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.
I was chatting to my high school friend N on MSN last night. She asked what was new with me. I look back at what’s new with me and all I can think of is that I took an OD, had an ambulance come, have had to deal with my parents and a friend finding out all my mental health issues, have been seeing a GP way too frequently and have been referred to a psychiatrist once again. But I can’t tell her that. I could tell her that I have been working and doing badly in Uni, but that’s nothing new. So I reply with, “Nothing really.” I asked her in turn what was new for her. She said that she is now going out with someone, she has a rugby game on the weekend, she’s been offered a permanant position at her volunteer place and she’s just started work experience at a vet and it’s going really well.
I should feel happy for her, and I am happy for her, but I have to admit hearing about how she’s got all these great things going on for her was a bit of a blow for me. I feel like I am missing out on life. What N described to me about what she’s doing is what I should be doing with my life. It’s the sort of thing a normal, everyday 18 year old girl should be doing. Having relationships with guys. Spending time with friends. Enjoying your hobbies. Working somewhere you enjoy and trying to get ahead by doing work experience in your chosen career.
She says that she feels like time is passing her by too fast and she looks back and thinks that her life was whizzed past her. She wants life to slow down so that she has time to enjoy it, and I wonder what it would feel like to be loving life that much. Whilst she may feel wistful about the first eighteen years of her life passing her by already, she can at least look back onto her life and think fondly about it and feel like she’s accomplished something or at least enjoyed the ride. I look back at my life and I think, ‘What a waste.’ I feel like I have accomplished nothing and instead of enjoying my childhood and adolescence, I have been stuck dealing with my mental health issues.
When I reflect back on my childhood, I feel sad for the little girl who was bullied in primary school and found it difficult to make friends. I feel sad for the little girl who started experiencing depression and started self harming at age twelve. I feel sad for the little girl who did not have a happy childhood because she was quiet and shy and had a lot of anxiety. I feel sad for the little girl who had a strict and controlling father and did not feel loved by her parents during her childhood. I feel sad for the little girl who was so eager to please, who tried to hard to do well at school, yet felt like she was pleasing no one. This little girl however, still had some hope that things would improve once she was all grown up.
I’m not a little girl anymore. Some of those issues have been resolved, a lot haven’t, and some new issues that have come up too. The bottom line is that I’m still struggling despite growing a bit older and becoming a legal adult in this world. I can feel sad for the little girl who stuggled so much to find peace and happiness. But right now I am angry and disappointed at myself for shattering that little girl’s hope that there would be change for the better. That hope is slowly diminishing and is instead being replaced with despair. I wish I could tell that little girl that things will improve, you will make it out of this, that you become happy and successful. But alas, I can’t.
I could tell myself that I am only eighteen and still young, have my whole life ahead of me, there’s still so many years for things to improve, yadda yadda. But I don’t believe it. All I can see is, life was dark back then, life is dark right now and therefore life will continue to be dark in the future. Maybe getting help again from mental health professionals can be seen as a step forwards, to ensure that my future is not as bleak as I am anticipating it will be. But I can’t help seeing it as a step backwards, as it means that I am no better and have not improved in the least despite having had treatment before. If I didn’t improve at all last time, what’s to say it won’t happen again for the second time and I end up still being no better?
My friends are moving forwards in their life. I should be doing the same. Instead, I have been left stranded at The Station of Hopelessness & Despair while they have all managed to hop on the train that takes them to new and exciting destinations.
The first time I watched this movie I mustn’t have started purging or any of my ED behaviours yet. The second time I watched this was on TV last night, so I took more notice of the character Maureen. She is the best dancer at the ballet school she goes to yet she’s unhappy and she has symptoms of an eating disorder- she restricts and purges after she eats.
In the end she gives up her dancing career despite what her mother wants- for her to be the best ballerina there is. She realised that sacrificing her happiness and her health for something that she doesn’t enjoy, a dream that’s not hers, is not worth it.
I like the lesson in that and I like that she chose happiness and health. I did some dancing when I was younger but not seriously and definetely not to that extent. So no, not the lesson in that regarding dance but regarding other aspects of my life like school.
In year 12 especially, I put so much pressure on myself to do well. There were also expectations from my family and relatives and I guess I was expected to do relatively well in my studies. This resulted in a worsening of my depression, I had a very little social life, my self harm got worse, that year was the first year I started using pills and alcohol to self harm, that was the year I started developing an ED…
And looking back, it’s just not worth it. Here I am now, I managed to get into my first choice with a TER of 90.15 but this course is seeming to be too hard for me, hence I’m failing it. Recently I tried applying for a course that has a cutoff TER of about 70 but I couldn’t even get in because I’ve been doing so badly in my Uni studies.
I’ve seen this in other people too. A friend of mine is very intelligent and hardworking and did so well at school, but in year 12 she was burning out and she had depression, was hospitalised numerous times and self harmed. There are other people I’ve met over the internet who also experience a worsening of their mental health issues due to pressures to do well in school etc. I’ve read in the newspaper of one of the top TEE students in the state going to a mental health clinic for some respite after all the stress of it. I’ve heard of a year 12 student committing suicide after the TEE exams.
So I forget this a lot, but watching this movie reminds me once again, your mental health, your happiness and health is more important. No matter what other people like your parents or family think.
I spent the last day of 2009 working for eight hours. And ended up crying at work, in the toilets without anyone knowing of course.
I hate New Year’s Eve, because I reflect on the year I’ve had and what has happened and every NYE I just think back to all the failings I’ve had in the past year and all the sad events that have happened. And if I’ve had a good year then I look to the new year with trepidation and I anticipate that the new year will be shit, because things couldn’t possibly continue to go well. Not for me.
This year is one of the few years I’ve had that things with friends have been great. At Uni I have a close group of friends that I click with and am included in and I even have friends outside of this close group who I get along with pretty well. This has been the highlight of my year. However, this one good thing I have, even that is going to be taken away from me. Which leads to the first failure I’ve had this year: failing two units in Uni in first semester.
Failing those two units means this year I’ve only successfully completed four units out of the ten that we are meant to complete in first year pharmacy. So I have to stay back in first year while my friends move on to second year and leave me behind.
This year I’ve also failed by taking an OD of 12 paracetamol…which I found out will not kill you, it won’t do anything much…although I have had people tell me about liver damage. This year I have also used pills and alcohol as a way to self harm.
I’m at the heaviest weight I’ve ever been although admittedly it’s still just under the normal BMI range. The ED part of me hates being this size so I can’t help but think of my current weight as a failure…
I’m also starting the new year without any help again. Last year I had a psychiatrist and was just starting with a clinical psychologist for the first time. A year later I’m without support. Again. Seeing as I haven’t seen my psych in about four months and I do not want to go back to my psychiatrist ever again.
But, one area that I’ve managed to be somewhat successful at is reducing my cutting. This year I haven’t self harmed by cutting as much as the last year. So far I’m two and a half months cut free and my previous record is three months which I achieved previously this year.
Right now I’m at home and it’s less than three hours ’til 12:00am…a lot of others are going out, celebrating and partying…and I’m just stuck at home wallowing in self pity…fun…