The Black Hole of Suicidal Thoughts
I had my first Major Depression at 14. I have attempted suicide several times, the first time being at the tender age of 7; gratefully I have not succeeded.
I am disappointed that people still consider attempted suicide as ‘a cry for attention’ or ‘selfish’, but that is because I live with suicidal impulses most of my life. Very few sufferers are willing to be open and honest about what they are experiencing with people who do not suffer from the same or a similar affliction. I am sure the final circumstances and thoughts that lead to people attempting to take their own life, vary greatly from person to person because we are each unique individuals, however I would like to try to give you a little insight into what it is like.
Think of someone who makes you feel uncomfortable, incompetent, self-conscious, inadequate and undermines your self-esteem by being condescending, critical, insensitive and cruel. If faced with this situation on a regular basis, most people would avoid, ignore, challenge or stand up to this type of person and ultimately walk away.
Now if you can imagine this awful person is constantly with you, every second of every minute of every hour of every day. When you eat, shower, work, sleep, read, watch TV, studying or socialising, even going to the toilet; this person is constantly telling you how useless you are, you will never amount to anything, you never do anything right, you are a waste of space; continually reminding you of your past mistakes and indiscretions. This person tells you that the people you hold near and dear don’t really love you; as a matter of fact they don’t even like you, they are denigrating you behind your back and don’t want you around. After all you are stupid and so blind that you can’t even take their hints that they think you are useless, fat, ugly and down right pathetic. You feel you are a burden to others, someone who saps all the fun out of things, killing the atmosphere and are a real drag to have around.
This is something that a severely depressed person copes with on a daily basis and they can’t just snap out of it because it is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. This is when we retreat, withdraw, but at the same time, we want to run, run away from it all. We cannot run, because all these things are our own thoughts spinning around in our own mind and the one thing you cannot run from is yourself.
It is absolute torture and no matter how much you try, these thoughts do not go away and remembering the good times is impossible. These are irrational thoughts, over which we have no control.
Everything is too much effort and even the littlest things seem so hard to accomplish; your body aches all over. Just getting out of bed and going to the toilet is so taxing that I have done so with my eyes closed and following washing my hands, think I really need a drink but I don’t have the energy to make it to the kitchen, so I drink the water from the bathroom tap. We want to die because we just want to end the continual torture we feel, the guilt we experience because we can’t live up to others expectations and the loneliness experienced because this illness doesn’t attract the same sort of compassion that other illnesses do. Given all the negative ramblings going on in our mind at the time, we are of the misconception that our departure from the world would go unnoticed and would undoubtedly be a welcome relief to those we love.
Because of the stigma attached to having a mental illness, many people do not seek medical assistance, which is so desperately needed to rectify the chemical imbalance in the brain. Those who do seek help often find opposition within their own family regarding use of medication to manage episodes. Why is it acceptable for people to take medication for epilepsy, diabetes and high blood pressure, but not for depression or mood disorders? Telling someone with depression to pull his or her socks up and stop wallowing in self-pity is no different to expecting someone with a broken leg to mend it by think positive happy thoughts or to run a 100m race because you can’t physically see the broken bone.