For #worldmentalhealthday I’ll share this story, something I’ve never told anyone.
It was my 35th birthday. I was fretting. Another year. Another year. Another fucking year.
Another year of life feeling stagnant, of non movement, of the same deep sick feeling buried down under fake smiles and being “normal”.
As normal I hid it all. I made nice, brushing my upcoming birthday under the carpet. I didn’t remind people at work or friends. I wanted the day to pass without any fanfare. I did not want anything. Well thats a lie, I wanted one thing. I wanted to die.
As the date crept closer, I made meticulous plans on how to do it, researching deep into the night. It was the most I’d ever worked on something, seriously my school work was never this intense.
I narrowed it down into four options:
- The old faithful, my forever stockpiled pills
- Jumping in front of a train/tube
- Jumping from a bridge or building of height
- Drawing a bath and then cutting my wrists deeper then I’ve done before
Saturday 3 November would be the day I would do it. The day after my birthday. I thought in some fucked up way, allow people to have your birthday. Allow them to celebrate it if thats what they wanted to do, don’t take that away from them.
I woke on my birthday, gulping for air like a floundering fish as I went to work knowing that next Monday I wouldn’t walk through that door to the office. Taking in peoples faces, accepting hugs and kind remarks, drinking in every second as I mentally crossed off interactions I felt I had to have to know that it was okay to walk away from it all. I went home, I sat on my sofa and cried for myself. How had I fucked up this much? How had I let everyone down again and again? How could I just not feel okay? I wrote letters to people on my laptop, carefully labeled for each person expressing my apologies that I just couldn’t try anymore and sorrow for being a shit daughter, sister, aunt and friend to them all. I spilled secrets I’ve kept that I couldn’t tell them, thinking maybe it would bring comfort to them when they read them after my death. Maybe I had this romantic view that my death would be soft focused, vaseline smeared lenses of grief, where people would weep in the rain at my graveside wishing that I had told them my stories when alive.
I hugged my cats and told them I loved them. I whispered to them how sorry I was that I was letting them down again and how I hoped their next mum would be better to them. I berated myself for not having clipped their nails, brushed their fur more or played with them more regularly. But it would be okay, they would forget me as the next mummy would be better. I would be forgotten easily.
I went to bed feeling rejected and awful, tired and bruised mentally and physically. I felt bad for lying to people how happy I was and how amazing my birthday had been. Small mouth sicks bringing back up each vile lie I had told to them all. What a cunt I was for being this horrid person, but I couldn’t stop being this person.
But clearly 3 November plans didn’t materialise, although I did lay in a hot bath that evening telling myself it was because my legs ached from walking around with my best friend who took me to afternoon tea, all the while knowing that within easy reach was the sharpest knife I owned. Waiting still and calm to slice into my flesh, to flood the hot bath with hot red liquid that would slowly cool all whilst the cats looked on meowing for their dinner.
Yet, I’m a coward. I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I fail at life, I fail at killing myself. I fail continuously cause I’m a shit human being.
It got a bit better or at least to that weird “normal” I can allow myself to function at. And then it happened again. Friends doing a normal friends thing organised something for me at work. But it wasn’t enough for me, my brain told me this isn’t what they wanted to do, it was done out of obligation. These people don’t like you. They tolerate you, and the ex’s voice returned to remind me “People think you’re a cunt Sarah. No one likes you, they all pretend to like you” and so I was horrid to these people. I pouted my way through a lunch, I was that cunt and again I went home and cried. I lied to my friend that I was tired and not able to function, rather then admit to them my brain had a billion tabs open, all more spiteful then the last.
Frustrated at not being able to just fucking do it, my ex’s voice ran through my head “Why haven’t you done it? What are you waiting for? Why are you fucking around like this? JUST FUCKING DO IT” and there its been on repeat for the past few weeks. Stuck, muttering in my ear, needling constantly in my side. It’s stopped me functioning normally, it’s made me have to stop cutting up vegetables for dinner as I’m scared I’ll turn the knife on myself. It’s made me step back from the tube station yellow line, panting that one more step would push me over the edge. It’s made me scared as deep down I want to keep living, I just want the voice to stop. I want to not feel half the person I am.
I want to be a better person.
I want to stop making lists of ways to kill myself.
I want to stop thinking things about myself that will hurt other people that I care about.
I want to be a better cat mother.
I want to be a better friend, daughter, sister and aunt.
I want the ability to tell my friends that I want a hug because everything feels fragile and scary.
I want 10 seconds of a warming embrace to remind me that I am loved by someone.
I want to be able to tell someone I hurt and I can’t cope without my chest getting tight.
I want to learn that I am loved, even by a few people, but loved none the less.
I want to learn that I’m not a cunt.
I want to learn how to stop it hurting all the time.
I want to be me.
It’s been a year. I’m still comfortably numb the majority of the time. I still fake smile, I still laugh like I’m having fun, I still tell people I’m fine. I’m just a bit better at recognising that I’m heading on a spiral and a little less ashamed at asking for help.
The voices don’t stop. The intrusive thoughts don’t stop. I’m just a bit better at ignoring them.