I sat on my bed vacant with a what I can only describe as some tremendous vibrato akin to the buzzing of a bumble bee, buzzing, buzzing, buzzing, in my brain. I could feel my body vibrate, the earth shake beneath me, because In those moments I had felt a profound heaviness, sit itself upon my shoulders and in that lingering moment between knowing and not knowing I decided that I could not bear the weight of it any longer. I couldn’t bear the loneliness, the tiredness, the failure…I had 186 paracetamol, 39 colafax, 137 inderal, I remember because I counted, and I know because it took me a while to stock up in preparation. Finally, I had a razor blade which I had already used to self harm with – just to be sure I left no room for mistakes.
Tomorrow seemed further away that even the most distant of my dreams, and sure, I used to dream. Used to. At that time I could barely string thoughts together, only bad ones. The funny thing is that I felt like I had no one, yet I sat there and instinctively text the one person who I knew would listen, I told him what I was about to do and he kept me talking, for 5 hours into the early hours of the morning until I got too tired and fell asleep. His name is Sean, and I owe him my life.
UCC Talks is one of those things that inspires both myself and I am sure many many others to discuss their mental health. We do this in the hope that some of you will become inspired to discuss your own issues and problems. Because as advocates of mental health, every one of us can play a part in minding your friends, your family and even strangers with nothing more than something as simple as an ear, or a cup of tea.
When I got through that night, I had to get through the morning, and when I got through that I had to get through the afternoon, then lunch, then 4pm, then 5pm, then the drive home to meet the night once again. When I got through the nights, I had to get through the days. When I got up in the morning, I had to dress myself, i had to shower, wash myself, dry myself, make breakfast, prepare it, cut it, cook it, eat it…all before 8am. Depression can be exhausting. I have no problem in saying that I had a severe and dangerous illness, I was removed from work and placed on wellness programs soon after I reached out, and had to go to weekly therapy sessions along with the homework I had to do to become well again for the next 6 months of my life.
I not only want to shout from the rooftops about how people with mental illness need to know that there are so many people out there willing to help. In my case, I had my mother, and to borrow the sentiment of Andrew Solomon on his own parent, a mother who, not only gave me life once, but twice. I wanted to make sure that people knew that talking so bluntly isn’t your only option to reach out. A simple text, could be a gateway to someone listening. An email, a force of communication, and a tweet, can be a way to air your grievance to the world, where there are people there to listen if you can be brave and reach out.
My message to others is, that as survivors of severe mental illness we need to be mindful as a collective, to be ready to listen and to be able to spot the signs of someone taking the short road to illness and be there for them when they call out…in whatever ways they choose tho whether it is on Social Media, or in person, or even just a note sent via text.
I have been in and out of mental illness since my teenage years. It was not until I was brave enough to admit that there was something profoundly wrong that I did get better. Talking helps, and no matter how you do it, there is always someone out there to listen.
I chose to include the picture below, because I believe that life is not ALL about finding happiness, its about being happy with what you find…and you can quote me on that.
Be brave, be happy, be well, because you deserve all that life gives you.
For anyone who finds themselves in this situation there are fantastic and completely confidential services that can be availed of,