It was a Monday. May 22, 2017 to be exact. I had been thinking of this day for years, precisely ever since I was 15 years old. I always thought about suicide. It always fascinated me as topic, as I had never truly grasped the idea of why people decided to end their lives, until depression hit me.
When I turned 15, everything started to change. My mood started to change, my behavior started to change, as well as social life. Such problems may seem normal at that age, in fact, there had been multiple times where I used to try and find a solution to these problems, however, such answers are impossible to find on the internet. From age 15, I started daydreaming about suicide and as I got older, the feelings grew stronger and stronger and I knew that at some point in my life I would try to kill myself.
As I have said above, it was Monday, the 22 of May, 2017. I had just finished my final exams. My future depended on these exams as they would determine whether I would go to university in October or not, however, I did not really feel much pressure as my motivation to actually pursue my educational aspiration was non-existent. As I sat for my final English exam, there was only one thought going through my head, and that was that in a couple of hours’ time, I will be dead. I had thought this completely through. The previous day I had made a suicide letter, however I decided against the idea and threw the letter away as I thought that it would add to the trauma my family would go through. I also had a plan on how to carefully execute my idea. I was going to swallow all of my medication, precisely my anti-depressants and I would wait for the effects to kick in.
I had completely no idea what I was actually writing in my exam as obviously, I had far more important things in my mind. The three examination hours went by extremely slowly, however, they passed. When I went into my father’s car I started to notice every single detail. I started to notice the sidewalks, the corner shops, everything, as I knew that this would be the last time that I would be seeing such things with my eyes. When I arrived home, the first thing I did was rush to my room and empty all of my pills on my table, carefully lining them up and waiting for the right moment to go ahead with the plan. To be quite honest, as I sat in my room, I had no idea what I was waiting for, however, my anxiety was at an all-time high, and panic was starting to kick in. I paced around my four-cornered room for minutes, until I decided it was time to man up for once in my life. At that very second, I grabbed every single pill and swallowed.
The second I swallowed the medications I felt everything falling apart. Every single thing I had done in my life, it had become irrelevant. My school, my family, my favorite bands, everything. All irrelevant. I stared at the mirror for a solid five minutes before I had a full-blown panic attack. I realized that I did not really want to die. I just wanted the sadness and pain to go away. However, it was all too late now. The damage had been done.
I quickly rushed downstairs with tears in my eyes and a pounding heart-beat where I found my mother on the sofa, watching a series. She immediately noticed something was off. She looked in my eyes and begged for me to tell her what was going on. “Please take me to the hospital, I took all of my medication.” That sentence changed everyone’s life. Shock, fear and hope. All of those three emotions evoked by one sentence.
My father rushed downstairs, with a look I will never forget on his face. As I sat in the backseat, my father called an ambulance and gave them all of my details, informing them of the medications I had overdosed on. I felt completely destroyed. I did not feel sad however. I felt disappointed in myself as I could not even kill myself properly without messing it up.
When we arrived at the hospital I went into a room where my vitals where taken, that are my heart rate, blood pressure and so on. The primary doctor asked why I had overdosed, and I answered that it was an impulsive act based on my depressive episode I was in. After a couple of minutes the nurse came with a bottle of activated charcoal. Yes, the taste is as bad as it sounds. It was completely horrible. The texture, the color and the taste. As I downed it, two further nurses came by and asked more questions, this time more detailed.
I mentioned my battles with mental illness ever since I was a child. I had been suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ever since I was just 9 years old and I also suffer from Major Depressive Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. All three disorders drove me to where I was at that very second. On a hospital bed drinking charcoal after a failed suicide attempt.
That night in hospital was hands down one of the roughest nights of my life. Apart from the fact that I had numerous wires attached to my body and an aching IV tube, I also had a suicide watch nurse sitting right beside my bed, making sure I would not kill myself in a hospital, with all the possible methods I had around me (it’s meant to sound sarcastic).
Anyways, after the roughest night of my life, a psychiatric team visited my ward. They asked the same questions I was asked yesterday and I gave the same answers. OCD, depression and borderline personality disorder. A summary of our forty minute conversation.
The psychiatric team, after their evaluation told me I could return back home as soon as I was physically well. Physically I was; mentally I was not, obviously. My brain felt as fragile as an egg. Every single thing going on around me was affecting me much more than usual, and I am usually very prone to mood changes, as I suffer from extreme mood swings, thanks to my personality disorder. After another night of observation, I returned back home. However, the second night was surprisingly worse than the first, as now I was completely aware the decision I had made the previous day. I wanted to kill myself. I was so desperate to escape the sadness that I thought that ending my life was the only solution.
On the second day, the day I was meant to return home, I felt completely broken. I looked around the hospital ward and saw elderly people, at their last moments of life, most on life support, and I felt completely worthless. I felt guilty. All of these people that were fighting for their lives whilst I tried to end mine. The guilt was suffocating. However, that is what mental illness does to you. It makes you feel guilty for experiencing a different type of pain. Unfortunately, not many people grasp this idea as there is still a lot of stigma surrounding the topic.
So what did I learn during these three days? Mostly the importance of mental health. It is completely useless to have a fully-functioning body if you suffer from mental illness and you do not seek help. Mental illnesses are as important as physical illnesses are. Some people have a damaged liver and I have an ill brain. Both are organs, both are as valid as each other. As I am still trying to find reasons to stay alive there is one thing I know for sure, and that is that I am not ashamed of who I am.
My mental illnesses do not define me, however they do explain what I go through and what I feel. And I am not ashamed of it. I am not ashamed that I have to take medication in order to have a somewhat normal day. I am not ashamed of what I go through. I am ready to fight the stigma, even if it means being called ‘crazy’ or ‘weird’. There are many people out there who struggle on their own. This should not be the case. There is no shame in asking for help, and once you do, things will not necessarily get better, however things will definitely get easier to handle. Together we have to fight the stigma.