The Other Side

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.


9 thoughts on “The Other Side

  1. A good news story and well written. I like the beginnings of a happy ending; but just in case the sun doesn’t shine every day, as is usually the case, your own words will be there for you as a sincere reminder. Bruce

    • Thanks Bruce,

      I don’t want the sun to shine every day, or I’d have nothing to write about, haha!

      I won’t forget about this experience in a hurry, but nor will I dwell on it. It’s time for the moving forward part, and it’s really, really exciting! 🙂

  2. I love your writing.

    I’ve been in that place, and it does come back every now and then, even very recently (we’re talking a few weeks here). I have to remind myself that each time I have reached that low point, things HAVE gotten better. It is hard, but I am 100% certain I will never go through with it.

    • That’s what gutted me… I’d always been 100% certain too. Even when things had been that low in the past, there was always something there that stopped me from ever making that actual decision.

      I got so close, and it was so tempting to just… stop. But I didn’t. And as low as I was… and as horrible as it felt… I am glad that I experienced it because it has made me so grateful for all that I have.

      Love you. See you in a week or so xox

  3. It seems that whether you are religious or not God doesn’t care Bri. For some reason He has put us in correspondence. You don’t have to agree and I would never try to convince you because that’s not the way it works. The reason I say this is I have been down this path and even still glance down it occasionally.

  4. My father never sobered up. He did kill himself. While I personally was glad he was free of the suffering he used booze to medicate, others were not. My children were impacted, especially the youngest at the time (a 14 yr old), who ran away from home and was lost to us for almost a decade, because “Grandpa was free of the societal shit, I want that, too.” Grandpa wasn’t free of anything, actually. The rest of the direct family of MY generation, having been threatened with murder suicide as we grew up….were relieved and guilty in that freedom from fear.

    Personally, I don’t think it is about religion, it is about moving past the addiction to self-empowerment. Past guilt to self-acceptance. Past fear of enjoyment and self-sabatage, to joy and security. Alcohol is an illusion of peace and joy; the real thing is ever so much better.

    • I am so sorry that alcohol infected your life in such a way.
      I am glad that you could see the truth behind your father’s addiction but I am sorry that you suffered so much pain because of it.

      I am beginning to reach that self-empowerment, self-acceptance place. It’s what has given me the strength to make this decision once and for all.

      Every time I am tempted to drink, I will be thinking of all these comments.

      You have no idea how important they all are to me. Thank you for sharing your story with me.

      • Do not worry, yes, alcohol was prominent in my life and in my husband’s family. Both of us are recovering from that trauma with love and effort. I regret the loss of potential that my father’s death inflicted upon us all, but I hail his freedom from pain.

        You have potential as well, and you know now, not to waste it on tipping bottles.

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