As a child I considered my childhood to be similar to everyone else’s. My parents split up when I was three years old. I was the youngest of my mum's children. I had friends, I went to school, had a boyfriend when I was fifteen. Life on the outside looked pretty ok and normal, but inside of me was a different story. I never felt like I belonged anywhere, it felt like there was something missing in my life and I didn’t know how to fill the gap. I literally did not want to feel the loneliness of what was my life, I had people around me but felt so lonely. I saw my parents and what their life was like and didn’t want to grow up to be the same as them.
It was at this point that I simply felt that taking my own life was the only way out, the only way to stop feeling, and the only way to stop the relentless thoughts in my head that told me to die.
I was 16 when I first tried to take my own life, I didn’t want to be here anymore. I decided to take lots of tablets to numb my feelings. After taking the tablets I went to my friend's house and her mum knew something was wrong as soon as she saw me. She told me to tell her what I had done, but I didn’t want to, I just wanted the tablets to do their job. When I did tell her she drove me straight to the hospital and when we arrived, I was seen by the doctors and admitted for the night. There was no room in the adults ward so they put me in a children's ward.
I arrived on the ward when it was late into the night and was given a bed. My friend's mum left. When I woke up the next day, the feeling of deep emptiness and hopelessness was still with me along with the realisation of how selfish I was. I looked around to see all these babies fighting for their lives and yet I had just tried to take mine, it didn’t make sense when I looked at it like that. The next thought that came was, “I’m here for a reason” it was like a bomb going off in my body. I was not successful in trying to take my life, but I felt there was more for me to offer the world than what I currently knew.
Back then mental health was a taboo topic, not many people knew about it let alone spoke about it, or knew how to handle it. I certainly didn’t know how to handle what was happening to me. My mum, whose love I so desperately wanted, didn’t come to see me in the hospital even though she knew I’d tried to take my life. Our relationship was not so great, yet all I wanted was reassurance from her. Looking back on it now I assume it was too much for her, we never had the best relationship anyway. At that time, I wasn’t given antidepressants and with hindsight, I am really glad.
As I grew up there were a few more times I had the feeling of giving up, not seeing a way out of my emotions and the life I was living, I thought about cutting my wrists but it seemed too painful a route to go down.
When I was 18, after a heavy night of drinking, I got home and raided my family’s medicine box and started to take tablets again. The thoughts in my head were so dominant, all I could think of was ending my life, I felt so unloved, so sad and so alone. My brother and Nan woke up, saw what I was doing and stopped me, snatching the tablets from me.
Although there were no further attempts over the next few years to take medicines to end my life, the feeling to commit suicide happened again when I was 22. My boyfriend at the time suggested I go on antidepressants. This time I decided to try because I felt so hopeless and wanted something to change. So I went to the doctor and was prescribed medication to help me. After a few months, I decided to stop them and even though I wasn't feeling better on them, taking these tablets was not the answer for me. I realised there were other things that also needed to change...like my toxic relationship with my boyfriend.
I knew that the sadness I had in my heart wasn’t going to shift from taking tablets. I also knew I didn’t want to die. I realised these were episodes of me wanting to escape what I was feeling at the time, but they weren’t my everyday thoughts and feelings. I was and always have been a very outgoing, fun and loving person, but I couldn’t understand why the world and the people in it were not full of love, I hated the world I lived in, everything was depressing, and I could see that all too many people escaped from their lives through either drink, taking drugs, having sex or going on holiday.
I was doing the same. I had relied on drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, and weed to numb my sadness. I knew deep down inside I was never depressed, I simply had depressive moments due to my lifestyle as a recreational drug user (at least, that was the way I saw myself because I didn’t want to admit I was addicted to them). Finally, I realised none of these things were working for me, so I stopped them, addressed my relationship with myself and with other people in my life and also worked on quitting alcohol as well as drugs.
I’ve found that it was and still is important to not play the victim to what was happening in my life and not to blame the world for my issues. I started to see how I’d been treating my mind and my body.
I am now thirty years old and my life is completely different to how I ever lived. I will never touch drugs and alcohol again. I started looking at why I felt this way, where the thoughts were coming from and why I was so negative about life and the world. I have begun to learn to love and to respect myself for the first time. It finally feels like I am healing the inner child that felt so sad and so unloved. I now look at what my strengths are and build on those.
I adore myself more than I ever thought possible and enjoy waking up each day to what is ahead of me. I have taken responsibility for my life and what I do, blaming no one but seeing that the thoughts that come to me now do so because of how I choose to live my life each day. An important part of this is not blaming anyone for my feelings and actions, I don’t point the finger and say it’s anyone’s fault for what happened in my past and now I am through it, I can see suicide was never the answer to my inner pain.
I can honestly say that I am so very glad I did not take my life.
Please reach out for support if it is needed. There are many Apps and websites out there that can offer support and regular check-ins.
Here are some services in Australia
Lifeline - 13 11 14 - you can connect via chat line, phone or online
Suicide call-back service - 1300 659 467 - you can connect via text and phone
Here are some services in the UK
Samaritans - 116 123 - you can connect via phone or chat line
Papyrus - 0800 0684141 - you can connect via text, phone or email
Photo by Liza Summer
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