a long path, it is still going on for me. Every day is a struggle. I have stumbled a couple of times since that second attempt but have never gone close to wanting to do that again. Until a few weeks ago. My heart goes out to my good friend in Melbourne, thank you. You didn’t know it at the time because I think I lied to you about what was going on and what I was thinking. But being able to just talk to you was great.
I’ve said enough, for now. I have not written this for sympathy. I write this as part of my recovery and also to try and help people understand what others go through. I am happy, I have made some decisions lately that means I am now living my life the way I should be, not the way I am told I should be.
Thanks for listening to a man who was sad,
I listen to the song that contains the following words a number of times a week. They are written by what is probably my favourite band at the moment, Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The song, Under the Bridge, talks of a time that the bands singer Anthony Kiedis considers to be one of the worst of his life. I don’t listen to feel down, I listen so that I remember what can happen.
I don’t ever want to feel
Like I did that day
Take me to the place I love
Take me all the way