After Saturday’s very serious desire to commit suicide, I bit the bullet and saw my GP on Monday. She was extremely supportive; she listened, asked me what I’d like her to do, and referred me for a mental health assessment. She could see with her own eyes that I wasn’t at all safe with myself, so marked my case “urgent” as she emailed it through.
This morning, I had my assessment appointment. This time – unlike when I made my last serious attempt – I felt listened to. Apparently, just being able to admit to the almost lifelong depression and suicidal impulses is an enormous step in the right direction. When you pour your heart out to a GP, only to be told “You’re thirteen. Thirteen year olds can’t have depression; you’ll grow out of it”, it tends to make you bottle up those feelings until (in my case) you explode with physically violent fury before making another attempt on your life, or self harming. I used to smear Nivea across my dressing table mirror so I didn’t have to look at myself, and by the time I was 17 I was drinking to blot out the self hatred. I’ve never told anyone that before, not even Dom, and it feels like such a huge weight off my shoulders to finally be able to come clean about why I self-medicate the way I do. I was never interested in taking drugs; booze was safer in my young mind (obviously I now know better, from bitter first hand experience).
The lady assessing me for whatever psychiatric help I might need was very nice; she let me cry when I needed to, asked questions and really listened. She’s referring me to the counselling team at the hospital.
She was so warm and reassuring. Also, she had such a positive attitude to what I was telling her, and was extremely encouraging – even congratulating me for finally facing up to this.
I now genuinely feel that – with professional help and guidance – I can learn to control my moods and suicidal impulses, and even start getting back off the booze. And Dom will always have my back.
What I’m saying is that, whilst it’s a scary prospect, and whilst you might feel that asking for help is a failing in yourself – please do not struggle alone! I’ve been struggling for far too many years, and it’s time for me to get off this merry-go-round before I finally succumb to those suicidal urges and destroy the lives of everybody I love. There is no shame in asking for help, so if you’re out there suffering then I urge you to face your demons, and please get help – because it’s out there waiting for you, and you won’t be judged. In fact, you’re more likely to be applauded for doing something that is incredibly brave, even if you don’t think it’s brave at all.
You are stronger than you think. I don’t feel particularly strong at the moment, but according to my GP and the lady who assessed me, I am. Reach out: put your perceived shame and weakness aside, go to your GP and say “I need help”. Accept any help offered, and feel damned proud of yourself for wanting to get the monsters out of our head and out from under the bed.
I don’t know who you are, or what you might be going through, but I know you’re reading this (or, at least, I hope you are). You can do the thing, and everybody who loves you will support you and be a shoulder any time you need it.
Please don’t suffer in silence, as I have for more than thirty years. You’ve got this.