*Please note this post contains adult themes and possible triggers.
I don’t know how to start this blog. Three, four, five times, I’ve begun typing and deleted each and every word. Tracing back on myself until I get back to blank, white, nothingness. Ironic really, because that night that’s exactly what I felt. Nothing. A huge wave of calm came over me. My brain switched off. My heart switched off. Suddenly all I had was nothingness, and my pills.
I have chronic illness. I love every day with extreme pain and exhaustion. More than any pain I could possibly describe to you. In every single joint of my body, all the time. Sometimes it’s a dull ache, resounding through my joints like the hard beat of a huge base drum. Other times, it’s as though nails are being driven, hammered into each single joint. There’s many different ways the pain manifests. But it’s always there. Always clawing at me.
The exhaustion makes you feel like you’re caught under a thousand lead weights. Tied to you. Pulling at you. Holding you down. Like every day has been a marathon run, with no time to recover. I often liken myself to a flat battery. From the outside I look like every other battery. But I’m not. I’m useless, running on empty and desperately trying to get through the day.
But more than the physical pain and exhaustion. There’s the emotional. To see friends move on and leave you, because you couldn’t make it one too many times. To be in relationships where you’re told you’re a burden. You’re useless. You make life harder. That just talking to you is depressing. That doesn’t feel good. To see the disappointment in your child’s eyes when once again it’s a no to the park. It all adds up. It makes you forget the good times.
So, back to that night. That night was in between Christmas and New Year. I was estranged from my family. My Grandfather had just passed away. My daughter was staying with her father. I had just been told I wasn’t worth loving by someone who had been in my life since I was a child. I was alone. Completely and utterly alone. Not only physically, but emotionally and mentally. I truly felt I had nothing and nobody. Nobody except my beautiful girl, but she was staying with the other half of her family. Her family who were healthy and could give her more than I ever could.
I was in a dark place that night. A quiet place. An empty pit of nothing. No sensibility. No words of wisdom filtered through the dark. Nobody was there to tell me my girl needed me. That things would and could get better. That though I will always be ill I wouldn’t always be so alone.
I thought of my Grandad. Of seeing him laid in the mortuary. The pain of life no longer etched on his face. He was at peace. I fixated on the peace. No more pain. No more heartache. A ‘better’life for my girl. Something inside me tripped.
One hundred and seventy five. They went down like candy. I felt nothing. Handful. Gulp. Handful. Gulp. Handful. Gulp.
I didn’t know how many I’d taken. That was what they told me. The lady that turned up at my house. Hoisted me off to get checked out. I didn’t call them. Someone in a support group for my health issues figured it out. She phoned. For that I’m very grateful. Though ironically, it wasn’t needed. The tablets I’d chosen only served to cause severe symptoms of the health issues I already had. They would never have done more than that.
Perhaps it was fate. Or perhaps my Grandad was looking over me. Loving me and protecting me from myself. I choose to believe the latter.
When I think back on that night my heart jumps into my mouth and my chest tightens. I can’t believe I thought it could ever be right to leave my darling girl. I ant believe I was unable to see the beauty and love in my world. Still now it brings me to tears. I’m so so incredibly relieved of a my tablets I chose the ‘wrong’ ones. That I’m anal enough to only choose the one. That my friend deciphered my cry for help.
Starting the next day I made changes in my life. I decided that if something wasn’t working for me, it stopped. No more punishing myself for not being enough. No more going for the wrong guys because I didn’t believe I was worthy of the right ones. No more of all of it.
Years on and things are completely different and exactly the same all at once. I am still in pain every single day. I am still exhausted. I still often feel useless, a burden. But I am not alone. I am married to a man who loves and supports me to the very best of his ability, as I do him. I have a small group of true friends and family, who support me in what I can do and don’t hold what I can’t do against me. I have more children, my beautiful girl has wonderful siblings. I live my life as best I can. I laugh and love, I cry and don’t feel (too) bad about it. The difference between now and then is the difference between night and day.
Though I will always regret what happened that night, I’m grateful for the changes it forced me to make. I looked critically at my life, and at the things that weren’t working. Then I changed them. It ashy easy, but with each change a piece of me returned. I became more than just my illness. I found my life, my family and my happiness.
Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to work your way back up. I will always be disabled. I will always be in pain and exhausted. But now I know I can still love myself, and be loved. I deserve happiness, and so do you.
*If you of anyone you know are struggling with suicidal thoughts please contact your doctor or nearest hospital.
U.K. Call Samaritans: 116 123
U.S. Call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-237-TALK