Trigger warning: suicide
This post is a description of past events and does not, in any way, describe my feelings at the time of writing or posting it.
Some days I think maybe I’ve got this living with chronic illness thing sorted. Other days, really not. Usually I have a good cry, pick myself up again and keep going. Every now and then, usually when I am more physically ill than usual for some reason – more exhausted, more in pain, more overwhelmed by any number of other unpleasant symptoms, less able to look after myself, and afraid that maybe this is going to be my ‘new normal’ – the ground seems to crumble quite suddenly beneath my feet, a chasm opens up, and I start to fall…
I am falling, spiralling into the darkness, being sucked into a black hole, away from any connection with people and with life. The ‘everlasting arms’ (Deuteronomy 33:27) which are supposed to catch me have disappeared. If God is still here he is standing on the sidelines and watching me fall.
Sometimes, at first, I can press ‘pause’ briefly – distract myself with activity if I have the physical strength. Stop sobbing for long enough to eat lunch, have a shower, watch a TV programme. I am not depressed in any conventional sense: I am still motivated to do a hundred things, most of which are way behind my reach. I can even, mid-fall, interact with people and convince almost anyone that I am ok: able to chat and smile, and do an impression of ‘coping’ that both astounds and scares me, knowing what is going on within.
I do not want to inflict the reality on people. I do not want people to see me like this. I am scared of what they would think, or what they would do; of whether they could cope. I think maybe I can still stop it, get a grip, pull myself back from the brink.
And then I am falling again, faster now, totally worn out with the effort of pretending, or doing, or just surviving, or trying to resist the downward pull. Angry with myself for failing to take the chance to ask for help; upset that the other person didn’t see my distress (though it is not their fault: I did all I could to hide it).
It is too late now, I have missed my chance of help, I am alone, I must manage this myself. I’ve been here before and survived, surely I can get through this?
I am falling and the world is receding. I am alone and I need help but who would I call and what could I possibly say? A day ago, or two, or three, I was ok. It is unreasonable to have lost my footing so suddenly, so dramatically. I go through, in my head, the people I could call, and find an excuse for not calling any of them.
I am falling and I am scared…curled up and sobbing, unable to stop, the crying, over which I have no control, sapping any remaining strength from my body and limbs, physical pain searing through my head and body. I am beyond speaking or phoning now: exhausted, incoherent, dizzy with the pain, both physical and mental. Unable to sleep, or eat, or speak, or move.
My flat contains enough medication to kill a small army and now its mere presence terrifies me. I look at it and wonder how much I would have to swallow to escape…
To escape this torture that is every day of every week of every month of every year. It has been too long. The constant struggle; the everyday tasks that feel like mountains; the pain, the bone-crushing exhaustion, every system of my body inexplicably failing, the feeling so ill I think I might die, but knowing I won’t, and it will continue; the having to fight the disbelief and ignorance of others; the repeated interrogations by the DWP who could remove the benefits that allow me to live; the endless suggestions from others of what might make me better if I only could think or say or believe or do the right thing; the arrogant medics who made me so ill with their graded exercise therapy, and whose research has been exposed as failed and possibly fraudulent, but who are still in positions of influence; the Christians who have apparently heard from God that there is really nothing wrong with me, or that God will heal me today, or tomorrow, or maybe next week, if only I could have enough faith, and pray, or say, or believe, or do the right thing.
I am falling and I am alone. There is nobody to catch me, or even to know that this is happening unless I tell them. A text? What could I possibly write in a text?
It is too needy and weak, and pathetic – I am too needy, and weak and pathetic – and I shouldn’t feel this way. I have been ill for 34 years, I should be better at coping, I should be better at being ill, I shouldn’t need so much help, people will be fed up with me, I can’t ask for help again, I should be able to do this, it’s only pain, I’ve been here before, I mustn’t be melodramatic, I’ll probably be ok, I’m really not ok, I don’t feel safe, I need someone here now, I can’t say that to anyone, expect that of anyone, it’s unreasonable and weak and needy and demanding and what will they think of me and I don’t want to lose my friends and I want my friends to be friends not carers and I don’t want anyone to see me like this and I’m no use to anyone and I can’t do anything and all I do is need help and cause people trouble and they would be better off without me and God has disappeared or doesn’t care and I can’t do this on my own and my life is no life and I can’t do any of the things I love and all my hopes and dreams are in pieces on the floor and this illness and pain are relentless and never-ending and there is no escape and no hope and I have had enough and I have no strength to carry on and I can’t live like this and I can’t do this anymore and I can’t keep going and I need it to end…and…and…and…
I am falling…