Before you read this, please know that this is a story of something I recently went through, this post contains suicidal thoughts and thoughts of harming myself. Please take care when reading this and if you’re in a place where you feel this could trigger you. Please click off this post and take care of yourself.
The colours of the walls overlap with the ceiling, not enough to look chaotic, but enough to be noticed. Imperfect yet somehow comforting, with the colours colliding effortlessly to become one. Lying here I interrogate each corner of the room to somehow occupy my mind, it works for a moment just enough to distract me from my racing thoughts, but not enough to make me forget them completely. I turn my attention to the cello tape that hangs from the ceiling, holding on by its top right corner, with the rest folded and scrunched up where it had attached itself to other areas of the surface. During Christmas time I hang decorations from the ceiling, just being lay here looking up, I’m reminded of that. Another distraction to keep my mind occupied, but not enough to shut it all out.
Silence surrounds me, unsettling yet peaceful at the same time. The only noise I hear is the one that no one else can, ‘’you’ll never be good enough’’ ‘’what’s wrong with you?’’ Negative thoughts flood my mind and with each distraction I use, the voices come back even stronger than they had before. Do you remember being in school and having to participate in a subject you weren’t very good at, you knew you would fall behind, but you had no choice but to join in. This is what this feels like, the voice in my head. I don’t want it to be there but somehow, it’s like I have no choice in it anymore. It’s a part of me. Just like that dreaded subject in school, you hate it so much, yet it holds your attention longer than any of the ones you do enjoy. The voice in my head captures all my attention and despite the negative, toxic thoughts it buries deep within me, it’s the only thing I know I have. Ironically, it’s my worst enemy yet it’s also my best friend. It knows me more than anyone could ever know me, it stays with me throughout everything, and I know it can never leave, which in a sense makes me feel less lonely. It’s sad because the only person who truly knows how I feel is that voice in my head and yet it’s the one that destroys me the most.
One day I lay here looking up at my ceiling, searching for any distraction I could use to offset the thoughts. I was running from them again, but much like our shadows they always stay right behind us. This day the thoughts loomed over me, just enough to haunt, poke and prod me, but not enough to entirely capture me. Soon they did, after maliciously taunting me, they pounced. After running from them for so long, they had grown more powerful than they ever had. They knew all the right things to say to make me forget who I truly was, chipping away slowly at every little bit of confidence I had left. Imagine we were all born with this sparkle that lit up within us and each time we felt burned out a tiny part of it would die off, just like the stars. They too can only sparkle for so long; you see them get dimmer and dimmer until eventually they no longer shine. I had this small sparkle left, it kept me going for all these years as the rest had all died out, yet that day I lay there with my thoughts going wild, and I watched as that small light I had left, fizzled out. I felt broken, lost, and crushed all at once.
All those distractions I fixated on so much were only temporary, like a barrier being hit at with a hammer eventually, it’s going to crash. That was me, with each hit my coping mechanism began to break too. I could no longer fight the war instead; I lay there consumed entirely by pain that I had held onto for years and all at once like a tsunami, it flooded my entirety. Tears rolled down my face, some landing at the tip of my nose and others falling down my cheek and onto my pillow. I slowly gained the strength to lift myself up, rocking back and forth unable to cope with the thoughts. My eyes caught a glimpse of the pills lying on my bedside table, some packets half empty and some full. At that moment my mind didn’t know how to escape the prison I found myself in, ‘’just do it’’ they said. I felt this rush of adrenaline flood my body as I put out my hand, my hands shaking uncontrollably as they picked up the tablets from my table. For a second the world around me stopped, everything became so silent and the only thing that occupied my mind at that time was the tablets. More adrenaline rushed my body and suddenly I cracked the film to all the tablets, placed them in my trembling hands, brought my hand to my mouth, and then reality found its way back in.
Those thoughts were still there but the light within me began to shine once more. The monsters in my head told me to ‘’just do it, you’ll be happier’’ but one little voice in my head said ‘’ pick up the phone and ask for help.’’ At that moment that voice outshone all the negative ones, still so broken and scared I picked up my phone and messaged someone to help me. I can’t describe that feeling, for years I held onto a secret afraid to burden anyone with my problems, but at that moment, I finally unleashed it. I let someone in, told them the truth, and finally was honest with myself. I gave myself the power to finally take charge of my life, no more allowing the thoughts to consume me, but a chance for me to chase them away. Have you ever felt like you couldn’t breathe? Then eventually you get your breath again or have you ever held your breath underwater and just as you need to catch your breath you feel yourself break through to the surface? That’s what this felt like, I broke through the surface and finally breathed again.
That day I allowed myself to be carried by those around me, I took the help I needed and began my journey to recovering from and understanding my mental health more. Though I felt like all this baggage had been lifted off my shoulders, the fear I felt is something I’ll never be able to describe. To tell my family the truth was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to face. I knew how much it would hurt them and I never wanted to do that, that’s why I kept my secret hidden for so long. I was honest with myself, I guess I started to live a lie and lose track of who I was beneath the front I had put up for so long. Telling myself ‘’I’m not okay’’ was terrifying, it’s like the person I had tried to keep hidden who was so scared, vulnerable, and hurt came to the surface and showed her face to the world for the first time in a long time. Knowing that I needed to get help was a massive step for me. I’ve never wanted to accept help from others, I guess I’ve always been like that, maybe it’s because of the person my mom was. Watching her be so freely independent always inspired me, it always made me aspire to be like her. I loved watching her know that despite what life throws at her she’s got herself and that’s all that matters. That independence and ability to be so courageous left its mark within me. I know now that asking for help doesn’t mean I’m not any of those things, but I guess that’s the beauty of living, you learn from mistakes you make and see the bigger picture. I see now that asking for help doesn’t show weakness and certainly doesn’t mean I’m not courageous. I know that each time I read stories of people asking for help, I saw it as the bravest and most courageous thing a person can do, yet I hadn’t seen that for myself . I finally stepped out of the darkness I was in and began to walk towards the light.
I’m not okay yet and I’m okay with that. I’m okay with knowing that I’m going to have bad days, some worse than others and some may be, hopefully uplifting. My secret is finally out and here I am facing those demons and trying to give myself the opportunity to truly heal. I know that this journey is going to be one of uncertainty and late nights spent crying myself to sleep, but I’m ready to accept that and find my way through this often-unforgiving world.
If you have felt anything like I have and do, please be kinder to yourself. If you need help, reach out and know that it’s truly okay to ask for help. You’re not alone.
Call 116 123 or email email@example.com.
website: samaritans – Search (bing.com)
Birmingham and Solihull crisis number: 0800 915 9292
Just like people, stars can be important without shining terribly bright.