So, I will be honest, I am currently in a very dark place (my parents haven’t paid the electricity bill and I ate our entire supply of candles because they smelled like Jaffa cakes…Alas they did not taste like Jaffa cakes and I am still picking wax out of my teeth. Life lesson: do not eat scented candles).
Seriously though, mentally, things with me are pretty terrible and I am on the brink of giving up entirely. I am losing hope in the idea that one day things will be better, and recently I have noticed a lot of friends or people online with mental health problems feeling the same.
I think that there have been times in my life where I have just assumed that I am going to get better, just as you grow up assuming you will naturally fall into the stereotypical life of getting married and having a few kids. When I was younger I was always watching Disney films, and when it comes to Cinderella or Snow White, there is never any doubt as to how things are going to end. When you watch Cinderella you don’t sit around worrying that she will be stuck sweeping floorboards for the rest of her life, you know straight away that the girl is going to go to the ball in a big ole pumpkin and that her poor choice of ill fitting footwear is going to result in her marrying the man of her dreams. Naturally then, I assumed that one day I would lose a shoe and automatically fall in love with and marry some Prince Charming, without realising that my mother would never allow me to buy footwear I hadn’t tried on to ensure a perfect fit, or that I was a queer little thing who wasn’t interested in princes no matter how “charming” they may be.
Similarly with mental health problems, I guess I have always assumed that somehow, no matter what happens, one day there will be a fairy godmother with a magic wand and things will get better. I do not know how or when, but I simply couldn’t get my head round the idea that this could be it, that recovery isn’t as automatic and as assumed as I imagined princes to be, that sometimes, people spend their lives as tortured mentally ill souls with no happy ending.
Thinking like this, if I am going be in this state forever, it is easy to ask myself why not just end it now? Why draw it out? Why not rip the plaster off quickly as it were. It sounds incredibly bleak, but mental health problems are incredibly bleak and I am not going to sugar coat them to insinuate otherwise. Recently I have been having suicidal thoughts every minute of everyday, and when you don’t think you are ever going to get better, it is hard to come up with a good argument to fight them.
Like I said, I am not alone in feeling this, and I have had many conversations with fellow mental health warriors who have lost hope, who don’t think there is any chance of them getting better so why carry on? Maybe you yourself reading this have resigned yourself to the fact that you are a terminal case, perhaps because a professional has given you the label of “chronic” or simply because the weight of your struggles is so heavy that trying to imagine life without them is akin to trying to imagine a penguin without the adorablessness which, as we all know, is impossible (if anyone wants to debate this issue feel free to contact my solicitor and I will happily see you in court).
There is however one thing that I do find comforting, even when I fully believe that I will be like this forever, one argument against the suicidal screaming in my head telling me to jump into oblivion and end the debates/suffering once and for all, an argument that funnily enough, comes in the form of basic mathematics (don’t panic, I hate maths too but this is cool maths I promise and you don’t even need a protractor or a calculator to join in).
If you hark back to your maths lessons at school, you may remember the point where you started learning about things like probability. The lessons get more complex as each year passes, but in the early days of primary school education, the grand complexities of probability and chance are usually explained via some kind of analogy involving a bag filled with balls, for as we all know, in later life it is an incredibly common experience to be confronted with a bag of balls and the need to calculate your chances of picking out a specific kind of ball.
In the lesson, it is likely that the teacher produced a bag to explain things, and would say something like “there are ten balls in the bag, five green, five purple” before waffling on a bit about how if you put your hand in the bag there is an equal chance that the ball you pull out will be purple as there is for it to be green. Then the teacher usually complicated matters (don’t they always), and added say ten more purple balls to the bag. This would then make the chances of picking out a green ball less than they had been previously, and you will spend the next twenty minutes of that lesson calculating chance and ratios surrounding various combinations of coloured balls in a bag.
Now for the purpose of this discussion lets scrap the balls and replace it with a bag of Smarties because let’s be honest, we are not in some official school right now, we can do what we want in this maths lesson and if we want Smarties instead of balls we will damn well have them (I told you this maths would be fun…THERE ARE SMARTIES INVOLVED).
So, picture life as a bag filled with millions upon millions of Smarties (it is a really really big bag and these are really small Smarties).
All the Smarties in this bag are pink. Except for one. One of the Smarties hidden somewhere in that bag is blue. That blue Smartie is the chance of you getting better in a world of pink Smarties telling you that that isn’t going to happen. If you put your hand in the bag you may very well be right, you may get a pink Smartie and be mentally ill and miserable forever. In your mind the chances of you getting better are as rare as that blue Smartie, but the key thing is, as long as you are alive, that blue Smartie is still there, and the only way to guarantee 100% your belief or the professionals’ belief that you will never recover and are going to be miserable forever, is for you to end it all now.
When I have days that are plagued by suicidal thoughts so loud I can barely breathe because I don’t think things will ever be better, I always remind myself that the only way to make sure they don’t get better, is to listen to those thoughts. Killing yourself is basically like pouring all of your Smarties into the ocean so that the colour washes off and they all become white Smarties with that blue Smartie existing only in the realms of myths and legend. If you hang in there, aka you keep plunging your hand into that massive bag, there are no guarantees of you getting better, but by keeping yourself alive, at least you are keeping that chance alive too, however small and insignificant that chance may be.
Now like I said, I am going to be honest in this blog, because if you are someone who reads this blog, then I consider you as a friend and friends tell the truth so I refuse to sugar coat any of this (the only sugar coated contents of this blog are the Smarties).
If you are in a dark place like me right now, and have spent the day contemplating your demise, I am not here to tell you that if you keep fighting through this rubbish it will all work out in the end. I am not a fortune teller, I do not have a crystal ball, and the only conclusion I have ever gleaned from reading tea leaves is that I seem to have run out of tea. If you keep yourself alive and keep fighting maybe you are right, maybe things will stay rubbish and maybe you will keep plunging your hand into that bag and pulling out the pink Smarties. However, no matter how hopeless you feel, if you keep yourself alive, the chance that the blue Smartie will crop up is there. I cannot tell you the probability/ratio of how likely you are to get better, but you must always remember that if you are trying, there is at least a chance. Don’t allow the fear of being mentally ill forever, convince you to do the one thing that ironically does nothing but solidify that conclusion.
Fight back, keep trying, keep safe, and even in the darkest days, no matter what, you have to believe in that blue Smartie.
Take care everyone x
18 thoughts on “How To Tackle Suicidal Thoughts And The Fear That Things Will Never Get Better”
Sending much love and vibes of strength
Also this adorable picture of a baby penguin (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/f2/d8/48/f2d848ebf4b53b93aa8a65af330eedb6.jpg)
As hard as this was to write, know that your writing must have comforted so many others
All my best,
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Aww that picture made me squeal out loud it was so cute! Thank you so much for supporting me today. I needed it! As ever, all my love, your future wife xxxx
We seem to be on a similar wavelength! I’m definitely having those dark thoughts, wondering if it’s even possible for things to ever feel “OK” or “better” in this mind & body. I feel like I’m a tortured prisoner, trapped. And if that’s something that doesn’t go away, how do I just keep going? ‘Cause let’s be honest — it sucks and it’s fucking painful.
This was hard for me to read because I don’t like to see you hurting like this. But at the same time, I’m glad you wrote this. It’s scary to put this out there and some people completely freak out when they hear someone’s having suicidal thoughts. When I get thinking those thoughts, I am usually keeping them to myself for some reason lately.
I also appreciate the fact that you don’t sugarcoat things but you’re still able to say things in a very clear, logical, and even amusing way. You have a gift. And even if you’re tortured right now, I promise you that there are many people that would be devastated if you were to leave the earth. Sometimes that’s what keeps me going… just thinking about my parents. They already lost one child and I’m all that’s left. No matter how much pain I’m in, I can’t do that to them. Once they’re gone, all bets are off though. (Not a great way of looking at it, but it’s keeping me chugging along for now.)
I’m sorry things are so hard and you’re struggling so much with mental health issues. It’s just not fair. Please just keep being honest about your struggles. I don’t believe in prayer, so I will just say that I am sending positive and hopeful thoughts your way. ❤
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Gah! Another situation in which I am thrilled to have such a good friend on my wavelength whilst shaking my fist at the world for leaving you in this horrible mental state too! I cannot win! Thank you so much for this though, to be honest I really needed this comment today! Please know how much I appreciate you and how wonderful I think you are. You live far away but it is of great comfort to me that you are out there on this earth and you know what? Screw it I am adopting you so now you have an EXTRA parent to use as a “chugging” motivation. I don’t want my little friend going anywhere thank you very much! Sending so much love and hope from your new additional dark thought action preventing parent xx ❤
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So, this made me cry. I’ve been there. I’ve been in that dark place so I know what you’re feeling. It sucks and sometimes people around you don’t make it any easier. I REALLY used to thought that suicide was the only option. But as you said, I kept trying and trying. I’m not cured, I still think about suicide but at least I have hope and hope keeps me alive. And guess what? I’m finally making some progress! Just a few months ago I couldn’t even eat salad without feeling guilty and now I’m eating peanut butter every day! And chocolate, and ice cream, and cookies!!! (Lental Health Challenge)
My body image is still crappy, and sometimes I avoid looking in the mirror but I’m working on it.
Keep fighting angel! I’m right here if you need. One day you will find your blue Smartie *fingers crossed*.
Kisses, and hugs, and even more kisses and lots of love from Portugal ❤
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Oh my dear this comment made me cry! Your words are extremely comforting and reassuring to read on a day when I really needed them. It also makes me so happy and gives me such a boost to hear that you are making progress. That is literally the best news I could ever ask for especially because the progress involves peanut butter…Now we can officially be peanut butter buddies and I will think of you every day when I eat it myself to give myself the same boost I felt reading this comment. I really hope you keep kicking ass and that things get easier on the body image front because you are BEAUTIFUL and deserve to see that. Thank you for being my fellow fighter battling alongside me, I feel so much less alone with you in my mental health fighting army. Loads and loads of love and kisses from England ❤ Thank you xxxxx
Hi you penguin-loving human bean 🐧 Brave words when you are feeling so scared. We all love you and I’m sending you big hugs. When I felt like this I eventually remembered all those around me and how confused and hurt they would be. Their love was enough to stop me. Guess I had more blue Smarties in the bag than you do, but it didn’t feel like it at the time. None of us know how many there are or if someone’s gonna chuck a few more in 😉 BTW have you ever tried Jaffa cakes wrapped in Edam slices mmmmm
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Aww thank you so much. Having your support and love is honestly such a big help to me (as is Clive…did I tell you that was what I named my penguin…I can’t remember…well if I didn’t say before he is Clive and he is being a big help right now too!). You have made me smile today and have given me another reason to keep looking for that damn Smartie. Thank you. Sending so much love xxxx p.s No I have not tried Edam Slices wrapped round jaffa cakes but one day I am going to HAVE to try that because it sounds insane! Next time you see me you will also have to tell me how the hell you stumbled upon that creation…
I believe in you, I believe life can be better for you. I hear the dark place you are in, it’s the most horrendous place to be. If you need someone to chat to, I am always here. Whilst there is breath in your body, there is hope and I’m happy to hold the hope for you until you can believe in it for yourself. sending you so much love Sweetpea. x
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Thank you for such kind words and for always being there for me. I am so glad I have you in my life. I feel so lucky to have found you. Always here for you too my lovely xxxxx❤
I’m reading this in bed on my phone. I’ve already spent a few hours willing myself to get up, to think of a reason to bother. Im glad I found your words today. I’m so deep down in that hole with you. I’m afraid that it’s so dark I wouldn’t know a blue Smartie if I found one, or what to do with it if I did! I’m another soul who’s mental illness has been deemed ‘treatment resistant’ and ‘chronic’. Having lost friends whose Smarties were scattered at sea, I want to protect my family from the same pain and grief I felt. That’s my reason to fight. After everything my dear ol’ dad has done to help me, I can’t bear the thought of breaking his heart. That, and cats. You gotta live for cats. If I never left this bed, they’d go hungry and be so sad. It’s not their fault.
So much love to you, little bird. You’re never alone in the fight to keep fighting xx
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This comment made me tear up. I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling in this hole alongside me. Please know I am always here for you and I will keep an eye out for enough blue smarties for the both of us. We will get through this, keep fighting and remember, LIVE FOR THE CATS (and yourself obviously but I know that is hard at the moment so for now we will focus on cats) xxxx❤
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Wow, Katie. This was difficult for me to read because it so accurately describes a period of my life that I don’t think of now and would rather forget. I can absolutely relate to the pain of living day to day when the easiest and most tempting thing to do is to end it all because there is no hope for you. I’m so, so sorry you’re feeling like this but things really CAN change and I am proof of it.
You are right that life is not a fairytale and mental illnesses just don’t go away by magic (that was a shock for me too – I always just assumed I’d somehow recover and everything would be fine and dandy). But we can learn to manage them by engaging with treatment and developing our coping skills and resilience.
Something that kept me going during my darkest days was the thought of my parents. I believed that I was a nuisance to them due to all my problems and I expressed my hopelessness and wish to die and they were devastated so I kind of felt obliged to stay alive. I was very angry about it as I kind of thought they were being very selfish – ‘why should I have to live and suffer just so that you don’t get upset when I die?’ but nevertheless it kept me going (as did the usual safety things ie meds locked away, no sharp items in my room etc).
Also Katie, please know the wonderful impact you have on other people: your witty anecdotes and stories help so many people and the world would be a much, much poorer place without you in it. You may not have hope for yourself right now, but I have hope for you and I see your potential.
Your analogy with the probability and the balls is spot on: if you give up now, you’ll never know what could have been and whether things could have improved. Hang on in there. I’m thinking of you xx
Thank you so much for such kind words at a time when I am really in need of them! Your words of wisdom are always such a comfort. Oddly enough, to add to the list of things we have in common, I actually had the exact conversation with my parents that you referred to in your comment just a few days ago. I yelled at them for being selfish but like you said I think the fact that they care does help so much and is another massive support in my quest for the blue smartie. Your words have also really comforted me today. When I feel really useless and like everyone hates me it means so much to hear from someone who sees benefit in my existence. That sounds really morbid but it really means a lot. Thank you so much for being so kind, I promise I will keep fighting as I hope you are too. Gah I just want to say thank you over and over again so I will shut up or you are going to get the same comment over and over. Seriously though, thank you. Much love xxxxx❤
It is very hard to know that such a caring and gifted young soul (I can say young because you could be my daughter) is suffering so much! I certainly don’t know the reason for your suffering and would never say something cliché because I don’t want to minimize how bad you are feeling. I do want to point out something to you that I have thought about several times since stumbling across you talented writings some time ago. While I hear loud and clear what a difficult time you have and how you feel hopeless and stuck and unable to overcome this horrible illness, you are able to write about it with great clarity. Your writing shows a depth of character, an empathy, and a wonderful ability to have a sense of humor in the midst of all of this. You write with clarity and are able to very honestly and capably describe this illness. When you write, none of the things that you describe which plague your daily existence come through. You writings don’t belie how impaired you feel you are. Please don’t mistake this for minimizing your pain; it’s a compliment I promise. You write with the understanding and insight of a professional. Your blog is a little more than a year old?? So, a little more than a year ago you were not putting these insightful, humorous words out there for others to read. In so doing you show tremendous courage. Courage is growth, Katie. Growth is healing. Look at the comments and it doesn’t take long to see how much help you have provided to others. Your writing may well be what helps heal you as well. The courage you have shown in writing what you have written, the intelligence and depth of character in your words show me that you have already made progress, but perhaps it is hard for you to see. I have a Katie of my own and if she was to do the things that you have done with your words and your tremendous courage over this past year, I would say to her: “You have really come a long way Katie. I am so proud of your courage and I believe that your courage and your intelligence will take you very far. This is a long way from over!”
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Oh good lord where in the English language can I find words to thank you for such a touching and lovely comment! I would fetch a dictionary but I fear the tears of emotion would only make the pages soggy and god knows I hate soggy pages! Gah for someone who calls themselves a writer this is incredibly frustrating as I honestly don’t know what to say. I REALLY needed this comment right now in the second in which it popped up on my phone and I cannot thank you enough for it. Seriously thank you. You are wonderful. Sending love and support to both you and your Katie ❤️ xxxxx
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I learnt a long time ago that for me , it was never about getting better or becoming normal.
It was about trying I understand myself, understand that how I am feeling is ok, I’m allowed to feel it. No one can stop me from feeling it and no one can change How I feel. (And believe me people tried)
But with each tiny percentage (sticking with the maths theory here) that I learnt about myself things opened up, understanding and power flooded in.
Power that I can do what I want and not be dictated to by anybody or any thought that flowed through my head.
Confidence grew slightly, and I found out that I’m good at some things, like really good! (Not great but good is amazing for someone that thought she was worthless for wat over 2 thirds of her life)
And with being good at things passion grew from that, I opened up to people again, And the majority although not all of the people who touched my life welcomed me.
The ones that were cruel, or calculated set me back. But at this point I understood 2% of who I was and what I wanted and that was enough to keep me going.
I’m now 27, only a few years from the moment everything changed, and I can say I understand 5% of myself and who I want to be. Which may not sound like much but it will keep growing I will keep discovering feelings that I didn’t think I could feel anymore.
I will survive and I will make my way through this world. It will be the life I want. I will stumble, I will fall, I will drop back in to that dark place. But I know I can pick myself up and brush myself up now, so I can and will do it again.
We all can, stop thinking that better is the same for everyone. Better is what you make it.
That is a good point! Thank you for your feedback! I hope you are having a great day xx