Suicide And Shame

Cabbages, sprouts, kale, broccoli, cauliflower. 

Apologies for that rather random start to a blog post, but to be perfectly honest I had no idea how to start this entry after last week’s post and after a suicide attempt it is so difficult to find the words to comprehend the world, that it seemed as fitting a way as any to start this blog by listing my top five favourite members of the Brassica oleracea plant species. 

So yeah…Hi everyone, I am back and I must say a little at a loss as to what to say. First off though I really must take this opportunity to thank you all for your support after last week’s post because I really was very worried about posting it and you were all so kind and lovely about it that it made me feel all of the warm fuzzy feelings inside (as warm as fresh bread out of the oven and as fuzzy as one of those little dogs that looks like a ball of fluff with legs, to be specific.)

Secondly, I guess I should address the elephant in the room (no not that trunked creature in the corner, Frank, he does not deserve to be addressed. He has been very badly behaved stealing cookies this morning…that is why I put him in the corner), aka the fact that last week I attempted suicide. Now I am not going to go into the details of how it happened because I do not think that is helpful and the last thing I would want to do is trigger anyone, but what I wanted to write about was the feelings that came after the attempt because all in all this experience has taught me some very interesting lessons that I think might be of use to some other people out there. 

You see, something that surprised me after this whole incident occurred is the level of shame that I felt after this whole suicide extravaganza. When I woke up in hospital and realised that all of my efforts had been in vain I felt terrible, not just physically, but mentally in terms of what I had put my family through and that is something that I doubt many people expect to feel. When you are all caught up in the moment of a suicide attempt, you cannot think about anything else. There is no logic, no rational thought, all you can think about is the big black hole swallowing you up, the level of intense pain and the desperate need to make it stop. As selfish as it may sound, you cannot think about family or friends, not because you do not care about or love them more than anything in the world, but because the pain is so loud that it drowns thoughts of anything and anyone else out. It gets to the point where the black hole is so dark that you wouldn’t notice whether or not someone turned the lights out in the room you were in because everything is already pitch black and you cannot see your hand in front of your face. The world is a blur, colours turn greyer than they are in the first ten minutes of the Wizard of Oz and sound or voices in the real world become the incoherent bumbling of voices underwater. When you wake up however and it hits you as to what has happened and you see the faces of your family there and hear their worried voices clearly for the first time, that is when the shame kicks in, and that shame only got worse as I heard the phone calls and read the texts of worried family members trying to reach out to me and my parents. It is that shame  that I wanted to raise awareness of in this post initially, because I wanted to warn anyone else who is suicidal out there of how much people care about you even when you don’t believe it possible and don’t care about yourself. 

Then again, at the same time, whilst I want to rase awareness of the shame that comes after one attempts to take one’s own life, I want to remind anyone out there that suicide attempts are in essence nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t get me wrong, they are nothing to be proud of either which is one reason as to why I nearly didn’t write about this event on my blog, but after reading your comments I have learnt that the shame that comes with suicide, though real, is not justified. That isn’t to say you can’t feel ashamed, for who am I to tell people what they should or should not feel (as if that would make a difference to those feelings that tend to creep up on you unannounced anyway). Still, feeling ashamed about a suicide attempt is very much like a person with kidney stones feeling ashamed that they have little pebbles lodged in one of their vital organs. Suicide attempts are, like physical health problems, a sign of illness and I truly believe that nobody who seriously attempts suicide ever does it by choice, rather they do it because they are driven to it through that level of pain they feel, just as a mother in labour may beg for pain relief and slap her partner across the head without really meaning it. 

Suicide is not a choice, it is a consequence of severe mental pain and it is being reminded of that by all your lovely comments last week that I wanted to spread the message of today to other people who may be out there suffering with the shame of suicide. If this is you, please know that I am so sincerely sorry that you are hurting and I do not condone your actions in any way, but I want you to know that if you’re struggling with the shame of what you have done, it is no way unusual, neither were these actions your fault. Instead they were the actions of a mental illness that is driving you crazy and in these circumstances rather than shame, the key thing is to reach out and ask for help and support to ensure that nothing like that ever happens again. I will admit, getting that help and support is a struggle (as someone who has been desperately asking for help from people for months, trust me, I know getting the help you need is no easy task) but it is that which you must do. Suicide may not be a choice but seeking help when you are struggling often is and if there is one message I want to get across in this post it is that if you are ashamed after a suicide attempt, please give yourself a break but more importantly seek help. 

Other than that, today I can honestly say I do not know what words of comfort I can offer to you all but I wanted to thank you from the  bottom of my heart for the words of comfort you have given to me. My dear readers, you really are so important to me and, as it turns out, vital to my survival in this game of mental health. Hopefully next week I will manage to talk about something a little more jolly or at least a little less depressing. In the meantime…

Take care everyone x 

Elephant

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14 thoughts on “Suicide And Shame

  1. As someone who has been on both sides of suicide/suicide attempts, the shame is so real. As is the guilt for those who love the person who has been so distressed and despairing that ending ones life seemed the only option. My best friend died by suicide and I still feel that guilt of whether I could have done something. Yet simultaneously think “how the hell did she live so long and not end it sooner as her situation was so beyond dire?” It’s so muddling and awful for everyone involved. And then when you survive, you get hit with that shame which equally feels unbearable.
    Being in various shades of absolutely needing my life to end, I can relate. And I can also say I felt so guilty that maybe it was my comment on your post that was the final straw. Shame and guilt. The best of friends. The worst enemies.

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    • Wow, this comment really hit me sideways. I am so sorry to hear that you had a friend who died by suicide and that you have attempted yourself. I can however say that I am incredibly grateful that you are physically ok and survived. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me and for reading my blog. I really appreciate it, sending lots of love and hugs xxxx

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  2. Thanks for the insight, Katie. I’ve never attempted, but I’ve overdosed on stuff to numb out and got myself into a little trouble with that, and I know I felt shame about it.

    Reading this gave me some insight into what my sister might have been thinking that night she took her life. I think hers was planned for a while… but she waited it out because she knew it was going to hurt us so badly. The night she did it, I’m sure she had to just be thinking about the end to her suffering, and not her family and all her friends. Because if she had thought about all of us and how heartbroken and hurt we’d all be, she wouldn’t have been able to do it. I understand why she did it, and I’m glad she’s no longer suffering and in pain, but man… there’s a part of me missing forever now. Ahh, and here come the tears…

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  3. Thank you so much for this. The more loving you are, the more shame you feel in this situation. Suicide is not a choice when there’s mental illness involved. When I was suicidal what I remember most was the disorientation, the feeling of having no real control of what I was about to do and watching it from the outside in fear. For those who have lost loved ones to suicide, know that they didn’t want to leave you and there is nothing you could have done. A disease took over and something happened that they couldn’t stop. They never, ever stopped loving you, or knowing that you loved them. We love you, Katie! So glad you’ve come out on the other side.

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    • Thank YOU so much for this comment and for sharing your experience once again. It feels so good to be understood and I am so grateful for all of your support. Thank you so much for being there for me. Much love and hugs xxxxx

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  4. Hi Katie . I have recently discovered your blog. Firstly I’d like to say how inspiring you are. You talk so openly about things most people are ashamed of . I was too until I realized it’s nothing to be ashamed of . I was continually attempting suicide sometimes in a weekly basis. I did not care about anything other than trying to stop the pain and suffering. I started therapy and nothing seemed to work . One day my socail worker took me to a rehearsal for a theatre show by a mental health theatre company stepping out. All the actors were service users . Something felt right and I continued to go. I was in abusive relationships on drugs a alcoholic self harming. Bit this group of people saw the real me inside the one I was always mental to be . Im 5 years clean . From all . I actually leave the house and have friends that never want from me . My mental health is still a daily struggle .but like you I write about it . I write with raw honesty . Again like you. I would like to thank you for writing your blog . You touch people with your words and change people’s lives by being you by being honest. Please don’t ever stop . I would love to send you a copy of my newly published book. It’s a collection of mental health poetry. ( Stepping out theatre paid for me to be published and helped with a editor) .. . I hope to hear from you soon . And once again thank you for being so honest. . this blog will help so many people xxx

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    • Wow…thank you so much for this comment. What you said about my blog was truly touching and has honestly made my day. Also thank you so much for sharing your experience with me, I feel truly honoured and inspired to hear what you have achieved through your journey with mental health. Getting a book published is incredible (and I must say is my dream too) and I would love the chance to read your work. I have also heard of Stepping out theatre and considered joining myself but I have always been too scared and nervous. Now however I am rather inspired to give it a go after what you have said. Thank you so much for reading my blog, for being so kind about it, for sharing your experience and for offering me a chance to read your writing. Really hope to hear back from you soon and I hope you are having a fabulous day. Thank you for everything once again, sending love and hugs xxx

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  5. I’ve been struggling with suicidal thoughts since I was 10. I remember seeing all of my friends playing and having fun and I was in a dark corner thinking about ending my life. When I was 15 I survived my first suicide attempt. I remember waking up in a hospital bed with my mom holding my hand and crying. My whole family was worried about me. I felt so ashamed!
    Today I have a different view of the situation. I’m not proud but I’m also not ashamed. I was ill, that’s it.
    I’m so happy nothing bad happened to you! We love you so much, my dear! I honestly hope you’re feeling better now.
    Kisses from Portugal ❤

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    • Aww my darling Maria I want to give you the biggest hug. I had no idea you had been suffering like this for so long and I am truly sorry to hear that this is the case. I am sending you so much love and hugs right now and as always thank you for reading my blog. You are amazing and I am so glad that you are on this earth. Much love and kisses from England xxxx

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  6. Take care too Katie – that is the one thing i want to say from all this. YOU matter. You deserve all the support and love you offer others and I hope you can give a fraction of it back to yourself after reading. This illness shows its true monstrosity when I see how much it hurts you, because you truly are worth so much and have so much value in this world. I hope someday you can see what we all see. For what it’s worth, i believe you CAN xxxx

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  7. Hey, this was brave of you to write. I am glad you are safe now (or at least safer). Don’t really know what to say but I’m thinking of you. You are spot on about the layer of shame involved, it isn’t helpful but it is real too. Housing pressure is a bitch. ❤ xx

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