Photo credit Alex Jones from unsplash.

Suicide, I tried it.

Help me, Help others.

Firstly, the point of this open and honest post is:

  • Let others who may be here know that they are not alone.
  • Raise awareness, and know that it can happen to anyone.
  • Figure out together, how to be better at helping each other.

Lets begin.
Suicide was not a cry for help.
Nor did I want to die.
I just no longer wished for the pain of existence.

I was tired of saying goodbye to people I love.
I was tired of the ability to leave me to be so easy.

“Did you really want to die?”
“No one commits suicide because they want to die.”
“Then why do they do it?”
“Because they want to stop the pain.” 
― Tiffanie DeBartolo, How to Kill a Rock Star

What people do not realize is that a person who is deeply afflicted with depression is not sad once they choose suicide, for some, like me, the happiest day was when I decided what was going to happen, and watched life play out so that the events that I predicted happened — and also the last bit of hope and happiness I believed I would feel, I felt.

In the desperation of depression, making a decision is a happy moment, its when you know that this pain will end — this becomes hope.

Two key things to remember if you are talking to someone in this state is that telling the to think of how others would feel about them doing something like this is a guilt trip — it does not work, its not about anyone else, its about me.

The second thing is telling us about all the people that love me isn’t going to help either — most of those ‘we love you’ are Facebook platitudes, which I am sure even this post will get many of. I/We do not believe it.

I said my last goodbyes that night, February 28th, 2017.
I felt what I thought would be my last happy moment and I left.
I systematically and with clear thought took an overdose of over 170 pills, in a specific order, and woke up in ICU almost two days later.

The worst day is when you wake up with needles pouring fluid in your arms, and oxygen up your nose only to realised that you failed, again.

I was told that I would be leaving the hospital and going straight to the airport to my parents house and a clinic in Durban to be taken care off, to see a psychiatrist there (referred from the one at my current hospital).

This was the last state I wanted my parents to see me in and hated that it felt like nothing (including just leaving) was not in my control.

I contemplated doing it again, right this time, less failure, even at a hospital.
I took a water glass and a towel to the bathroom. I rolled up the cup so that it makes no sound as I break it. I contemplated using the shards of remaining glass to ‘get it right’ this time, instead I opted to give going home a chance and went for disfiguring my wrist tattoos instead — I am not a ’self-harmer’ it was just lesser of two evils.

For the first time in months, I chose life.
Which I am really glad for now.


What lead me here?

I am Mr Positive, its even in my blood type B+ (be positive.) so what go ME of all people, here? Firstly, ‘here’ is somewhere anyone can get to, this is why I want to raise awareness.

I am manic depressive, I have bipolar disorder.
Its a legitimate disorder where you need medication, possibly for the rest of ones life, and everyone handles and deals with it differently.

For months I tried some meds which worked then stopped working, then tried something else that somewhat worked but caused me to not be able to keep focus, then I got meds for that which gave me shortness of breath.

Eventually, I stopped taking the meds and felt fairly ok because I used those around me for doses of serotonin and dopamine which kept me fairly ok for a little while.

Until the depressive side of the manic depressive started kicking in and it just slowly became a hopeless downhill. Everything in every area of my life seemed to be falling apart or at least on its way there. Until the day we either decide to go back on the struggle of meds, good support structures, and choosing hope or we chose the direction I did, to end it. No one ever ‘sees it coming’. Work stresses didn’t help either.

I was tired of saying goodbyes and decided that when the next goodbye comes from someone I love, it will be a permanent one for me as well. I decided to take Charles Bukowski too seriously when he said: Find what you love and let it kill you.

As Albert Camus, said, and how I felt: “But in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.”

I did not have the courage.

“Killing oneself is, anyway, a misnomer. We don’t kill ourselves. We are simply defeated by the long, hard struggle to stay alive. When somebody dies after a long illness, people are apt to say, with a note of approval, “He fought so hard.” And they are inclined to think, about a suicide, that no fight was involved, that somebody simply gave up. This is quite wrong.” 
Sally Brampton, Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression

Where am I now?

As of writing this, March 15, 2017 my current space is:

I have chosen life.
I know its going to be hard.
Life is inherently hard, for all of us.
But, I have chosen life.

I could not have made this choice without the supportive help of both the psychiatrists that have gotten me onto better meds, which may still be adjusting and not my final

Whilst on the topic of meds:

  • Finding the right medication and the right combination is part of this torture.
  • Sometimes the meds work, then they just stop working.
  • Sometimes it works, then gives you something else like anxiety attacks.
  • Sometimes it just doesn’t work and you need to try something else.
  • Eventually, we find a combination that works — this is the dream at least.
  • But, medication is often always better than none.

A major struggle is those around me not understanding where I am, what space I am in, what I have, what it means, and that it is a real thing and I am not simply having an ‘episode’. I have been fortunate that over the years I have learned some of my own coping skills which I use often and also understanding what environmental things may trigger me and to have as little of that as possible.

Having colleagues and employers understand is a struggle. Its like a broken hand for the mind, except no one expects you to outthink the broken hand.

Since my first attempt I have already had to say more goodbyes after the ordeal, but I have dealt with it a lot more maturely and properly, with closure and much sadness but acceptance.

I am going back to Cape Town next week which both excites and scares me.

Excited?

I have work there, it keeps me busy, productive (I try) and gives this brain of mine some other problems to solve as a web developer — its an escape.

I am starting an initiative in the WordPress Community (only because I am so integrated in it and have had so many amazing people from it that have been supporting me daily.) called WPHugs — something that would give me purpose, fill time, and hopefully allow me to help others not get to the depths that I had been to.

Scared?

Firstly, I starting out homeless but an amazing colleague is allowing me his space until I find my own — which I pray to be soon. A complete clean start.

I also no longer have the group of friends that took up lots of my time and kept me out of my own space and mind and engaged my intelligence.

I have very few people there I feel I could just call and they would be there. I lost groups of friends just before my ordeal.

It’s also my first day back at work after just disappearing (I wonder why?) and I do not know what to expect — I hope its more support than disappointment, but we shall find out.

I have connected with a group of friends, also in the WordPress community, who have agreed just to check up on me and grab a coffee every now and then just to keep me accountable of all the good I wish to do and to make that I am good myself — a support structure.

Support

Without my psychiatrist giving me the time and meds I needed has definitely been a huge help.

However, I have found the time I spent with my family (parents and best friend Leonie) in an understanding and accepting environment has done for me what would have take me ages to do on my own.


If raising awareness of Mental Health is close to your heart, please click the heart to recommend, or share.

What can we do to help?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 1 million people commit suicide each year. ONE MILLION.

This video explains the seriousness of suicide very well from the School of Life.

Some symptoms of someone thinking of suicide (exhibited by me) and what could have potentially helped me:

  • Seeking out lethal means, for me it was finding someone who could get me the write meds and more of it.
  • No hope for the future, I stopped making plans.
  • Saying goodbye, I started saying heartfelt goodbyes or at least telling some people how much they mean to me.
  • Self-destructive behavior, self explanatory.
  • Sudden sense of calm, the end was near — it was calming.

Possible Prevention:

  • Listen, like actually listen, most people want to speak over you and tell you how much worse they are doing and some only listen to reply. Genuinely listen.
  • Do not consider what hurts them to be insignificant. Its not.
  • Offer practical problem solving help to offer hope. But do not think you have the answer to everything.
  • Be there. Just be present.

How can we help others?

  • Removing the stigma of depression and suicide and making it more ok for people to reach out, get help before they need it.
  • Raise awareness of these issues.
  • Understand than mental wellness is a real and also important thing.

The WPHugs Initiative

I have started a little initiative called WPHugs, which is a place for people in the WordPress Community (tech-types like myself) can go to realize that they are not alone — and to also, just maybe, help each other.

The hope is open sourcing mental and emotional wellness in the WordPress developer community, organisations and businesses by making it easier for people to reach out as well as individuals companies and organisations having better resources and awareness of real, significant mental and emotional wellness issues.

Find it at WPHugs.org and on twitter as @wphugs

If you want to volunteer your help and support, its more than welcome.

Thank you for reading this far.

If raising awareness of Mental Health is close to your heart, please click the heart to recommend, or share.

I have written a follow up from hospital a few weeks later:

I have also written more on whats it like trying to live again and be kinder to oneself: