This post continues a series which discuss a suicide crisis which took place approximately a year ago, and my subsequent treatment. Partly it’s therapy for me. Partly it’s to demystify what for many people is an opaque and frightening subject, which I believe should be spoken about more, and with more frankness. But obviously this could work as a trigger. Tread with care.
Depression can be angry, vitriolic, hateful; a fire that eventually burns you up. And depression can be cold, precise and determined; a weighing of hearts and feathers.
The week before the bridge, I met with a friend. People were worried about me – I was very visibly imploding on twitter, alarm bells were ringing but no-one really knew how to respond. I told him about everything concerning me, which is of no concern here. “So what are you going to do?” he asked, helpful. I told him.
The bridge was never my plan. I’d thought too hard and too long about how to go about ending my life to consider jumping a viable option. For a start, I’d calculated how tall a building would have to be for me to reach terminal velocity and concluded there was no easy way I could access any building so high in London. But this was no problem; I considered jumping to be a desperate, unthinking measure. I’d felt this way for too long now and I knew the way out, knew how to arrange it for maximum chance of completion. I was desperate, but I was far from unthinking.
He had asked, so I told my friend what I was planning to do.
He backed up, shocked, frightened, alarmed – that wasn’t what he’d meant, not what he’d meant at all, he meant the situation, my life, what was I going to do about that.
I looked uncomprehending at him. What else could I do? I’d just explained, hadn’t I? I had answered his question.
I had sat in A&E wards before, talking to psych personnel. “I’m scared”, I’d told them. “I don’t know what I could do.
“But I could do a lot”
“Have you attempted anything?” I was always asked.
They weren’t listening, how could I make them listen? I wasn’t planning on attempting anything. There would be no attempt. I knew how to do it, I knew what to do. There would be a completion. And I was scared.
There is a curious gender disparity in depression. Women are much more likely to experience the illness. Women are more likely to attempt suicide. Men are, however, most at risk from dying at their own hand. These facts screamed inside my skull alongside my ever-more refined plan; measurements, doses, routes of administration. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
I had tried asking for help, I’d been turned away so many times before. I was trapped, could see no way my life could improve, only a permanent descent. So you see how my friend’s question couldn’t make any sense to me. What else could I do?
Cold, clinical depression; terrifying in it’s rationality.
I was on a bridge. This wasn’t the plan. This was panicked, desperate, unthinking. Alarm bells, ringing; I still don’t know what kind of alarm they were sounding.