I feel like such a fucking fool. Such an incredible fucking fool. I used up an ambulance. I was in A&E taking up a bed. I am using up a psychiatric bed. I can’t seem to stop crying. I am so ashamed. I can’t face anyone. Oh god, I can’t believe I am in hospital. I absolutely cannot face anyone. How the fucking fuck did I let this happen? I had so many choices. So many chances to choose differently. It is all my fault. I don’t deserve all the care that I’m getting. It hurts so much that people are being nice to me.
And I’ve lost my escape route. It’s all gone.
I have mixed feelings about being in the bin. One fight over, another one starts. It is such an odd feeling knowing I can’t kill myself (well… if… says the little voice, it is immortal). I am so relieved that the dogfight in my brain is dead because one side has lost everything (at least for now). I am trapped and I am free and I am trapped and…
It was sunny today and I sat on the grass in the garden. I wanted to touch it so I did. It was beautiful. I had said goodbye to all this but it’s still here.
I am in a hotel. It is the middle of the night. I arrived yesterday evening. I have put black bin bags and towels down. I have set up three of my methods (the fourth won’t work as something has gone wrong). I have cleaned and organised my house, as best I can though I couldn’t get everything done. I threw out everything (url NSFW) I don’t want my family to see. I don’t have a Will but I printed out my wishes for my affairs, a list of household accounts with contact details and a list of people to contact. I organised all my paperwork and identification and put it together. I deliberately didn’t write a suicide note. I walked round and said goodbye to my favourite park and some other places. It was beautiful in the sunshine. I had my favourite dinner. Everything is ready and I thought I was too.
I started one method and stood there waiting to take the final, tiny step. My head was empty. I just didn’t. I just stood, Something took my hands and we moved away. (That reads as utter nonsense but I am not talking about details of methods because I know for a fucking fact that that will stay in the minds of my fellow mad people and might rear up when they are next ill. So nonsense it is.) I didn’t feel that disheartened as I have my backup plans. I emailed the Samaritans. I have been emailing them for weeks. They have been so good. Then I lay on the bed and put on the Headspace meditation about how you are not your thoughts and or your feelings, you are the blue sky (sorry sorry will explain another time) and I felt sleepy afterwards. I was surrounded by all these tiny steps to death, I had made it as easy as I could for myself to just get over the line this time and… I had a nap. Yes, I am laughing, a bit hysterically.
I woke up an hour ago. What have I done for an hour? Other than cried. The Samaritans emailed back, a warm, compassionate email that hurt so much, why does people being nice to me always hurt so much, and they have offered to phone me and said it’s okay if I just cry and can’t talk because at least I won’t be alone. Crying again. I want my Mum back. Maybe I can try again. My thoughts are breaking down. You’ll never get peace till you’re dead. Look what you have done, over and over. All you are doing is causing pain. Everyone you touch, you hurt then. You are bad. You’ll never be free till you’re dead. All that is left for you is shame, guilt and pain because that is all you deserve.
I have been a psychiatric patient for twenty-five years, off and on, and I know what to do right now. I take diazepam. I put on my clothes and pick up my handbag and abandon all this stuff and walk out the room. I phone the number and cry down the phone. Fuck crying on the street. I am a manic depressive: I am a goddamn veteran of crying on the street and having everyone not-look. I could do that.
I could phone the Samaritans. I could phone one of my friends (no). I could take diazepam and sleep some more. Wake up and try again.
It’s a good thing you’re used to incoherence on this blog.
I feel a peace in my head. My thoughts are quiet and slow. I don’t have the pain gritting up my thinking and making even the basics of everyday life unbearable. I can still feel the despair but it’s settled down and solid now. I can fairly easily just ignore it. Most of all, I am not fighting anymore. I am not agonising over my decision. It’s a terrible, selfish decision but it’s for the best. I am done. Is the combination of quiet thoughts, quiet feelings and no pain the definition of peace? I have no idea (and the dictionary didn’t help).
I’ve had this peace before. It has happened in the times between finalising my decision to try my best to die and actually trying to do it. It’s not even that I’m reluctantly resigned. I’m walking towards it quite calmly and purposefully (well, as purposefully as a currently mad person can do). I say that now, of course. I’ll see what it’s like when it’s all right in front of me in the hotel room. There’ll be doubt and probably panic then. But for now, it’s so nice. Such relief. I understand why there is a cliché of “sweet relief”. It is as delicate and delicious as the sweetest treat. Fuck me, I’m about to go all #blessed.
After the list I posted earlier today, and because I like to torture myself, here is a list of things I could do to rebuild my life and try again:
Get a dog or some other pet for company and love
Do a second day at the charity project I go to for more structure and company
Alternatively, or in addition to the above, volunteer to do something useful and try and build some self-esteem
Get a private psychologist and really talk and open up (I am very lucky that my obsessive need to control my spending, after getting into the worst kind of trouble in my twenties, has had the beneficial effect of allowing me to build up some savings. I am the only person I know of that has been this lucky.)
Start running again and be brave and try new routes but cancel the gym and admit I never enjoyed it
Do the Open University Access course I have been eyeing up for… uh… years to give me a little hope that I could possibly have a future
Get a tattoo and do the other recommended things to start reclaiming my body and stop despising it
Comparing this list with my earlier list: there are major areas not covered. I don’t think those things can be solved or ameliorated. Which is why I am eating nutella and butter sandwiches and booking a hotel.
I have so many bastard lists on the go at the moment as I try to get organised. My memory is hopeless just now so I am using lists for even the most basic things. Here’s a list from ten days ago that I am referring to frequently, for comfort, reassurance and to torture myself (impressive résumé for a list):
I feel guilty for the terrible things I have done which I can never fix or undo
I hate and despise myself; I am a terrible person
I have never achieved anything and I am intensely ashamed of that
I am a burden and I drag down my family and friends; I know for a fact that they will be better off when I am dead
I will never have someone to hug and hug me
I will never have someone to love and love me
I will never have someone to cuddle in bed with
I have feelings of intense loneliness which are very painful
I will never have someone I feel safe enough to have sex with
I am putting all the weight back on and everyone is laughing and looking down at me
I am ashamed that I can’t manage my eating
I hate my body and want to rip it apart and set it on fire
I am ashamed and horrified that I didn’t apply for the ordinary degree that I had credits for and so ruined even that faint hope for a future
It really hurts and I feel intensely ashamed every time I see someone talking about managing to be a doctor or medical student with a mental illness
I am a waste of the Earth’s resources; one less human is better for climate change
I am a waste of NHS resources
I am a waste of taxpayers’ resources
I am ashamed that I can’t manage my mental illness
I am ashamed that I so desperately want people to like me
I want to be free (though I don’t deserve that)
I want to be at peace (though I don’t deserve that)
I want to be finished and gone and in the past so that the harm I did can heal
It was hard to write but I felt better for it as my head felt clearer and emptied out. It is like cutting into raw, burnt skin when I expose this intense, overwhelming shame. If it wasn’t for the fact that I will be dead in a few days I wouldn’t be able to. I don’t know why I am publishing this. It eases something and makes these last days less painful, I think. I have no right to ask or hope for that of course. Also, it’s a kind of proof to myself. I would never, never, never talk about these things if I thought anyone I knew could even remotely possibly find out. There is always a possibility that you can be outed from an anonymous blog. But it doesn’t matter if you’re dead.
[suicide, no mention of methods because I am not that fucking irresponsible]
If you have been unfortunate enough to have read the recent nonsense on this blog then you’ll know that I am planning to end my life. Sorry, that was a bit abrupt. Should have paid more attention to those Breaking Bad News workshops. Actually, they did come in handy when telling all my Mum’s friends that she had died. I didn’t cry once. I don’t know if I should be proud or ashamed. Anyway. My thoughts are bad these days and it’s hard to create a chain of thought. My thoughts are like trying to grip water in my hands: I can see they’re there but I can’t hold them.
Blah, blah, blah, tl:dr; had enough.
I set another date as last weekend fell through (yes, that phrase is doing a lot of heavy lifting) and have started lining the practicalities up, eg finishing food, distancing myself from people, “tidying up loose ends” as the nurses put it. I adapted my plan (have a series of plans to try to account for my inevitable fuck ups) and was waiting for something to come through the post which was due the middle of next week. It arrived today. I’ve had a lot of psychotherapy in my life so I now quite often find myself observing myself as my life happens to me. (Psychotherapy never has any disadvantages or harmful effects.) I watched myself go from “oh fuck, I don’t know what I think about this” to the sudden delighted excitement of “I could be free today!” to despairing “I bet I fuck this up again”. It was lovely and awful and overwhelming. Is it odd to say I felt some hope fluttering about in my head?
I calmed down and opened up my post. Only half the order with the rest due the middle of next week as originally planned. I definitely felt some relief. I feel bad for admitting that. Does it mean I’m not committed to my plan? Am I going to fuck up again? Am I going to pull out? I don’t think so. I feel quite steady and settled in my decision to die. It will most likely be horrible but there’s nothing I can do about that; will just have to thole it. It will pass. If I don’t kill myself now then I will have years of this pain to get through. My friends and family will have years of pain of having to deal with me. I think it is natural to have a little bit of trepidation or regret about big decisions (I think I learnt that in psychotherapy) but you have to be resolute too. I’ve been certain that I was going to succeed only to fail in the past. I just have to keep trying.
I have done terrible things. Hear that a lot from psychiatric patients/service users/survivors; we’ve done terrible things. Some of them in our heads and some in the world.
Well, mine are out in the world. Spinning around, causing hurt, doing harm. There is something wrong with me that I keep doing it. Fundamentally, intrinsically wrong. I don’t work as a human should. Made a New Year’s Resolution to stop this year. Didn’t keep it.
There is a condition called hydrocephalus where the normally small fluid-filled spaces in the middle of the brain enlarge. At the very extreme the brain tissue is compressed to a thin sheet against the skull. Very rarely, doctors discover people who are walking around apparently, or mostly, functioning normally who have skulls full of fluid and very little brain. Here is a case study of a French man like that and this is his MRI:
Under my skin there should be muscle, blood and bone. And there must be because I can move about. But in the centre of my chest, in the centre of my limbs and in the centre of my skull there is black space filled with guilt. It used to be liquid and it would swirl and seep into and corrupt everything. Now it’s hardened and toughened and is alive itself. Which is just as well as it animates me now. It moves me about. I am not quite dead; just a thin layer compressed under my skin. But it is enjoying being alive in the world and wants to be fed.
The guilt monster comes alive every so often under my skin. It’s been alive before then faded away. Whether it is alive or not is not the relevant question. The question is whether I can live with it. This French man, whose brain MRI you are looking at, had an apparently, or mostly, normal life. People must live with guilt monsters. Some will have apparently, or mostly, normal lives. Plenty of people have done worse terrible things than me. Sometimes it is thrashing under my skin, all teeth and claws and I am still intact. Not today, sunshine. Sometimes it is sleeping under my skin, all quiet and I am screaming.
Today we are both screaming. I can’t live with it anymore.