Content warning: Suicide attempt, Overdose
By some weird twist of fate, you’re alive. You tried four times in three weeks to ensure that you wouldn’t be, but you are. You’re still alive.
In total, you took over 200 extra tablets. You thought – hoped – they would finally end you, but they didn’t. You’re alive.
A seizure. Cardiac monitoring. Respiratory support. A GCS of 3.
You ‘woke up’, but you couldn’t move, you couldn’t see. Perfectly capable of hearing the bustling hospital bay, yet unable to respond to the two nurses shaking your shoulder and calling your name. You wondered if you were in a coma; you wondered if you were dead. You wished you were dead. But you weren’t.
Countless injections, dozens of tests, 11 intravenous infusions. Wires and tubes and noisy monitors. Prescriptions for tablets and suspensions to protect your stomach, your liver, your kidneys, your intestines. Days, no, weeks of abdominal pain – with your body completely unable to tolerate basic pain relief.
You’re still alive, though. You survived. All of the treatment worked exactly as it should have. You made it.
And despite every single ounce of you believing beforehand that you certainly wanted to die, you’re finding yourself feeling almost relieved that you didn’t succeed in killing yourself.
Four months ago you were working. You started your very first full-time, high pressure, graduate-level job. It was wonderful, all shiny and new; it was your dream job. You were trying really hard, and you were determined to succeed. You were enjoying it.
At least, that’s what you tried to tell yourself – and anyone else who asked.
The reality is that you were struggling. The office you were based in was a toxic environment for you, and attempting to study for two part-time postgraduate qualifications alongside working full-time was just too much for you to handle. It wasn’t all that you’d expected it to be and you felt out of place, as though you didn’t belong. As a perfectionist, accepting that it was all beyond your capability was too hard. So you persisted. And then you cracked.
Six months ago, you walked across that stage in the biggest hall at your university, and wearing a cap and gown you received your hard-earned Masters degree. You were granted the title of “Master of Science”, and the world was your oyster.
Now you’re an inpatient on a psychiatric ward – for the second time in the space of 5 weeks. You were brought here via ambulance, directly from the hospital that treated you for your final overdose. Last month, your admission to a psychiatric ward was a disaster, but you’re unable to keep yourself safe at home at the moment. You don’t have any other choice but to be here.
Contrary to your expectations, though, it’s going OK. The notion of a beneficial stay on a psychiatric ward is inconsistent with your past experience, but this time really is different. The consultant psychiatrist who works on this ward is the third one you’ve seen in the last six weeks, but he’s the only one that actually seems to want to help. He has listened to you, he wants to support you. He’s asked the ward psychologist to work with you to help you to cope. He has altered your cocktail of medications in the hope that things improve quickly. He has diagnosed you. And this time, you are in agreement with your diagnoses. They make sense to you.
A sigh of relief. A glimmer of hope. Tears not of sadness or frustration, rather, tears because someone has listened to you. They have heard you, finally. You thought it was impossible, but this time, they’re going to help.
And this time, you think that you might be in the right frame of mind to make the most of their help. It’s difficult; the road ahead is a very long one. But you feel you may finally be willing to work harder than ever to get better.