Is there life after death? Do those who complete suicide automatically earn a one way ticket to hell? When I’m contemplating suicide, that too is what I also consider.
Though officially Catholic, I’m not particularly religious. I haven’t prayed nor been to church in goodness knows how long. I’m unsure if I believe in God and all the teachings of the church. What if though? What if there really is a heaven and a hell and our faith (or lack of) is what determines where we go? I have to admit, the possibility petrifies me. What if I end my life on earth only to end up in a place a thousand times worse, for eternity? A hundred years suddenly doesn’t seem that long in comparison.
So is it worth the risk? A part of me says yes, a part of me says no. But either way there’s doubts. Unfortunately there’s really only one sure way of finding out the truth to this question.
“If you don’t have someone who believes in you, you’re not going to be on this earth very long. So tell me you all have someone in your life so that you’re in for the long haul?”
Words spoken today by the tutor who took our class for the Aboriginal Health and Culture unit. He was referring to the video we were watching where an Aboriginal man told of his experiences being part of the stolen generation. This Aboriginal man was sent to a missionary and told his parents didn’t want him, contrary to the truth, and later on battled with binge drinking and illicit drugs, overdosing twice. The tutor then linked this to people needing to be loved and cared for. He told us that alcohol and drug use are forms of self harm and self medication, and that suicide is the leading cause of death amongst the under 35.
Related to this is what came up in my most recent psychologist appointment. We spoke of the one year mark since my first ED admission following an overdose, and the difficult feelings that came up with it. “So what keeps you here now?” she asked me. I answered that knew I had commitments. My Uni course. Fieldwork at the hospital. A workshop for a youth organisation I volunteer for. She enquired as to whether there is anyone in my life that kept me anchored here. “Umm…not really…” I replied. I don’t know whether it’s that I’m selfish, or whether I just lack the vision to see this, but I don’t feel a true connection to..well…anybody. So I don’t think of the impact on others if I want to die because I don’t think it will impact people all that much. I know my mother, my grandparents and my aunt love me. But while there’s love, there’s no real connection. I have friends, but no real close friends I catch up with regularly and can talk to about everything. Boyfriends? Non-existent. I’m twenty in a little over a month and I’ve never even been on a date, let alone had a boyfriend.
This same issue keeps cropping up, the social isolation, that sense that I’m alone in the world and no one understands me. I don’t know how this is ever going to change. And if it doesn’t change, well… I’m not that strong and others before me haven’t survived. The tutor I had today isn’t pulling this stuff out of thin air, he has a Masters in Counselling and works in the field.
I was watching Australian Story last night and this particular episode featured Gavin Larkin. He is one of the founders of R U OK? Day, a suicide prevention initiative which aims to promote the message that by simply asking someone, “R U OK?” you could potentially save a life. It was a very moving and sad episode.
His father completed suicide and at the present, Larkin himself has lymphoma which is unable to be treated. He is expected to survive just weeks or months from now. There’s something of a cruel irony in his situation. His father took his life and yet here he is fighting and losing the battle for his.This prompted me to ponder how oddly the world works. There are people who are so desperate to live but destined to die. Then there are those of us who are so desperate to die but despite our greatest intents and attempts, live. I wonder why this is so. Are we all victims of the cruel joker named ‘Life’? Or is there a greater reason so many of us who want to die survive? That’s probably something we’ll never know…but I do hope there is a reason I’m meant to be here.
I feel as though I am trapped in a cycle of self hate and self loathing. I don’t know how to describe it, there are no words to describe it. I don’t know how to make others see what an awful, horrible person I am and how much I detest myself. I want to make myself hurt, I want to hack away at my skin, because it’s no less than what I deserve.
I purposely screw things up for myself to give me reason to hate myself, the fact that I screwed up further fuels the self hate, and the cycle continues. Failing University this year is just one example.
I feel as though I keep myself stuck in my mental health issues so that I may have a chance at getting care and concern from people. I fear that if I get better, I will lose the minimal support that I do have, which is part of the reason I took myself off my antidepressants again. What kind of a pathetic person does that? What kind of a pathetic person needs to be sick to feel as though she’s cared about?
I have imagined telling my psychologist and psychiatrist that I don’t want to see them anymore. This could work both ways. If they try to convince me it’s not a good idea, it will say to me that they do care enough to want to help, but I would then feel terribly manipulative, and therefore hate myself even more. If they agree, it will prove that nobody wants to help, nobody wants to bother with me and give me further reason to say that treatment doesn’t work so it would be better if I killed myself.
I’ve been tempted to overdose, not to kill myself, but enough so that I end up in hospital again and I may be taken seriously this time. But what kind of an attention seeking, manipulative, pathetic idiot does that? Not like our Emergency Departments are crowded enough already.
I could never tell anyone this though. As much as I hate myself, I’m so very afraid of others hating me too. I fear that if I ever voiced all this aloud, I would be hated and get the very thing I’m trying to avoid- people viewing me as a stupid attention seeker, not wanting to help me, getting disgusted and leaving me… So all this is left to fester, and I’m just left continuing to wallow in self loathing and disgust for myself.
I hate the person I am. I hate that I’m so desperate for people’s support and care. I hate that my thoughts tend towards self destruction and self sabotage. I hate that I am just such a shit person.
I am so sick of the way my stupid brain works.
I look at where I am now. I wonder what my life would be like had I did things differently before. Would it be the same? Would it have changed somehow? Would I be better off? Worse off?
I think all the way back to Year 8, when I was 12, when I was sent off to see the school counsellor because I was having difficulty coping, unhappy and crying everyday. What if I was honest about how much I was struggling, and my teachers identified that my issues ran a little deeper? What if there was some sort of early intervention? Would my problems have been caught and kicked, before they had the chance to grow into even bigger problems later on? Would it have prevented me from self harming, developing an eating disorder, suffering from depression and taking overdoses all those years follwing, up until now?
Had I been compliant with my previous psychiatrist and taken the SSRI he wanted to prescribe at the end of 2008. Would the medication have helped with my depression, my bulimia? Would my moods have lifted? Would I be bingeing and purging less than I am now? Or, harder to imagine, not at all?
If the appointment with my ex-psychologist hadn’t fell through, and I continued seeing her. Would I still be attending therapy with her now? Would the CBT and mindfulness have actually started to help? Would I have ceased therapy, not because it didn’t work out with her, but because I was well enough to do so?
Even thinking about my current situation. Had I not met my friends, and had they not found out about my OD, I wouldn’t have had an ambulance called on me. Had an ambulance not arrived, my parents would still remain blissfully ignorant about my mental ill health. Had my parents remained in the dark, I would have not sought private mental health treatment again, and I would not be seeing a psychiatrist in a week. Would I have been going to headspace for counselling instead? Would I have sought help from a Uni psychologist had headspace fell through? Or would I have remained without any treatment at all?
Besides the obvious symptoms of my mental illnesses present, I wonder about the other aspects of my life. Have they been changed by mental illness too? What if I wasn’t suffering from mental health issues? Would I still be failing Uni, like I am now? Would I be of normal body size, underweight or overweight? Would I be able to keep friends and make the effort to stay in touch, instead of losing them and rejecting invitations to go out?
It’s strange to think that a simple action has the potential to shift the whole course of our life. It scares me to think that alterring one variable, just one variable, could turn y0ur whole life upside down and change the direction you’re heading altogether. It’s like trying to build a tower out of wooden blocks, just one block out of place, and the whole structure could come toppling down.
So many questions left unanswered. But what’s happened has happened, and nothing can be done to change the past now. All I can hope for is that my life is travelling the direction it was meant to and that in the end everything will fall into place. I have to keep believing that everything that happens, happens for a reason.
PS. I also just wanted to alert readers to a new blog, Mutual Madness. There’s a whole team of mentalists, inculding me, answering questions to do with mental health. Please feel free to check it out and submit any questions you may have that you’d like answered!
I don’t know where I’m heading with my life. Others have goals, aspirations. I used to have them too. Now I’m just drifting. Drifting, drifting along in life until ‘Bam!’ I hit a brick wall, there’s no where else to turn and it all comes to an end.
A few days ago I found out my score on a multiple choice test worth 25% of our unit mark. My result was 33%. Appalling. In a class of 138, my score was in the bottom 8. A year ago, it would’ve taken me days to get over it. I would’ve felt the need to punish myself, I would’ve self harmed, I would’ve cried for what a failure I am. This year, I got upset, cried for a bit, but was over it in less than an hour. Didn’t even cut over it. At first glance it may appear as progress. When you look at the bigger picture though, and you look at why I’m not troubled by it, it points to the contrary. While self harm is an unhealthy coping mechanism, it at least indicated that I cared enough about where my life was heading to realise that my marks determine whether or not I’m going to successfully graduate from University to become a pharmacist. Now I feel as if I’ve given up on life. My mindset has become that it’s going to end sooner or later, possibly sooner and by my own doing, so why try?
I’ve become indifferent. I have no direction in life. I don’t see a future for myself. I can’t imagine becoming a pharmacist, having relationships, getting married, moving out of home and owning my own house, having children, having grandchildren and growing old. That’s talking long term. In the short term, I can’t see myself graduating from Uni or even passing my units. I’ve been turning a blind eye to the increasing possibility that I may fail pharmacy, instead choosing to ignore reality. I dread to think what will happen if I do get terminated from my course. Going to Uni, studying to become a pharmacist gives me the guise of actually doing something with my life. If I’m not going to Uni, I don’t know what I’m doing. Then there would be the terrible shame in being a Uni dropout. Bad enough for everyone else, worse if you’re Asian.
It pains me to remember the days where I was said to have a bright future ahead of me. What was expected of me is that I would get into Uni, pass my units and graduate without any major hurdles. Those days are long gone.
These days, nothing much is expected. Or nothing great anyway. Yesterday for example. My father has been finding empty blister packs of paracetamol and codeine tablets on our front lawn. Now being aware of my ODing tendenices in taking medications with alcohol in an attempt to harm myself, he suspected it was me. Not knowing that I was home, he voiced aloud to my mother that it may possibly be me, abusing prescription medication. For the record, it wasn’t. It’s just my luck that someone has been leaving empty blister packs lying around on our front garden, so soon after the ambulance came and my parents found everything out. Thank you, anonymous pill popper.
I could blame this all on mental illness. Yeah, it’s the mental illness that makes me this way. It’s the mental illness that makes me act irrationally and do things like steal medications from the pharmacy I work in, to go OD on later. It’s the depression that’s taken away my energy, motivation, memory and concentration. It’s the depression that’s affecting my ability to do well at Uni. But really, that’s just me making excuses for my shortcomings.
On a positive note though, I went to the dinner with my workmates last night and I actually had a good time, ignoring the fact that I purged afterwards. I chatted, I laughed and I enjoyed myself. I’d been isolating myself so much that I had forgotten how important it is to your mental health to spend time in the company of others.