Me vs. suicide - today I win
Posted Monday 10 September 2012
Monday 10 September 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of World Suicide Prevention Day, the theme of which is hope. Jojo blogs for us about her fight against suicide and why today, she is the winner.
Ten years ago I was a student nurse with a big plan to visit South America but it all went wrong. I lost my nursing place, I couldn't go to South America, everything had disappeared and I would NEVER get it back. I attempted suicide - obviously I survived and I can't tell you just how angry and disappointed I was when I woke up in hospital the next day.
I'd like to spin you a lovely tale of how I 'got over' my suicide attempt, how I bloomed into 'one of us' who would never do 'that sort of thing', where I am a colourful and sprightly ray of sunshine with a perfect life and fairy dust spewing from my shoes. If that's what you're looking for then stop reading now and enjoy the fairy dust.
This post would have no value if it wasn't honest. Suicide is my opponent and it's trying to kill me. You can think of it as you like: a black dog, a lion, a devil, whichever way you look at it, it's a killer and the fight is all in the game plan.
There are three stages to this game: preparation, the fight and the endgame.
In the preparation, life is good. I’m a student nurse, a traveller and a musician. I allow myself to accept that life isn't perfect but that I've achieved good marks on my course, and I've found the courage to travel and to say it's ok to be proud of myself because I worked hard and did well.
In preparation I make outlandish plans because it forces me to look ahead to something positive, to work at something so I can believe in myself when I achieve it. Most of these plans are made when I am struggling to see a future; it feels contrived at the time but it's a tactic that works for me.
In the fight, Suicide and I are in our corners, it's psyching me out: "They don't care about you!". We progress to dancing around the ring - I eat properly, try to sleep well, get out in the fresh air and see friends. It laughs at my efforts, telling me they're pointless, I'm pointless, my friends don't want me. We throw punches - Suicide lays me under the duvet spinning my thoughts. I punch back by dragging myself out for a walk. I remove the words 'never' and 'always' from my vocabulary because Suicide uses them to magnify problems. I set myself a goal, achieve it and we are out of the ring. I win, and I pat myself on the back because I am allowed, I fought hard.
Sometimes the fight goes on so long, I get so tired and Suicide has the upper hand; it's the endgame. Either I win or I die.
This isn't about fighting anymore, it's the break-away, it's using everything you've got left to just get out alive. I look Suicide straight in the eye and it's not peaceful or forgiving. I knock away the sentimental fantasies and force myself to see that the real death could be awful, slow, painful, and if I don't die then I could live on with permanent physical disabilities. This is the reality and I need to face its ugliness.
Suicide beats me harder, it's winning, I think of my family and friends. By this point I am not worth fighting for anymore, but they are. I force myself to accept that they WILL care, to see that they will have to carry my suicide with them for the rest of their lives and they deserve to know that I did everything I possibly could to get out alive.
I reach out for help from others and it feels like cheating, but Suicide tore up the rule book long ago, so any lifeline is fair game. I roll out of the ring, battered but alive.The thing about this fight is that it's always the same opponent, so every time you get to learn more about it and how to fight smarter. I float like a butterfly now and deliberately get out with my friends when things are slipping. I sting like a bee and talk to a friend or a helpline much earlier in the fight. I dwell on my achievements in balance with my failures and, in the spirit of that sentiment, I'd like to repeat:
I am a student nurse and I'm writing this from South America. Today, I win.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal feelings, there's information on our website about how to cope with suicidal feelings and how to support someone who is suicidal. There's also information available on what to do if you're in crisis.
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