An Authentic Voice speaks of her suicidal thoughts and recovery

These are the words of Olivia, an authentic voice of a terrible depression.  Her words are interspersed with my own – of explanation and elucidation.

I feel like I’m going mad. And fast.

Every day my brain feels as if it’s getting weaker. Six months after my initial breakdown and I fear I am on a downward spiral that can only end one way.

It’s a frightening suicidal thought. One that fills me with terror and a morbid excitement.

I feel as if my life is destined to fail. Logically, some deep, inner intelligence tells me not to be so daft – that I have reason to live, reason to hope. But that deep, inner intelligence tires quickly and submits to the contaminated lump in my brain that tells me I’m better off dead.

Church bells. I don’t know why they ring at this time of night – practice for Sunday? You’d think they’d know the fucking tune by now. Sad. It used to be my favourite sound.

I long to feel normal. Not to be filled with rage or to the brim with tears. Living life on the edge of your emotions is like walking in stilettos along Beachy Head. One blunt response, one clumsily stubbed toe and I rapidly crash in to the self pity I now hate myself for it.

I can only compare it to being trapped in a burning room. Closing my eyes in an attempt to escape just puts me closer to these horrible thoughts. There’s no escape. It’s all too powerful for me to overcome and the only way I can escape is to jump. I know I’ll die if I do, but at least I won’t spend the last moments of my life in terror. I’ll have control again. Even if briefly.

The early mornings  The classic symptom of depression is that the mornings is the worst time because of the exhaustion of dreaming more than one is capable to dream.

Evenings are better for me at the moment. I don’t feel happiness, but the despair seems distant. I can numb myself in the evenings. The meagre 6mg of Valium I am on has kicked in and Eastenders is on also

Depression as a self obsessed trance state Depression is selfish and so hateful

Depression makes you feel selfish. I see adverts for sponsorship of starving children in Africa and in the most terrible way I envy them. I envy their physical pain and hope that God or whoever is up there doesn’t hear me. How bloody awful my brain does that. I feel so self absorbed and ashamed. I know the luxuries I have- food, shelter, warmth, abilities.

 “This too shall pass.” I’m getting fucked off with hearing that. I’m sure it will pass- but when? And what if I remember it? What if it becomes such a huge part of my identity I’ll be institutionalised in my own psychosis? All these questions. I know worrying doesn’t help. If it did, I’d only worry once. Doesn’t make it any easier to stop -to jump off that treadmill of negativity and laugh at the lighter things in life.

Six months of suicidal thoughts. Every single day, all day, every day. I fantasise to the point of suddenly finding myself with a belt pulled tightly around my neck…and nowhere is strong enough to attach it. I must have looked like a very reluctant gimp.

The suicidal thoughts are the hardest to push away. They’re so powerful and authoritative- and worryingly…they make sense! What a fantastic option. My brain’s a mess, my brain is me, I can’t even close my eyes and escape in to another world, if I killed myself I’d have no brain.  Problem solved.

I’m fucked off with everyone at the moment- especially myself. My doctor is an imbecile. She told me last week that I must be getting better as my hair looked nice. I know hair sprouts from our heads but I didn’t realise it was so directly linked to our mental health.

I’m having trouble putting in to words how low I was. Even ‘low’ is an understatement. I think I’d imploded. There was nothing left of me. I’d convinced myself that was it. Even if I didn’t kill myself then, I would be the type of person who would die through suicide.

Seeing Andrew is about relieving the pressure and not talking too much at the first session

I arrived at my first therapy session a teary eyed mute. I could not speak and I choked on every word. I had no idea how I was going to express to Andrew what was wrong. Luckily, I didn’t have to.

That is the beauty of Andrew’s treatment. He understands the pointlessness and the unnecessary pain caused by going over and over the thoughts that are tormenting you. He could see from the moment he met me that I was in no fit state to explain what was wrong – yet he still managed to help me. It was miraculous. I probably said a handful of words in that first session- and Andrew didn’t chat much either. But the quality of what he said gave me an instant hope. Part of the weight had been lifted and he insisted on taking the burden from me. The most significant thing he said to me at that first meeting was ‘suicide is a solution…but let’s find a better one’.

In all I had four sessions before I felt recovery. With each session I felt a gradual progress and lightening in my life. I could see other options and could see all the things I had to look forward to. Before meeting with Andrew I couldn’t imagine the future, there was nothing there, it felt like a dark void- and it frightened me so much.

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