Loopy, Lonely and Lost

The Story of my Suicide Attempt

Posted on: September 1, 2008

I’ve been dwelling on this story today.

Warning: you’ve probably guessed, but I wouldn’t like to catch anyone unawares: this post is quite triggery and a bit graphic, so don’t read it if that kind of thing affects you badly.

So, let me set the scene. November, 2007. It was just over a year since my moods started to get out of control, and a couple of months since I started taking my first medication: Abilify, which completely obliterated my high moods but did nothing for my depression. I started cutting myself – something I’d done occasionally before, and have done occasionally since, but in that time I was cutting a lot – not too deep, and mostly on my thighs, where nobody could see them, but literally dozens of new cuts every day.

I was in a daze. For me, that kind of depression is more terrifying than the frightened, weeping kind. It was like seeing the whole world through a window, and being unable to touch it or communicate with it. I think that the main reason for my self-harm at that time was to prove to myself that I existed, that I could feel something. I hurt, but I also felt blank. It was a strange kind of paradox – I was devastated to discover I could feel nothing. I knew that I felt the devastation, but knowing that I could feel that didn’t bring me any comfort.

I stopped going to lectures and seminars. I stopped showering, I stopped dressing, I stopped leaving my room. I must have lived for at least a couple of weeks in pyjamas, drinking water and occasionally eating a slice of bread or a biscuit. Depression had made my life difficult before – often it had made it close to unbearable – but it had never cut off my life so completely until then. I was breathing, and my heart was beating, but I wasn’t really alive. I saw myself as a zombie of some sort, going through the motions but not really living.

At the time, I had one friend in whom I confided. I couldn’t leave my room, and I couldn’t bear for her to visit me, but we spoke on the internet a lot. I realise now that I must have really annoyed her, going on and on as I did, complaining all the time. Even when I tried to change the subject and be cheerful, even on the internet it seemed martyr-ish. I’ve known her since we were ten, and in my naivety I thought that the good times we’d had together, and the times I’d helped her through trifling issues were enough to justify my leaning on her at that point in my life. I was an idiot – life doesn’t work like that. And I was boring, and needy, and just about all of the things that nobody wants their friends to be.

Then, one day, I calmly decided to die.

Nothing bad had happened. I wasn’t crying, I wasn’t desperate, I wasn’t even upset. I knew that I couldn’t live in that blankness anymore, but it was different to all of the other times I’ve considered suicide. All those times, I’ve been raging – anger at myself, anger at my illness, anger at the world and the people around me. But that time, I just quietly resigned myself to the fact that I had to die.

There were no tears. I didn’t write a note, or leave a message. There were no last words – I hadn’t spoken out loud for weeks. I didn’t even think about it. I just knew that it had to be done. There was no drama. It wasn’t the kind of scene you could accompany with sad music and put in a film.

I took the cord out of my dressing-gown and I tried to hang myself from the sturdy metal handle of my door. The knot kept coming undone – I look back now and I see the dark humour in that. So determined to die, but defeated by the fact that I can’t tie a decent knot to save my life (or, in fact, to end it). I tried several times to do it. I tried until I felt faint and my neck hurt but still, the cord kept giving way. I didn’t count how many times I tried, but it lasted for quite a while.

And, when I finally gave up, vaguely thinking that I’d have to find another way to do it (I’d already researched on the internet and found out that overdosing on my medication wouldn’t kill me, or I think I’d’ve tried that first), the blankness started to slip away. I moved into the kind of depression that’s much more common with me (although I’d call it neither worse nor better – any depression is difficult to deal with). I lay down on my floor, cord still loose around my neck, and I wept.

I’d never tried to kill myself before (oh, in my extreme youth, I’d threatened, carving knife held against my wrist until somebody listened to me [yes, I was an unbalanced child], but I’d never really tried – I’d never done anything and thought this is the last thing I’ll ever do). I was prepared for the anger and the tears that accompany failure, but what I never expected was the shame.

I had failed. When I’m depressed, I’m perfectly aware of the fact that I’m useless, but the shame of knowing that I couldn’t even die properly was unbearable. And I was embarrassed by my embarrassment. I was suicidal, I’d tried to end my life, I’d failed, and I couldn’t even muster up a more tragic feeling than shame – I’d even failed at dealing with my failure.

Shame is not an attractive emotion. Misery, and anger, and so many other emotions are so….cinematic. I’m not an attention-seeker (although I suppose I seem it from this), but this was supposed to be my death, and it was so fucking dull. Weeks of blankness, a quiet decision, a failure and then shame. So many people believe that suicide – and death in general – is dramatic and exciting and nerve-wracking, but the truth is that it’s really boring. Upsetting, of course, but it’s not exactly Oscar material.

I told my friend. I felt like I had to let her know. I don’t know why – maybe it was just attention-seeking. But she always asked how I was, and if someone knows you’re depressed and ask how you are, and they’re your friend, and you’ve just attempted suicide, it’s quite difficult to say “I’m okay, thanks”. If she hadn’t known, if I hadn’t been so used to telling her things, then I never would have told her. But I did. I tried to make it as jokey and trivial as possible, like suicide attempts are an everyday occurrance, nothing to worry about. But, as anyone else could have predicted, she freaked out.

She told her mum, who told my parents, who didn’t even know I was seeing a doctor, for God’s sake, and who came rushing up the motorway to hammer on my door. They thought they might be too late. They thought I might have tried again.

I will never forget the looks on their faces when they sat down in my room and demanded to know if it was true. They were heartbroken, and it was such a surprise, because in my distorted, depressed mind, they hated me and wanted me to die. They were so upset, they were so worried. They kept asking if it was their fault.

And I just sat there, huddled up in a corner, shaking and crying. I was – I am – so fucking inadequate. My parents – not perfect, but loving and caring – were crying and asking me to confide in them. And I lied.

I always have been Queen of the Understatement – that’s the main reason I’m so bad at getting help for this – but that moment was a new low. I told them that I’d “been having a few mood swings…no big deal, nothing to worry about”. I told them that my medication was working fine. I told them that I hadn’t tried to kill myself. I told them that my friend (who, in truth, had only betrayed me because she was scared for my life) had panicked and exaggerated and told blatant untruths. I told them that the only reason I was crying then was that they had barged into my room and invaded my privacy.

I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for the lies I told, but I’m still reinforcing them. When, three more failed medications later, my psychiatrist told me to stop taking the meds and speak to my GP at home (I was moving back for my extended holidays), I told my parents that I’d stopped taking them because I was better. Every time they ask how I am, I grin and tell them I’m fine, then change the subject. I don’t think I’ll ever get out of these lies.

And my friend and I have hardly spoken since. She’s friendly and polite, but she doesn’t want anything to do with me – with this – anymore. I don’t blame her. What happy 20-year-old wants to be stuck with someone like me? None of this mess was her fault, so I’m not angry with her. But I am hurt that, as soon as she let my parents know what was going on, she stopped contacting me. I don’t know if it was fear that I would hate her, or because she’d made an ideal opportunity to get away from me. Either way, our closeness has ended.

For months after that, I kept getting neckaches and sore throats. I think it was because of the damage to that area by my hanging attempt, but I was too scared to go to the doctor about it. So I just put up with it, although it was very painful at times, and, fingers crossed, the pains seem to have gone away for good now.

I’m sorry that this post is so long. But if I’d just said, “I tried to hang myself on my door handle”, you might be imagining me to possess all sorts of tragedy and interest and bravery. As you can see, that is completely not true. I tried to kill myself, only instead of dying, I lost a good friend, lied to my parents, damaged my neck, and made me hate myself even more.

Whenever I feel suicidal again, I just think about this story. However much I think I have nothing to lose, it’s simply not true. I was so depressed, but living didn’t bring with it only the disappointment of still being alive – that alone, I could have dealt with easily – but the repercussions of the attempt were much further-reaching than I could have imagined.

And that’s why, for the foreseeable future, no matter how depressed I get – unless I can find a way to guarantee my death – I won’t try to kill myself. The memory alone of the shame is so unbearable, I’m not willing to add to it.

 

By the way: I know I said I was dwelling on this story, but that does NOT mean that I’m suicidal at the moment. For the record, my mood is lifting from the depression of the past few days. I’m just feeling very pensive at the moment.

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9 Responses to "The Story of my Suicide Attempt"

My advice: tell your parents. You are twenty you are still a baby. I don’t mean this to be insulting but my illness and this is the case for a lot of people I know with mental illnesses has kinda hampered things.

It is kinda difficult to be a together adult when you are busy trying not to be depressed, you neglect the unimportant things – I have an endocrine disorder that I stopped getting treated for – so things are tougher.

Telling your parents helps in a few ways. You get some added support. They aren’t left wondering about what you are hiding. All of you get a bit closer to understanding and dealing with the illness better. Be firm and stand your ground, be clear that they only know what they know because you have told them. What is normally a good thing is to be able to tell them that you have other people you are talking to/getting help from.

Just a thought.

all i kno is what i have experienced. I had secrets that made me recede. You dont wanna hear this but i know what it feels like to become dissociated. pain becomes a good thing. I don’t know if you have secrets to keep(well, other than the bipo thing), but letting go of them is one of the hardest, most liberating, and somewhat saddening experiences there are. You feel like these burdens are yours and you would be nothing without them. But once you let them go, they are no longer yours, and you can start getting to the things that really matter in life

I am curious if your friend didn’t stop talking with you as much or like she used to because she is tired of you. I think it’s because your parents went back to her parents who went back her saying that you didn’t try to kill yourself. It may have put her in a bad spot or may have made her angry or upset that you lied. I’m not sure.

If you are 20-years old I am guessing that she is the same age and you are both young still. Maybe she doesn’t know how to handle it.

I’m sure she isn’t getting tired of you. Don’t get tired of yourself. You are an extremely gifted and special soul. Never forget that.

hey hun, Its kallisti1987 from YA. Ive just read your story and I can completely sympathise with you. Whenever ive tried ive never been hysterical or drmatic- it just all feels numb. Im glad you didnt succeed because it seems to me that you have a beautiful soul and a kind heart.

Im always here if you need to talk, and I would really love to get to know you better and help in any way that I can. Emma xxxxxxxx

[…] November 13, 2008 It’s a year today since I tried to kill myself. […]

I just came across this post by purely random internet searching, and my jaw dropped so many times while I was reading it. I identified with your story so much. I have had my share of numb, dark depressions. I attempted suicide when I was about the same age, maybe 3 years ago. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I didn’t know that pills wouldn’t kill you. I had the same calm demeanor when I decided I did not want to live anymore. I also still feel ashamed about how I acted toward my friends before and after the attempt. I feel like I was so pathetic, so desperate for their acceptance. And like you, I lost all the friends I had after the attempt. I was called a psychopath and told I had to move out of the apartment I was staying in. I had to drop out of school.

I don’t blame you for lying, after I admitted to the triage nurse at the hospital that I had tried to kill myself, I regretted it. But telling the truth ended up being the most liberating thing I’ve ever done. I finally told my parents about the sexual abuse I suffered as a child. I didn’t have to hide my depression anymore, it was out in the open. My parents still help me out so much now, always making sure I am ok and I have the therapy and medications that I need. Telling my parents about my depression, suicide attempt, and sexual abuse was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, no doubt. It was awkward. I always try to act strong around everyone and keep things light, and I had to be serious and expose my deepest insecurities. In fact, now that my depression is out in the open, my dad recently admitted to me that he suffers from depression and has had suicidal thoughts before. Coming out wasn’t just good for me, but it helped him to admit to himself that he was also struggling with depression.

You don’t have to follow my advise, but I think you should tell your parents. It sounds like you have a good relationship with them and they really love you. Protect yourself, don’t admit your insecurities to people you can’t trust, or they might use it against you. But you can trust your parents. I know it’s difficult. But it’s so worth it.

Sorry I’m going on and on! Your entry really moved me. I would love to talk to you sometime, you can email me at fillingim24@yahoo.com or IM me at jfilly24. I’m so happy that you are doing better. Stay strong!

Hi,
Thanks for sharing. I wish I could say that it caused me to no longer feel suicidal myself, but I would be lying. Glad you’re happy though. Maybe if you ciykd write me back I could explain more.

Your story has not gone unread (I noticed nobody commented). Thank you for sharing it so openly – it takes guts to write with that much self awareness. I tried this morning to strangle myself with the ironing cord which obviously did not work. I can relate to the shame and embarrassment. I can also relate to people distancing themselves due to feeling overwhelmed and overburdened. I am dealing with going no contact with my narcissistic abusive parents and sister for two years now but still have flash backs and nightmares. I’ve also had issues with my husband in the past but can’t seem to forgive and forget. I am raising a son who is 6 and about to start a full time job after 8 years of being a stay at home mum. I am absolutely petrified as I am always feeling like I am coming apart at the seams. But this was easier to cope with within the confines of my apartment. I have no idea why I am here.

Hey I read your blog fully and I have a few questions, if I may ask? Are you still in depression? Does depression heal? How control the mind to think about Happy thoughts ?

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Hello

My name is Laura. I was once told that I have cyclothymia. This blog is mostly where I write about living as a person with extremes and instability of mood, and the history of a life that led to the development of those symptoms.

I complain a lot, I'm very repetitive, unreliable, and I tend to contradict myself.

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