Suicidal Ideation

SILENCE

Silence

Fills the thick air between us

There’s something no one wants to say

But it’s on the tips of everyone’s tongues

That desire to escape, plagues us one by one

 

My grandmother felt it, lying in wait for years

In excruciating pain

Hating God for his lack of empathy

She wanted a way out

Because she believed there was nothing left for her here

 

My brother felt it, he tied it up into a neat package

Full of smoke, and alcohol, and psychedelia

The patterns on his walls spoke to him

And asked him to ponder the question

Of whether he was worth this world

 

My mother felt it, her life broken apart suddenly

By death, by divorce, by loneliness

The urges crept into her bedroom

As she lay awake during twilight hours

Asking herself if there was another way to get rid of the aches in her heart

 

I felt it, because I never believed I was worthy

Through trauma, through silent neglect

The thought pierced my mind as a child, as a teenager, as an adult

And I shouldn’t even be here

But somehow, I survived that visit to the whitewashed hospital walls

I woke up and walked out alone onto a horizon that I had to build myself

And now, a global pandemic made me realise that there is something to live for

Yet that is still hard to cling to

Because what is the truth may not be a part of my narrative

Until I re-write the whole darn thing

From page 1 to now

 

Yet, no one speaks in my family

Stillness settles like dust on bookshelves full of old classics

And space and time separate us

I lie awake in the future, wanting to be able to articulate

The things I’ve learned that keep me safe

Yet, they too, feel like heavy weights keeping me down

And I try to knock, but the doors are empty

The hollow sound of my fist echoes back

I’m ready to speak, but no one is there to receive my news

 

So we stay alone, connected by a thread of past, current, and future anxieties

We have stories to tell and serious things to say

Yet shame and stigma pervade every crevice of conversation

And I fear for those who don’t even have a name for this

How can they speak? When I am only just learning how to open my mouth

 

The only thing I can say

Is that the shame of suicide may feel real

But until you shatter the glass that keeps you locked inside

You’ll always believe that you’re the only one feeling ashamed

When in fact it could be anyone around you

Also living that daily battle to put one foot out of bed, then the other

 

Be brave and speak up

Be brave and listen

And if it’s too difficult to be brave at the moment

That’s ok too

Be patient with yourself instead, and let the words come when they are ready

 

They will arrive eventually

And you will find that being open to what you may learn and what you may give

Is just enough for today

And the next day

An unexpected gift

Many people across the globe have had to deal with massive changes to their daily lives since the coronavirus pandemic has taken hold and become a staple in the news cycle. Whether it’s through small changes such as no longer going into the office for work or giving a home haircut a try, through to bigger things such as tragically losing a family member to the virus or not being able to visit your elderly parents for the foreseeable future, the pandemic has had a massive effect on how we all live.

For me, the global pandemic has had a profound effect on my life in a way that I could never have predicted. In fact, this change is something that I never imagined would happen to me. Yet here it is, so strong and so visible that I cannot deny it any longer.

I now have a desire to live, a zest for life, a will to stay alive.

This is not normal for me. Many other people have a passion to live and my feelings of wanting to die are unusual to them. But for me, the option of not being around has always been present in my mind. Throughout my teenage years and through to my recent 30th birthday, I can’t remember a time when suicide was not on my mind in some shape or form.

I consider the world a horrific and challenging place to live, and the sadness that I feel and see play out on a daily basis cuts deep into my core. Being alive in this day and age has always seemed, to me, a huge uphill battle that was sometimes not worth fighting for. Ending my life was always on the table, and I often considered it a worthwhile alternative to having to suffer and watch others suffer.

Yet, as I sit curled up on my lounge and tune the remote to see the pandemic play its cruel game with the delicate lives of millions, I’ve been hearing a different broken record in my head. Watching the virus take people’s lives so fiercely and experiencing fear while performing simple daily activities such as picking up the mail and getting groceries, has caused an uptake in my anxiety level to the point where I’ve been feeling that I might burst into a million pieces. My skin has felt tight, my heart races to no end, and my muscles fold in on themselves like a boa constrictor. Throughout the past couple of weeks, I have experienced fear and anxiety stronger than I have ever felt before. But the driving factor to these fears?

I want to live; I’m afraid of not being around anymore.

So, while the coronavirus has caused many people immense pain and we are all suddenly realising that things we took for granted are indeed precious to us, I have been unexpectedly gifted with the desire to live. For someone who has been suicidal for as long as she can remember, this is an entirely new feeling. One which I can’t let slip past me unnoticed. Instead, I am leaning into these feelings, and the more I dive in, the more I see that this desire to live has always been around. In fact it’s been engrained into my instincts as a human being, yet I never had the clarity, or the time, or the reason, to uncover it. Previously, life was so hard that I couldn’t see what was bubbling underneath. Now, life stays just as difficult, but I know there is something under me that I can use as an anchor.

By no means am I thankful that the coronavirus has been the thing that has given me this gift. I wish none of this had happened, I wish we could get back the lives we have lost. Yet, I am doing my best to make lemonade from lemons.

Thus, as I sit here enveloped in deep sadness, fear, depression, and hopelessness for what the future may bring and what the world is experiencing, there is one thing that I can hold onto. I want to live, and because of this I am now ready to tackle these big and difficult emotions with a new perspective.

I am finally ready to let life in.

Bridget B