It’s been a very strange journey for me this year, to have experienced the ultimate low in life; the moment where you decide, and plan, to take your own life.
As someone who has consistently seen suicide as the most selfish and cruel act to inflict on the people who love you, it was a truly terrifying experience to make a plan, and feel the calmness, the complete and total relief of knowing that I had now made that decision – that I could, and would, take that blissful way out, to make it all just end. An escape route that I kept secret to ensure nobody could stop me from doing it.
I sat there, feeling a calmness I have never in my life experienced. It was so perfect, it was like floating… but I could also feel the darkness in it, the wrongness. That the decision hadn’t been made by the Bri who has been the leader of my life for the past 30 years, it was made by the Bri who comes to visit once every couple of years, the one who makes all the mess you have to clean up later.
As the calmness stilled, I realised I didn’t want to end my life, just this facet of it, this Bri who hadn’t just called in for a brief visit in the guest room, but had seemed to have brought all her belongings and unpacked them into a wardrobe in the main bedroom.
Although I had decided not to take my life at that point, I still kept my plan secret. I still didn’t tell anyone about it. I still wanted that option available to me, just in case…
A few days later, I started to come out of my depression on my own and looked down at the shadowy place I’d just come from, unable to reconcile the vast distance that now separated me from that place. Just a few days, that’s all it was.. a few days after I very nearly ended my life, I found my way back to the sunshine.
And that is the part that terrified me. To know that I could have ended it all, just to end that pain… when the pain drifted away on its own just a few days later.
I was so scared by that, I decided to tell people I had made a plan. I even told one of them what it was. That was my way of proving to myself that it was over. That I wouldn’t use that escape, ever. I am fairly certain that one of them suspected I’d had that plan, as she didn’t want me to be alone that day, and begged me to stay there, at her house.
It felt horrible to know that I almost did something so cruel to people I love with all my heart.
And that’s the moment I decided to give up the fight against medicating.
Frankly, it’s the best decision I’ve made in a very long time. I’m safe from myself now, and so very excited to be alive.
This experience made me realise how lucky I am to be surrounded by the most supportive and loving friends, family and colleagues, who all shouldered the burden of caring for a person whose mind was not entirely her own. They made allowances for me, they gave me space when I needed it, and they made sure I understood that there was nothing they wouldn’t do for me, all I had to do was ask.
I owe them all a greater debt than they realise.