Trigger warning: This post has references to attempted suicide and overdoses. If you have personal experience of this subject then you may find it triggering.
17 years ago today I took my final overdose. It was one of a number of attempts to commit suicide. But it was the one that changed my life forever. And it is a night that I will never forget.
The Night That I Will Never Forget
After the overdose, I was taken to the hospital and was very ill – both physically and mentally. I couldn’t believe that I was still alive. I had even failed at committing suicide. And I busily thought about when I could next try to kill myself.
Once I had physically recovered from the overdose, I was released into my parents’ care. I also began the slow process of coming off the anti-depressants that I was on and being weaned on to a new and stronger anti-depressant.
It was dreadful. All I wanted to do was lie in bed and either sob or stare mindlessly at the wall. I had no joy in my life. I just wanted to be dead. And I was angry that I was still alive.
But gradually over the next few months, I slowly and very painfully pieced my life back together.
I began spending less time in bed. I went for short walks down the road with my Mum. Although my energy levels and concentration levels were low, I managed to spend the odd five minutes doing a jigsaw. Those jigsaws became a metaphor for my recovery. As I completed another one, another part of my soul was healed.
Eventually, I began to be able to work on my Master’s degree and I also got a small part-time job in a shop. A few months later, over a year after the overdose, I went into London to do two days of work experience.
On one day, I met a man. I thought he was cute and he asked me for a drink. I said “yes”. This man later proposed and we got married. Mr H is the biggest piece in my jigsaw puzzle. He’s my best friend. He is my rock and he is my everything.
On the second day of work experience, I got told to apply for a position at the charity. I applied, was interviewed and got the job.
My life was beginning to feel normal. The final pieces of the jigsaw began to fall into place. The overdose seemed a distant memory.
But really, it has never been a distant memory.
On 24th November, every year, I take a moment and reflect on how I could have been responsible for taking my life away. I might never have known the joy of walking down the aisle towards the man I love and want to spend the rest of my life with. I could never have known what it was like to have the job of my dreams. Holding my newborn babies in my arms may have been a euphoric moment denied to me.
This was all because I was desolate. And I believed that the only solution was the ultimate solution. My death.
Since that day, November has been a hard month for me. The knowledge that I would face this anniversary. Of the night I will never forget. It hangs over me.
On top of this anniversary, there is the added misfortune that I once miscarried in early November.
I believed the month to be cursed. And I hated it. Dreaded it.
But this year, something has changed. November hasn’t been quite so dreadful. Oh, I’ve struggled with my mood. I’ve had low days. But I’ve also had some really good days. And I have put self-care at the top of my agenda.
November – you don’t scare me as much as you did. You’re the month of cold mornings and frost on the ground. Fireworks going off and blossom appearing on our winter-flowering cherry tree. Strictly Come Dancing is on TV and I can watch it snuggled under a blanket with a cup of tea. You really are quite a gorgeous month.
I just happen to have some unfortunate memories from Novembers past. I don’t know if it is because these incidents are a long time ago now. But they are losing their sting.
I will always remember the night that I attempted suicide for the final time. And I believe it is right that I should.
It makes me overwhelmingly grateful to be alive. It reminds me of all the wonderful experiences I’ve had in my life. And it makes me hold my family extra tight. It also reminds me that I owe my parents so much. As they were my lifeline during that time. And that is a debt I can never repay.
So I’m glad that I will never forget that night. Because it gives me a perspective on life that I might not have otherwise. And I thank God that I’m alive to experience that.
If you are feeling suicidal or desperate in any way then please phone someone you love. Or if they are not available then please phone Samaritans. You can call them for FREE. Any time, day or night. Call them on 116 123. Alternatively, you can email them on firstname.lastname@example.org (bear in mind, there is a 24 hour response time to the email).
For more information about mental health problems. You can contact the charity MIND. Their website is full of useful resources, including an A-Z of mental health. You can phone them for information and support on 0300 123 3393 or text 86463.
Mrs H’s favourite things
You can read more posts that I have written about this subject: