Warning: F-bombs up ahead.
In the spring of 2012, I did something I never thought I would actually do.
Suicide was something I had kept as an option, for a very long time—it was something I’d idealised and dreamt about in moments of overwhelming pain, isolation, responsibility, and stress. Having it there as an option, brought a different kind of agonising pain, sorrow, and heartbreak, but this was the comfort and the release—it was somewhere my mind could go for an escape from a seemingly unbearable reality.
Despite this longing for it to happen, I don’t think I ever thought that a suicide attempt would actually be part of my story.
The fact it’s been nearly two years since I attempted, feels almost too surreal to type.
For a big chunk of the last month, I’ve literally felt like I’ve been waking up from both a dream, and a nightmare.
I still do.
This whole time, during the aftermath, I’ve been stepping in and out of a dark and messy cloud, continuously. This cloud’s been full of shame, grief, pain, loss, guilt, heartbreak, trauma, and haunting memories. Each dump of this cloud’s contents—on my head or throughout my body—has taken one of these feelings, to a new level of intensity.
Each dump has always brought insights, but I’ve constantly felt swamped, and in too deep.
It’s only been the last month that I’ve felt like I’ve actually been stepping out into a slightly lighter, less dark, heavy, and haunting, cloud. A cloud where my eyes feel more able to open and see all that’s around me—see reality.
It feels fucking peculiar, though.
I’ve found myself—and am continuing to find myself—in a reality that I’m not so sure I like. In fact, I know a big part of me absolutely hates it.
The bonus of living beneath the dark and heavy cloud, and spending so much time haunted by the past, is that I wasn’t really able to fully see the present. That kind of life was agonisingly difficult and painful, disorientating and confusing, but it was also distracting.
As I’ve started to have this experience of ‘waking up’, I’ve been feeling pissed that I haven’t been in a place to fully look at the present—at my life—until now. I have compassion and understanding, and feel such a relief, that I’m allowing my wounding and need to recover, be here.
But with this, I feel so much anger about where I find myself, physically and emotionally, too.
I feel so angry about the fact that I am still healing.
What the fuck happened to me? What the fuck happened to my life? How the fuck did I find myself here? How the fuck have I been thinking it’s okay to be like this?
These questions spiral inside me daily, and have done so much over the last two years. Their weight just feels stronger, now, because I’m starting to see life outside my overdose-box.
Bringing myself back to the utterly beautiful rebirth that happened as a result of my overdose, has been what’s kept these doubting voices at bay—the ones that question what I did and where I find myself now. But lately, as things have begun to settle and not feel as dramatic, and as I’ve begun to wake up to my present, I’ve often worried that the theory of my rebirth, has just been a sugar coated candy, balancing on the end of a sharp and pointy stick.
I worry that it’s just been something I’ve been saying to convince myself that the overdose was okay.
In these moments of worry, I only have to stop myself and think back to my life before my attempt—I quickly realise that things are so, so, different.
The overdose wasn’t okay, but the rebirth that happened as a result, was undoubtedly real.
I feel shame about the fact I’m only just beginning to feel able to be part of—and like I want to feel part of—‘real life’, and a deep sense of self-criticism that the distance I am now starting to feel towards the overdose, is only just happening—two years is fucking ages, right?
I should’ve woken up, recovered, and stepped out from beneath this dark and heavy cloud by now, surely?
In my heart, I know that this isn’t true—that this is trauma. And from my experience, trauma is a tricky bitch. I know, really, that two years is such a short amount of time, considering the impact the event had on me physically, emotionally, and logistically.
The magnitude of my overdose as a life-event, along with the trauma I experienced during and after it, still feels hard to fully comprehend.
What happened, completely changed my life—it completely changed me.
The overdose still visits me randomly throughout my day. I’ll suddenly get insights, or realise something about the event, that I hadn’t before. I see an aspect of it, from a different angle to where I’ve stood before. I stand back and take the eye of someone else who was close to me during that time.
I have memories flood back to me—some that I’ve remembered before, others that are new. For a long time, these memories haunted and terrorised me. All I could do was run and hide, and ensure I felt safe.
A flashback now brings utter beauty, alongside the fear—I’m able to offer myself compassion and a cuddle, in moments I remember things I really don’t want to remember.
I hold myself and say to the wounded, frightened, part of me:
“Fuck, that must have been so hard. You’re so brave, and so amazing. You’re safe now. I love you. I’ve got you. I’m here… It won’t happen again.”
I feel almost constantly confused, at the moment.
I keep expecting someone to hand me a cup of coffee and a biscuit, and tell me these last two years were a dream—I can wake up now, and the life I want to lead, can begin. But I know they won’t, and I know I probably wouldn’t want them to, either.
On this journey of waking up, I’m trying to learn to hand myself, my own cups of coffee and biscuits, in the form of nuggets of life that nourish and inspire me, and bring me hope for my future.
Depending on whether or not my self-evaluating glasses have the ‘I-had-a-rebirth’ lenses in, my life can so easily feel like it’s falling apart—that I’m falling apart.
But if anything, me and my life are falling together.
It just feels kinda messy.
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Editorial Assistant: Amani Omejer / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: ChrisTina Ramos/Pixoto