SUICIDE: What it feels like to be suicidal + mental health coping strategies

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When you feel suicidal, it is hard to see that there is any future. It feels impossible that this indescribable pain will ever pass. You genuinely feel that the world would be better off without you in it. There is no “light at the end of the tunnel,” there is no hope, just despair. 

As I write this, I sound as if I am just throwing cliches out there, empty statements of how someone may feel in that situation. But this is how I felt. I was not being selfish when I tried to take my own life almost a decade ago. I was doing what I felt I had to do. 

And surviving suicide, is also a challenge because whilst I am grateful most of the time to be able to have life and to even give life to my world – my two daughters… at the same time there are dark moments when you struggle to see the point and to try to understand why you were saved.

Don’t get me wrong, I have come a very long way since then, and I have more good periods than bad. But I still face huge battles with my mental health episodes which at times can feel unbearable. 

The difference is now how I am able to cope with life’s challenges.

This year, as an example, has been a huge struggle for me and as year’s go… it has been one of the worst (which is says a lot if you know anything about my story). BUT, despite a marriage breakdown, sharing custody of my daughters and moving home on my own… I am still here and mentally I have been feeling stronger than ever. 

I have eventually found a home, I have developed some new friendships, I have restarted some of my hobbies and my work is going amazingly. 

That all said, this week I have had a major blip. For me a blip isn’t just I felt a bit low… for me I started to contemplate whether I could carry on. I started to question “why”? “Why am I here?” “Why did they save me?” “Why can’t I just hide and be invisible?” 

I work in the media and online, so it is almost impossible to be invisible. You’re always visible. And on weeks like this week, it is hard to carry on. It is hard to get dressed, put on a face and to keep going. 

My brain is leading me to self destruct mode but I know I can’t go there. I know that as soon as I start my unhealthy coping mechanisms that I will likely fall into the void and the insidious cycle of self destruction. 

It’s in these difficult periods where I would normally try and cut myself off from my support network, that I actually have to employ that network of reliable and trusted friends and professionals. It is in these dark times that I must write my way out of the suffocating wave I feel I am in. It is during these times I must visualise (as taught by an old therapist) that this wave of worthlessness will pass. 

I have to keep going… even if I am just trudging water because I know only time, sleep and support will help me to heal again. I have been strong for so long and now when my life is going in the right direction, my brain then plays this nasty trick on me to try and destroy the new life I have worked so hard for. 

I have been creating a fresh start, a new home and a new life but I can’t get rid of my demons. No matter where I live, no matter how hard I try and hide from them, they will follow me until I face them. But I can’t face them alone because at the moment I just feel too fragile. I need more than a positive affirmation or pep talk, at times like this, I need someone to hold my hand. I need someone to fight them with me. And here is the difference… the old Sophie tried to fight these demons on her own. The old Sophie didn’t tell anyone how bad these demons were. The old Sophie lived a double life. In the day the old Sophie would be a successful career girl with the world at her feet and by night the old Sophie would be crushed by these demons destroying her mind, body and soul. 

And nowadays, I don’t want to, but I reach out. I tell people before it is too late. I stop. I write. I vlog. I keep active. I attend my health appointments. I make an effort to see people. My body is telling me not to. My mind is hearing the demons but not acting on them. 

I am now choosing to listen to my loved ones around me. I am choosing to make contact with people even though I crave to be left on my own. I am choosing to stick to my plans. 

It’s hard but when I think the life I have lived since my suicide attempt… I realise that there are many reasons to stick around. I realise that the pain (whilst it doesn’t feel it) is temporary. And I think I know deep down that the world is not a better place without me in it. 

My Dad sent me this quote which I hope helps you too (I am fortunate that friends and family now realise when I am struggling): 

‘Keep going.. 

You didn’t come this far

Just to go this far!’ 

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