Trigger warning: suicidal ideation.
I’ve wanted to leave this earth forever countless times. I first wrote a song about it at age 15. How unoriginally “angsty” of me. What are teenagers like, eh? Not a care in the world yet somehow still finding something to whinge about.
Human despair is a strange thing because it doesn’t really discriminate. It doesn’t necessarily matter who’s had it “worse” or who’s had it “better”. The sensitive predisposition to neuroticism, whilst to a greater or lesser extent influenced by parenting, can afflict anyone and it kickstarts this kind of pattern of distress followed by an inability to tolerate it followed by more distress; with perhaps some smooth sailing in between but still a fundamental feeling underneath it all that life in its essence is vaguely unbearable.
Not having your distress taken seriously is a fairly certain predictor of more distress or worse, distress which becomes covertly suppressed.
“I think you’re fine,” exclaimed a GP, smiling, that I’d gone to see around the age of 20 because I couldn’t get through my work day without blind fits of rage and intrusive thoughts about self-harm and suicidal ideation.
I was told by another GP at 22 that I should “come back if I felt any worse” after telling her I was having suicidal thoughts.
Maybe it’s my own fault for persistently refusing medication. That might seem ridiculous. Surely anyone who wants to take their life wants one thing and that’s to feel better?
But it just doesn’t align with my worldview of what despair is, how it should be treated and the way in which I want to live my life. I don’t want to be medicated. I don’t want to alter my brain as if my brain is the problem. There’s nothing wrong with my brain. I have a somewhat sensitive disposition and I have complex PTSD. I need talking therapy, I need to be taught distress tolerance skills, I need bodywork, I need a spiritual practice, I need an appropriate work-life balance which doesn’t run me into the ground and I need to be surrounded by people who at least somewhat appreciate me.
If I can’t have at least most of these things, then I can’t cope – let alone thrive.
What’s crazy is that I have masses of potential as a creative. I could release multiple albums based off of the quantity of music I have written in my life thus far. But completing these projects and executing them is something that’s often incredibly difficult for me depending on the way that I feel. It’s like, the one of the things that would make my life infinitely better and, dare I say it, happy, is something which requires me to be consistently productive and, in turn, sound of mind to actually do.
And until I get therapy and have a bearable work life, I can’t be these things.
Although this is just a silly meme — this photo encapsulates how I feel about the idea of taking anti-depressants and/or conforming to the corporate world. Pretending I don’t have difficult emotions, squashing my sensitivity, working to a robotic efficiency, being accepted only when I reject/ignore myself and my heart, allowing the shame and social ostracisation to change me so that I can still assimilate in the group, forgoing my passion and my desire to do something bigger that ignites my soul, killing off the parts of me that make me unique and special – often the parts which cause me to suffer.
I used to feel a sense of derision at people who didn’t take their antipsychotics as prescribed. Like, why would you not want to stop the hallucinations? Or the intense mood swings? But now that my mental illness has reached a sort of impasse and a new plummeting depth – I almost get it. My life, in theory, could be at stake. And I still don’t want to take medication. That’s a bit crazy.
I feel I can start to understand now why those with schizophrenia or bipolar “disorder” (I don’t like the word disorder – that’s for another post), might not want to sand down their edges, erase the dizzying highs along with the morose lows – potentially forfeit the most unique and dazzling aspects of their personality for the sake of eliminating the psychosis.
I don’t want to change, either. I don’t want to become blind to the world’s sometimes brutal rough-handling of the most sensitive among us – I don’t want to become blind to the injustice; the way tenderness systematically seems to get burned at the stake whilst gritty productivity and callousness gets rewarded.
I feel like in a sense, this world – or the way I’m experiencing it right now – is cutting me right open and letting me bleed out. And instead of stopping the source of the injury, I’m being invited to invest in wound management. And there’s a big part of me which would rather not exist in a world that leaves me continuously wounded.
People that are elderly don’t try to exert themselves physically to the extent they did when they were in their prime. This is kind of how I feel. Lethargic and defeated. Like I just don’t have it in me anymore.
N.B. I’m feeling slightly more hopeful today, I wrote this post a few days ago. But I think it’s important to honour feelings of despair and hopelessness for my own sake and also to spread awareness. Today is Suicide Prevention Day.
Thanks for reading.
– SMUT. ❤ xxxx
Art by @helvatten on Instagram and Twitter.