Trigger Warning – Suicide References
Two weeks ago I experienced the worst depressive episode I have had in years. I was able to identify my decline into the suicidal episode in my usually experienced stages, which is different for everyone, with often similar traits.
It started with the slowing of thoughts and lethargy - fatigue.
The negativity, thoughts of worthlessness, uselessness, self-recrimination, being a burden to everyone, ineptitude, pathetic, pitiful, wretched, woeful, valueless, insignificant and so on. These thoughts were on repeat.
I became devoid of all emotion.
Everything became too hard and overwhelming.
I wanted to shrink to the size of a pin-head and cower in the corner of the room, where I was still with my loved ones, but they could not put any expectations on me.
I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up.
I wished I was dead.
I didn't want to be alive.
Then I wanted to die.
Visions of ways to take my life started cycling in my head, like a PowerPoint presentation on repeat.
Thoughts of which means of taking my life would be less of an impact on my family.
Reassessing the currency of my life insurance and other provisions I had set up for my family.
Thoughts of where I would take my life that would not involve my family and have minimal impact on others.
Thoughts of how much easier it would be for my family for me not to be around and such a burden on them time and again.
I reached out to my support network and Psychiatrist. My anti-depressants were increased. I had people checking in on me by phone a couple of times a day. I had done the right thing for my safety.
What I learnt was, even though I was doing all the right stuff to ensure my own safety and my supports - my Psychiatrist was involved, I was basically still in the pit of suicidality.
At this point, I was considered to still be in control of myself and didn't warrant hospitalisation because I hadn't actually gotten to the 'planning' stage.
I was both petrified and grateful I was on my own; I couldn't interact with people, it was much to hard and exhausting. I knew I had done all the right things. But I also knew that the change from thoughts of how to take my life, to planning the act and then acting can happen very quickly. Sometimes the loss of perception at this stage makes us unable to reach out when we reach these last stages. At this stage, everyone contacted was doing all they could do to help me and basically, the rest was down to me.
The media campaigns are encouraging us to reach out (and this is fantastic), but what do you do once you have reached out, altered or started meds and are waiting for them to kick in and you are not 'severe enough' to be hospitalised, left to your own devices.
It was at this time I realised that, even though I didn't want anyone around, it would be beneficial to have someone, trained in mental health, in attendance. Just there in my home. Not to talk, just monitor in case that next stage slipped into gear and a referral - swift entry to hospital was required. Or, there was a noticeable improvement in mood.
I am lucky, my meds increase kicked in fairly quickly, just a few days. But those 'few' days were a scary and dangerous time for someone who is suicidal.