2018 is the year that marks my three year anniversary of surviving suicide. What makes someone who seemingly from the outside, seemed absolutely fine, to do something so drastic to themselves?
Let’s start from the top.
I have battled depression and anxiety for the majority of my 27 years on this earth. I was subject to a tough upbringing laden with psychological and physical abuses. The favourite saying of this person was, “You’ll never amount to anything”. Being told that as a child, repeatedly, by someone who is supposed to love and cherish you the most, is very damaging for anyone to be exposed to. It caused me to have huge insecurities, trust issues and problems handling emotions as I grew up. My anxiety took over most parts of my life, to the point I could not go anywhere on my own due to the innate fear that something was going to happen to me. This made getting a licence, a job, continuing to study etc. – very difficult.
In 2008, at 18 years old, I made the decision that all of this was not normal, that I could not go on through life in this way and I needed some serious help. This is when I started seeing my first amazing therapist who saw me on and off for 6 years. Alongside this, I also tried most every anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication under the sun, they all did nothing but make me feel like a zombie going through the motions of everyday life. To top off the complexities in my life, I was diagnosed with the autoimmune condition, Crohn’s disease in 2012. This condition came close to killing me and set me back on my mental health journey, as I felt like “What now?! Why me!? As if I didn’t have enough to contend with!” being diagnosed was actually a blessing in disguise (although it took me a long time to figure that out), while having treatment it exposed me to many people who were very sick, and quite possibly not going to get better. It made me eventually appreciate the fact that I was still waking up each day, that was a gift in itself.
Battling mental health challenges is not a linear journey, you do not suddenly become ‘cured’ and never have to deal with them again. I have developed much better coping strategies over the years and learned a lot about self-love, but it wasn’t until I hit my darkest point that this really came to light for me.
In 2015 I faced my hardest battle yet. I was a broken, fragile girl in the clutches of an all-consuming depressive episode. My Crohn’s disease was rampaging my body and I had been hospitalised 7 times in the past 6 months. I was in a turbulent & toxic relationship and was the subject of horrific online bullying.
The weight of it all crushed me.
That night, 28 June 2015 I (almost) successfully took my own life. If it were not for the very quick thinking of some friends that were watching me closely, I would not be here today. I was thankfully reached in time and was able to be resuscitated with a touch and go stint in ICU for a few days. It took a little while for me to realise that I was not meant to leave this earth that day.
Why am I posting about this so openly? Because if it encourages just ONE person to speak up, seek out support or ask for help, it’s all worth it.
Mental health stigma is all around us. I wish people knew that mental health affects us all. Most of us will struggle with some form of mental health related concern at some point in our lives. It’s ok. There is nothing wrong with you. Help is available and it is possible to heal. We are all in this fight together.
If you are struggling, please visit our Get Help page for a list of organisations that can help.