Sitting here in the kitchen, listening to the cricket, drinking tea and feeling positive and happy after a 10k morning run, it is hard to believe that two weeks ago I took a huge overdose and spent the following 5 days in hospital. January has certainly been an unusual one, a mixture of pure and perfect despair and now great thankfulness and gratitude for being alive. As a friend told me it was clear that the universe didn’t want to take me yet.
The thing is when I took the overdose, whilst in the midst of a very severe bout of depression with anxiety, I took whatever I had in my possession at that time…it wasn’t planned, it was a purely impulsive action to stop the mental torture that I have been fighting for most of my adult life. If I had taken pills with more toxicity I could well have died or left myself with huge difficulties and lasting damage. Thankfully what I took, my body flushed out naturally and I am very much alive and well. With support from medics, family, medication, reflection, love and more besides, the depression cloud has now lifted and I can look back and reflect on what happened and look forward to a renewed, hopeful future.
Depression is a killer. I read an article on the CALM website by someone who said that, on reflection, the only way to describe to others how his friend died was that he died from depression. This is correct in my view. Depression and anxiety, as sufferers and carers of sufferers (and family members) are aware, is a very complex and almost indescribably painful ordeal and can make life a literal 24 hour living hell. I’m not writing this to go into a discussion of what depression is or is not but it very much exists and it kills.
When Robin Williams tragically took his own life last summer the world was in shock as he seemed to have it all – wealth, family, fame, success – the list goes on…but he also suffered from the extremely painful illness that is depression, which became so terrible that he only saw one way out – it wasn’t rational or logical, it was just pure suffering. I know how he felt and countless others do too. I’m not sure how many bouts of depression he survived but it could have been many thoughout his life, as it’s often a recurrent illness. In the articles I read from famous people criticising what he did contained only ignorance, a lack of understanding and a fair degree of arrogance – if people don’t suffer from mental illness then they should at least accept that it exists and there are some things in life that they don’t and will not (luckily for them) understand…don’t stigmatise and make people feel bad for how they feel and for suffering an illness that isn’t their choice.
I am SO happy to be alive and I am learning yet more lessons about what I can do in the future to keep my Black Dog at bay. It may come back, it may not, but I will keep fighting – in all my battles with depression I had never got to the point of self destruction, but I have fought hard every step of the way and am proud of myself for that.
For those going through hell please keep going, I know it doesn’t feel like it now but it will lift and hope will come again…it always does.
My deepest sympathies go out to those who have lost loved ones to suicide
Let’s keep supporting CALM in any way we can
Let’s save the male and everyone else for that matter
Thanks for reading
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